Saturday, December 11, 2004

CAN a Person Exist on an Adjunct's Salary?

Last week, Mike asked if I thought that he could find work and survive as an adjunct at our school, and taken in by a greedy desire to urge him to apply for a full-time position here, I glided past his question and launched into the glories of fulltime work.

My bad. Mea culpa. Sorry.

I'd like to ask any adjuncts who read this blog to respond. Is there anyone, anywhere, able to survive on an adjunct's paycheck, at least long enough to finish a dissertation?

My guess has been there isn't, unless the adjunct is married to a working spouse, has a trust fund or a rainy day fund tucked away, and health insurance. Otherwise, the adjunct becomes a "Beltway Gypsy," who teaches at several institutions to make ends meet and has no time for anything except grading papers and refueling the car.

Adjuncts, what's it like?


At 1:33 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

I used to teach high school. Good luck with your classes. Fellow teachers are my favorite people.

At 4:25 PM, Blogger Another Damned Medievalist said...

A person can survive on adjunct wages in WA state if she teaches an FT load between two schools. That's true for most CCs, although Pierce pays noptoriously badly, as do a couple of others. But teaching over 50% at any school for two quarters in a row means benefits. FT salary (cobbled together as an adjunct) is between $24-$29k. It's about 40% higher for actual FT people. I've heard UW pays as much as $5k a class.

At 5:29 PM, Blogger Tom Naka said...

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At 7:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I am an adjunct, and I do like it, but my husband has a great job with benefits. However, it seems to me that you are better off being a grad assist while working on your dissertation. I think that way you qualify for some insurance benefits. I work in the middle part of the country where pay is about 2-grand per class...I have a friend who is teaching TEN classes per semester and has a daughter. I asked how she can stand to be that busy, and she said she's barely making it. I think it's all of the medical, dental, and other costs of children.
Again, if you can get part time through a univ. you may be able to offset those costs. That said, if you want flexibility and autonomy, adjuncting is the way to go. You can always work as a sub for high schools on your off days, if you have any.

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