Adjunct Professor

Last Updated:
July 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

Are you interested in teaching college courses but don't have a full-time job as a professor? Then becoming an adjunct professor may be a great fit for you! As an adjunct professor, your main responsibility is to teach classes on a part-time basis for colleges and universities. Typically, adjunct professors are hired on a course-by-course basis, so they don't usually receive benefits or travel funds. You will prepare lesson plans, present course material in an engaging manner, and grade assignments and exams. Additionally, you'll be available to answer questions and provide support to students outside of class hours. To be eligible for an Adjunct Professor job description, you typically need a master's degree, excellent communication skills, and subject matter expertise. You may also be required to participate in faculty meetings and other events as requested by your department head.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Teach one or more courses as assigned by the department or college.
  • Develop syllabi, course materials, and learning objectives.
  • Prepare and deliver lectures and class discussions using appropriate teaching techniques.
  • Evaluate student performance and provide timely feedback on coursework and exams.
  • Maintain regular office hours to advise and assist students with academic concerns.
  • Stay current in the field by attending professional development opportunities.
  • Participate in department and college-wide committees as needed.
  • Adhere to the policies and procedures of the college and maintain high standards of academic integrity.
  • Communicate effectively with students, colleagues, and staff to foster a positive learning environment.
  • Complete administrative tasks such as grading, updating attendance records, and submitting grades on time.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become an Adjunct Professor, you usually need two things: education and experience. Education-wise, you typically need a Master's degree in the field you want to teach. Some universities might also accept a Bachelor's degree plus relevant work experience. As for experience, it usually helps to have some teaching experience, even if it's not as a professor. For example, you might have worked as a tutor, instructor, or teaching assistant in the past. Other skills that can help are good communication, organization, and a passion for teaching. Overall, it's important to show that you're knowledgeable, dependable, and can help students learn and succeed.

Salary Range

Adjunct Professor salary range varies according to a number of factors, including location, qualifications, and the institution. In the United States, the median salary for an Adjunct Professor is around $30,000 per year, ranging from $20,000 to $50,000. 

In other countries, the range can change, depending on the currency value and the cost of living. In Canada, Adjunct Professors can earn between C$10,000 and C$30,000 per year, while in the United Kingdom, the salary range is between £12,000 and £60,000 per year.

There are also differences depending on the subject or course the Adjunct Professor is teaching, as some subjects or courses may be in greater demand than others. 


Career Outlook

Over the next five years, the career outlook for adjunct professors in the education industry is expected to stay the same. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of postsecondary teachers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. However, most of this growth will be in non-tenure track positions, like adjunct professors. 

While there may be an increasing demand for adjunct professors, job security and benefits may still be limited. As reported by Forbes, adjuncts often work part-time without access to health insurance or retirement benefits. With the rising cost of tuition and calls for fair pay, we may see more efforts towards providing fair compensation for adjunct professors in the future.


Bureau of Labor Statistics:


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does an adjunct professor do?

A: An adjunct professor is a part-time instructor who teaches college or university courses, often focused on a specific subject or specialty.

Q: How do I become an adjunct professor?

A: To become an adjunct, you typically need a master’s or doctoral degree in the subject area you wish to teach. Beyond that, you will need to research opportunities at colleges and universities offering courses in your field.

Q: What are the benefits of being an adjunct professor?

A: Adjunct professors can enjoy the flexibility of part-time work and the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with students. Some positions offer the possibility of advancement to full-time positions, and many offer opportunities for professional networking.

Q: What are the drawbacks of being an adjunct professor?

A: Adjunct professors are typically part-time and do not receive benefits or job security. They may have limited opportunities for professional development or advancement, and can sometimes face unpredictable workloads or schedules depending on the needs of the institution.

Q: What can I expect to earn as an adjunct professor?

A: The salary for an adjunct professor varies widely depending on location, level of education, and the type of institution where you work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for postsecondary teachers in May 2020 was $80,790 per year, but individual salaries can range from less than $40,000 to over $170,000 per year.

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