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Become An Associate Instructor

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Working As An Associate Instructor

  • Getting Information
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Make Decisions

  • $48,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Associate Instructor Do

Postsecondary teachers instruct students in a wide variety of academic and career and technical subjects beyond the high school level. They also conduct research and publish scholarly papers and books.

Duties

Postsecondary teachers typically do the following:

  • Teach courses in their subject area
  • Work with students who are taking classes to improve their knowledge or career skills
  • Develop an instructional plan (known as a course outline or syllabus) for the course(s) they teach and ensure that it meets college and department standards
  • Plan lessons and assignments
  • Work with colleagues to develop or modify the curriculum for a degree or certificate program involving a series of courses
  • Assess students’ progress by grading assignments, papers, exams, and other work
  • Advise students about which classes to take and how to achieve their goals
  • Stay informed about changes and innovations in their field
  • Conduct research and experiments to advance knowledge in their field
  • Supervise graduate students who are working toward doctoral degrees
  • Publish original research and analysis in books and academic journals
  • Serve on academic and administrative committees that review and recommend policies, make budget decisions, or advise on hiring and promotions within their department

Postsecondary teachers, often referred to as professors or faculty, specialize in a variety of subjects and fields. Some teach academic subjects, such as English or philosophy. Others focus on career-related subjects, such as law, nursing, or culinary arts.

At colleges and universities, professors are organized into departments that specialize in a subject, such as history, science, business, or music. A professor may teach one or more courses within that department. For example, a mathematics professor may teach calculus, statistics, and a graduate seminar in a very specific area of mathematics.

Postsecondary teachers’ duties vary with their positions in a university or college. In large colleges or universities, they may spend their time teaching, conducting research or experiments, applying for grants to fund their research, or supervising graduate teaching assistants who are teaching classes.

Postsecondary teachers who work in small colleges and universities or in community colleges often spend more time teaching classes and working with students. They may spend some time conducting research, but they do not have as much time to devote to it.

Full-time professors, particularly those who have tenure (a professor who cannot be fired without just cause), often are expected to spend more time on their research. They also may be expected to serve on more college and university committees.

Part-time professors, often known as adjunct professors, spend most of their time teaching students.

Professors may teach large classes of several hundred students (often with the help of graduate teaching assistants), smaller classes of about 40 to 50 students, seminars with just a few students, or laboratories where students practice the subject matter. They work with an increasingly varied student population as more part-time, older, and culturally diverse students are going to postsecondary schools.

Professors need to keep up with developments in their field by reading scholarly articles, talking with colleagues, and participating in professional conferences. A tenured professor must do original research, such as experiments, document analysis, or critical reviews, and publish their findings.

Some postsecondary teachers work for online universities or teach online classes. They use websites to present lessons and information, to assign and accept students’ work, and to participate in course discussions. Online professors communicate with students by email and by phone and might never meet their students in person.

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How To Become An Associate Instructor

Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.

Education

Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.

Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.

Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.

Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.

Other Experience

Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.

In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.

In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.

Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.

Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.

Advancement

A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.

Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.

Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.

Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.

Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.

Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.

Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.

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Associate Instructor Career Paths

Associate Instructor
Instructor Consultant Office Manager
Administrative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Instructor Lead Teacher Assistant Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructor Adjunct Professor
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Adjunct Professor Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Adjunct Faculty Research Associate
Laboratory Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Lecturer Assistant Professor Adjunct Professor
Department Chairperson
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Owner Director
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Supervisor Training Manager
Director Of Training
7 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Project Manager Principal
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Team Leader President
Commissioner
5 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Faculty Editor Senior Technical Writer
Senior Instructional Designer
9 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Project Manager Assistant Director
School Director
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Professor Principal Education Director
Campus Director
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Case Manager Director Of Admissions
Enrollment Management Director
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Principal Education Director
Director Of Instruction
7 Yearsyrs
Tutor Special Education Teacher Education Consultant
Educational Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Tutor Lead Teacher Department Chairperson
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Tutor Research Associate Visiting Assistant Professor
Senior Lecturer
7 Yearsyrs
Editor Reviewer Education Consultant
Student Dean
7 Yearsyrs
Instructional Designer Lead Instructor Department Chairperson
Academic Director
7 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
French Instructor 3.5 years
Physics Instructor 3.0 years
Instructor 2.8 years
Writing Instructor 2.5 years
Lead Instructor 2.5 years
Reading Instructor 2.4 years
Student Instructor 1.7 years
Co-Instructor 1.3 years
Top Careers Before Associate Instructor
Internship 11.2%
Instructor 8.8%
Teacher 6.8%
Volunteer 4.4%
Tutor 3.7%
Cashier 3.3%
Assistant 2.8%
Top Careers After Associate Instructor
Instructor 12.1%
Internship 7.2%
Lecturer 6.6%
Teacher 5.9%
Consultant 3.6%
President 3.0%
Tutor 2.8%
Editor 2.8%
Faculty 2.6%
Volunteer 2.6%

Do you work as an Associate Instructor?

