Teach online as adjunct and make 100K?

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by RFValve, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member


    As some in this forum have debated that adjuncts cannot make a decent salary. I found this forum of people that claim that make more than 100K a year teaching online.


    Can anyone share similar experiences? Would it be possible to make 100K teaching online?
  2. basrsu

    basrsu Member

    Online Adjunct Salary

    I'll be honest. I have a "day job," so I only teach part-time (I am teaching seven classes for four different colleges/universities this term).

    I have to turn down offers. Last calendar year (2006) I made $35,000 to $40,000 working only part-time, but I could have easily made $100,000 if I added in all the job offers I turned down. I know this seems unrealistic, but yes, it can be done--and I know of people who do. I can't take on that kind of responsibility, though.

    Remember when you do online adjunct work as a career, you pay your own insurance and have no company benefits package. So, while $100,000 may look like a lot on paper, figure in everything! In my "day job," I make $62,000 + insurance + a huge benefits package. Online adjunct work, then, is only supplemental income for me. But I suppose someone could make a living, but it would take extremely careful planning and the reassurances that enrollments would remain steady so that one gets classes each term. In short, though, yes, it's quite possible to make $100,000--and it's by no means unusual.

  3. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    Although I have not turned down any work, I will make $35K this year teaching if I get a full oad as I have been so far. I could teach double this easily if I did not work so many hours in my normal job. Could I make 100K teaching as an adjunct if the classes were offered? - yes.
  4. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    Thanks for sharing this, I'm also in the same business but not making still the 35K a year. At least it helps to recover the time and investment spent on a doctorate.

    Although it looks like an attractive way of making cash, my only concern is that online education might collapse the same way dot com companies did. As more people get online degrees, my concern is that it might get to a saturation point where employers won't really pay for those degrees and make the market collapse.

    Well, like everything, you should try to make your money while it lasts.
  5. DRMarion

    DRMarion New Member

    Last year, between jobs, I built up online courses to about $60k in income. I still do a number of courses (although I have a full time day job that also pays well...)

    I am sure I could consistently do at least $40-$60k/year as an online adjunct, and possibly more if I mixed it up and did some brick and mortar teaching as well.

    I might do this full time some day, if I could somehow get at least some achor job with benefits...
  6. LadyExecutive

    LadyExecutive Member

    Where can these teaching positions be found and would a masters degree meet any of the requirements?
  7. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    You have to really look at all the known schools and keep sending resumes out. It took me about a year to get my first class. By the way, I only have a masters.
  8. basrsu

    basrsu Member

  9. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    Utter nonsense.

  10. LarryF

    LarryF New Member

    You can do that after a year or so. You have to regularly look for contracts and not let the no's get you down. The greated need is for business instructors.

  11. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    It has happened to me already, one online school that I used to teach closed down one faculty due to lack of enrollment. My own brick and mortar school shut down the E-commerce faculty for lack of enrollment.

    As more schools go online, more competition will be for students and as education becomes more available you will have more graduates. It might get to a point where employers won't paid more to those with graduate degrees. It has happened already in many European countries in the past so I don't see why it wouldn't happen in North America.

    The explosion of online adjunct positions might no go forever.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2007
  12. Dave Wagner

    Dave Wagner Active Member

    I understand your point, but I think it is highly speculative when applied to all online schools and programs... Schools and programs close down all the time, regardless of the modality. It is more likely that enrollments in expensive on-ground programs could suffer as more good online programs blossom.

    For example, in the span of my career, I've heard the same reasoning used against part-time MBA programs, night-time MBA programs, weekend MBA programs, executive (i.e., lite) MBA programs and now online MBA programs. The same old arguments about the legitimacy of a different modality and saturation of graduates just morph into the new venue. None of the predictions were true; instead, the MBA has become the "high school diploma" of middle management and salaries for top-tier graduates are higher than ever.

    Employers will continue to pay educational benefits because they have to, and the cost of brick and mortar programs is typically much higher. For example, the cost of my on-campus AACSB MBA from Santa Clara University is now over $45K excluding textbooks and fees. One could earn three masters degrees online with those funds and a little shopping effort...

  13. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    Possible, but with what quality?

    I have been teaching online for over three years, averaging in the neighborhood of $20,000/yr. This is roughly, 1 -2 classes/session, maybe 5 sessions a year.

