The Unknown Adjunct

April 19, 2009

Six-Figure Follies?

Filed under: Academics,Perspective,teaching — unknownadjunct @ 7:58 pm
Tags: ,

Like just about any hungry adjunct looking for work, I stumbled across “Howard E. Rubin, PhD” and his site (AdjunctTeachingOnline) on how to make a 6-figure income as an adjunct.

He shows his “University” and “College” W-2s for the year, with a combined income of a bit over $104K for 2008. That’s impressive — let’s do the math. Assuming the rough national average of $2500/course for adjunct work, that works out to about 42 courses taught in the year. To bracket it, let’s set an upper limit of $4000/course, which puts him at 26 courses taught. The lower limit would be something like a large for-profit university, which comes in at about $1400/course, that would require a jaw-dropping 74 courses.

Let’s call it 30-50 courses per year.

  • For a 16-week course length (3/semester) that works out to 10-16 courses at a time
  • for an 8-week course (6/semester) that works out to about 5-8 courses at a time
  • for a 5-week course (10/semester) that works out to 3-5 courses at a time

From that exercise, it seems doable, as long as you can stay above $2500-3000 per course, and you have enough short courses to make it work. Five courses at a time is certainly doable — we expect CC instructors to do that all the time. Also, you would need several schools willing to pay you that (Rubin’s example has him working at 9 places). Plus, I think you would need a type of coursework with minimum interaction requirement and a canned curriculum that you could repeat as required.

So the bottom line looks like:

  • 8-10 schools
  • above average pay per course
  • teach only short courses
  • minimal interaction with students
  • easily repeatable curriculum

I’m not sure what else you get for paying $37/month on the easy payment plan. I’m sure there are some insider secrets that I’m not privy to, but I’ll pass. He’s been posting that only 25 people (26 in the email I was sent, oops!) will get that opportunity. But somehow I’m sure that he’ll leave an extra spot open if you really want to join the “Adjunct Professor Blastoff”.

All that said, his basic point is valid … if you’re willing and able to do the (huge) amount of work and preparation, then a six-figure income is in reach. I’ve had six-figure income jobs both in the government and in the business sector — they both took a huge amount of work and preparation too. In no case is this “easy money”. (Unless you can get folks to send you monthly checks to learn your “secret”).

Two weeks and a wakeup until I defend!


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