Carter served as the McHugh Distinguished Professor of American Institutions and Leadership at Colorado College from 1995 to 2004. He taught at University of Georgia from 1972 to 1995, and before that, served in the Peace Corps in Bolivia. Carter's major body of work surrounds constitutional law, legal reasoning, and administrative law. He was the first faculty member at the University of Georgia to receive the top award for teaching in two different years, and he has won national awards and recognition for both research and teaching from the American Political Science Association. In addition, he served as scholar in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy in 2001.