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Become An Adjunct Professor

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Working As An Adjunct Professor

  • Getting Information
  • Training and Teaching Others
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Make Decisions

  • $100,412

    Average Salary

What Does An Adjunct Professor Do

An Adjunct Professor coordinates courseware and curriculum with the academic department chair, facilitates class instruction, and evaluates student performance. Adjunct professors typically spend most of their time with students from universities and community colleges.

How To Become An Adjunct Professor

Educational requirements vary with the subject taught and the type of educational institution. Most commonly, postsecondary teachers must have a Ph.D. However, a master's degree may be enough for some postsecondary teachers at community colleges. In career and technical schools, work experience may be important for getting a postsecondary teaching job.


Postsecondary teachers who work for 4-year colleges and universities typically need a doctoral degree in their field. Some schools may hire those with a master’s degree or those who are doctoral degree candidates for some specialties, such as fine arts, or for some part-time positions.

Doctoral programs generally take multiple years after the completion of a bachelor’s degree program. They spend time completing a master’s degree and then writing a doctoral dissertation, which is a paper presenting original research in the student’s field of study. Candidates usually specialize in a subfield, such as organic chemistry or European history.

Community colleges or career and technical schools also may hire those with a master’s degree. However, in some fields, there are more applicants than available positions. In these situations, institutions can be more selective, and they frequently choose applicants who have a Ph.D. over those with a master’s degree.

Postsecondary teachers who teach career and technical education courses, such as culinary arts or cosmetology, may not be required to have graduate-level education. At a minimum they must hold the degree of the program in which they are teaching. For example, the teacher must hold an associate’s degree if they teach a program that is at the associate’s degree level. In addition, work experience or certification may be just as important as education for getting a postsecondary teaching job at a career or technical school.

Other Experience

Some institutions may prefer to hire those with teaching or other work experience, but this is not a requirement for all fields or for all employers.

In health specialties, art, or education fields, hands-on work experience in the industry can be important. Postsecondary teachers in these fields often gain experience by working in an occupation related to their field of expertise.

In fields such as biological science, physics, and chemistry, some postsecondary teachers have postdoctoral research experience. These short-term jobs, sometimes called “post-docs,” usually involve working for 2 to 3 years as a research associate or in a similar position, often at a college or university.

Some postsecondary teachers gain teaching experience by working as graduate teaching assistants—students who are enrolled in a graduate program and teach classes in the institution in which they are enrolled.

Some postsecondary teachers, especially adjunct professors, have another job in addition to teaching.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Postsecondary teachers who prepare students for an occupation that requires a license, certification, or registration, may need to have—or they may benefit from having—the same credential. For example, a postsecondary nursing teacher might need a nursing license or a postsecondary education teacher might need a teaching license.


A major goal for postsecondary teachers with a doctoral degree is attaining a tenure—a guarantee that a professor cannot be fired without just cause. It can take up to 7 years of moving up the ranks in tenure-track positions. The ranks are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor. Tenure is granted through a review of the candidate’s research, contribution to the institution, and teaching.

Tenure and tenure track positions are declining as institutions are relying more heavily on part-time faculty.

Some tenured professors advance to administrative positions, such as dean or president. For information on deans and other administrative positions, see the profile on postsecondary education administrators. For more information about college and university presidents, see the profile on top executives.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. To challenge established theories and beliefs, conduct original research, and design experiments, postsecondary teachers need good critical-thinking skills.

Interpersonal skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be able to work well with others and must have good communication skills to serve on committees and give lectures.

Resourcefulness. Postsecondary teachers need to be able to present information in a way that students will understand. They need to adapt to the different learning styles of their students and teach students who have little or no experience with the subject.

Speaking skills. Postsecondary teachers need good communication skills to give lectures.

Writing skills. Most postsecondary teachers need to be skilled writers to publish original research and analysis.

