Although an instructor is a teacher, there are differences in the qualifications required for these positions. An instructor is the term given to a teacher at a university or college. This person does not need to have formal training as a teacher nor is it a requirement to pass a teacher certification exam. The job does require educational qualifications of at least a Masterís degree, although it is possible to obtain a position with a Bachelorís degree. Depending on the number of applicants for an advertised position, you may need to have a Ph.D to be considered for the job. The requirements for this job vary from university to university and from region to region.
Instructors work with students pursuing a degree or certificate program. The job description involves planning and delivering lessons to a group of students, responding to the various learning needs of the students and preparing grade reports. They can also provide instruction through distance education, such as in correspondence courses and online to students who are not able to attend university or college on a full-time basis.
In order to get a job as an instructor, whether it is teaching in front of a group of students or teaching online, one of the main requirements is that you have prior teaching experience. When you apply for a position, you must submit transcripts of your university degrees, records of teaching experience and references attesting that you would be an asset to the teaching staff. The Program Coordinator for each discipline reviews the applications and submits the names of the applicants to be called for interviews. When you first get hired for such a position, the recommendation is that you teach one course for the first semester, advancing to two or more courses in the second semester. Online courses are offered in all disciplines and this opens doors as more and more universities are using this venue as cost saving measures.
A job as an instructor at a university is usually sessional in nature. You may be hired for one semester and not have enough students registered in the course to be rehired for the second semester, It is also easier to get hired during the summer sessions because most of the faculty want to take their vacations during this time. In the education department of universities offering a teacher training program, teachers who are off for the summer conduct most of the courses during the summer session. These teachers can supplement their annual income by teaching the short summer school courses. The students in these classes are mostly teachers taking courses to fulfill the requirements to maintain their teaching certificates.
Quite often associate professors start off as instructors at a university to begin the long trek to becoming tenured. This position provides them with the experience teaching at the university level that is required for advancement in the academic ranks. This position exists in all faculties and quite often when a faculty member retires the institution advertises for a person to fill this position because of the lower salary involved.