Promotion to Instructor


For postdocs who plan to continue in an academic career, it is important to understand the process for promotion to Instructor. As an affiliate hospital, BWH follows all HMS guidelines for promotion. You can read in detail about these guidelines in the HMS Faculty Handbook.

All faculty, including instructors, must meet the Eligibility Criteria for HMS Faculty Appointments.* Beyond those base requirements, the Instructor rank specifically leaves determination of readiness entirely up to the Department Head’s discretion. You can read more about the context for Instructor Eligibility here.

If you are interested in pursuing an Instructor nomination, you should speak with your PI to understand the criteria for readiness within your department. Ultimately, your Department Head will put forward a nomination to the Dean at HMS as per the appointment process.

*One part of the criteria that may come as a surprise to postdocs is the 50 hour teaching requirement that is required for all HMS faculty. You can read more about the HMS Expectation to Teach here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be a postdoc for 5 years before I can be promoted to Instructor?

No. The language on HMS Criteria for Appointment refers to completing a postdoctoral training program, but does not define any minimum length for that program.

In fact, 5 years is the maximum expected length of a postdoc fellowship at BWH (though it is possible to extend longer on an individual basis per the Postdoc Policy), so it would certainly not be necessary to wait 5 years before being promoted.

Will I automatically be promoted to instructor after 5 years as a postdoc?

No. Not all postdocs will be promoted to instructor; if this is a career path that interests you, you should speak with your PI about it at your Annual Career Conferences (as laid out in the Postdoc Policy) to make sure you are on track to demonstrate readiness for promotion according to your department’s standards.

Do I need a certain number of publications to be promoted to instructor?

Not necessarily. Departments may evaluate number of publications as one factor that displays readiness, or may set an internal policy to require this, but neither HMS nor BWH has established a minimum number of publications.

What is the salary range for Instructors at BWH?

The salary range can vary widely by department. You can ask your PI or department administrator for details.

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