Associate Instructor Demographics

Gender

Female

48.0%

Male

39.8%

Unknown

12.2%
Ethnicity

White

57.8%

Asian

15.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.7%

Black or African American

9.6%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.7%

French

17.3%

Chinese

6.1%

Russian

5.6%

Italian

5.1%

Japanese

4.6%

German

4.1%

Mandarin

3.6%

Portuguese

3.1%

Arabic

2.6%

Hindi

2.0%

Korean

1.5%

Ukrainian

1.5%

Turkish

1.0%

Bulgarian

1.0%

Nepali

1.0%

Cantonese

1.0%

Persian

1.0%

Swahili

0.5%

Swedish

0.5%
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Associate Instructor Education

Schools

Indiana University Bloomington

60.9%

University of California - Davis

6.8%

University of Phoenix

5.0%

University of Utah

3.8%

Syracuse University

3.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.0%

Central Connecticut State University

1.9%

Walden University

1.7%

University of North Texas

1.6%

University of California - Riverside

1.6%

University of Texas at Austin

1.5%

University of Maryland - University College

1.3%

University of Connecticut

1.3%

Texas A&M University

1.2%

Black Hills State University

1.2%

Nova Southeastern University

1.1%

San Jose State University

1.1%

Boston University

1.1%

Arizona State University

0.9%

San Diego State University

0.9%
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Majors

Computer Science

11.3%

Business

9.5%

Nursing

8.1%

Chemistry

6.5%

Psychology

5.9%

Linguistics

5.4%

Education

4.8%

English

4.8%

Mathematics

4.8%

Fine Arts

4.5%

Music

4.3%

Human Computer Interaction

4.3%

Elementary Education

4.0%

Communication

3.7%

Writing

3.1%

Political Science

3.1%

Biology

3.0%

Educational Leadership

3.0%

Criminal Justice

2.9%

Information Systems

2.9%
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Degrees

Masters

43.1%

Bachelors

21.1%

Doctorate

18.1%

Other

10.4%

Associate

3.5%

Certificate

3.1%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$48,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$30,000
Min 10%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$48,000
Median 50%
$76,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
New York
Highest Paying City
Redwood City, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.3 years
How much does an Associate Instructor make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Associate Instructor in the United States is $48,160 per year or $23 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $30,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $76,000.

Real Associate Instructor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Associate Instructor University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Aug 01, 2014 $110,000
Associate Instructor University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Jan 01, 2015 $91,306
Associate Instructor of Management The University of Akron Akron, OH Aug 29, 2016 $80,000
Associate Instructor Udacity, Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 13, 2014 $70,000 -
$90,000
Associate Degree Nursing Instructor Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Superior, WI Aug 01, 2013 $63,663
Associate Instructional Designer Medidata Solutions, Inc. New York, NY May 09, 2016 $59,688
Associate In Science Instruction The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Middlebury, VT Jan 01, 2013 $50,770
Associate for Instructional Production Services State University of New York at Buffalo Buffalo, NY Nov 29, 2010 $50,691
Associate Degree Nursing Instructor Ranger College Early, TX Jan 03, 2011 $50,290
Associate Instructor University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Mar 01, 2013 $49,378
Associate Instructor University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT May 16, 2011 $42,262
Associate Instructor I The Language Company Fort Worth, TX Sep 19, 2015 $41,406
Associate Instructor University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Jan 07, 2016 $40,133
Associate Instructor University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Jul 01, 2016 $40,133
Associate Instructor I The Language Company Edmond, OK Sep 19, 2015 $40,008
Associate Instructor I The Language Company Edmond, OK Sep 18, 2016 $40,008
Associate Coordinator, Supplemental Instruction California State University, Long Beach Long Beach, CA Aug 29, 2011 $38,709
Associate Instructor I The Language Company Shawnee, OK Feb 01, 2012 $36,523

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Top Skills for An Associate Instructor

  1. Classroom Management
  2. Undergraduate Courses
  3. Curriculum Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Employed several classroom management strategies to approximately 900 students.
  • Developed and facilitated undergraduate courses at Lincoln College of Technology.
  • Participated on curriculum development team to research and develop new lessons and curricular resources for teachers.
  • Provided educational foundation based on class objectives by developing curriculum and lesson plans on all core criteria.
  • Assist in preparing instructional materials for daily instruction as planned by the teacher.

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Top 10 Best States for Associate Instructors

  1. Oregon
  2. California
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Iowa
  5. Washington
  6. Utah
  7. Colorado
  8. Michigan
  9. Hawaii
  10. Texas
  • (171 jobs)
  • (782 jobs)
  • (84 jobs)
  • (80 jobs)
  • (143 jobs)
  • (100 jobs)
  • (293 jobs)
  • (199 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (599 jobs)

Top Associate Instructor Employers

Jobs From Top Associate Instructor Employers

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