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Adjunct Professor jobs

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Adjunct Professor Career Paths

Adjunct Professor
Development Manager Associate Director Education Director
Academic Dean
10 Yearsyrs
Clinical Social Worker Program Director Coach
Assistant Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Managing Director Instructor Head Coach
Athletic Director
5 Yearsyrs
Faculty Nurse Practitioner Nurse Manager
Career Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Assistant Professor Program Manager
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Faculty Assistant Professor Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Nurse Practitioner Staff Nurse Instructor
Director Of Instruction
6 Yearsyrs
Instructional Designer Program Manager
Education Director
7 Yearsyrs
Clinical Social Worker Adjunct Faculty Assistant Principal
Elementary School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Associate Dean Dean Assistant Principal
High School Principal
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager Senior Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Subject Matter Expert Business Analyst Information Technology Consultant
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Professor Research Associate Laboratory Manager
Laboratory Director
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Program Director
Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Owner Substitute Teacher Kindergarten Teacher
School Director
7 Yearsyrs
Instructional Designer Adjunct Faculty Assistant Principal
School Principal
10 Yearsyrs
Clinical Director Chief Executive Officer Social Media Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Subject Matter Expert Program Manager
Technical Director
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Dean Dean Assistant Principal
Vice Principal
9 Yearsyrs
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Adjunct Professor Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • German

  • Italian

  • Portuguese

  • Russian

  • Arabic

  • Japanese

  • Chinese

  • Mandarin

  • Korean

  • Greek

  • Hebrew

  • Polish

  • Swahili

  • Hindi

  • Turkish

  • Romanian

  • Urdu

  • Czech

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Adjunct Professor Education

Adjunct Professor

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Real Adjunct Professor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Adjunct Professor-Post Professional Program Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI Mar 01, 2013 $338,094
Adjunct Professor-Post Professional Program Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI Jan 03, 2016 $338,094
Adjunct Professor The Administrators of The Tulane Endowment Fund New Orleans, LA Jul 14, 2014 $313,050
Adjunct Professor Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI Jul 25, 2016 $242,718
Adjunct Professor or Architecture Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI Jun 20, 2016 $233,222
Adjunct Professor Rhode Island School of Design Providence, RI Sep 01, 2013 $221,598
Intermittent Adjunct Professor University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Dec 05, 2014 $208,140
Intermittent Adjunct Professor University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Feb 16, 2015 $208,140
Professor Adjunct Yale University New Haven, CT Feb 01, 2014 $204,526
Adjunct Professor Columbia University New York, NY Jul 01, 2015 $204,000
Adjunct Professor The Administrators of The Tulane Endowment Fund New Orleans, LA Jun 14, 2013 $202,221
Visiting Adjunct Professor Cornell University Ithaca, NY Sep 19, 2016 $182,613
Adjunct Professor of Sociology and Education Teachers College, Columbia University New York, NY Jan 15, 2015 $110,799
Assistant Adjunct Professor University of California, Irvine Irvine, CA Aug 01, 2013 $110,000
Adjunct Professor Montclair State University Montclair, NJ Sep 26, 2014 $108,524
Adjunct Professor Montclair State University Montclair, NJ Oct 22, 2014 $108,524
Adjunct Professor of Economics Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA Jan 01, 2013 $108,420
Adjunct Professor The President and Fellows of Middlebury College Monterey, CA Aug 22, 2016 $107,710
Adjunct Professor Texas A&M University College Station, TX Aug 01, 2014 $106,090
Assistant Adjunct Professor University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA Oct 01, 2015 $74,652
Adjunct Professor Yeshiva University New York, NY Aug 25, 2014 $74,297
Adjunct Professor of Sociology Ivy Tech Community College Indianapolis, IN Nov 01, 2013 $73,671 -
Assistant Adjunct Professor University of California, San Diego San Diego, CA Jan 11, 2016 $73,000
Assistant Adjunct Professor University of California, Davis Sacramento, CA Jul 01, 2015 $70,800

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Top Skills for An Adjunct Professor


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Top Adjunct Professor Skills

  1. Class Instruction
  2. Course Curriculum
  3. Undergraduate Courses
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Facilitate class instruction in accordance with learning objectives and session plan outlines.
  • Developed/delivered course curriculum, lectures, labs, and exams.
  • Teach the following undergraduate courses: Psychology of Adjustment, Introduction to Psychology, Forensic Psychology and Social Psychology
  • Have been teaching online courses since online courses started in 2005.
  • Teach Modern Social Problems, Introduction to Sociology, Human Development, Abnormal Psychology, and Introduction to Psychology.

Top Adjunct Professor Employers

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Adjunct Professor Videos

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