Job description

Postsecondary teachers instruct and educate students in postsecondary schools such as colleges or universities. They specialise and teach courses in their subject area, whether it be maths, science or history. Some postsecondary teachers conduct research and/or experiments, publish scholarly papers and books based on their specialisation, and attend professional conferences to develop knowledge in their field.


    • Instruct and educate students in college or university
    • Establish a course outline or syllabus for their classes
    • Plan lessons, assignments and coursework
    • Grade assignments, papers and exams
    • Work alongside collogues to develop curriculum
    • Advise students on their education and career paths
    • Conduct research in your chosen subject area
    • Perform experiments in your chosen subject area
    • Publish scholarly papers and books
    • Attend conferences and seminars
    • Keep updated on industry trends and knowledge

Skills and qualities

Attention to detail
Critical thinking

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk


Career progression

Postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree aim to get tenure throughout their careers. Tenured professors might later advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president for a college or university.

Working conditions

Average hours

20h/ week

Typical schedule

Part Time

Full time schedules also possible

Postsecondary teachers typically work in postsecondary schools such as colleges and universities. They may educate small classes of 40 to 50 students or large classes with over 100 students.

These professionals must find balance between teaching and researching, which can be stressful, especially for full-time professors. Generally, though, this job can be rewarding, as you work with likeminded teachers and students who enjoy the same subject you teach.

Some postsecondary teachers work additional jobs alongside teaching. For instance, a physicist may also teach a physics class as a part-time role.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level


Doctoral degree in chosen subject

Study time

6 years

Postsecondary teachers generally need a doctoral degree in their field in order to work in a four-year college or university. Community colleges or career and technical schools, on the other hand, may consider applicants with a master’s degree in their specialised field.

Previous teaching work experience, such as working as a graduate teaching assistant, can be useful. Those in health, art, law or education fields are generally required to have some hands-on work experience, while postdoctoral research experience is favourable for those who want to teach biological science, physics or chemistry.

Depending on the subject area they teach, some postsecondary teachers require a licence or certification. For instance, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing licence.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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