What Is a Chemistry Lecturer?

Tara Barnett

A chemistry lecturer is a person employed by a college or university within a chemistry department. The precise job duties of a chemistry lecturer depend on the school in question, but the term lecturer usually designates a specific academic rank. In some areas, being a chemistry lecturer is considered a lower job than being a professor, but in some cases, being a lecturer may mean that the individual in question has already been a professor and is simply no longer teaching full time. Becoming a lecturer in chemistry usually requires an advanced degree, such as a PhD, and may be a necessary first step to becoming a professor in some areas.

A chemistry lecturer may incorporate demonstrations into their presentations.
A chemistry lecturer may incorporate demonstrations into their presentations.

Most of the time, the primary job of a chemistry lecturer is teaching chemistry in some way. Typically, a lecturer is involved in giving lectures, providing demonstrations, and helping in research labs. Often, the lecturer will also have independent research projects and may assist graduate students with their projects. The basic administrative duties of a chemistry lecturer may have nothing to do with chemistry but often must be performed in order for the department to run smoothly. In order for most chemistry research to occur, research proposals and applications for grants must also be written, which can be part of a lecturer's job as well.

A chemistry lecturer teaches students about chemistry at the university level.
A chemistry lecturer teaches students about chemistry at the university level.

There are many different degrees in the field of chemistry, and people who choose to become lecturers are usually interested in passing on knowledge to others. Teaching and assisting students is a major component of the lecturer's job, and what makes this position different than other chemistry jobs is the focus on explaining different parts of chemistry. Many people who do research in chemistry are brilliant at coming up with innovative solutions to various problems, but may not be as talented at passing on this knowledge in a teaching capacity.

A chemistry lecturer may also teach lab courses.
A chemistry lecturer may also teach lab courses.

Sometimes, being a lecturer involves travel between universities, attending conferences, or presenting papers. These events are often an enjoyable part of the job, but they can also help secure advancement in the field. Staying up to date with current work in the field is also important for a chemistry lecturer, but given the breadth of chemistry, this is not always possible.

Usually, becoming a chemistry lecturer is not a terminal position. People who become lecturers often wish to become full professors and obtain advanced positions at a university. In some cases, this may not be true, because people who are senior lecturers in some areas have already been professors. The use of this term is different across various educational systems, but looking at the hierarchy of any individual school can often shed light on how the term lecturer is being used in any given case.

People who choose to become chemistry lecturers are usually interested in passing on knowledge to others.
People who choose to become chemistry lecturers are usually interested in passing on knowledge to others.

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