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Education

How to Build a Career as a Lecturer in Nigeria

Last Updated on August 24, 2023

Introduction

Are you looking to build a successful career as a lecturer in Nigeria? The academic sector is a rapidly growing field that offers exciting opportunities for individuals with the right qualifications and a passion for teaching.

Building a career as a lecturer can be fulfilling, financially rewarding, and intellectually stimulating.

In this blog post, we will cover the key steps you need to take to build a successful career as a lecturer in Nigeria.

We will discuss the qualifications and skills you need, the job market, career prospects, and how to position yourself for success.

Whether you are a recent graduate or an experienced professional looking to transition into a teaching role, this blog post is a valuable resource to help you achieve your career goals.

Read: Exploring Non-teaching Roles in Nigerian Schools

Qualifications Needed to Build a Career as a Lecturer in Nigeria

Are you interested in working as a lecturer in Nigeria? Lecturing is an interesting and rewarding profession that requires specific educational qualifications. Let’s discuss the necessary qualifications to become a lecturer in Nigeria.

Educational Qualifications Required

The first step to becoming a lecturer in Nigeria is to have a good secondary school examination certificate such as the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) or the National Examination Council (NECO) certificate. These results affect the admission into any higher educational institution in Nigeria.

The next step is to earn a Bachelor’s degree in the chosen field of study. A Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Arts (BA), or Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree can be obtained from a Nigerian university or a foreign institution that is recognized in Nigeria.

Additionally, a Master’s degree in the relevant field is usually the minimum educational requirement for most lecturing positions in Nigeria.

Without a Master’s degree, you may not be able to pursue a full-time academic career because it’s considered a vital credential. This is often the case for highly competitive faculties and institutions.

Date Knowledge: Many federal universities in Nigeria operate postgraduate diploma programs that do not require a bachelor’s degree in education, but a postgraduate diploma in education can be earned after completion of a minimum of one year of coursework in education-related courses.

This can improve your chances of being employed as a lecturer.

Different Levels of Education to Start a Career as a Lecturer

In Nigeria, there are different levels of education at which one can begin a career as a lecturer. However, most people start their lecturing careers at the university level.

Working at a university, polytechnic, or college of education is the best way to build a career as a lecturer in Nigeria.

Speaking of polytechnics and colleges of education, these institutions are ideal for anyone who is fresh out of school and aiming for a career in academics.

A lot of people prefer these institutions because of the practical experience they offer.

The Importance of Having a Higher Degree in the Relevant Field

Having a higher degree in the relevant field is essential for a successful career as a lecturer in Nigeria.

The reason is that a lecturer must be knowledgeable in their field of study and must be able to impart that knowledge to their students.

Moreover, higher degrees like a Ph.D. command more respect in the academic community and will likely open up more opportunities for employment in higher-ranked faculties.

Obtaining a higher degree also means that a lecturer has conducted research in their field, leading to new discoveries.

In essence, to become a lecturer in Nigeria, you need a good secondary school certificate, a Bachelor’s degree, and most likely a Master’s degree in the relevant field.

Starting your lecturing career at a university, polytechnic, or college of education is the best way to pursue a long-term career in academics. Pursuing more advanced degrees like a PhD can also boost a lecturer’s career prospects.

Read: The State of Higher Education Jobs in Nigeria

Experience required

Building a career as a lecturer in Nigeria requires a certain level of experience and expertise. Here are some of the necessary experiences required to become a successful lecturer in Nigeria:

  1. Teaching experience is a must-have skill for any prospective lecturer. This experience can be gained by taking up teaching assistant roles, working as a subject teacher in a secondary school, or volunteering as a tutor.

  2. Research experience is equally important for anyone aspiring to become a lecturer in Nigeria. This experience can be acquired by working as a research assistant, carrying out independent research projects, or publishing papers in academic journals.

  3. It is also essential to have a good track record in research and publications. This serves as a measure of an individual’s academic achievements and expertise in their area of specialization. It is important to note that published works are also a basis for future research funding.

  4. Experience in academic administration is another crucial skill for any prospective lecturer. This involves experience in managing academic programmes, running conferences, and working with committees.

  5. Networking is also a vital experience, as it helps to build important relationships with other academics in the field. Networking can be achieved through attending conferences, workshops, and seminars or getting involved in online academic communities.


