Further education lecturers teach students in colleges, or adult or community education centres. They may teach a vocational subject (such as hairdressing or joinery), an academic subject (such as history or maths) or a leisure subject (such as pottery or cookery). Most students are over 16, but some may be younger.
You could be:
- organising and teaching courses, many leading to qualifications, in one or more subjects, to students who may be full time, part time, on day release or block release from work, or taking an evening course
- preparing courses (following a set syllabus), planning lectures and other sessions
- preparing leisure courses, to suit the interests of members of your class
- teaching classes, giving demonstrations and leading discussions
- depending on your subject, supervising practical work, field trips, student projects and work placements
- giving additional support to students who need it
- setting and marking students’ work – essays, projects and assessments
- keeping up to date with changes in your subject, and developing new courses
- interviewing new students, attending staff meetings and doing administrative work.
In Scotland there are no national pay scales for further education lecturers. Each college has its own pay scale. The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- the college in which you work
- your qualifications and experience
- the subject you are teaching.
Starting salaries can be from £20,000 to £25,000 a year. The top of the lecturer scale varies from about £31,000 to £37,000 a year. Senior lecturers can earn over £40,000 a year.
- Depending on the subject, you would teach in a classroom, workshop, studio, kitchen, laboratory, farm buildings or outdoors. You might teach some courses on employers’ premises.
- You might work full time or part time, during the day but possibly also in evenings and perhaps at weekends.
- If you work full time you will teach classes for about 22.5 hours a week, but you would spend additional time on preparation, marking and administration, in the evenings or at weekends.
- Lecturing can be a demanding job, both physically and mentally.
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Your way into this career will vary depending on the subject you intend to teach.
- To teach an academic subject you need an appropriate degree. Related experience in business or industry is helpful. If you teach an academic subject, a school teaching qualification is useful but not essential.
- To teach a vocational subject you should have an appropriate degree, Higher National Diploma (HND), Higher National Certificate (HNC), professional qualification or relevant Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ), together with a few years’ commercial or industrial experience.
- It is recommended that you study the Teaching Qualification (Further Education) TQ(FE) before starting work.
- In Scotland, the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee and Stirling are approved to offer the TQ(FE).
- Completing the TQ(FE) allows you to register with the General Teaching Council (GTC).
- You may have to start as a part time or sessional lecturer, perhaps teaching only a few hours a week, on a temporary basis.
- You may then be able to increase your teaching hours and when there is a full time vacancy (in your college or another) your experience should help your application.
- Full time jobs are advertised in the press and you apply direct to the college. It is also worth approaching colleges to ask about possible vacancies in your subject.
- You would require a satisfactory PVG (Protecting Vulnerable Groups) check to show you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details.
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What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- a sound knowledge of your subject
- good judgement and a fair-minded approach
- an assertive approach when necessary
- confidence when speaking to a class
- good organisational skills
- patience and a sense of humour
You need to be able to:
- communicate well with students of various ages and all levels of ability
- explain new ideas clearly
- hold the attention of students and motivate them to study.
- If you work in Scotland and you do not have a teaching qualification, you would take the TQ(FE) by part time study or distance learning while you are teaching in a college.
- Most colleges arrange for their lecturers to take the TQ(FE).
- For entry to the TQ(FE), as well as your degree or vocational qualification, you need a level of English, Maths and IT to meet the demands of the course. For more details check the FE Professional Development Forum website.
- Lecturers may work towards initial teaching qualifications - Professional Development Awards (PDA) - which are run part time. These awards can lead to further study for the TQ(FE).
- You must keep up to date with developments in your teaching subjects, and this will include taking in-service courses run by your college.
- Once you have a permanent, full time post, and your TQ(FE), you can take other courses to help you progress, perhaps to become a senior lecturer, head of department or college principal.
- Your chances of promotion are better if you are willing to take on extra duties and gain broader experience.
- You might move to work in an adult education centre, community learning centre, the prison service or the Armed Forces.
- The British Council sometimes recruits lecturers to work in developing countries.
The Scottish Government recommends that all permanent, full time college lecturers should complete the TQ(FE) within three years of appointment, and permanent, part time lecturers within five years.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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