Pipe Dream = Adjunct Teaching

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by friendorfoe, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Hello all,

    So recently I was discussing my plans of obtaining a MSCJ from Troy University so that I can teach online as an adjunct when a friend of my wife chimes in saying that it is a pipe dream. She said that college positions are so competetive that unless you're already teaching, getting your foot in the door is next to impossible.

    Okay.......but I'm talking adjunct. She then says that they do hire adjuncts, usually the ones they've hired in the past and that they will generally have over a 100 resumes per position. (She works as an English Comp. instructor).

    So is there any validity to this claim? The only reason I am pursuing a CJ degree at the graduate level is because:

    A.) It is interesting...........but not THAT interesting that I wouldn't just as soon take an MSM or MBA that I could use in management (which is what I do).

    B.) Mainly, I'd really like to teach part time.

    So my questions are:

    1.) Is what she says true?

    2.) If not, just how difficult is an adjuct position to attain?

    3.) Lastly, is teaching CJ that competative?
  2. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Depends on the field, and on your geographic location. If you want to teach in a field like English (where there are relatively few other professional options), and you live in an area with many universities (and consequently many underemployed PhDs), then it may be difficult to get an adjunct position.

    If you work in a field where there are more professional opportunities, or in an area where there are fewer qualified people, then your odds may be much better.

    Note that adjunct teaching typically pays poorly in any case. If you consider the total time spent preparing for class and grading papers and tests, as well as time spent in the classroom, then per-hour compensation tends to be surprisingly low. It's best to do adjunct teaching as a supplement to another job, rather than as a career in itself.
  3. JH50

    JH50 Member


    2 people who recently retired from my department obtained FT teaching positions at the community college level in CJ. I spoke to one of them who said that he applied with 70 others. I believe the other position had the same number of applicants.

    I think what helped them both was the fact that our PD (based in a mid-sized city) is the largest in the area, which gave the applicants plenty of relevant experience vs. someone who worked in a small suburb. They were also able to make contacts while they were still employed, teaching recruits at the academy and teaching a class or two at the college level while still employed.

    While the degree is important, anyone can get a master's degree, (with some hard work and dedication) the question is what experience can you bring to the table along with your degree? just my .02 ....

    BTW both of our recent retirees have MPA's
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2006
  4. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Thanks for the input guys. Just to name a few colleges in my area......there is:

    University of Dallas
    Dallas Baptist University
    University of Texas Dallas
    North Texas University
    University of Texas Arlington
    Texas Weslyan
    Tarrant County College (I think 4 campuses)
    Dallas County College (I think 4 campuses)
    Collin County College (3 campuses or maybe 4)
    Argosy (somewhere around here)
    Amberton University
    Everest College
    Remington College
    Devry (several campuses)
    University of Phoenix (several campuses)
    A&M Commerce
    Baylor (I believe a small satallite school)
    several seminarys such as Arlington Baptist....etc.

    So yes, there is a HUGE array of colleges around here. All of the above are easily within a 45 minute drive of one another (mostly)...

    I have been advised by EVERYONE in my dept. that an MPA is a better route, faster career advancement, more diversity, etc., but steadily march on saying "well I want to teach". So now I have this family friend saying that it is an unreasonable expectation.

    Maybe I do have my head in a can not allowing for reality or reason to reach me. I like CJ as a degree. I like it as a job, however I see direct competition between the MPA and MSCJ types for upper level management positions in the field and I have had no less than 2 MPA's as criminal justice instructors and 1 JD. Which makes me think "what gives?" does CJ not get the respect it is due?

    Anyways.........here I am all set on Troy, etc. when this seed of doubt enters my head and begins to germinate. I like APUS's MPA program a lot.......and it more directly applies to my current position, and I have several guys TWICE my age with 3 times my experience telling me an MSCJ "a waste of time" in one guy's words "wasted talent" in another's (that's the one that got me).
  5. siddielou

    siddielou New Member

    Most aspiring English profs fancy themselves sitting around in a big comfy chair by a roaring fire reading novels, engaging in spirited discussion with interested and involved students, writing great novels in their spare time, and wearing lots of tweed jackets with elbow patches.

    Of course this is not reality and they become bitter. I've known gobs of English profs in my day and I'd ignore your friend's wife. She's probably bitter.

    Do your research on school in the area, programs, who's teaching what, and try to get out there and network. Start small - a class here or there - and watch it grow. Do what you love and the money will follow.
  6. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I would look at the MPA program. You already have an AS and BS in CJ so maybe you can branch out a bit.

    The bottom line is - what do YOU want to do with the degree?
  7. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator

    1) No.

    2) It wasn't that difficult for me.

