Teacher educators have three main paths for career development: teaching, research and institutional leadership. These may be mutually supportive, but also, sources of tension. Recent national and institutional policies encourage teacher educators to increase their research activities. This study aims to describe Israeli teacher educators’ perceptions of the three paths, and their interrelationships, as influenced by their work contexts. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 experienced, research-orientated teacher educators who work in various teacher education colleges in Israel.