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Getting an Online Adjunct Faculty Position

written by: Jacqueline Chinappi•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 4/28/2010

You may want to teach online but what are the basic requirements and how do you even get started? Here is some information on becoming an online adjunct faculty member.

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    The New Adjunct

    It seems like every college and university now offers online courses with many degrees even available completely online. All of these students are getting an education online, but who is teaching these classes? The answer may surprise you. Depending on the type of class being taught, many times the “professor” is not even a “professor” and has had no teaching experience whatsoever. Here we will look at different pathways you can take to teaching an online course.

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    Education Requirements

    Obviously a university is not going to hire someone who has a bachelor’s degree to teach a graduate level course. So what are these colleges looking for? When it comes to education requirements there are usually several options or preferences from the school. They are either looking for:

    · Someone with a master’s in the course they intend to teach (eligible to teach undergraduate level courses)

    · Someone with a master’s in any field and 18 graduate level credits in the course they intend to teach (eligible to teach undergraduate level courses)

    · Someone with a doctorate level degree (eligible to teach graduate level courses)

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    Teaching Experience

    Is teaching experience necessary? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Again, this all depends on the course being taught as well as the college. It is almost certain that an individual wanting to teach a graduate level psychology course will need to have obtained a doctorate in psychology. In some cases though, if you want to teach an undergraduate course in psychology such as Introduction to Psychology, the person will have only needed to attain a master’s degree in psychology.

    Many times with business classes teaching experience and a higher level degree is not even needed. These types of courses are looking for individuals with many years of work experience and have hands on knowledge in their field.

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    Where to Look for Jobs?

    So now that you know the basics in requirements, where do you look for a job? First suggestion would be to look for online adjunct groups and to sign onto their list servs. List servs are another way of getting emails sent directly to your email account. While these emails come in mass amounts, it may be best to use an account you do not use often or make another account just for this list serv. Why do you need the group and list serv? This is the best way to network amongst peers and professionals who know where to find the jobs, know of job boards, and may even know little secrets of the trade. You can search groups on for “online adjunct faculty”.

    The second suggestion would be to simply start searching colleges, not just online colleges. Many brick and mortar schools now give courses online and they will post in the employment section when they need a position to be filled.

    With these few helpful hints, you may be on your way to becoming an online professor and joining the online adjunct faculty in no time!