    3) It definitely goes in cycles.

    That being said, an online adjunct position is generally easier than a B&M position, which has a lot to do with compensation. Online positions generally pay less than classroom-based gigs, but then again you don't have to worry about commuting, parking, etc., and can facilitate the course at 3am in your pajamas if you like.

    If you have a decent resume and are persistent, you will land an adjunct job somewhere.

    If you have any specific questions, shoot me a PM.
  8. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I can't speak for CJ positions, but I teach computers and management classes for two schools. This semester I will make an extra 7K. Next semester I should make 8.6K - 10K depending on what I get.
  9. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    and I forgot the inportant stuff-

    One school took a year to get into and the other was instant. It really depends of what they need at the time.
  10. AuditGuy

    AuditGuy Member

    It just takes a little patience.

    A) Go to higheredjobs.com and apply for everything you are remotely qualified for.
    B) Once you have all the apps in, expect to wait 6 months or more without a peep. Your experience may very
    C) Take whatever you can get initially until you are able to get down to the schools you actually want to teach for.

    In the meantime, take a good look at your CV and see if there is anything you can add to it. I use this link for a list of "scholarly activities".


    Other things I tried to pick up in the lag time were:
    *Experience with Blackboard
    *Published a couple articles (Just trade ones)
    *Added a certification in my field

    The pay is very low and likes others have said, it is good "found money", but not a practical full time gig.
  11. eric.brown

    eric.brown New Member

    Re: Re: Pipe Dream = Adjunct Teaching

    Imagine my surprise when I see a link to Southwestern OK State. It is good to see SWOSU is doing something that other people find useful :)
  12. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Thanks guys.

    I looked into it a bit more and found that my #2 choice school APUS has an MPA program that will allow me to take "Security" and “Disaster Management” classes and apply them towards their MACJ.

    Basically I can transfer 15 hours from the MPA to the MACJ http://www.apu.apus.edu/Transfer-Credit/TCECreditsAccepted.htm which may provide the best bang for the buck. We’re only talking a difference of 7 classes for BOTH degree programs. Heck, I was considering a 5 class certificate anyways. Maybe this is the best all around route for me.
  13. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner Member

    Keep in mind what the job announcement is going to say when you start looking at those adjunct gigs. I'd bet that a majority of applications get trashed right off the bat just for not meeting the basic requirement. It will read something like this:

    Master's degree in criminal justice or master's degree with 18 graduate hours in criminal just required. Earned doctorate preferred. Experience teaching adults or at the post secondary level preferred.

    For the requirement and MPA doesn't in itself meet this announcement. An MPA with 18 hours in criminal justice would - as would an MA in English with 18 hours of criminal justice. Of course, an earned doctorate is preferred but there aren't a lot of those walking around without a job in the CJ field - in English, oh yeah.

    The preferred experience is almost always listed as teaching experience at the level - not as field experience. It's this condition that allows that guy who worked in the field for only 3 years but spent of year in the training department to get the gig over the guy with 20+ years field experience but no teaching.

    So, here's my advice; based on adjunct appt. experience:

    Get the MPA is that's the degree you want but make sure you have 18 hours specifically in the content area. Disaster Preparedness is not criminal justice and there are very few paid disaster teaching gigs out there. There are still plenty CJ teaching gigs because schools continue to add that program creating a need for instructors.

    Get some teaching experience. Verifiable and quality teaching of adults. Two really good places to pick up some teaching experience are your local school district (volunteers in schools) and your local Red Cross (volunteers in disaster services or health and safety training). The Red Cross experience would be teaching adults which is what the adjunct gig is looking for.

    Also look at your hobbies and see if anything you do is suitable for the lifelong learning or cont. ed. division of your local colleges (especially community college). These are very low paying teaching gigs but will get you not only experience teaching adults but also contacts.

    If you have an athletics background - volunteer to coach in your sport at one of the colleges. These volunteer gigs sometimes lead into paid positions (especially if you're good at it) and also provide contacts.

    Many academics will counter the argument many field professionals make. Twenty years experience as a patrol officer prepares you to be a good patrol officer but not to be an educator. The key is to get some experience teaching something to someone.
  14. Shawn Ambrose

    Shawn Ambrose New Member

    Re: Re: Re: Pipe Dream = Adjunct Teaching


    Thanks for the link - it's in my bookmarks now!

  15. teachtech

    teachtech New Member

    Online adjunct teaching is not a bad gig. I routinely teach between 6-10 courses every term. Since I teach for 5-6 different institutions, the schedules are all different and unfortunately that means never a vacation free of teaching except a few days at Christmas. The lowest paid course I teach is 1875 for 16 weeks. The others range from 2300 for 11 weeks to 2910 for 8 weeks.

