Adjunct vs Associate Professor: Difference and Comparison

For the better growth of a student, a piece of practical knowledge and good training are required. Teaching a subject to students is not as easy as it sounds.

There are particular pieces of training on how to interact with students, and a professor goes through them. They can be adjunct or associate professors, but the objective is the same, which is to enlighten their respective students.

Key Takeaways

  1. Adjunct professors are part-time faculty members with no tenure track, while associate professors are tenured or tenure-track faculty members.
  2. Adjunct professors have fewer responsibilities, focus on teaching and are not required to conduct research or serve on committees.
  3. Associate professors enjoy greater job security, benefits, and opportunities for advancement compared to adjunct professors.

Adjunct vs Associate Professor

An adjunct professor is an instructor who is hired on a contractual basis by a college or university to teach one or more courses. An associate professor is a faculty member at a college or university who holds the rank just below a full professor, they are full-time and may be on a tenure track.

Adjunct vs Associate Professor

A person who’s hired to teach a certain subject for a limited time is called an adjunct professor. The appointment of an adjunct professor is based on his academic qualifications.

They are liable to perform the responsibility given to them. An adjunct professors had to spend most of their time with students.

Associate professor refers to an academic title given to a person. The degree required to become an Academic professor is a doctoral degree and some other academic qualification.

The field of work handled by an associate professor is called a profession. An associate professor can also be a researcher because of his educational background.

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonAdjunct ProfessorAssociate Professor
DegreeA doctoral degree is not necessary in most cases to become an adjunct professor.A doctoral degree has to be owned by a person, so he can become an associate professor.
PayThe payment received by an adjunct professor is less.The associate professor gets paid more compared to the adjunct professor.
ResponsibilityThe responsibility performed by the adjunct professor is not so much.An associate professor has many tasks to perform since they are liable for responsibilities they are trusted with.
DurationAn adjunct professor works part-time based on the condition given in the contract.An associate professor works full-time as an official employee.
BenefitsAdjunct professors do not get any benefit except for the pay.Adjunct professors have many other benefits as they have higher positions than adjunct professors.

What is Adjunct Professor?

The person hired to play the role for a certain time is known as the adjunct professor. The tenure is different from institution to institution.

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It is based on the needs required by the institute. In different countries, the duration of working as an adjunct professor is different from one another.

The other words used to signify adjunct professor are adjunct lecturer, adjunct faculty, adjunct instructor, etc. The work or services provided by such professors can be denoted as academic labour.

The concept of adjunct professor comes from Western countries and is similar in the USA and Canada. In some countries, especially in private universities, the word non-tenure faculty members is used for adjunct professors.

For example, in Pakistan, adjunct professors are known as non-regular faculty members. These professors are hired to teach preparatory and undergraduate courses.

An adjunct professor’s maximum working time can be one semester to two. To work as an adjunct professor, one requires at least a master’s degree.

Doctoral degrees aren’t necessarily needed for this job. A person’s work experience is more effective than a degree in this field since he has to teach bigger students.

At this stage, students require practical knowledge.

adjunct professor

What is Associate Professor?

The assistant professor can be considered as a rank that a person accomplishes after providing his service in the field of education for 15 straight years.

When a person applies or joins the university for the first time, he gets appointed as the associate professor of the respective subject. They are the official members of the faculty.

The associate professor is a title that is given to a person after completing the doctoral degree or required practice.

A person who is an associate professor should have academic knowledge to provide better teaching methods to the students. In Commonwealth countries, the title Professor is considered to be more similar to the word ‘reader’.

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An associate professor is also known as a senior lecturer. This profession is connected to tenure. It is considered the first promotion after getting into one of the faculty positions.

In the US, the term associate professor is considered to be in between the full professorship and adjunct professor.

Unlike an adjunct professor, when a person saves himself from the assistant professor position, he becomes the professor permanently and gets benefits already laid out for his position. Assistant professors are senior to adjunct professors and have more stability in their job.

associate professor

Main Differences Between Adjunct and Associate Professor

  1. The adjunct professor has a supplementary role. On the other hand, associate professors are accountable for full-time jobs and responsibilities.
  2. The agreement between the institution and the adjunct professor is based on a contract, while an associate professor joins an institution regularly.
  3. The adjunct professor is more beneficial to the institution, whereas an associate professor is a bit expensive with the view to the expense of the institution.
  4. The adjunct professor doesn’t have to join official meetings held by institutions, while an associate professor is liable to join the meetings.
  5. One can be an adjunct professor without having a PhD. On the other hand, a person must have a PhD to become an adjunct professor.
Difference Between X and Y 2023 06 18T083254.305

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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7 thoughts on “Adjunct vs Associate Professor: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article provides a comprehensive comparison of adjunct and associate professor roles, highlighting the nuances between part-time and full-time faculty members. It offers an excellent insight into academic employment.

  2. The article is very informative about the differences between adjunct and associate professors. It makes it clear that the associate professor position requires a doctoral degree and is associated with more benefits and responsibilities.

    • This information is valuable for aspiring academics, providing a clear understanding of the academic path and the varying roles and qualifications of adjunct and associate professors.

  3. Adjunct professors offer an alternative path for people who may have substantial industry experience or different experiences relevant to the subject being taught, proving that a doctoral degree is not necessary. This opens more opportunities for educators.

  4. The difference between adjunct and associate professors is well-explained, shedding light on their responsibilities and qualifications. This can help prospective educators make informed career decisions.

  5. The distinction made here in the roles and requirements of adjunct and associate professors leaves no doubt about the qualifications and responsibilities expected. It’s a valuable resource for anyone considering a career in academia.

  6. The article effectively outlines the criteria, responsibilities, and differences between adjunct and associate professors. This is highly informative for those considering an academic career.


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