As an adjunct instructor, your goal is to impart your wisdom onto students. While also being in charge of coming up with a syllabus for your class, holding office hours and grading their papers. We should note that adjunct instructors aren't full-time. And you probably shouldn't expect the same benefits that are accosted to professors.

Adjunct Instructors are hired on a contractual basis, meaning it's a nice way to make a little extra money but probably shouldn't be your only gig. If your goal is to become a full-time professor in the future, then this is definitely the right stepping stone on that path. If nothing else, you'll at least be able to work on your public speaking. We don't have to tell you how handy that can come in.

What Does an Adjunct Instructor Do

There are certain skills that many adjunct instructors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed interpersonal skills, speaking skills and writing skills.

Learn more about what an Adjunct Instructor does

How To Become an Adjunct Instructor

If you're interested in becoming an adjunct instructor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 50.4% of adjunct instructors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 31.0% of adjunct instructors have master's degrees. Even though most adjunct instructors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become an Adjunct Instructor

Adjunct Instructor Career Paths

Average Salary for an Adjunct Instructor

Adjunct Instructors in America make an average salary of $52,030 per year or $25 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $83,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $32,000 per year.
Average Adjunct Instructor Salary
$52,030 Yearly
$25.01 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Adjunct Instructor

The role of an adjunct instructor includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general adjunct instructor responsibilities:

  • Provide instruction with the focus on teaching
  • Position may require day, evening, or online/hybrid courses the adjunct instructor will be responsible for classroom instruction
  • Prepare class lectures, assignments and activities per course outline provide a nurturing environment to support student success

There are several types of adjunct instructor, including:



Instructors are knowledgable about a topic and work to pass that knowledge off to their students. Whether you work in a gym or a school, instructors are super important to the students' success.

There are lots of possibilities for you as an instructor. You could work at a health club or a gym or you could work for a school and instruct math. There are so many different instructors out there, basically any topic you can think of probably needs an instructor.

Your hours will vary depending on what industry you decide to go with. You may find some jobs require you to work nights and weekends, like if you were to become a fitness instructor, while school instructors only work during school hours. Your schedule really depends on what you're passionate and knowledgable about and when people want to learn it.

  • Average Salary: $53,426
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Adjunct Professor


So if you're wondering if there's a difference between the adjunct professor that taught your chemistry I class and the professor who teaches the astronomy II class, there is. An adjunct professor is typically hired on a contractual basis.

While it may not be a permanent position, an adjunct professor does essentially the same things a regular professor does. From writing a syllabus to teaching the class, holding office hours and grading tests, an adjunct professor position really is a great starting point if you want to become a full-time professor in the future. Or, ya know, if you just need a little extra cash on the side.

  • Average Salary: $98,821
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Adjunct Faculty


The adjunct faculty is responsible for teaching graduates and undergraduate students in a specific field of expertise. You are allowed to plan, create, lecture, and provide in-class discussions and assignments. Your job allows you to plan and develop a syllabus and ensure it meets college and departmental standards. Plus, you are responsible for grading and assigning papers, exams, and quizzes.

You will give class instructions, evaluate students' performance, and also coordinate courseware and curriculum with the academic department head. However, you will need to be a people person as you need to develop and sustain relationships with students for effectiveness. You will also need to participate in faculty meetings involving departmental updates, prepare materials and supervise the distribution, and make copies of supplementary materials available for distribution in class. You may also be required to maintain a record of student progress, involvement, and attendance.

An adjunct faculty must be detail-oriented, punctual, and must be able to motivate. He/She must also be a lover of academics, possess excellent communication skills, self-discipline, and the ability to teach well. The average salary of an adjunct faculty yearly is $50,000. An adjunct faculty must have a Master's degree in a related academic field.

  • Average Salary: $83,069
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Adjunct Instructor Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active adjunct instructor jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where adjunct instructors earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Adjunct Instructor Jobs By State

Adjunct Instructor Education

Adjunct Instructor Majors

15.0 %
9.1 %
8.1 %

Adjunct Instructor Degrees


50.4 %


31.0 %


10.7 %

Top Colleges for Adjunct Instructors

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




3. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




8. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Private

In-State Tuition




10. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For an Adjunct Instructor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 9.5% of adjunct instructors listed student learning on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and speaking skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Adjunct Instructor Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Adjunct Instructor templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Adjunct Instructor resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Adjunct Instructor diversity

Adjunct Instructor Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among adjunct instructors, 54.8% of them are women, while 45.2% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among adjunct instructors is White, which makes up 60.3% of all adjunct instructors.

  • The most common foreign language among adjunct instructors is Spanish at 45.1%.

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Best States For an Adjunct Instructor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an adjunct instructor. The best states for people in this position are California, Washington, New York, and New Jersey. Adjunct instructors make the most in California with an average salary of $69,711. Whereas in Washington and New York, they would average $66,832 and $66,246, respectively. While adjunct instructors would only make an average of $66,135 in New Jersey, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Adjunct Instructor Jobs: 1,573
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Vermont

Total Adjunct Instructor Jobs: 69
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. New Jersey

Total Adjunct Instructor Jobs: 753
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Adjunct Instructors

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Top Adjunct Instructor Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ adjunct instructors and discovered their number of adjunct instructor opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Ivy Tech Community College was the best, especially with an average salary of $56,871. Virginia College follows up with an average salary of $57,805, and then comes New York University with an average of $128,812. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an adjunct instructor. The employers include Marquette University, Ultimate Medical Academy, and Outreach Development

Most Common Employers For Adjunct Instructor

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1New York University$128,812$61.93217
4Florida State University$60,461$29.0787
5Miller-Motte College$58,898$28.3279
6Virginia College$57,805$27.79274
7Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University$57,622$27.7080
8Cincinnati State$57,245$27.5276
9University of Cincinnati$57,078$27.4480
10Ivy Tech Community College$56,871$27.34315

Adjunct Instructor Videos

Becoming an Adjunct Instructor FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become An Adjunct Instructor?

It takes 8 years of professional experience to become an adjunct instructor. That is the time it takes to learn specific adjunct instructor skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 11 to 13 years years to become an adjunct instructor.

Are Adjunct Faculty Called Professors?

Yes, adjunct faculty are also called professors. Otherwise known as adjunct professors, this is a part-time faculty position. However, universities have nuances in the specific terminology allocated for part-time faculty.

How Are Adjunct Instructors Paid?

Adjunct instructors are paid an average of $91,000 per year. However, the pay range for an adjunct instructor can exist within a vast range based on pay structure. For example, some adjunct instructors are only paid $1,000 per eligible course due to a pay-per-course structure.

How Do I Become An Adjunct Professor With No Experience?

To become an adjunct professor with no experience, you will need to have the right educational background. Having a strong GPA and excellent teacher recommendations can improve your odds, along with any related work experience.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Adjunct Professor?

It takes 4 to 8 years to become an adjunct professor. It depends on the type of adjunct professor position. Most schools require a graduate degree in the field you wish to teach. However, there are some cases where just having a bachelor's degree is enough.

What Is The Difference Between An Adjunct Professor And An Instructor?

The difference between an adjunct professor and an instructor is the title given to the staff. Instructors tend to be general teachers and monitor students, be it at a university, school, or some other type of activity that requires in-depth instruction.

Why Are Adjuncts Paid So Little?

Adjuncts are paid so little to help universities and colleges save money. Higher education institutions are businesses looking to lower overhead costs and generate revenue. Ultimately colleges save a lot of money by hiring several part-time adjunct instructors rather than full-time tenure-track faculty positions.

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