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What Is the Difference Between a Teacher & a Lecturer?

Both teachers and lecturers work within the education sector and teach students. However, despite the seeming similarities, there are also distinct differences between them, as we'll now discuss.

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Comparing Teachers to Lecturers

Teachers and lecturers both educate students in an academic setting. However, although they both work in similar surroundings, they have varying roles and teach at different levels. Below you'll find the key similarities and differences between the two educational career paths.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Teacher Bachelor's Degree $58,030 (for all high school teachers) 6% (for all high school teachers)
Lecturer PhD or Master's $64,400 (for all postsecondary teachers) 13% (for all postsecondary teachers)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Teacher Education, Multiple Levels
  • Teaching, Adults
  • Teaching, Elementary
  • Teaching, High School
  • Teaching, Junior High
  • Teaching, Kindergarten and Preschool
  • Teaching, Waldorf and Steiner Education
  • Teaching, Young Children

Responsibilities of Teachers vs. Lecturers

A teacher educates students at the secondary, middle school or elementary level whereas a lecturer teaches at the postsecondary level in colleges and universities. Teachers are responsible for the compulsory education of secondary students aged 14-18, or 5-14 if they teach at the elementary or middle school levels, and mostly spend their time in planning and teaching lessons within their particular subject areas. On the other hand, a lecturer typically teaches students who are already 18 years old and above, and although lecturers also teach a set subject, they may also conduct research, publish scholarly articles, and may sometimes be given tasks in various university/college committees.

Teachers

A teacher is a key educator in a child's life, particularly at the secondary level. They teach teenage students within a set subject area, such as English, math, or science. However, some other important parts of a teacher's daily requirements are to prepare for their lessons, grade papers, and conduct after school activities and preparations. Teachers' working days can start early, even before the school starts, and end late, even after the school day has already finished. They are expected to be knowledgeable in their subject area and have an interest in inspiring children. Teachers will usually need a bachelor's degree and license to teach in a state school.

Job responsibilities of a Teacher include:

  • Support students that may be struggling or require special assistance
  • Ensure that students are equipped to take standardized tests
  • Support the school with administrative procedures
  • Liaise with parents with regards to students' progression

Lecturers

Lecturers work within postsecondary establishments like colleges and universities to educate students at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. They teach a specific subject based on their experience and academic background. Lecturers are usually expected to be educated up to the master's level as a minimum, however significant work experience can often be sufficient in some fields, such as in the arts or education. Their working hours can vary based on their work load, however, some lecturers may work outside of the education industry and hold a second job. In some universities, lecturers can progress in their careers to the senior or master lecturer level.

Job responsibilities of a lecturer include:

  • Advise students on their coursework and guide them in subject progression
  • Conduct research into their subject area and publish academic materials
  • Work with the educational institution on administrative matters
  • Collaborate with other lecturers and/or professors in revising and updating curriculum content

Related Careers

For those interested in teaching as a career, the job of a child counselor may also interest you, as both careers involve guiding young people. If you're interested in a lecturer position, you may like to consider a career in education administration as both roles involve shaping the education of students.

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