An Academic is a person who holds an advanced degree, such as a PhD and works as a Lecturer, Researcher, Associate Professor or Professor at a University or a higher education institute. Academia is concerned with the pursuit of research and education to teach and maintain administrative records of their findings. They are typically people who study and analyse their area of specialisation before sharing their findings through teaching, publishing, and participating in public discussions. They support and mentor upcoming Academics and honour students in completing their studies.
An academic in a business faculty, for example, might seek to analyse how leadership can be used to motivate a workforce or what an ageing population may mean for productivity in the future.
A career as an academic will often begin with short-term or casual positions as a Tutor. To secure these positions you need to be a standout performer as a student. This means highly competitive marks (ideally including some academic merit prizes), strong relationships with faculty and successful admission to an honours program (many of which require prospective applicants to possess a distinction average and several references).
From this point, it’s a matter of continuing to distinguish yourself, through excellence in teaching and research, so that you can pursue new academic opportunities as they arise. You’ll need to make a concerted effort to publish articles in prestigious journals or take up extracurricular activities.
Another way you may want to become an academic is by completing a masters program or PhD. Today most candidates need a PhD to obtain a full-time position, as the criteria for most academic jobs tend to favour coursework over research. Impressive professional experience is also looked upon favourably. Ideally, the experience will be aligned with your research interests. For example, you have experience in audit and accounting at a large accounting firm and are interested in pursuing further research in this area.
- Have an exceptional academic transcript
- Love research and have an inquiring mind
- Are highly self-motivated
- Wish to teach