How Many Hours Does an Adjunct Professor Work?


Students in a college course are just as likely to have an adjunct professor instructing them as they are full-time faculty members. These roles are appearing more and more across the board as a cost-savings measure for institutional budgets, and because it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fill teaching positions at all levels.

An adjunct position gives those with degrees outside of education a chance to get in the classroom and impart their knowledge to the next generation. While it’s beneficial in that regard, is it financially worth the hours you’d work in the position of adjunct professor? Let’s take a deeper look at the job.

Salary and Hours – Do They Add Up?

Before we break down the position, we’ll preface this with the fact that education is no longer a classroom-only job in most schools. The majority of instructions have a combination of online and in-person classes to teach, and even in-person courses have a hefty online component associated with them.

A full-time instructor can expect to teach 40-50 hours at a minimum, Monday through Friday, with workloads that can range in ten-hour time blocks from 7 a.m. through 9 p.m., depending on the institution. Some schools also offer Saturday options for certain in-demand or rare courses. This is, of course, on top of the time it takes to plan curriculum, grade papers, attend meetings, and input data into the system. 

As an adjunct, you wouldn’t have many of these requirements. Your workweek could consist of 40 hours, but it would likely be much less if your study focus is in non-core subjects. You may be expected to hold office hours, but those should be included in your contract, along with your pay schedule.

The problem is that this payment is per course, and it’s, on average, around $3,500. Consider that a course can run for three months, twice a week, three hours at a time. Adjuncts may teach 1-2 courses in one semester, earning $7,000 at that rate. Broken down per month, that’s around $2,300 before taxes and insurance, putting the annual salary at close to $25,000. That rate is significantly below the poverty level.

Unlike a traditional instructor, however, adjunct professors are given a weekly schedule, a set pay scale, and an educational requirement. It’s expected that the work you do is included within that period, and you don’t have to attend meetings or file detailed lesson plans in most institutional settings.

This perk is enough of a benefit for many people to happily enter the world of adjunct teaching, but there are other advantages that make up for part of the income disparity.

Other Benefits for Adjuncts

There are thousands of adjunct professors who earn a decent income by teaching multiple courses at different universities. If you can get the schedules to match up correctly, this is a great way to earn nearly full-time pay and still avoid the stresses of a full-time position. 

Other benefits of adjuncts include the flexibility of setting their own schedules, which is perfect for people with other full-time jobs who are teaching on the side, or parents who want to be able to stay at home with their children as much as possible.

Adjuncts aren’t tied down to one school or subject, either. This variety helps you avoid boredom and expand your network. You get to avoid the drama and politics that are always in an office setting, too, and easily say no to outside work requests by reminding everyone that you’re not part of the faculty.

Since you’re not a full-time instructor, you don’t have the headache of publishing and grant requirements, discipline issues, or the tenure track. When you want to teach, but you don’t want to deal with the stresses that come with it, adjunct instruction is the way to go.

Add Your Adjunct Experience to Your Impactio Profile

Maybe you don’t plan on being an adjunct professor for the long-term, and that’s fine. The time you spend in the classroom honing your skills and learning new ones is impressive on your resume and your Impactio profile.

Add the contacts you meet to your Impactio network and connect with other experts in your field around the world. You never know who will be invaluable to your future as a researcher when your time as an adjunct professor is over. But what will always be there for you is the Impactio platform, ready to help you grow your career in substantial ways.


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