How Do I Become an Adjunct Instructor?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 May 2018
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An adjunct instructor is a qualified professional who can teach various types of college classes, usually introductory level classes or even online classes. Such instructors are non-tenured, and they generally get paid less than full professors, but they are able to gain valuable teaching experience and earn a salary while doing so. In order to become an adjunct instructor, you will need to complete a high school education and then earn a bachelor's degree. It is very likely that you will also need to earn a master's degree or PhD in order to become an adjunct instructor at most colleges and universities.

You will need to decide which subject or subjects you want to teach once you are qualified. This is generally related closely to which type of degree you earn and what your field of study ends up being. During your time as an undergraduate student or a graduate student, it is a good idea to take some teaching courses that will prepare you to become an adjunct instructor. Such courses may not always be required in order for you to be considered for a position, but they certainly improve your chances of getting hired.


As a graduate student, you will need to either become a teaching assistant (TA) or get classroom teaching experience in some other capacity if you want to become an adjunct instructor after you graduate. Such experience will give employers a sense that you have an understanding of classroom teaching processes. Once you complete a master’s degree, you will be eligible to become an adjunct instructor in certain settings and at certain schools; other schools and settings may require you to earn a PhD before you can be considered for an adjunct position.

Once you are hired, you should expect to undergo some training and evaluation. The training usually takes the form of an orientation period before a semester starts. You will be presented with some teaching materials and you will be given some instruction from department heads or from professors at the school. Throughout each semester, you may be required to undergo further training, and you will likely be evaluated by a senior member of the staff within your department. This process is done to ensure you are offering students a high-quality education, and to help you improve as a teacher by getting feedback from more experienced department members and instructors.



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