Scholarly Career Options For Budding Academics

1 1

As an academic, you have spent a considerable portion of your life dedicating yourself to your specialist subject. Of course, then the perfect job for you to go into would be one in which you can use your knowledge and experience. But what exactly are the career options for academics, and which one would be the best fit for you? Read on to find out.


Of course, no post on career opportunities for academics can possible is complete with dealing with the topic of teaching as a career. In this sense within the compulsory education system. But it wouldn’t do to just consider the positives, without some of the negatives of being a teacher as well.

First of all, teaching is a great career in many ways. It’s varied and challenging, and you get to interact with lots of different people every day. You also get to help make a real, measurable difference in people’s lives. So much so that it could be described as a vocation.

You also get to use your academic background every day and be pretty creative in the way that you plan lessons and activities to grab your students attention.

But is a career in teaching all roses? Well, of course not. It can be a tough road, especially if the pay isn’t great in your area. Teachers also often find that they can get stressed from being caught in between the resistance from the pupils to learn, and the immovability of the system.

It’s also pretty easy to drive yourself into the ground, especially if you are a perfectionist. As everything could always be improved on, and you are often working to strict deadlines making the whole process a lot harder.

Lecturer / Professor


Obviously, the role that is most closely aligned with being a teacher is that of a lecturer or professor in higher education. This is similar in that it is about creating material for students to learn with, guiding their educational process and providing support where needed.

It’s different, in that higher education is at a harder level than compulsory. So expect to be dealing with more difficult concepts, as well as older students.


Of course, being a lecturer in the first step on this path, with the ultimate aim to be awarded tenure ( a job for life) and a professorship. But if you think it’s all about your teaching skills and results in then you’d be wrong. As being an educator in a higher education institution is also about another role, that of the researcher.

Yes, when working in higher education, you are expected to not only to teach the undergraduates but also continue with your own research into your areas of expertise. This may be in the form of literature reviews, qualitative or quantitative research, meta-analysis, or even experiments, depending on your field.



You will also be expected to write up your results, and where possible get them published in peer-reviewed journal. As this not only adds to your own record of achievement but helps the university’s reputation as well.

Educational Leadership

Of course, being a teacher or a lecturer are not the only career choices for budding academics. Academic institutions tend to be large scale institutions, so that means there are other positions within their wall available as well.

For example, as a teacher, you may end up being promoted to head of subject, department, or faculty. Or as a lecturer, you may end up in a leadership position within the college environment. This is often beneficial in that it means a higher rate of pay, and the ability to control the way things are run in your department from the inside.

Of course, you cannot go straight onto these roles and need a few year’s of experience at least, behind you before you start to consider moving up the ladder. Qualifications in school or higher education leadership like the Ph.D. available from Maryville University can also help you. As not only do they show that you are amply qualified for the position, but dedicated to it as well.

Instructional Designer  


Lastly, a less often considered career for a scholar that is interested in the education profession is the instructional designer. This is someone that designs online learning course and materials.

Obviously with the huge growth in this area of the market this career is something that is bound to become even more popular in the future.

With some university is now running specialist courses for this area. If this interest you, you can find out more about what’s involved in the job role, by clicking the link here.

Avatar Of Jeremy Kaplan
Written by
Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

View all articles