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linkedin-sales-solutions-Kfzfd8ksE10-unsplash (1)So you have what it takes to teach online college courses. You have the right college degrees in your discipline. You have some teaching experience. You’re pretty good at using the technology that the courses will require. Maybe you even have some experience with learning management systems, like Blackboard or Brightspace or Canvas. You’re as ready as you’ll ever be. Now what?

You can get an online teaching position by preparing a CV, cover letter, and Statement of Teaching Philosophy, searching online for jobs, and then applying for an interviewing for those jobs – with full knowledge of the college’s expectations and the goals of distance education. Know in advance what the responsibilities of the job are, and whether the college is building a faculty pool, and you’ll be prepared to take on online classes.

Thanks to the Internet, your job search can be done from your desk. Colleges post their job boards online, and that includes postings for online adjunct teaching positions. A basic search, utilizing any search engine, will turn up jobs quickly. A lot depends, too, on when you look. You’ll also need to have your materials in order.

Narrowing your search on the Internet will help you find teaching positions: where do you want to teach? Knowing at what point in the year the college hiring windows are open will help, too. It just takes a little detective work. And with your polished application materials in hand, you’ll be ready to apply!

First, Assemble Your Materials

Before you really begin looking for jobs and preparing for interviews, you’ll first want to make sure that your important documents are in order. Let’s begin with two that will be asked for consistently: your CV and your cover letter.

Your curriculum vitae, the CV, will need to cover a lot of ground. Aside from making sure your name, email address, and phone number are all at the top of the page, you’ll need to include the information a hiring committee most wants to see.

Your Education is paramount. List the degrees you’ve been awarded, where they’re from, and when you got them. It may be enough to include only your postgraduate degrees, the master’s and Ph.D. degrees that will be required for the jobs.

Your Work History is just as relevant. Show where you’ve taught, what you’ve taught, and how long you taught there. If you had a job title, list it. If you were a Teaching Assistant, a TA, get it on paper. Did you tutor? Include it.

In your Professional Summary, be sure to show off your qualifications and indicate how you want to grow as a teacher. What do you have to offer? Be explicit. Remember, the “professional summary” is the hook for an HR manager to keep reading. You can also detail a section on Skills, an excellent place to demonstrate your proficiencies. Which technologies you have used in your online classes, as well as the kinds of students you’ve worked with (undergraduates? adult learners?) can be detailed here.

Next, you’ll want to make sure you have an excellent cover letter. Aside from being sure to explicitly state which job you’re applying for, now is your time to shine. If the CV has grabbed a hiring manager’s interest, then your cover letter should follow up with more details. How do you evaluate student progress and assess their work? How have you used technology in the classroom in order to further student learning?

In both cases, the CV and the cover letter, it is important to do research of posted online adjunct teaching jobs and looking closely at “duties and responsibilities.”

joao-ferrao-4YzrcDNcRVg-unsplash (1)Be prepared to submit your college transcripts. In some cases, you can submit unofficial transcripts at first, though you may be asked to submit official transcripts later.

Finally, you will want to prepare well-written Statement of Teaching Philosophy that captures the essence of your approach as an informed online instructor. A full description of what a Statement of Teaching Philosophy entails warrants it’s own article, which we will provide shortly, but in sum have a 1-page, well-edited essay that describes your student-centered approach to distance education at-the-ready. Not all schools will ask for this, but you don’t want to limit yourself to only those that do not. Write one!

Using Search Engines to Find Online Adjunct Jobs

It’s safe to say that everything is online now—including job postings for just about every industry I can think of. Teaching is no different. All colleges have websites with pages dedicated to job postings. It’s just a matter of finding them. Let me give an example.

I started by typing “online adjunct teaching jobs Kentucky” in the search bar. Right off, I found that Bluegrass Community and Technical College, a public college, is hiring online adjunct faculty for a number of positions, including psychology, family studies, social work, developmental studies, human services, computer information technology, and medical insurance technology. I find that the pay is $725 per college credit hour.

Now that I’ve found a job, what will I need to apply? According to the posting, eighteen hours in the teaching discipline and a master’s degree. I find that preference will be given to applicants with prior experience teaching online (I also learn that BCTC uses Blackboard as their LMS).

So what do I need to submit? My current CV and college transcripts. I can apply directly through the BCTC site, too. I would also need to complete the “online teaching inquiry form” to be considered for future online positions.

markus-winkler-afW1hht0NSs-unsplashMy online search actually turned up some out-of-state jobs, too. Specifically, two jobs teaching online for Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, one in Healthcare Innovation and another in Healthcare Informatics. So what are their requirements?

Interestingly, MCPHS requires a bachelor’s degree, though a master’s is “preferred.” They want to see previous experience teaching to graduate students (specifically, students planning on a career in health and/or business) and experience using Blackboard. What do you need to submit? A CV and a cover letter.

When you’re typing in the search bar, try everything you can: “online instructor,” “online faculty,” “online adjunct,” or “remote learning.” Broaden your chances.

