Anatomy and Physiology Instructor: Job Description and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an anatomy and physiology instructor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Anatomy and physiology instructors teach college-level courses about the functions that take place in the human body, such as metabolism, homeostasis and fluid balance. Postsecondary instructors may also be required to teach other life science courses, like biology, as well as supervise student teachers and attend faculty meetings and student conferences. Becoming a full professor with tenure typically requires a Ph.D., though many universities hire adjuncts with master's degrees. A teaching license isn't required, but it is recommended that students apply for teaching assistantships or adjunct positions while they are still obtaining their degrees.

Required Education Master's or doctoral degree
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022) 19%* (for all postsecondary biological science teachers)
Mean Salary (2014) $86,760* (for all postsecondary life sciences teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Anatomy and Physiology Instructors

Anatomy and physiology instructors lead college-level courses covering human body parts, cell structure, tissues and organs. Instructors may teach students about the muscular, skeletal, nervous and other systems that make up the human body. Metabolism, homeostasis and fluid balance are all topics that instructors can cover in anatomy and physiology courses. Responsibilities may include giving lectures and guiding lab assignments that can include animal dissection and body part identification using human cadavers.

Instructors may also teach general biology and other life science courses. Instruction may take place in a classroom or via distance or online learning web portals. Instructors maintain student grade and attendance records, develop course syllabi, choose instructional materials and evaluate each student's mastery of required skills.

Anatomy and physiology instructors may be required to participate in department activities, including committee meetings, recruiting drives and student counseling. They may also supervise teaching assistants and maintain posted office hours.

Requirements for Anatomy and Physiology Instructors

College instructors are not required to be licensed or certified; however, schools considering entry-level instructors may prefer candidates with prior work experience. Aspiring instructors may consider finding employment as teaching assistants during their graduate programs. After earning a Ph.D., anatomy and physiology instructors may conduct research projects or seek adjunct teaching appointments to gain work experience prior to moving into tenured or full-time faculty positions.

Educational Requirements

Aspiring anatomy and physiology educators typically enroll in a 4-year college program to earn a Bachelor of Science in biology, human physiology or another related field, with a minor or additional coursework in education.

Teaching college-level anatomy and physiology generally requires a master's degree in biological science with a minimum number of graduate hours in directly related coursework. Master's degree courses may include neuroanatomy, body movement, cell biology and biochemistry.

While teaching opportunities for instructors with a master's degree may be available at 2-year and private colleges, full-time or tenured positions with 4-year universities may require a Ph.D. Prospective instructors can find Ph.D. programs in anatomy and physiology, biology or a related field.

Career Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't track employment and earnings info for anatomy and physiology instructors in particular, though it does project a 19% job growth for postsecondary biological teachers from 2012-2022. This growth was attributed to increasing enrollment in colleges and universities, especially in for-profit schools. Postsecondary life sciences teachers earned an annual mean salary of $86,760 in 2014.

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