Career as Lecturer / College teacher

Lecturer / College teacher

The main role of a professor is to transfer knowledge and practical skills, methods and techniques, on a particular subject which is his/her area of expertise. A college/university professor teaches graduate and post-graduate students.

A visionary and perpetual seeker of knowledge, a professor remains abreast of the developments in his academic field and constantly strives to expand his/her knowledge of the subject, conducts relevant research, prepares research proposals, publishes or disseminates research findings and seeks accreditation for the same. He/she is a thought leader in his field.

Excellent communication skills, people and team management skills to deal with students, colleagues and staff are some of the important attributes of a good professor. He deals with and supports in the goals of his students, who comprise of a variety of people, coming from different social, religious, economic, cultural backgrounds.

Courses and Eligibility

The following degrees must be obtained to teach in a college or university. These requirements may vary depending upon the chosen stream as per guidelines set by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Step 1: Complete class 12 in a chosen stream, follow by completing graduation to obtain a B.A. / B.Sc. / B.Com i.e. Bachelors’ degree in Arts, Science, Commerce etc. There are a vast range of subjects for which the Bachelors’ degree can be obtained.

Step 2: Complete post-graduation to obtain a Masters’ degree in the chosen field. Candidates must try to obtain at least a minimum score of 55%.

Step 3: Appear for the NET (National Eligibility Test), the qualifying exam for teaching in a college. The eligibility for this test is a minimum 55% at the PG level (with 5% waiver for SC/ST/Tribal/Differently abled candidates). There are also accredited state level tests like the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET/SET). These tests are the minimum eligibility criteria for the appointment as an Assistant Professor in a college / university / institution.


Where the candidate has already completed M.Phil, and/or Ph.D., he/she is eligible to apply directly for the post of an Assistant Professor / Professor (depending on the number of years of teaching experience) without appearing the NET/SLET/SET. However this varies from State to State. In some States the NET/SLET/SET is still a necessity even after obtaining an M.Phil.

Apart from the above, the number of years of teaching experience also count:

A minimum of 8 years are required to qualify as an Assistant Professor.
A minimum of 10 years are required to qualify as a Professor.

Aspiring professors can begin to accumulate their teaching experience by teaching at a senior school level while completing their various degrees. Hence many also do their Bachelors’ in Education which is required for teaching in school. If you obtain a degree in Masters or M.Ed. it will be useful as you could possibly fall in a higher pay bracket. Since you will invest many years in obtaining your various qualifications, it is advisable to begin teaching as early as you can in order to start earning.

After gaining some experience in teaching and obtaining at least a Master degree, you can also then, apply to a college or university to begin teaching as a part-time / guest lecturer.

Keep in mind, that the more the degrees you have completed, more the articles/research papers/journals/books you have published, more the teaching experience you have, the closer you are to becoming a professor and subsequently, a professor at a senior level. Additional qualifications also allow you to enter into bands where the pay scale is higher.

Course Fee

Cost of studying in India will vary depending on the subject and the institution. State run colleges generally cost less than private or specialized institutions. Courses involving practical, laboratory and field work may cost more than purely theoretical subjects. Residential courses will involve accommodation and food expenses over and above the fee structure. All institutions provide you with a detailed fee structure with break-up at the time of application.

Where To Study

A person can opt for day, residential or distance learning programmes depending on the programme, the institution and their convenience.

A Bachelors’ degree may be obtained in the local college in your area. All State Governments and major cities have colleges and universities offering various courses. Many specialized institutes also offer courses such as the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Institute of Technology etc. Always look for an accredited and at least State recognized institution. The Bachelors’ is a 3 year degree course. In some subjects like engineering, medicine etc. it is 4 years. There are some common admission tests and qualifying exams to be taken for entry into various institutions. Examples are the Joint Admission Test for M.Sc., Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), All India Post Graduate Medical Institute Entrance Exam etc. Individual institutes also have their own admission tests. Once you have identified your preferred institutes, you need to find out which tests they require, the dates when the tests are being conducted and when is the last date for submission of applications.

Masters programmes are offered in State and city run universities or at various specialized institutions. Admission is based on merit and performance in the entrance test. A Masters generally takes 2 years to complete.

A Ph.D. can be done at any time and there is no age limit. It can be done as Full Time or Part Time research. Some institutions require scores of tests like GATE, NET or Junior Research Fellowship in order to enroll for a Ph.D.

A Ph.D. aspirant selects a topic and seeks the support of a guide (a person with expertise in the related field) to begin work. Time frames for completing a Ph.D. are 3-6 years for Full Time and 4-7 years for Part Time. An exemption of 1 year may be given if for instance, the applicant has an M.Phil. / M.D etc.

It is possible to obtain grants from universities and various government agencies such as the UGC, NCERT and others to conduct research. Some universities hire Ph.D. students as research assistants.

Distance learning programmes are offered by many big universities and agencies like Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), among others.

Pay and Remuneration

Pay scales vary according to level of qualification, experience, band and multiple other criteria.

As a broad indication, an Assistant Professor may get anywhere between Rs. 15600 – Rs. 39100 and a Professor may get between Rs. 37400 – Rs. 67000.

A college professor also gets summer, winter and autumn vacations, sabbaticals and grants for research, apart from other employment benefits. In some institutions accommodation within the campus is provided.

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