What are the Different Adjunct Positions?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 08 January 2019
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Adjunct positions are those positions taken on by skilled, and often highly trained workers, for a set period of time, and usually on a part-time basis. The employer pays less, and pays no unemployment at job termination. Moreover, employers have few responsibilities to employees because they are not considered regular employees and part of the institution employing them. Jobs that are of this nature are generally offered to teachers, especially in the college setting.

Clearly, adjunct professor or teacher jobs are popular. Universities or colleges, to fill student needs for particular classes, often hire professors to teach one or more courses. Some colleges also hire their own master’s students for these positions, but they may look elsewhere. Pay is usually not on par with regular employee pay, but for the person who doesn’t need benefits and doesn’t want to be tied down to a regular job, an adjunct teacher or professor job may work.

Private high schools and some public ones might also offer adjunct positions. Sometimes public schools may be limited in such hiring practices by school policies or by teacher union policies. Private schools don’t necessarily have these limits and may more freely offer temporary work.


One "location" where a number of adjunct teaching positions are available is online. With the growth of Internet schools, qualified teachers are needed. Yet, changing enrollment may mean Internet schools don’t want to hire someone full-time, or to even commit to them as permanent employees. In these instances they may look for someone qualified who can perform the job, and very often might perform it from home instead of at a physical school. This could benefit someone who must work from home, but, again, reimbursement rates are not always comparable with those of permanent employees.

In many types of schools adjunct positions are not limited to teaching. Schools might also look for adjunct librarians, counselors or others to fill a temporary need. Private libraries could similarly search for a person to temporarily perform extra work or take over the work of an employee who will be absent for a long time.

Those who look for adjunct positions should be aware of the controversy that surrounds this hiring practice. There are a number of people who feel universities and other employers use this hiring far too much, specifically to avoid paying people what they’re worth. Many people who do adjunct work do it because they can’t find faculty jobs, and they work full time, with no benefits, and at far less pay than other full-time workers. Some suggest that this a necessary evil of budget cuts at many universities, but others feel adjunct salaries should be as good or better than faculty salaries, especially since adjunct positions don’t require universities to pay benefits.

In spite of these controversies, universities and community colleges particularly continue to utilize the adjunct system and it remains one way to find a teaching job when a person has no current placement. Hiring is highest in fields like the humanities, but there are certainly other jobs available too. In particular, adjunct tech or computer instructors may be in high demand. A number of job boards exist for the person looking for these positions.



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