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Demystifying part-time faculty pay

money_foodstampsFormer CIA Director, General Petraeus makes $200,000 teaching a 3-unit course at CUNY. On the other-hand, you may have heard stories of adjuncts on food-stamps, homeless, and dying in poverty. If you are looking to find out the salary of part-time professors, you can find some pretty extreme examples.

So what’s the real story?

The average salary of a part-time professor per course is between $1500 and $5000.

In most universities, a credit-hour or unit roughly equates to the number of hours in class per week. There are of course exceptions with schools that have a different assignment of time/unit, but for our purposes, it won’t make a difference.

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the IRS quantified the time required to teach a course. In February 2014, the approved time multiplier of 2.25 hours for every hour a faculty member is in class was ratified as the official guideline for higher education institutions. Given this formula a part-time faculty member teaching a 3-unit course will be credited with 6.75 hours our service per week; therefore if you are teaching a 15-week semester, that would be 6.75 x 15 or 101.25 hours of work per semester.

The typical part-time faculty position pays between $1500 – $5000/ college course. For the purposes of explanation, let’s assume you make $2500 for teaching a 3-unit course for 15 weeks. Based on the 2.25 formula, you would make $24.69/hour. That rate includes your time in class, office hours, preparing,  and grading papers. Some weeks you will work more than 1.25 additional hours for each hour in class and other weeks you will work fewer.

According to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) 2013 data, the average salary of a full-time assistant professor nationwide is $58,406. Adjusting for inflation at 1.5% per year, the 2014 median salary would be as high as $59,282. Based on a work week of 40 hours, the assistant professor working full-time would be paid for 12-months at a rate of $28.50/hour. Based on a 9-month contract, the median rate for a full-time Assistant Professor is $37.05/hour.

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