Difference Between Teacher and Instructor

Difference Between Teacher and Instructor       

Teacher and Instructor are both important roles in the field of education. A teacher is a person who imparts knowledge to students. An instructor is a person who teaches a specific practical skill. A teacher’s job also includes the role of instructing, but an instructor’s job does not include all the roles of teaching. This is the main difference between teacher and instructor.

Who is a Teacher

A teacher is a person who educates children in school. The term teacher is usually associated with primary and secondary education. That is to say, teachers educate children in primary and secondary schools or colleges. So, they mostly have children – those under the age of 18 – as students.

Teaching usually involves imparting theoretical knowledge. For example, a Chemistry teacher teaches theories, formulas, and information about Chemistry. He may also teach the students how to apply this knowledge practically. But teaching basically deals with imparting knowledge.  A teacher’s job also involves facilitating learning, monitoring and evaluating the students, and guiding them on the right path. We also generally associate teachers with responsibilities such as teaching students good manners, the difference between right and wrong, etc. Therefore, a teacher has many duties and responsibilities apart from teaching.

A teacher is typically a permanent position in a school.  To become a teacher, one needs education certification from a teacher’s college or a bachelor’s degree.

Difference Between Teacher and Instructor

Who is an Instructor

An instructor is a person who instructs you how to do something. An instructor teaches specific practical skills. He teaches practical things, not theory. For example, a driving instructor teaches you how to drive a vehicle; a diving instructor teaches how to dive; a language instructor teaches how to speak a language. Therefore, the term instructor is very much similar to a coach.

The term instructor implies a temporary position. An instructor is employed for a limited a time period until the students learn the skills he teaches. Therefore, it is not a permanent position like a teacher.

The main duty of an instructor is to make sure that the students/student have reached a standard level of competence in the relevant skill. 

Main Difference - Teacher vs Instructor

Yoga instructor

Difference Between Teacher and Instructor       


Teacher teaches students.

Instructor instructs students how to do something.

Theory vs Practice

Teacher imparts theoretical knowledge to students.

Instructor teaches a specific practical skill.


Teacher typically teaches children.

Instructors can teach students as well as adults.

Time period

Teacher is a long term position.

Instructor  is a short term position.

Duties and Responsibilities

Teachers have many duties involving teaching, facilitating learning, monitoring and evaluating students, etc.

Instructors main duty is teaching the student how to reach a standard competence in the relevant skill.


Teacher can do the role of an instructor.

Instructor cannot perform the role of a teacher.

Difference Between Teacher and Instructor - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Teacher” by Flickr user enixii. – (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

“Lecturer” by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alexander Tidd (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia 

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