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Tertiary Lecturer

Pūkenga Whare Wānanga

Alternative titles for this job

Tertiary lecturers teach at universities, colleges of education, polytechnics, wānanga and other post-secondary education providers. They also carry out research and do administrative tasks. 


Assistant tertiary lecturers and lecturers usually earn

$43K-$100K per year

Senior lecturers, associate professors and professors usually earn

$88K-$200K per year

Source: CEAs, 2019.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a tertiary lecturer are good due to a shortage of workers.


Pay for tertiary lecturers varies depending on qualifications, experience, the size and type of institution, and collective pay agreements.

Polytechnics and institutes of technology

  • Lecturers at polytechnics and institutes of technology usually earn between $48,000 and $85,000 a year.
  • Senior lecturers usually earn up to $95,000
  • Principal lecturers can earn up to $106,000.


  • Assistant lecturers usually earn between $43,000 and $77,000 a year.
  • Lecturers usually earn between $70,000 and $100,000.
  • Senior lecturers usually earn between $88,000 and $132,000.
  • Associate professors usually earn between $116,000 and $148,000.
  • Professors can earn from $135,000 to $200,000.

Sources: University of Auckland, 'Academic Staff Remuneration Schedule', 2018-2019; University of Otago, 'Staff Collective Employment Agreement', 2018-2020; Massey University, 'Current Salary Scales - Academic Staff', 2018-2019; Canterbury University, 'Collective Employment Agreement, Tūtohu Mahi Tōpūtanga, Academic and Associated Staff', 2018-2021; University of Waikato, 'Academic staff collective employment agreement', 2018-2019; Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, 'Academic Staff Collective Agreement', 2017-2019; and Ara Institute of Canterbury, 'Collective Employment Agreement', 2016-2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Tertiary lecturers may do some or all of the following:

  • prepare and give lectures, workshops and tutorials to students
  • prepare and mark assignments, essays and exams
  • give academic advice to students and supervise their research
  • do research, write reports and publish articles on their subject area
  • attend and present at conferences on their subject area.

Skills and knowledge

Tertiary lecturers need to have:

  • up-to-date knowledge of their subject area
  • teaching and lecturing skills
  • research skills, and up-to-date knowledge of research methods
  • skills in different styles of writing, such as writing courses, lectures and research
  • knowledge of assessment methods and regulations.

Working conditions

Tertiary lecturers:

  • usually work regular business hours
  • work in lecture theatres, classrooms, workshops, libraries, offices and laboratories
  • may teach students at work placements, such as boats, farms and kitchens
  • may travel within New Zealand and overseas to conferences and meetings, and to do research.

What's the job really like?

Eva Neely

Dr Eva Neely

Lecturer in Health Promotion

Engaging with students

Health promotion lecturer Dr Eva Neely enjoys engaging with her students and helping to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to step out into the world.

Eva says one of the best parts of the job is supervising postgraduate students who come up with interesting and original academic research.

Lecturing is a juggle but an awesome career

Eva enjoys the many parts of an academic job: teaching, researching, and engaging in service with the university and communities around her. Each part of the job has satisfaction and reward. The hardest thing is finding a balance between all the different parts of the job to ensure there is enough time for everything.

An academic mindset and research paved the way

Becoming a lecturer was never something Eva planned from the outset, but her interest in studying and academic development through school and university took her down a path which helped her find her passion in research and teaching.

“I love working in my faculty because everyone is dedicated to what they do.”

Advice for future lecturers

Eva says that undergraduate study is a great time to figure out whether lecturing might suit you. If you’re the kind of student who thrives on academic tasks and has a genuine passion for the work, then lecturing could be right for you.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for tertiary lecturers vary depending on what and where you want to teach.


To lecture at a university you need to be studying towards or have completed a Master's degree, or have a Doctorate degree. You also need experience in teaching and research. Having published research is an advantage.

Polytechnics and institutes of technology

To lecture at a polytechnic or institute of technology you usually need a minimum of a diploma and work experience in the subject you teach.

Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training.

Personal requirements

Tertiary lecturers need to be:

  • excellent at communicating, including being able to network effectively with other academics and professionals
  • good at planning and organising
  • able to understand different cultures
  • skilled at analysing information
  • skilled at using problem-solving skills
  • approachable and open-minded
  • enquiring and accurate when carrying out research.

Useful experience

Useful experience for tertiary lecturers includes:

  • work in your field of subject expertise
  • teaching or tutoring experience.
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Tertiary lecturer shortage due to a range of factors 

The shortage of tertiary lecturers is due to:

  • an ageing workforce, with many lecturers retiring
  • academics moving between universities, including overseas establishments, for career progression
  • highly qualified candidates taking up roles as scientists, technologists and researchers in the private sector in New Zealand and overseas
  • too few candidates with higher tertiary qualifications
  • growing demand by industry for people with tertiary qualifications. 

University lecturer and post-doctoral fellow appear on Immigration New Zealand's regional skill shortage list. This means the Government is actively encouraging skilled tertiary lecturers from overseas to work in New Zealand.

According to the Census, 14,283 tertiary lecturers and tutors worked in New Zealand in 2018.

Opportunities for lecturers with published research

A major focus of lecturers is publishing research, particularly research that has commercial value. This focus has increased demand for senior academic staff with a proven research record.

More part-time and casual roles

Lecturers are increasingly being employed in part-time and casual teaching and research positions because of the high cost of hiring permanent senior lecturers. Part-time and casual staff meet the demand for teaching academic courses, completing research projects on time and filling staffing gaps.

Lecturers of applied subjects in demand

The strongest demand for tertiary lecturers is in applied fields such as health, sciences, physical and social sciences, environmental studies and engineering. 

Types of employers varied

Tertiary lecturers may work for education institutions such as:

  • universities
  • polytechnics
  • institutes of technology
  • wānanga
  • private tertiary providers.


  • Immigration New Zealand website, 'Regional Skill Shortage List', 27 May 2019, (
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • Universities New Zealand website, 'Delivering quality teaching and learning', accessed May 2019, (
  • Universities New Zealand website, ‘University Teaching Quality’, 28 March 2018, (
  • Universities New Zealand website, 'Responding to an ageing academic workforce: Summary of the Academic Workforce Project 2020 Report', accessed May 2019, (

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Tertiary lecturers may move into more senior academic roles such as senior lecturer, associate professor or professor.  


Lecturer teaching students about market research

Lecturers spend 40% of their time teaching

Last updated 25 June 2021