Over the weekend, I was asked, “What is an Adjunct Professor and what do they do?” The easiest way to explain the concept is that once a grad students completes their masters degree, then that graduate has the opportunity to teach in higher education at any college and/or university. The educational institutions are not required to pay adjuncts any benefits, thus the reason why they hire so many part-time adjuncts vs. full time professors.
The Affordable Care Act limits the colleges ability to hire adjuncts to work full time. An adjunct can only work 2-3 courses per college campus. In order for any adjunct to earn a decent living is to work at several different colleges each semester. However, some colleges and universities often give a discount on their graduate courses, so any adjunct employee can gain another masters or doctoral degree.
As for myself, I am grateful to be blessed to work for several private and community colleges in the Hudson Valley, NY area. If anyone is considering adjunct teaching it is a great way to get feet wet to see if you like teaching. If you prefer to teach K-12, then you need to enroll in an educational degree program with a concentration in a certain subject. Plus, obtain the required state teacher license in order to work with younger children. Otherwise, you will need to network to find teaching opportunities. The best advice I received from another professor was to apply every semester because things change constantly.