Reasons to Become an Adjunct Professor and How to Do It

Misty Hance
Misty Hance
Assistant School Principal; Ed.D. in School Leadership, Carson-Newman University, TN

Educators with a desire to work with older students might consider an adjunct faculty position in order to gain skills and experience at the college level. Adjunct, or part-time, faculty members can teach day and evening courses. These courses can be taught within the classroom, at a satellite location, or even online. As an educator with a master’s degree in educational leadership, the opportunity opens to teach educational courses at many colleges. An adjunct professor may teach undergraduate or even some graduate level courses.

Role of an Adjunct Professor

In most cases, an adjunct faculty member is charged with creating a class syllabus and lesson plans for the course that he or she is teaching. In addition, he/she will lecture, assign and grade tasks, and monitor grades through assessments. Good leadership and communication skills are needed in order to advise students and work with them on activities. Furthermore, adjunct faculty works with the department head and other colleagues to discuss data and student learning. As an educator, I believe it is vital for students preparing to become educators to have faculty who can share real-world experiences and provide current strategies and trends from the classroom. Being able to model collaborative learning and classroom technology will allow students to gain expertise for future use. For this reason, adjunct faculty are often required to have previous teaching experience prior to work at the college level.

Earn Extra Income

Some educators seek to become an adjunct faculty member in order to boost their annual income. A typical salary for an adjunct faculty member is around $25,000 per year. However, this can be affected by the location, the number of courses or hours taught, and the need for faculty in the specific field of education. The salary can also be higher at four-year colleges and universities, compared to the salary offered at a community college.

Requirements to Become an Adjunct Professor

In general, there a few requirements for becoming an adjunct faculty member. A minimum of a master’s degree is required to become an adjunct faculty member. As mentioned earlier, many colleges require additional hours of work experience in the education field prior to teaching college-level courses. In order to pursue a job as an adjunct faculty member, educators may reach out to local colleges or universities which offer degrees in education. Some colleges provide off-campus courses, so even if the college is not in close proximity, they may offer satellite locations. Those interested in teaching online might be able to work with colleges further away through internet platforms. For those unsure about how to reach such opportunities, there are professional organizations that will help you locate job possibilities.

Whether looking to supplement income or considering a long-term career as a full-time professor, becoming an adjunct faculty member can provide an opportunity to work adult learners and reach aspiring educators.

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