Non-Tenure-Track Teaching Positions

Non-tenure-track teaching is an avenue worth exploring when considering careers inside the academy. They can be a great beginning or a great long-term plan, depending on your goals.

The Nature of the Work

Adjunct or part-time teaching can include work at a state university, private two- or four-year college or community college. They suit people for different reasons. Some want teaching experience before searching for a tenure-track position. Others just love to teach, and find that this path provides the oppportunity to fulfill their passion.   

Consider this first.

There are pros and cons to non-tenured teaching. Be sure to consider:

  • Salary: There is typically a disparity in pay scale between non-tenured teachers and their tenure-track counterparts.
  • Benefits: There may or may not be a decrease in the benefits offered, including retirement planning options.
  • Your long-term goals: On the plus side, if you want a tenure-track position later, working as a visiting assistant professor for 1-2 years can build teaching experience.

Community and Two-Year Colleges

In contrast to the grant-writing, paper-publishing world of the tenure-track, many prefer to teach permanently in community colleges. The emphasis here is on teaching. One advantage is that the setting is generally smaller and more intimate. You may also find greater geographic flexibility if you prefer to live in a certain area.