    I am curious for those claiming to top $50-60 K and would envision $100K as doable, what is your workload like?

    As many have found, teaching online is no simple proposition. Doing it right, requires a significant amount of writing (as everything online is written), the administrators for my programs expect assigning a significant amount of student work (which then needs to be graded), and a fair amount of instructor "presence" in the courseroom.

    So how do you juggle a full-time day job and sufficient courseload to make in the $50-60K range? Or are your classes paying so much more than mine? :)
  14. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    I spend around 10 hrs for every online class that I teach per week and make around 2K per two month course. I you teach all year long that is about 12K considering you teach one per session.

    If you teach 4 classes at once that is 48K per year. If you want to reduce the time spent from 10 to 5hrs, this would require that you teach the same class for two sections or more. Although this is possible, this would required that you teach more than one section of the same course in a session and that you have steady work during the year.

    The other advise is to automate online teaching by using feedback software that can help you to speed up the grading process.

    It is possible but you would need to work in as many schools as possible and automate the way you work.

    I think the best approach is to do both on-campus and online classes at the same time. This way you optimize your time better as you idle time can be used to teach online.
  15. basrsu

    basrsu Member

    I guess I am at the point where I can do this, but I request that I teach multiple sections of the same course. That way, I'm not having to try to memorize every assignment in three or four different course titles. This makes grading and responding to postings and answering questions so much less time consuming.

  16. euphoric

    euphoric New Member

    how in the world is this possible??

    Would you have to live in the US?
  17. CoachTurner

    CoachTurner Member

    So, let's say that you use the idea of 1 prep hour for every hour of class. A 3 hour class should be 3 "classroom" plus 3 prep hours per week. 6 hours per class. More if it's not one you've been doing repeatedly. Much more if it's in a subject with heavy writing that must then be read.

    Now, assume that this 6 hours pays $2,000 per half-semester (short term) - it probably pays the same for a long term too but you can get more short terms into a year.

    People who make $100K or more generally work more than 40 hours per week in most industries. Let's assume a 40 hour week though.

    40/6 = 6 classes (actually 6.66 but let's hold to 6) - 6 classes at $2000 per semester with 5 semesters per year = 30 classes at $2000 -- $60K per year and a massive teaching load. Real "full time" attention.

    It's not likely one could handle more than this type courseload but being paid $3000 per class is not out of the question. At this point we're nearing $100K per year.

    I've been paid $1500 per semester hour "in the seat" but that was teaching only one specialized course. At that rate, $4500 per 3 hour class over 30 classes per year would yield $135K...

    Real bottom line, doing 3 classes per semester is a handful and getting paid $2K for those over 5 semesters would only give 15 classes per year and $30K -- assuming you could get the gigs to start with.

    Is it possible to go over $100K? Yes, it is. Is $30-60K a more realistic expectation? Probably, for most adjuncts.
  18. basrsu

    basrsu Member

    Is it possible to go over $100K? Yes, it is. Is $30-60K a more realistic expectation? Probably, for most adjuncts.

    I agree, Coach. My only add to that statement is that most adjuncts do, in fact, have a "day job" that requires attention. However, as I've said in previous posts, I could have easily made $100,000 this past year--but I have a "day job" (one that I would like to hold onto, complete with benefits like insurance and retirement savings plans). That limits me to the amount of time I have to devote to online teaching, and I suspect most of us adjuncts are in the same boat.

  19. PsychPhD

    PsychPhD New Member

    But can you get that many?

    OK, I'm sure we all realized it was mathematically possible. Beyond the workload issues, how likely is it that you could actually be assigned 30 classes in a year?

    With two programs I teach for I'm lucky if I get five classes a year, so 10 total -- and these are programs I am (now) well established with. The sentiment from other threads is that the hiring authorities for online programs have a buyer's market where the prospective adjunct could wait 6 - 12 months before ever being offered the opportunity to be considered for a teaching assignment.
  20. basrsu

    basrsu Member

    OK, I'm sure we all realized it was mathematically possible. Beyond the workload issues, how likely is it that you could actually be assigned 30 classes in a year?

    Point well taken, PsychPhD. However, at the end of May, I will have taught 11 courses since January spread across six institutions. So yes, it is more than quite likely. It really depends upon how many resumes you want to submit to how many institutions and how patient you are. I did not get my first class until a year ago, and I waited a year before that for SOMEONE to call.


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