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.

What Does an Adjunct Professor Do

There are certain skills that many adjunct professors 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 Professor does

How To Become an Adjunct Professor

If you're interested in becoming an adjunct professor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 49.0% of adjunct professors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 33.3% of adjunct professors have master's degrees. Even though most adjunct professors have a college degree, it's impossible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become an Adjunct Professor

Adjunct Professor Career Paths

Average Salary for an Adjunct Professor

Adjunct Professors in America make an average salary of $98,821 per year or $48 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $219,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $44,000 per year.
Average Adjunct Professor Salary
$98,821 Yearly
$47.51 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?


Adjunct Professor Education

Adjunct Professor Majors

14.5 %

Adjunct Professor Degrees


49.0 %


33.3 %


10.8 %

Top Colleges for Adjunct Professors

1. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

2. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition

6. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

9. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

10. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For an Adjunct Professor

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, 11.2% of adjunct professors listed class instruction on their resume, but soft skills such as interpersonal skills and speaking skills are important as well.

  • Class Instruction, 11.2%
  • Professional Development, 10.4%
  • Student Learning, 4.5%
  • Semester, 4.3%
  • Course Content, 4.3%
  • Other Skills, 65.3%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Adjunct Professor Resume templates

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Adjunct Professor Demographics

Adjunct Professor Gender Distribution


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

  • Among adjunct professors, 48.5% of them are women, while 51.5% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among adjunct professors is White, which makes up 69.5% of all adjunct professors.

  • The most common foreign language among adjunct professors is Spanish at 46.8%.

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Best States For an Adjunct Professor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an adjunct professor. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, and Maine. Adjunct professors make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $129,569. Whereas in New York and Connecticut, they would average $126,977 and $125,617, respectively. While adjunct professors would only make an average of $120,705 in Maine, 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 Professor Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Rhode Island

Total Adjunct Professor Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. District of Columbia

Total Adjunct Professor Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Adjunct Professors

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Becoming an Adjunct Professor FAQs

How long does it take to become an Adjunct Professor?

It takes 9 years of professional experience to become an adjunct professor. That is the time it takes to learn specific adjunct professor skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a doctorate degree, then it takes 18 to 20 years years to become an adjunct professor.

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