Lecturers provide tuition and guidance to students at the tertiary level of education, in a specialized field. Literally hundreds of subjects, each with its own requirements, are taught at college, university of technology or university. These requirements differ from one tertiary educational institution to another.

Lecturers are responsible for the preparation and presentation of their lectures. They have to prepare examination papers, invigilate at examinations and mark examination papers. Depending on their field of study, lecturers may be required to guide senior students in their independent study research.

Other tasks include interviewing course applicants, having contact / teaching time with the students, checking and assessing students' work and encouraging personal development via pastoral or tutorial work.  They have to attend staff meetings, deal with general administration, manage research budgets and write research proposals, papers and other publications.

To be well informed, lecturers need to continuously try to uphold a culture of studying and reading publications, papers and articles relating to their field of study. Conducting research is a very important aspect of most lecturers’ work and it is usually expected of them that they publish their own results, which is important for promotion, in addition to acting as research counsellors to their students.

Depending on their field and the institution where they are employed, they may work with a large group of students, or give individual training to a single student.

As lectures are usually given in lecture halls, they mostly work indoors. However, again depending on their field, they may have to give some training outdoors. The nature of lecturers’ or their students’ research will determine where it has to be conducted. The circumstances under which research is undertaken vary enormously, depending on the field of study and specialisation.

Being a lecturer often enables a person to undertake study tours or attend symposia and conferences. Excellent opportunities for contact with other experts in their field of specialisation are thus available.

Key skills are to be highly motivated, have excellent presentation skills, excellent research skills, written and communication skills and expertise in a particular area or areas.

Adult education lecturers teach academic and vocational subjects to adults of all ages and academic abilities. The job commonly requires working evenings and weekends. Many people enter the profession through part-time and temporary contracts, supplementing their salary by writing, private tuition and exam marking or by taking up several part-time posts.  They need creative skills to plan and deliver interesting lessons and lectures at the right level for students.

Further education lecturers teach academic and vocational subjects to young people and adults at TVET colleges.  

Personal Requirements

  • excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • good intellect and interest in your specific field
  • research orientation
  • great deal of patience and tactfulness
  • high level of responsibility
  • prepared to undertake long and difficult postgraduate studies

How to Enter

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects
Compulsory Subjects: Subjects related to your field of interest
Recommended subjects: Subjects complementary to your field of interest


What to Study

Degree: Bachelors degree, followed by at least two post-graduate degrees

Post-graduate or advanced tertiary qualifications are required for lecturing. An honours degree is rarely sufficient. Usually a masters or doctors degree is required. Experience in teaching may be a requirement as well. Lecturers are expected to constantly better their qualifications, in order to acquaint themselves with developments in their field of study.

There are mainly two options for acquiring training as a professional lecturer: either by in-service training or by attending formal courses. Most tertiary institutions offer in-service training facilities for their lecturers. Courses for lecturers in specific subjects are available both at universities and universities of technology.


Career opportunities and prospects are usually bright, depending on the field of study and specialisation. The level at which a person is appointed varies from lecturer to full professor, depending on qualifications and experience.

Qualified lecturers, with the necessary experience in their field, can give private classes from their homes.

Further Information

Additional information may be obtained from the above-mentioned universities or universities of technology.

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work with a researcher in your field of interest
  • make an appointment to speak to a lecturer in your field of interest about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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