Adjunct professors instruct postsecondary students at colleges, universities, and in other advanced educational settings. While many professors work in full-time tenure track positions, adjunct professors work on part-time and are hired to teach on a course-by-course basis. Candidates' primary responsibility is generally teaching, though adjunct professors take on many additional tasks as well. These duties may include:
Developing curriculum, course outlines, and instructional materials
Advising students about progress, advancement, and goal attainment
Conducting research and publishing original material in the field
Assessing students' progress and assigning grades
Adjunct Professor Job Education Requirements
Adjunct faculty are usually required to have a terminal degree in their field, which is typically a doctoral degree. Some educational institutions hire doctoral degree candidates or qualified professionals who hold a master's degree. Since jobs in this industry can be quite competitive, additional education or degrees may give candidates a higher rate of success. Depending on the setting and the position, work experience may also be necessary or beneficial. Skills with communication, writing, and critical thinking are also helpful in this field.
Adjunct Professor Job Market
The employment outlook for adjunct professors is positive over the next several years. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 19 percent growth through 2022, which is faster than average for all occupations. This job growth is mostly due to the increased number of students enrolling at postsecondary institutions and the subsequent demand for more instructors. As many colleges and universities reduce the number of full-time professorial positions available, the number of adjunct professor positions is expected to increase.
Some of this growth will vary from field to field, and adjunct candidates in health-related fields are expected to see some of the most positive growth opportunities. Many adjunct professors hold additional jobs alongside their teaching positions. Postsecondary teachers may simultaneously work full- or part-time jobs within private businesses, government agencies, or nonprofit organizations in their chosen industry.
Adjunct Professor Job Salary Information
Annual salaries for adjunct professors fall into a wide range, as pay may depend on number of courses taught, location, and institutional standing. According to the BLS, the average annual wage for postsecondary teachers is about $69,000. Candidates at the highest 10 percent of this range earn about $142,000 per year, and those at the lowest 10 percent earn about $36,000 per year. Salaries for adjunct professors tend to fall at the lower end of the spectrum, since these positions are generally part time.