Teaching and research positions offer invaluable experience for building a successful lecturer career in Nigeria. These positions:

  1. Help individuals acquire necessary skills and knowledge for becoming accomplished academics.

  2. Develop teaching skills, establish credibility, and specialize in a particular area.

  3. Provide exposure to research tools, techniques, and academic writing skills.

  4. Contribute to a strong track record of research and publications, showcasing academic achievements and expertise.

  5. Secure research funding and other academic accolades. Building a successful lecturer career in Nigeria requires:

  6. Teaching and research experience.

  7. Proficiency in academic administration and networking.

  8. A strong track record in research and publications.

  9. Acquiring these experiences within and outside the academic environment is crucial for achieving success.

Read: The Influence of Education Policies on Nigerian Jobs

Networking

Networking is essential when it comes to building a successful career as a lecturer in Nigeria. As an academic professional, the significance of networking cannot be overemphasized.

Building relationships with colleagues, department heads, and other professionals in the academic sector is crucial for career development.

Effective networking can help you to achieve your career goals and open up new opportunities for growth.

Here are some reasons why networking is vital in building a career as a lecturer in Nigeria:

  1. Building Relationships: Networking is all about building relationships. As a lecturer, it is essential to build relationships with other professionals in your field.

    This can lead to mentorship opportunities, collaborations, and even job offers.

    By building relationships with other academics, you can gain insights into their experiences, learn from their successes and mistakes, and build a support system.


  2. Opportunities for Growth: Through networking, you can gain access to new opportunities for growth. For instance, attending conferences, workshops, and seminars can help you to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your field.

    You can also meet potential employers, mentors, or collaborators who can help you to achieve your career goals.


  3. Career Development: Networking can speed up your career development. Opportunities like serving on committees, volunteering for projects, or being recommended for positions can becreated through networking.

    Through the connections, you make, you can also learn about new job openings, which can help to enhance your career prospects.

Here are some ways to network effectively in the academic sector

  1. Attend Conferences: Conferences are excellent opportunities to network with other professionals in your field. Attending conferences allows you to meet other academics and share ideas.

    During conferences, you can exchange business cards, set up meetings, and join conversations on emerging issues in your field.


  2. Join Professional Organizations: Professional organizations can provide you with networking opportunities. There are numerous professional organizations in Nigeria with ties to the academic sector where you can join.

    By joining these organizations, you can participate in discussions, attend meetings, and have access to other professionals in the field. Through these connections, you can identify potential career development avenues.


  3. Use Social Media: Social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and ResearchGate are important tools for networking in the academic sector. You can use these platforms to connect with colleagues, department heads, and other professionals in your field.

    Additionally, LinkedIn is an excellent platform for building your professional profile and showcasing your academic achievements.


  4. Attend Departmental Meetings: Departmental meetings are vital for networking within your institution. These meetings provide an opportunity to meet with other academics, exchange ideas, and stay informed about departmental news.

    Participating in these meetings can help you to identify potential collaborations and mentorship opportunities.

Overall, networking is essential for building a successful career as a lecturer in Nigeria. Building relationships with colleagues, department heads, and other professionals in your field can help you to achieve your career goals.

Effective networking can open up new opportunities for growth and career development. Therefore, take advantage of every opportunity to network, attend conferences, join professional organizations, use social media, and participate in departmental meetings.

By doing so, you can build meaningful connections that will pave the way for your success.

Read: Becoming an Educator in Nigeria: Step-by-Step Process

Job application process

One of the most important aspects of building a career as a lecturer in Nigeria is properly applying for teaching positions.

The job application process can be tedious and overwhelming, but with the right preparation, you can stand out amongst other applicants.

Here are some of the steps involved in applying for teaching positions in Nigeria, along with some tips to help you prepare an impressive CV and cover letter:

  1. Identify the Universities and Colleges of Education to Apply: To apply for teaching jobs in Nigeria, you need to identify universities or colleges of education that have vacancies, get their application forms, and see the terms and conditions of the academic positions advertised.

  2. Check the Application Period: Once the universities or colleges of education are identified, check their websites and/or newspapers for announcements on the application period and deadline.