    Once you get into online teaching, you can begin to take more courses at the institutions that pay more and fewer at the ones that pay less. I've worked up to 65K-85K per year, working about 30 hours a week -- spread over 7 days that's not much per day and leaves lots of free time for other things.

    I have an MS in Educational Technology plus 18 hours in ENG and Communications plus a Grad Certificate in CJ. Being able to diversify and teach several different subjects really makes a huge difference in how much work one can find. Plus being able to teach several different subjects keeps the work from getting boring :) In the past two years I've taught Eng comp I and II, Business Writing, Communications, Sociology, Development English, Research Writing, and will be teaching CJ courses this summer (just recently completed the CJ grad courses). I'm also developing two courses for a specific university. One is an Internet Communications course and the other is a Computer Crimes CJ course. The university pays extra for course development. Again, expertise in more than one or two subjects really increases the opportunities for making money at home in both teaching and developing courses.

    It takes a while to develop the contacts and the full time work. You'll have to teach for 3-4 institutions. Teaching more than 2 online courses will be very difficult for a year or so until you work out your own system for organization, grading, facilitating, etc. If you can develop your own courses, you can organize to avoid a lot of grading in several courses all in the same weeks. If you're teaching "canned" courses, you don't have much choice and have to take what you get. Both ways have advantages and disadvantages.

    Remember that the key is to have a masters in anything that includes 18 hours in a specific subject area. Then after that, you'd be smart to take 6 grad courses in another area to add to your teaching opportunities. In the past five years I've added two subjects (6 grad courses in each) to my MS and I'm thinking about another subject area for 2007. Those adjunct faculty who can teach more than one subject are the ones who get the most work.

    Good luck!!
  16. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Thanks everyone. I've been praying about this and seeking all kinds of advice. I will get my MSCJ or MACJ one day in the not too distant future, but for now I am thinking of getting that St. Joseph's College MBA that I spoke of so much in the past.

    It's not the fact that it's an MBA, or because I think St. Joe's just carries a ton of prestige (right-eeeohhh) but because I cannot shake the feeling that everytime I read the individual course listings I see nothing but stuff I should know, not only for the future, but for my needs right now.

    I'll still teach, and I still want that Troy MSCJ, but for now, St. Joe's looks like the right degree at the right time............even though I'm more interested in Criminal Justice.
  17. teachtech

    teachtech New Member

    You can always get a graduate certificate in CJ later. AMU/APUS has some great courses and (so far) the price is good. From start to finish my grad certificate plus two courses (total 21 hours) took 7 months. I was able to work full time and take courses without overextending my work week. I wouldn't say the AMU/APUS courses were "easy" but they were not time consuming on a weekly basis. Once I got the course work in the syllabus, I sat down and finished everything in a weekend except the research papers, midterms, and finals. When I had a slow week (work wise) I'd write the research paper that week. I often took 2-3 courses at a time (they overlapped because you can start a course on the first of the month). I started one course at the beginning of each month so every month I was finishing 4 weeks of one and starting 4 weeks of another. It worked out well because there was never too much work that I couldn't handle two courses at a time.

    You might want to take the AMU/APUS courses, one at a time, while you're working on your MBA. I know a lot of people who pick up 6 grad courses in a specific subject area at the same time they're working on a masters. That way, when they're done, they're done :)

    Good luck!!
  18. GME

    GME New Member

    It is not a huge reach to land an adjunct position. The first position is the most difficult. Best advice is to pick up some experience while working on your masters. For online, see if you can take some training in online course design and in the specifics of online delivery formats (blackboard, etc.). Even teaching an extension course or a community inteest course will help, especially if it's somehow affiliated with a college or university. For online, having taken an online degree is a good step up.

    With adjunct positions, it's a 'need someone right here right now' situation, so if you have an acceptable degree and an even plausable experiential background, you have a shot.

  19. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    Again, thanks everyone. Adjuncting would probably just be a thrift plan income, meaning that anything I make would go into some type of account that I won't touch until retirement.........thus it is not my plan on making a living whatsoever.

    As for my grad degree......I still will get some kind of MS or MA in Criminal Justice, just to have for personal satisfaction if nothing else. But for right now, I think I'll diversify.
  20. Longwaytogo

    Longwaytogo New Member

    Happy New Year, friendorfoe!

    I still don't know about Saint Joe's teaching style...maybe it's time to try them out for a course and just see what you think, eh?

    I'm really with you about your feeling that the SJCME course listings are calling your name...but want to say "there's a lot to the delivery method of a course!"

    Keep us posted!

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