The Average Adjunct Professor Salary

Salaries for adjunct professors are expected to increase by 15 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Salaries for adjunct professors are expected to increase by 15 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

The average adjunct professor has a salary of $44,000 to $49,000, according to Simply Hired. Compensation for adjuncts depends on location, school, the number of classes they instruct or amount of research they conduct and experience. Adjuncts' salaries may also differ depending on the position the university is hiring them for. Adjuncts are hired as assistant or associate professors or can also just conduct lectures, research or act as instructors.


Larger universities tend to pay adjunct professors better than smaller universities. For instance, Cornell University pays adjunct professors $87,000 to $93,000, while the University of California, Los Angeles pays adjuncts $100,000 and University of California, Berkeley compensates adjuncts $74,000 to $80,000, according to Glassdoor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that private, independent institutions pay more than public or religiously affiliated private colleges and universities. In 2008, California Institute of Technology was paying adjunct assistant professors an average salary of $100,000 each and the University of Pennsylvania was paying adjuncts an average salary of $95,000, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Two- to Four-Year Colleges

Faculty in four-year schools tend to earn more than the adjunct professors working at two year schools. Adjunct or assistant professors salaries at two-year schools earn $45,000 to $67,000 compared to assistant professors at four year colleges with graduate programs, who had salaries ranging between $52,000 to $94,000, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Salaries are usually lower at four-year schools that do not have graduate programs--between $41,000 to $71,000.


Average salaries for adjunct professors can also vary depending on their role and experience, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Associate professors are usually adjunct professors with more experience and, on average, they make $76,147, while assistant professors make $63,827. For adjuncts who are only instructors they will earn $45,900 and lecturers will earn $52,436. Most adjunct professors are required to have a master's degree and experience researching or working in the field they intend to teach.


Adjunct professors are part-time university employees. They usually work 12 to 16 hours per week and are required to attend faculty and committee meetings and hold office hours for three to six hours a week. Adjunct professors can be paid by the number of courses they teach, instead of by the hours they teach, depending on the school. Salaries range from a low of about $400 per course to as high as $4000 per course, according to the report, "The Role of Adjunct Faculty in Higher Education."

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