Instructor Career Path

Are you thinking of becoming an Instructor or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an Instructor, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Instructor job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

How To Become an Instructor

Instructors create lesson plans and implement them in a classroom or on online platforms. While formal education is necessary, instructors must also possess skills that you can't always learn in an academic setting. Successful instructors excel at communication, leadership, and problem-solving. Remember that, as an instructor, you're responsible for educating a diverse group of people, so it's essential to have empathy and cultural awareness. Having a mentor in the field can give you insight into balancing the curriculum with your students' needs. Take these steps if you want to become an instructor:
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1

Earn a relevant degree to what you want to instruct

Colleges and universities expect instructors to have at least a bachelor's degree in the subject they want to teach. For example, if you want to teach literature, you should have a Bachelor of Arts in English. Many schools prefer candidates with master's degrees, and even if they don't, it's well worth it to pursue one. A master's degree can help you stand out among potential hires and make you eligible for salary increases and promotions. If you plan on earning tenure or want to participate in academic research, you'll need to earn your doctorate after completing your bachelor's and master's degrees.

What type of degree should you pursue to become an Instructor?

76% of people working as an Instructor earned a Bachelor's Degree

What skills do you need to be an Instructor?

  • Teaching Experience
  • CPR First Aid
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Excellent Communication
  • VMWare ESXI
  • English
  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • Coding
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as an Instructor in the United States.

2

Apply for teaching assistant positions

While completing your degree, you should apply for teaching assistant (TA) positions at your college, which can give you practical experience and look good on your resume. Undergrad TAs typically assist professors with grading papers and proctoring exams. If you work as a TA in grad school, you can expect to teach classes, work with students in lab settings, and assist the professor with research.

3

Apply for instructor positions

After you've earned your degree and gained experience as a TA, it's time to apply for instructor jobs. It's isn't uncommon for instructors to start in entry-level positions like adjunct instructor or assistant instructor, so don't get discouraged if you don't land your dream job right away. These positions will allow you to hone your skills and get further acclimated to a classroom setting.

With more schools offering a remote learning model, you might find several openings available for online instructor jobs. You might even consider becoming a private tutor, educational consultant, or curriculum writer, especially if you've been working as an instructor and need a change of scenery.

4

Continue to develop your career skills by joining organizations, such as the AAUP

No matter where you are in your career as an instructor, there's always room to grow and develop your career skills. Joining a professional organization such as the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) will give you access to resources to help you handle issues that instructors face in an ever-changing world. Groups like AAUP also hold conferences and other events where you can expand your professional network, meeting other instructors and education professionals who may lead you to other instructor opportunities. You should also apply for committee positions at your college for opportunities to collaborate with other faculty members.

Seniority Levels

L2

Instructor

8+Years of Experience
$82,575 /yrTotal Pay
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L3

Senior Instructor

2 - 4Years of Experience
$80,816 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More
9% advanced to

L4

Adjunct Instructor

No Years of Experience Reports
$88,559 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

Total Pay Trajectory

Instructor Career Path

$100K
$90K
$80K
$70K
$60K
L2
L4
Seniority Levels

Related Careers in the Education Industry

Interested in other Education careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Instructor skills. Discover some of the most common Instructor career transitions, along with skills overlap.