What Is an Adjunct Educator?

Learn about the job requirements of adjunct educators, as well as the education requirements. Find out about the employment outlook and salary. Schools offering Adult Education degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Adjunct Educators

An adjunct educator is a kind of postsecondary instructor. Unlike tenured or tenure-track faculty, adjunct instructors are part-time workers who don't have long-term contracts. Contracts typically last 2-5 years, at which point, they could be renewed. Many adjunct faculty members are graduate students who teach classes at the schools they attend. Some also earned advanced degrees and teach college classes part-time while having full-time jobs in their areas of professional expertise. Still others work as adjunct instructors while trying to secure tenure-track positions. As an adjunct instructor, you're typically only allowed to teach undergraduate classes in your field of study.

As an adjunct instructor, you might be responsible for developing your own curriculum and lesson plans, or you may use those developed by the academic departments in which you work. Adjunct instructors may also participate in professional development programs, departmental meetings and other administrative events. You'll likely also be responsible for keeping student records, evaluating students, holding student conferences and submitting grades.

Education Requirements

You typically need at least a bachelor's degree in your field of study to become an adjunct instructor. Most adjunct instructors have also completed advanced degrees or are in the process of earning them. In some cases, you may be able to work as an adjunct instructor with a bachelor's degree and substantial work experience in the field.

Employment Outlook

In general, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the employment of postsecondary teachers is expected to rise 15% between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov). However, while job prospects for tenure-track positions will likely be competitive, adjunct job prospects will be more favorable. This is largely because many universities are reducing the number of tenure-track positions, which increases their dependency on adjunct positions, reports the BLS.


The median annual salary for postsecondary instructors was $58,830 as of May 2009, but this doesn't reflect the pay of adjunct instructors who work part time (www.bls.gov). According to SimplyHired, adjunct instructors earn an average of $35,000 per year (www.simplyhired.com).

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