How to Become a Higher Education Teacher?

Higher Education Teacher

Higher education teaching can be a challenging and rewarding intellectual endeavor. Besides imparting knowledge and skill, and further exploring a subject you're passionate about, you can learn from the inquiries and experiences of your colleagues and students. Communication, critical thinking and instructional skills can help you succeed in higher education teaching. While teaching in higher education institutions, you would likely give lectures and publish original research papers on your subject of expertise. Teaching higher education can also demand that you modify your educational style on a regular basis to accommodate students with little or no experience, as well as those with knowledge of the subject matter, to enable both to advance in a particular area. You'd probably teach university or professional day, evening or weekend courses, as well as hold office hours and research during the academic year and summer. Besides meeting course schedules and administrative meetings, you'd likely have the flexibility of creating your daily schedule.

How to Become a Higher Education Teacher

To engage in higher education teaching at the university level, you would likely need to possess a doctoral degree related to your area of higher education teaching. Professional schools and junior colleges may consider candidates with master's degrees or those in the process of getting doctoral degrees. Teaching higher education subjects in areas such as culinary arts or cosmetology may not require you to possess graduate-level education. However, cooking or cosmetology schools may require you to present evidence of certification and experience in such areas. Teaching in higher education institutions may also require you to have previous instructional experience. You can gain such experience by working as a graduate teaching assistant. Working in a government agency, business, or nonprofit organization can also be a valuable source of practical experience in regards to teaching in higher education institutions.

Potential Career Earnings of a Higher Education Teacher

The median annual wages of higher education teachers depend on their area of expertise. For instance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2012, postsecondary teachers specializing in law ($99,950), engineering ($92,670), and economics ($87,950) were among those who made higher national median annual wages. Those teaching recreation and fitness ($57,920) and vocational education ($47,990) as well as graduate teaching assistants ($31,270) were among those on the lower end of the national median annual salary scale.

Between 2010 and 2020, the BLS reports that the number of higher education teaching positions is expected to grow 17 percent. As a higher education teacher, you can teach an increasing number of students at for-profit institutions as a part-time or adjunct professor. Of course, finding a position in public colleges and universities is dependent on whether state or local governments can allocate budget monies to cover salaries. Meanwhile, the BLS reports, part-time or adjunct positions are replacing tenure positions, a guarantee that professors cannot be dismissed without just cause.

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  1. Education, Training, and Library Occupations, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, June 12, 2013,
  2. Economics Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013,
  3. Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013,
  4. Graduate Teaching Assistants, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013,
  5. Law Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013,
  6. Postsecondary Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook (2012-2013 Edition), April 10, 2012,
  7. Recreation and Fitness Studies Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013,
  8. Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics May 2012, March 29, 2013,

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M.S. in Instructional Technology
  • Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
  • Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
  • College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
  • College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
  • Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
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Master's (M.Ed.) - Curriculum and Instruction for Educators
  • Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
  • Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
  • Provides IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
  • A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
  • For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended these programs, go to:
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MED: Higher Education: Instructional Design and Technology
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • 87% of Liberty University students receive some form of financial aid
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Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

Trident University International provides an exceptional online educational experience for its students – diverse adult learners including current and former members of the military family. Adhering to the highest standards of academic excellence, faculty and staff foster a learning community where students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills to enhance their lives and advance their careers.

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MS - Teaching and Learning
  • CSU Global is focused on student success as its number one priority. 
  • CSU Global sets the standard for quality and innovation in higher education through its expert faculty members who are recognized as industry leaders in their field and trained to work with adults in an online learning environment. 
  • 100% online, fully accredited public university in the United States. No set class times or locations.
  • Classes start every month. Upcoming 2019 start dates include: 8/12, 9/9, 10/7, 11/11 and 12/9
  • CSU Global is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
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