What Kind of Salary Do Adjunct Teachers Make?

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    What is an Adjunct Teacher?

    • An adjunct teacher is an instructor not employed full-time by the college or university. Colleges typically use adjunct teachers for college-level introductory courses. Universities hiring adjunct instructors typically require the applicant to hold at least a master's degree, often preferably a doctorate, in the field in which they wish to teach. Occasionally an institution may hire employees with only a bachelor's degree, though these are rare opportunities.

    Benefits of Adjunct Instructors

    • Adjunct instructors bring several benefits to an institution. The first, and possibly most appealing, is the decreased cost of hiring adjunct instructors versus full time teachers and professors. Adjuncts teach based on a contractual amount per course. They do not require or typically receive benefits such as insurance or retirement accounts. Additionally, an adjunct typically makes per credit hour at least half that of a full-time instructor. Hiring adjunct instructors instead of full-time instructors can significantly reduce costs for a university. An additional benefit is that most adjunct instructors also work full-time in industry, or have worked in industry before becoming adjuncts. This brings real world experience into a classroom providing invaluable experience to students. Full-time professors dedicated to academia do not always have this type of real world experience.

    Types of Institutions that Hire Adjuncts

    • A variety of institutions hire adjunct instructors for teaching higher education. Four-year universities may occasionally hire adjuncts to teach courses that full-time faculty or graduate students may not be able to cover. Oftentimes, adjunct instructors teach evening or weekend programs, as full-time instructors do not want to spend additional hours outside of working hours teaching courses. Adjunct instructors are also often found in online programs, from bachelor's to doctorate programs. Additionally, trade schools, two-year universities, off-campus university locations and community colleges use adjunct instructors in large numbers to cover courses.

    Salary Ranges for Adjuncts

    • An adjunct instructor can make anywhere from less than $1000 per course to several thousand. However, the mean falls somewhere around $1500 for a three credit hour course. The salary of an adjunct instructor depends on a variety of factors. A four-year university pays its adjuncts more than any other type of institution. Community colleges, trade schools, and for profit universities tend to pay the least. Some institutions will pay more for an adjunct instructor with more experience and credentials, whereas others have a set amount paid to any adjunct hired regardless of expertise. Since the salaries have such a large range, pinpointing the actual amount is difficult at best. The best way to find the salary of an adjunct at a specific institution is to inquire at that institution.


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