Online Adjunct Professor pay

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by anngriffin777, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. anngriffin777

    anngriffin777 New Member

    What kind of salary does an online adjunct Professor make? I was thinking of doing that when I complete my master's degree.
  2. rmm0484

    rmm0484 Member

    In most cases, you will do this for the love of teaching, not the money. Courses may be offered to you that will be paid per student, or there may be a set rate per class. In some cases, you will make as little as $900 per class, or as much as 4K or more . It depends on the school, the length of the class, your degree level (Masters vs Phd), number of years teaching at the school, and so on.

    You still could pull in a decent amount of money if you are offered enough classes, and/or if you teach at more than one university.

    You will also be picked up faster for adjunct teaching if you have employment experience in your chosen area.
  3. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Competition is fierce. Don't count on getting such a position just because you have a Master's degree in the field. A doctorate is better, and previous teaching experience is helpful also.
  4. Michael

    Michael Member

    Would your chances be better if your master's was a terminal degree, such as an MFA?
  5. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Usually the people asking about MFA degrees have them in creative writing and want to teach English, where they're competing against those holding PhD degrees in composition. So I would say probably not (even though that doesn't actually make sense, IMO).

    That's also not to say that someone who only has a Master's has no chance. But it's definitely much harder, and I know because I've seen this firsthand from inside the hiring process at more than one institution.
  6. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Unless your masters is in Accounting, I wouldn't count on getting an online adjunct position. 10 years ago, this might have been possible. After the explosion of online degrees, it looks like the Masters degrees is not longer enough for online adjunct positions. Most require a PhD nowadays, some go to the extreme to ask for at least 5 recent publications.

    Salaries in the online adjunct market have decreased over time. When I started teaching 13 years ago, most schools would pay 2 to 4K per course. 13 years later, some schools (e.g. Argosy) have not only not increased salaries but cut salaries due to the over supply of online teachers.

    The business model is simple, let's produce thousands of degree holders so we can then have a large pool of teachers that will be willing to work for less.

    There are also some people that are pushing to model to the extreme. Dr Babb (Resources for Online Educators, Business Owners & Real Estate) is promoting a "Mcdonalds" type of business model that makes think instructors that can make 100K+ teaching online. The proposed model requires you to teach 10 courses at the time for multiple institutions. The model is not sustainable as it is impossible to have 10 available courses for every of the new PhDs that are churned out by the for profits that are in the order of hundreds per year.

    The model will collapse eventually, also because the new Master and PhD programs seem to be made to be money makers (including for profit and non for profit schools) rather than educational programs. I have taught at graduate programs that practically you can only fail if your credit card is declined or if you don't log the 3 times that you are required to do every week and post some essays. Most new masters don't require thesis nor academic contributions but just log on few times a week and post a bunch of essays that the poorly paid online adjuncts hardly read.

    There are some schools with online programs that pay decent salaries and require more than just giving As to everyone that post a mediocre essay. Some schools require students to write proctored exams and have very intense courses that require presentations, projects, etc. However, getting into these schools is not easy as they require people with ranked PhDs, experience, etc but many of these programs pay from 10 to 15K a course.

    In few words, it is possible to make money as an online instructors but this will require to build a strong profile and aim to work for ranked schools with executive business programs.
  7. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

  8. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It doesn't matter how many articles we publish about the reality of the academic market, you will still have people in the forum posting if they can land a tenure track job in a metro area with a PhD that was earned from an internet institution or a PhD from an obscure institute in India while we have tons of people with PhDs from good schools unable to survive as professors.
  9. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    Very true.
  10. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The dream is what keep people spending money on these "doctorates". There is nothing wrong with wanting a PhD from an online school but I think people should be realistic about their expectations.

    Online teaching can be good for extra cash and contribution to society, but I wouldn't think of it as a career option. I did this for a year and almost died in the attempt, the best I could make was around 70K but working 100 hrs a week and no vacation and no benefits. Hardly a good option for a person with a PhD unless you decide to move to a cheap country.

    Most schools have you on call and if you refuse a course, they never call you back. Many schools will give you a course one week before it starts, if you refuse next time they will not call you. You have to always accept work unless you want to lose customers. Most of the online teaching is reduced to marking tons of papers and dealing with students that complain because you marked a paper with a B. Many online instructors don't bother and just give As to every single student. Not the best policy but it keeps your workload low and course evaluations high and keeps you on the job. The minute your course evaluation drops, you are out and never called back for a gig.

    Honestly, I don't know how this model will continue. I now teach at a regular University and teach only 4 classes per 13 week term and give enough time to my students and have TAs,I don't know how this can compare to an online instructor that have to teach 6 to 10 courses per 6 week term just to make a living with no breaks in between and unable to refuse work.

    Some online chairs go to the extreme to ask for unpaid extra work in return to give you more contracts. I know few people that need to slave just to get enough contracts. Some few lucky ones get admin positions online such as faculty managers but need to attend conferences and attend endless meetings for the wonderful sum of 20 to 30K and with yearly contracts with no benefits and no guarantee of renewals.

    It is a tough world for an online academic, if someone really wants to become an academic, the best is to go and get a traditional PhD from a good school and work for a a school with benefits and decent hours.

