When looking for college teaching jobs, many job seekers find that there is an abundance of adjunct teaching positions. In 2008, 29% of post-secondary teachers worked part-time. Many educational institutions are creating more adjunct teaching jobs and cutting back the number of full-time professors. There are advantages to working as an adjunct professor, but the position comes with disadvantages as well.
Adjunct professors are able to work their schedules around their personal lives, teaching as many or as few classes as they want. Adjunct professors are usually not required to participate in administrative activities, and most do not have an office for office hours, allowing them to spend less time on campus. The lack of administrative responsibility also allows adjuncts to focus on teaching and creating their curriculum.
Adjunct professors often have a second job in their relevant field, allowing schools to create more specialized departments. Working in adjunct faculty jobs is a great way for a person to get their foot in the door in the educational field. Teaching jobs in higher education often have an experience requirement of a certain number of years as a teacher. Working as an adjunct allows a person to obtain that experience, as well as network in the university.
One of the biggest complaints about adjunct teaching jobs is the pay. Adjunct professors do not earn a normal salary. Instead, they are paid by the number of credit hours they teach. There is also reduced job security, and some adjuncts do not know whether they will be teaching from semester to semester. Adjuncts are often hired without tenure or on a contract, especially at the associate level. On the other hand — for certain lifestyles, these drawbacks may not matter so much.
While an adjunct teaching job may not be the best choice for everyone, it can be great for parents or retirees who don’t want to work full time. A job as an adjunct may be perfect for a student earning their doctorate, or someone who doesn’t want to give up a full-time job in a different career. Potential teachers should speak with their educational institution to find out if an adjunct position is right for them.