  3. Prepare your CV: A curriculum vitae (CV) is a document that summarizes your entire career history, educational qualifications, and other relevant information. Your CV must be tailored to the specific teaching position you are applying for.

  4. Prepare a Cover letter: A cover letter should be brief, professional, and tailored to the specific teaching position. It should highlight your key strengths, achievements, and relevant experiences that make you a suitable candidate.

  5. Submit Your Application: Once you have prepared your CV and Cover Letter, submit your application to the universities or colleges of education.

Tips for Preparing an Impressive CV and Cover Letter

  1. Highlight your Qualifications and Experience: When preparing your CV, make sure you highlight your qualifications, relevant experiences, and achievements in your career.

  2. Tailor your CV and Cover Letter to the Job: Your CV and Cover Letter should be tailored to the specific job you are applying for, including key skills and experiences that make you a suitable candidate.

  3. Use Strong Action Words: Use strong action words when describing your experiences and achievements. Avoid clichés and expressions that are too common in CVs and cover letters.

  4. Check for Grammatical Errors: Proofread your CV and Cover Letter thoroughly to eliminate any grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

  5. Keep it Concise: Both your CV and Cover Letter should be concise and to the point, highlighting only the most important information.

Generally, applying for teaching positions in Nigeria requires a lot of preparation, from identifying job vacancies to preparing an impressive CV and Cover Letter.

However, with the right tips and preparation, you can successfully land your dream teaching position and build a successful career as a lecturer in Nigeria.

Read: Insights into the Teaching Profession in Nigeria Today

How to Build a Career as a Lecturer in Nigeria

Skills and attributes

Being a successful lecturer in Nigeria requires a combination of essential skills and attributes. Some of these skills and attributes include:

  1. Effective Communication: The ability to communicate ideas and concepts clearly and effectively is crucial in teaching. Lecturers must be able to articulate complex topics in a way that students can easily understand.

  2. Research Skills: A successful lecturer must have strong research skills and be up-to-date with the latest developments in their field of study. This will enable them to provide up-to-date information to their students and also contribute to the advancement of knowledge in their field.

  3. Academic Writing: Lecturers must possess strong academic writing skills to publish scholarly articles and research papers. This is an essential requirement for career progression as a lecturer in Nigeria.

  4. Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing situations and new technology is important for success as a lecturer. Lecturers must be willing to adopt new teaching methods and techniques to improve student learning outcomes.

  5. Time Management: Lecturers must be able to manage their time effectively to balance their teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities. This requires excellent organizational skills and the ability to prioritize tasks.

  6. Mentorship Abilities: Being able to mentor and guide students is an important skill for a successful lecturer in Nigeria. Lecturers must be able to motivate and encourage their students to achieve their full potential.

Effective communication is crucial for success as a lecturer in Nigeria, enabling students to understand concepts.

Key attributes include:

  1. Clear and effective communication skills using various channels like visual aids, lectures, and group discussions.

  2. Research skills to contribute to knowledge, stay updated, and manage research projects.

  3. Strong academic writing skills for publishing research articles and establishing expertise.

  4. Adaptability to new situations and technology, improving learning outcomes.

  5. Time management abilities to balance responsibilities.

  6. Mentorship skills to guide students and help them reach their potential. To be a successful lecturer in Nigeria, a combination of these skills is essential for career progression and overall success.

Challenges in the career

As promising as the career of a lecturer may seem, it comes with its own unique set of challenges like every other profession.

Working as a lecturer in Nigeria is no different, and these challenges can affect a lecturer’s career growth and personal life if not properly managed.

In this article, we will highlight some of the challenges faced by lecturers in Nigeria and offer strategies to manage and overcome them.

Challenges faced by lecturers in Nigeria

Low Salary

One of the greatest challenges faced by lecturers in Nigeria is low salaries. This is caused by the low budget allocation to the education sector, which leads to poor funding of institutions.

Nigerian lecturers’ remuneration package cannot be compared to their counterparts in other countries’ universities. This affects the value attached to their work and the quality of life they can afford.

Insufficient Funding of Institutions

Institutions of higher learning in Nigeria are underfunded, which makes it hard for lecturers to carry out their duties effectively. Inadequate funding leads to poor infrastructure, outdated teaching materials, and lack of research opportunities.

