Job descriptions and industry overviews

Lecturer, third level

25 Jan 2023, 13:37

Teaches students and carries out research in universities and institutes of higher education.

Blurred image of a person lecturing with digital devices in the foreground.

Job description

Lecturers are usually based in institutions of higher and further education and will generally have administrative or research responsibilities in addition to lecturing hours. They use a variety of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical laboratory demonstrations, field work and e-learning.

Work activities

  • Designing and developing courses
  • Planning and delivering lectures to groups of students, both at undergraduate and at postgraduate level
  • Setting and marking assignments and examinations
  • Supervising students in their research activities both at undergraduate and at postgraduate level
  • Undertaking ongoing research and writing, submitting journal articles and presenting papers at national and international conferences
  • Performing a range of administrative duties.

Work conditions

Travel: not a major feature of the job, though attendance at national and international conferences is possible.

Working hours: varies depending on institution.

Location: most opportunities are in large towns or cities throughout the country.

Opportunities for self-employment: Lecturers often supplement income through private tuition, exam marking, external consultancy or freelance media work.

Typical employers

  • Universities
  • Institutions of higher education
  • Further and adult education colleges
  • Private colleges
  • PLC
  • VEC
  • Prison services.

Career development

Progression is usually towards a senior lecturer post. Those in institutes of further education may progress to working in a higher education institute and on to a senior post in research or management.


For permanent positions, incremental salary scales operate, though these vary according to the type of institution and also between similar institutions.

Entry requirements

Although open to graduates of all disciplines, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees relevant to the post are required.

Entry without a doctorate (or nearing completion of a doctorate) is becoming difficult. However, expertise in a relevant field may be just as valuable.

Postgraduate study

A minimum of a Masters degree is normally required for lecturing posts, though increasingly a doctorate or part completion of a doctorate is expected.

Specific entry requirements

Teaching experience will be expected.


Specialised courses in third-level teaching are provided mainly by universities and institutes of technology and are normally undertaken by those already working as lecturers or tutors. Most institutions offer their staff a range of short training courses in areas such as e-learning.

Tips for applications

You will need to be determined and flexible when looking for your first lecturing post. Permanent posts are becoming increasingly difficult to secure: most lecturers have contract posts before securing a permanent one, which could take several years.

Get published, attend and present at national and international conferences. Aim to get work as a tutor while completing your postgraduate qualifications. Research degrees are probably more attractive to prospective employers than taught programmes.

Skills and qualities

  • Excellent communication, organisational and presentation skills
  • Enthusiasm for the subject that will foster a love of learning by students
  • Willingness to engage in ongoing professional development
  • Ability to relate well to an increasingly diverse student population.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

undefined background image

We've got you

Get the latest jobs, internships, careers advice, courses and graduate events based on what's important to you. Start connecting directly with top employers today.