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How to Become an Online Adjunct Professor

Earning a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree can prepare you to teach online.

The number of U.S. college students taking online courses continues to grow,1 and so does the demand for postsecondary teachers.2 If you’ve always wanted to teach at the college level, those indicators may be your signal that it’s time to explore becoming an online adjunct professor.

What is an adjunct professor? Well, if you’ve earned a college degree, or taken classes online or at a brick-and-mortar university, you may have learned from an adjunct professor. These professionals are part-time faculty members who often have careers in fields other than teaching. Their college degrees are generally in the field they teach or a related discipline. Most have doctoral degrees, but there are opportunities for professionals with master’s degrees.3


If you’d like to teach college students in an online classroom, here are five steps to becoming an online adjunct professor.

Step 1: Explore the Field
Research the qualifications you’ll need to become an adjunct professor at the online colleges that interest you. Study online universities’ job boards and postings. Do they require a master’s degree, or will you need a doctorate or PhD? How about teaching and work experience? The online schools’ HR departments may be willing to share general information. Talk with adjunct professors who teach online courses to get their insights; use your network to make connections.

Step 2: Choose an Online University
Find an accredited university that gives you the flexibility to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree while you work. Some things to look for: expert faculty, student support services, flexible learning options, and program variety. Walden University, for example, offers more than 100 online degree and certificate programs. Earning a degree online also helps you become nimble with online learning platforms, which is experience that can come in handy for online adjunct professors.

Step 3: Earn Your Degree
Enroll in the next-level online degree program that can advance your career and prepare you to become an adjunct professor. Start or finish your bachelor’s degree. Move up to a master’s. Graduate to a professional doctorate or a PhD. Let your career goals guide your academic journey, and remind yourself that you can get there, one online course at a time. To expedite your studies, look into the possibility of transferring credits or getting credit for work experience.

Step 4: Get Employment-Ready
Prepare for your job search by gathering and updating the materials you’ll need to apply for online adjunct professor jobs. Create a résumé that you can use as a template, but be sure to customize each résumé and cover letter to specific job opportunities. Review postings on job boards to see what else you may need to provide. Items may include transcripts, written references, and a statement of your teaching philosophy. Make sure your hardware and software meet technical requirements.

Step 5: Start Teaching
Use your college degree and career experience to become an inspirational, in-demand teacher in the virtual classroom. If you don’t get the first job you apply for, don’t be discouraged. You may land a spot in an online college’s pool of adjunct professors, in line to teach an online course. Once hired, ask about continuing education requirements. Watch for professional development and networking opportunities. Remember that the best teachers keep learning and growing.

Let Online Education Enrich Your Life

Reap the benefits of higher education with an online degree program tailored to your lifestyle, talents, and career goals.

Walden gives you the tools you need to craft your career and future: dozens of online degree programs, course-based and competency-based learning formats, a commitment to diversity and inclusion and social change, and much more. Enrollment Specialists can help you get started.

At Walden, online learning is flexible, making it an excellent choice for busy working professionals. To get to class, you’ll need a laptop and an internet connection. There’s no wasting valuable time commuting to campus. Online education removes other geographic barriers, too. At Walden, you’ll become part of a global community of learners—no passport required.

Earning a degree online can change your life. And by becoming an online adjunct professor, you can help others transform theirs, too.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering certificate programs and bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,