Adjunct employment can be found at universities, community colleges, two-year colleges, and within vocational programs. Adjunct employment is part-time and non-tenured, meaning that teachers usually sign a contract to work for a specific amount of time. Furthermore, the need for their services can be easily influenced by enrollment and budget issues, making the availability of work unstable. Most adjunct professors and teachers are paid per hour, and benefits will vary by employer, though most adjunct employees do not receive benefits because they do not work enough hours to qualify for any benefits.
Many universities hire adjunct employees to teach courses on a part-time basis. Often part-time faculty only teach a few classes per semester. Adjunct faculty are usually only qualified or allowed to teach undergraduate level classes.
Adjunct faculty at most universities and institutions must hold a doctoral degree. Some universities allow for a master's degree, though the area of study must be similar or identical to the subject being taught. Universities usually have their own requirements as far as education and hours of experience required to teach in a specific discipline.
Adjunct employment at community, two-year, and vocational colleges or programs usually requires a baccalaureate degree in the subject being taught. An associate degree and experience in the field of discipline is sometimes allowed, however this depends upon the program and the needs of the college. Vocational schools are known to employ adjunct teachers and faculty because their programs focus on specific fields. Teachers often hold down a career in a certain field, as well as teach on a part-time basis.
Technical education programs often need the expertise of adjunct teachers. A degree is sometimes, but not always, required to work as a teacher in a technical school. Teachers who have a great deal of verifiable experience and who hold the required certifications can be hired as adjunct employees. In areas of education where there are shortages of qualified teachers, or of individuals who hold degrees, expertise is the key to getting hired. Examples of such areas are healthcare and construction fields.
Other areas where adjunct employment can be found is in the area of mentoring. Students who are working on dissertations are often mentored by adjunct teachers. These teachers can serve on dissertation committees and work within graduate degree programs.
A growing trend, and one that is likely to continue well into the future, is the need for online adjunct teachers. Online teaching provides flexibility for teachers, and allows them to hold down other positions, or attend school, while earning income as part-time faculty for online education programs. Adjunct employment is known to be less stable, and the pay tends to be lower than other teaching positions, so teaching online is a popular way to supplement income. This also holds true for retired teachers, who often find adjunct employment to be an excellent source of supplemental income.