Adjunct Professor

According to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 47 percent of 1.5 million faculty employed in degree-granting institutions were part-time. Auxiliary faculty is also known as part-time faculty. The adjunct faculty position is important because of the number of adjuncts who teach students. The college needs instructors. This position gives prospective academics the chance to experience the role of professor or an experienced instructor to increase their professional opportunities. Schools typically hire adjunct professors on a part-time, contractual basis.

A college’s role as adjunct professor will vary depending on the available qualified applicants and budgets. While there may be some limitations to adjunct professor positions, there are definitely many benefits. The role of adjunct professor may suit the needs of the prospective faculty member.

A quick overview: adjunct instructor

The majority of higher education faculty in the United States are now taught by adjunct faculty.

Professors who are employed on a contract basis and usually work in part-time jobs are called adjunct professors. While adjunct faculty can teach the same courses as full-time professors, they are exempted from certain responsibilities.

For adjunct professors, the career path may not be clear. As an example, they are often on a contract basis and their compensation is typically lower than full-time faculty. However, for some adjunct faculty, the rewards may be greater than the challenges.

No matter what specialties adjunct professors may be in, there is one thing certain: They love teaching and working with students.

Adjunct professor job description

Professors who are adjuncts to students spend the majority of their time teaching and interacting with students. However, they can also be flexible in fulfilling other responsibilities.

The following are some of the typical duties for adjunct instructors:

  • Teaching undergraduate and graduate students in a particular field of expertise
  • Develop and manage the class syllabus, and ensure that it meets college and department standards
  • Plan and create lectures, discussions in class, and assignments
  • Assignments, quizzes and exams are graded
  • Students are graded based on their participation in class, performance, assignments and exams.
  • Analyzing student data, reporting on student learning outcomes and class reviews
  • Collaboration with colleagues in course curriculum
  • Students are advised on how to succeed and reach their goals
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest developments and changes in their field of study
  • Participating in professional development activities

Adjuncts can teach one course in a traditional classroom setting, then they could teach it in an online learning environment. You can bring your experience and knowledge to an adjunct assignment if you have completed an online graduate program.

When looking at adjunct faculty positions it is important to understand the responsibilities of each position, as they can vary. A lot of the same duties that are expected of full-time professors do not apply to adjuncts. As an adjunct faculty member, you are not required to participate in research, publish papers or attend staff meetings and events.

What makes a good adjunct faculty member?

A good adjunct professor is one who is:

  • Communicator who communicates clearly and provides valuable information and comments to students
  • Ability to use real-world experience to teach
  • Confidently present and teach to a class
  • Technologically skilled: Can use email, an array of online learning systems and other methods to communicate with students
  • Passionate about academic subjects and education in general
  • Understanding the role of curriculum design, pedagogy and learning outcome alignment
  • Collaboration with colleagues is a winning strategy

In-depth Adjunct Faculty

Education requirements

  • Education:Masters or Doctoral Graduate Degree
  • The typical time it takes to get a graduate degree is 3-7 Years

To teach in higher education, adjunct professors should have a master’s degree. Technical schools may only require a bachelor’s degree and relevant experience in some disciplines. Community colleges do not require a bachelor’s degree. Experience teaching in a college or university setting is preferred.

As the demand for adjunct professors grows, so does the competition. There are more open positions than applicants in certain areas. Many institutions will prefer applicants who have already completed or are currently enrolled in a doctoral degree in the area of the teaching assignment.

Adjuncts can be hired to teach courses that require extra expertise or are highly in demand. These positions can lead to recurring teaching opportunities for those who are qualified.

Average salaries for adjunct faculty

Higher education adjunct professors have a wide range of salaries. This is due to the state, college type, discipline taught, as well as the professors’ education, teaching experience and field expertise. The applicant’s degree can also impact the salary. reports that the average annual salary for adjunct professors varies between $51,077 and $72,907 . Compensation can sometimes also be calculated per-course or hourly, with a range of $26 to $95 per hour.

Salaries can also vary depending on the institution type. Generally, adjunct faculty are paid more in four-year institutions than they are in community colleges.

Here’s a snapshot of the average annual salary for adjunct faculty.

  • $35,839
  • $35,269
  • $58,422

Auxiliary professors have a bright future

There are many factors that affect the employment of adjunct faculty. Although enrollment in universities and colleges is expected to rise, the availability of adjunct faculty depends on their ability to hire.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, post-secondary teachers’ job prospects are expected to increase 11 percent by 2028. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employment growth will be in part-time jobs, which includes part-time teaching postsecondary.

Some subjects are more in demand than others. The following percentages are projected by the BLS job outlook data:

  • Business: 16%
  • Biology: 12%
  • Psychology: 12%
  • 23% Health Specialties
  • Nurse Instructors 20%

Many online institutions of higher education hire adjunct professors. An accredited online university offers flexibility in hiring and teaching, as educators can be accessed from remote locations.

Opportunities and challenges for adjunct instructors

Many of the negative aspects of being an adjunct faculty member are well-known. There are, however, some benefits to be aware of in most cases.


  • An adjunct status can be used as a foundation for pursuing full-time employment.
  • Adjunct instructors have flexibility with their time commitments, which allows them to pursue other professional opportunities and still fulfill their teaching duties.
  • Adjunct instructors may be more focused on teaching and curriculum than working in a committee or department.
  • It is a collegial environment that fosters intellectual growth.
  • Students can benefit from adjunct professors.


  • The salary of a part-time professor is often lower than the per-course or hourly rate.
  • Contractual positions are renewable on a per-course base.
  • Adjunct faculty can work the same number of hours outside the classroom as full-time professors.
  • Adjuncts don’t usually get health insurance, retirement plans or any other employee benefits.
  • Adjunct faculty members may not be allowed to have an office at the university.

Professional development

Many adjunct faculty are looking for a position as an associate professor or assistant professor to further their careers. This will allow them to pursue full-time employment. A professional development program may be an advantage for adjuncts when they are looking for full-time or part-time jobs.

Continuing education

While most adjuncts are subject experts in their discipline, they may not have much teaching experience or opportunities for faculty development. Only a few institutions offer professional development funds.
Teaching a broad age range of adults and classroom management can be a challenge for adjuncts. Teaching graduate courses can earn adjuncts a higher salary than undergraduate teaching, although institutions may require a terminal education for teaching graduate level.

Associations for professionals

The professional landscape for adjunct teachers has been rocky in the past. Because adjunct jobs are heavily dependent on external factors, stability for contingent faculty is very low.

As college enrollment rates are in flux and schools reallocate their resources to accommodate contingent faculty members, adjuncts are enjoying greater benefits. Many professional associations are dedicated to supporting adjunct professors.