At AdjunctWorld we do a lot of this work for you – we hand-scrape the web every day for online adjunct teaching positions and list them in our database. Schools also post positions on our website, too. So, consider us your partner in this endeavor and use our search function to source online teaching jobs in your discipline area.

The Interview Process

In an interview published on, Sarah Eilefson, Ph.D., says that her interview process took place entirely over Zoom—as did her orientation and onboarding later on. That’s unsurprising, given the pandemic.

So what kinds of questions might you expect in an interview for an online teaching position? An article on provides some insight. Author Rhonda Malomet offers some of the questions she was asked.

One of the most important questions—and one you will sometimes have to provide as part of the application process—is, What is your teaching philosophy? She says that online teaching falls into two domains—”humanistic (focused on the individual) and behaviorism (focused on outcomes)”—and you should align your answers with these two types of teaching. Ensuring that you come across as a student-centered instructor (a guide on the side vs. a sage on the stage) is important as well.

You will be asked, she continues, about your experience with technology and learning management systems—if you have taken a course yourself that utilizes either or both, that counts! If you’ve had to troubleshoot, then that, too, is an opportunity to show your adaptability and flexibility.

You will be asked, naturally, about your teaching experience. She was asked to talk about a time she used creativity in her teaching. She was asked a common question about how she motivates students, as well as how much time she would give to a student. You could be asked how you interact with people online.

Into the Pool

You will probably find that at many colleges, there is a faculty pool from which departments draw their teachers. In many cases—Bluegrass Community and Technical College, which I mentioned here, is one—you will be given not so much a job as a place in the pool. If there is a high need, it is more likely you will be chosen to teach a class.

elissa-garcia-ckVjMurwKIs-unsplashSo “landing a job” sometimes means “landing a place in the pool,” and you’ll find that other teachers have seniority in that pool. What’s important is that teachers are drawn from the pool depending on need—and that need is dictated by how many students are signing up for a particular course, and therefore how many sections of the course will be open to teach. In the case of Bluegrass Community and Technical College, this is the case; the language used on their jobs page is “Posting is open-ended and will be filled according to need.”

The same is the case for Indiana University. A quick look at a job posting for an online adjunct instructor of math says that “Applications will be reviewed by the department as need for instructors arises, and candidates will be notified if they are chosen to interview.”

But this is not always the case. Indiana Tech, for example, is hiring for adjunct faculty in psychology—with online teaching experience preferred—and no mention is made of a pool. The same holds true for a position teaching online in their Global Leadership doctoral program.

When to Look for Online Adjunct Jobs

The best times to apply for online adjunct teaching positions is well in advance of the start of a new term—especially if you are applying to a faculty adjunct pool. Courses will be determined—and the need for instructors solidified—within the weeks before a new semester starts.

When you think “semesters,” you’re really thinking about two different times: fall and spring. Applying in the summer in order to be ready for the fall semester is a good idea, and applying by no later than the fall semester for the spring term is also a good idea. Is one better than the other? It depends on the course.

Take English composition, for example, typically a 100-level course. It is true, at least in some colleges, that most of the sections dedicated to Composition 101 will happen in the fall semester. Why is that? As I was told by English faculty, that’s when most of the incoming freshman sign up for the course. Therefore, there will be far more courses to teach in composition, and it will be more likely to ensure you classes to teach. In the spring semester, those same courses dwindle, and it may be the case that more faculty are trying to teach less classes—and getting a class to teach becomes more competitive because of that.

Therefore, it is probably best to really start looking for adjunct teaching jobs in the late spring or early summer to ensure you can teach in the fall. It is more advantageous for colleges to do a lot more evaluations of CV’s in that time—after all, they’re not teaching. By the time the winter rolls around, they will also already have a pool of faculty to draw from!

Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t apply for spring term classes to teach. But regardless, you will want to start at the best time—now. Begin with your standard job application paperwork: compile a CV, write a cover letter, secure some letters of recommendation (at least three), and make copies of, at least, your unofficial college transcripts.

Start applying for the jobs after searching online—most of your work will be uploading those materials. If you are contacted for an interview, prepare your answers based on what you know about teaching, working with students (of all ages!) online, and your skills with technology.

You don’t have to limit this process to your region, either. Use search engine terms to isolate jobs that are online that can be taught from anywhere. Whereas the successful candidates for a job with the College of Western Idaho will have to reside in Idaho by the first day of class, that is not necessarily the case with a great number of colleges.

With all these factors in mind—your application materials, a sense of how to answer interview questions, applying at the right time, and knowing whether you are applying for a position or a pool—you should have everything at your disposal to work toward landing an online teaching job.

We cover the process of landing an online teaching job in our 4-week, instructor-led course called OnRamp: A Practical Guide to Landing an Online Teaching Job. Participants leave class prepared for interviews and with a fully and professionally reviewed CV, Cover Letter, and Statement of Teaching Philosophy. See our OnRamp Course Description and FAQs page for more information and for upcoming schedule of classes.



TheBestSchools (2021). How To Get a Job Teaching Online.

Malomet, R. (2019). Ten Sample Interview Questions for an Online Instructor.

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