Joseph Tamborra graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California in 1924. In 1927, he added a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago. The title of his thesis was Romantic and Realistic Elements in Tommaso Grossi's 'Marco Visconti'. Sometime before 1927, he attended the Royal Technical Institute in Bari, Italy, and graduated with a C.P.A.
Following his graduation from Chicago, Tamborra accepted a position as an Instructor of Romance Languages at the University of North Dakota. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1946. He authored several works, including Elementary Spanish Composition and Conversation (1946), The Visual Method of Learning American English in a Much Shorter Time and in a Much Shorter Way (1952), Diccionario Idiomatico de Español-Ingles, and French Pronunciation. Tamborra retired to Italy following the 1951-52 school year.