All these factors affect the quality of education imparted to students and the efficiency of lecturers in delivering their lectures.

Irregular Payment of Salaries

Nigerian lecturers often struggle to get paid on time, which makes it difficult for them to plan their finances. This is due to the over-centralization of payment systems.

Many lecturers have had to endure months without salaries, which can be frustrating and demotivating.

Work Overload and Burnout

The workload of Nigerian lecturers is often overwhelming, and this can lead to burnout.

Lecturers are expected to teach many courses in a semester, supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students, conduct research, and engage in community service.

All these activities can be exhausting and affect lecturers’ effectiveness.

Unstable Work Environment

Nigerian lecturers work in an unstable work environment. The frequent closure of institutions due to strikes, alongside other operational uncertainties, leads to anxiety and job insecurity.

This unstable environment can cause mental and psychological stress among lecturers, leading to physical and emotional exhaustion.

Strategies to manage and overcome challenges

While it is challenging to work as a lecturer in Nigeria, there are ways to manage and overcome those challenges. Here are some strategies:

Seek Additional Streams of Income

Inadequate salary is one of the biggest challenges faced by Nigerian lecturers. Therefore, it is advisable to seek additional streams of income, such as consulting, research, or writing articles, to supplement their income.

Participate in Professional Development Programs

Participating in professional development programs can help Nigerian lecturers improve their skills in their respective fields.

Additionally, professional development programs outside Nigeria can expose lecturers to higher levels of research standards and opportunities.

Practice Time Management Skills

Good time management skills are crucial for Nigerian lecturers. Effective use of time helps them balance their work responsibilities, research activities, and personal life.

Proper prioritization of tasks and improved workflow can help them achieve a work-life balance.

Join Professional Associations

Joining professional associations can be beneficial to Nigerian lecturers. They can gain access to a network of professionals in their field of study.

Additionally, these associations can provide advocacy and support on behalf of their members. Association membership may also offer funding opportunities for research and development.

Choose an Institution with Stable Payment Structure

Lecturers should consider choosing institutions with stable payment structures. This can help reduce the stress of irregular payments. They should also be proactive in negotiating salaries and benefits at the onset of employment.

Maintaining a work-life balance

To maintain a work-life balance, Nigerian lecturers should prioritize their personal life needs. Here are some strategies:

Limit work-to-work hours

Nigerian lecturers should disengage from work-related activities outside their work hours. This can allow them to enjoy their personal life and reduce stress levels.

Take Vacations

Lecturers must take regular vacations to recharge their energy and maintain their mental and physical health.

Engage in a hobby

Taking up a hobby can be an effective way to relax and reduce stress levels. Nigerian lecturers should ensure that they engage in activities that they enjoy.

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries between work and personal life is crucial for Nigerian lecturers. They should communicate their work schedules with their family, friends, and colleagues to avoid unnecessary distractions during their personal time.

Get Enough Sleep

Lecturers must ensure that they get enough sleep to maintain their cognitive function and physical health. Poor sleep habits can be detrimental to their productivity, which can span both their professional and personal life.


Despite the challenges that come with working as a lecturer in Nigeria, with the right strategies, Nigerian lecturers can have a successful and rewarding career while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

By managing challenges like low salary, insufficient funding of institutions, irregular payment of salaries, work overload and burnout, and unstable work environment with sound strategies, Nigerian lecturers can manoeuvre through their career and provide the students in Nigeria with the best education.

Conclusion

Building a career as a lecturer in Nigeria requires the right qualifications and experience.

It is important to have a master’s or doctoral degree in the relevant field and gain teaching experience by working as a teaching assistant or lecturer.

Additionally, networking with other academics and publishing research papers can also help to establish yourself in the field.

As a lecturer, you need to have excellent communication and presentation skills and a passion for teaching.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in academia, there are many resources available for further study and professional development.

You can attend conferences, workshops and seminars, and join professional organizations to network with other academics and gain access to research opportunities.

Finally, becoming a lecturer in Nigeria can be a rewarding career path for those who are passionate about teaching and advancing knowledge in their field.

With the right qualifications and experience, you can achieve success and make a positive impact on the next generation of scholars and leaders.

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