10 Reasons Higher Education is One of the Most Challenging Careers

Updated: Sep 15

Terry Doyle

Learner-Centered Teaching Consultants





Faculty in higher education know that teaching at the post-secondary level is extremely challenging. During a pandemic, teaching is even more challenging. But we, as a group, face the challenge before us time and again. The purpose of this blog is not to tell others that our careers are more difficult than theirs but rather to take a moment and acknowledge all that we overcome to do our jobs. A collective pat on our own backs for the work we do as we reflect on how challenging college and university teaching really is.


The Career Addict website lists the 30 most challenging occupations globally (Zambas, J., January 21, 2021). “Teacher” made the list at number 12. As listed, this is listing is for k-12 teachers, but college and university faculty face many of the same challenges in the classroom. Zambas (2021) recognizes “dealing” with a variety of personalities and disruptive students, but there is so much more. I believe it is essential to recognize that educators' roles and demands are both challenging and rewarding. Below are ten reasons why undergraduate college teaching is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. And also, one of the most important.