What does an Engineering Lecturer do?

C. Mitchell

Becoming an engineer generally requires taking a number of engineering classes in furtherance of an engineering degree. These classes are taught by engineering professors, also known as engineering lecturers. The main job of an engineering lecturer is to teach engineering students, and to pass on engineering expertise. Despite the title, an engineering lecturer is not bound to deliver only lectures. Most engineering classes involve a mix of lectures and class presentations, hands-on activities, and case studies.

Many engineering lecturers are on a "tenure track" to secure a permanent position within a university.
Many engineering lecturers are on a "tenure track" to secure a permanent position within a university.

In order to qualify as an engineering lecturer, a person must usually have an engineering degree himself, as well as substantial engineering experience. Most of the time, engineering lecturers have terminal degrees, such as PhDs. Lecturers usually make teaching their primary profession, but sometimes continue to work as engineers concurrently, depending on class schedule and other factors.

Obtaining a position as an engineering lecturer is considered prestigious to most in the field.
Obtaining a position as an engineering lecturer is considered prestigious to most in the field.

Engineering is a broad field, and there are lecturers for every specialty and sub-specialty. Engineers may have expertise in electrical and mechanical engineering, civil engineering, chemical engineering, or metallurgical engineering, among many others. Much of this expertise is gained on-the-job, but getting there always starts in the classroom.

Becoming an engineering lecturer requires extensive experience in the field.
Becoming an engineering lecturer requires extensive experience in the field.

The availability of engineering lecturer positions depends largely on university needs. Most colleges and universities throughout the world have engineering departments, but their sizes and specialties vary based on university capabilities and, often, student interest. Larger engineering departments usually have more openings for engineering lecturers than smaller schools.

Most mechanical engineering lectures have years of hands-on experience in a manufacturing plant or other facility.
Most mechanical engineering lectures have years of hands-on experience in a manufacturing plant or other facility.

Obtaining a position as an engineering lecturer is considered prestigious to most in the field. With that prestige comes competition, however, and it can often be difficult to land an engineering lecturer job. Once one has found a position and been hired, the benefits are usually great. Most university lecturers are on what is known as the “tenure track,” a path to a permanent career if certain hurdles are met in the first few years of employment.

Engineering lecturer duties and the precise engineering lecturer job description varies depending on a school’s needs, but most of the time, the job mixes teaching with academic research. Some schools require their lecturers to be student mentors, or to serve on certain university committees. More often than not, publishing is also an engineering lecturer responsibility. Whether it is a book, an article, or a case study published in an engineering journal, written work demonstrates on-going scholarly activity.

Engineering lecturers are engineers first, but also must be scholars and teachers. The job is one that mixes student development and individual research and expertise. Engineering lecturer careers can largely be self-made in the sense that the lecturer can, in many ways, set the tone for his career trajectory. Some lecturers stay in academia through to retirement, while others work for a few years in a university, then use that experience as a springboard to new career paths.

The availability of engineering lecturer positions depends largely on the needs of a specific university.
The availability of engineering lecturer positions depends largely on the needs of a specific university.

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