    If you are not willing to do a PhD from a traditional school but want a teaching job, just get an IT or Accounting Masters from a good traditional school and aim for a small university. This will be a lot better than a PhD in general management from an online school that can only lead to teach at schools of the same caliber.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2013
  11. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    True. And that includes all doctorates, to include doctorates from Ivy League schools because dreams are free, even if the ROI isn't fully realized.

    That's a lot of work-hours per week. Why did you do that?

    I received 100% (A) in the last two online RA graduate courses that I've taken recently. Maybe my work is spectacular?

    Prediction: There is coming a day when the market will be glutted with holders of Bachelors and Masters degrees and it will not hold the same economic advantage that it did in the last century.

    The "average traditional PhD" will probably provide little to no economic advantage in the future, especially as the market continues to get glutted with an overabundance of PhD graduates from in-resident doctorates (and online too).

    A cohort said that with her Bachelors in accounting, she is expected to work 60 to 70 hours per week. However, due to the esoteric nature of the degree, she is guaranteed to be worked-to-death as a fully-employed accountant.

    Summary prediction: Over the next 10-30 plus years, the ROI for college degrees will continue to diminish, although there is always value in getting an education, which means the dream will always be alive, although many will become disillusioned and disenchanted. However, the enchanted dream will always create a demand for more degrees.

    The enchanted dream is about the pursuit of economic security. Where is your security?

    My .02
  12. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member

  13. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    If I don't accept any more offers this year (and I don't intend to), I'll make $77k this year as an online adjunct.

    Yes, there are trade-offs. This is my third year doing this and it works for my family (wife + 6 kids) and my situation.
  14. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    How many schools do you adjunct for and what's your subject matter expertise in?
  15. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    The academic market always finds a way to filter the applicants. In Canada for example, many schools are asking for 5 publications in top journals for tenure track positions. Many people have PhDs and publications, but there are very few top journals that only accommodate the best or the ones with the connections to publish there.

    My prediction is that PhDs in the future will only have some value if the holder can demonstrate that is capable of producing original research that can contribute to knowledge. A PhD paper by itself that is not capable of producing quality research will have the same value of a paper MBA that is not capable of making profits for a company.

    Getting a PhD online or face to face won't matter as much as the indicators that the holder is capable of being productive. Many of the schools now require research metrics such as the number of citations per article, indexes of the journals for publications, number of articles, etc.

    The part time online PhD, DBA, DM, DSc or DAnything offered by many of the online schools are not meant to train high caliber researchers but to provide continuing learning opportunities that once were given by continuing education departments but now taken over by online schools that grant PhDs instead of certificates.

    The adjunct market that once was taken by people with only a Master's is now taken by people with PhD but not so much because people are becoming smarter but because schools are making PhDs and Masters degrees money makers and people are consuming them as they are made believe that they are the ticket for better salaries and opportunities. Once people figure out the scam, they will stop consuming them and the online degree market will collapse.

    The scam is simple, the person with a BS thinks that a graduate degree will give him or her better opportunities. He or she looks around and local graduate schools require GMAT, GREs, two year full time attendance, thesis, etc. The person receives an email from a for profit school that offers a masters degree with no exams, one year part time, no thesis, etc. The person joins and is happy with the program because he or she receives an A for every single class and the course work is not very demanding. The person graduates and finds that the degree is not very useful in the work force but decides to go back for a PhD because he or she knows that the program will not be very demanding and he or she will be able to make the money back by teaching the same classes that the student took. Them the student graduates with a PhD and joins the online University as an online adjunct and he or she follows the same lax routine of easy As, not very demanding work, etc as this is what he or she knows about graduate school.
  16. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    If you want to know, just join a traditional school at your local university and take one of the classes that you took online with your online school. If you are capable of earning an A, then you will know that is you and not the online school that handed an easy A for you.
    Most of the traditional schools would release normal distributions for classes, you can compare your self with others and see if the A really mans something or if it is just the average. Most internet universities do not release the normal distributions. If the A given to you was just the average, I would say that the work was not exceptional but just average. If the A was only given to the top 20% of the class, then it means something.
  17. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    7 currently (a total of 9 ever)
    Undergraduate psychology and Graduate counseling
  18. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    I have facilitated tons of online classes since 2007 (full-time since 2011). I can count on one hand the number of students who have earned a 100%.
  19. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    You don't need 100% to get an A, most schools will give you an A with 90% or more. I have worked as faculty manager for one for profit, I will not mention name, but I checked other faculty members and most will just give As with little or no feedback. I raised this issue to my chair, she agreed that this was not right but needless to say that she quit after few months.

    I might be the only one experiencing this issue, I have only taught at 4 for profits so this sample size is small to generalize. However, I am convinced that the it is not very difficult to get As at some of the for profit schools. I know some people will start bashing me because this comment but this has been my experience.

    The question is not how many students have 100% but what percentage of As are given in your classes? A rigorous school would normally allow only up to 20% of As in a class to be credible.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2013
  20. me again

    me again Well-Known Member

    I've only received a B two times in graduate school. The first B was at an in-resident state university (Masters degree) and the second B was at a 100% online for-profit university (Doctoral degree).

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