When looking for online adjunct teaching positions, your first question may well be, “But what can I teach?” Are there particular courses that are more likely to be online than others? Can any course be taught online? Is your particular discipline one in which you’ll find online classes to teach?
There is a huge array of classes that can be taught online. Because colleges are moving more and more toward increasing online classes, it is very likely that you will find classes to teach in just about any subject. Those subjects range through the sciences, humanities, social sciences, arts, and mathematics—the subjects typical to college coursework—and they also range through specific work-related courses like nursing, accounting, computer science, and more.
The courses offered by colleges can still vary tremendously across your region, your state, and the country. Different colleges have very different programs, and those will also dictate what courses are available to teach online. What can you expect to find? A lot.
Teaching English and Composition
One of the ever-present adjunct instructor jobs is in composition—it is a basic course, required of pretty much all college students, and so there are a lot of sections offered. But are any offered online? As a matter of fact, they are.
Northwestern Health Sciences University, for example, offers a fully online English Composition course. This is a “part-time” position, seven hours a week, and though a master’s degree is required to teach it, you don’t need any experience. To teach at the undergraduate level, the job positing clearly says, “0-2 years of experience.” Further, having experience teaching online is “preferred” but not required.
Purdue University Global also offers composition courses in asynchronous format. You’d be required to offer virtual office hours, respond to electronic correspondence in a timely fashion, and lead message board discussions. The class utilizes Adobe Connect, Microsoft Office Suite, and Brightspace education software—so experience with these programs, as well as three years of online teaching experience, is preferred, though three years of teaching online is a minimum qualification.
The Los Angeles Community College District offers some of their composition courses online using Canvas. Ohio’s Columbus State Community College offers English, and specifically developmental reading and writing, for more than $50 an hour, and some of those courses are online. Central State University, also in Ohio, offers online course in English Composition—and in fact, as far as humanities goes, they offer more than that.
Teaching the Humanities
Despite the abundance of English Composition adjunct positions available, as well as the ease you might imagine such a course could be taught entirely online, there are actually a lot of humanities classes offered online.
Aside from composition, Central State University offers a number of humanities courses online, including Spanish language, French literature, history, journalism and mass communication, and philosophy & religion. It is not uncommon to find courses like these at other colleges available, as well.
Just basic “humanities” as a course is offered for online adjuncts by Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana and Indian River State College in Florida. Excelsior College in Albany, New York offers a humanities course—they want someone who specializes in Ethics—that will be offered entirely in Spanish! So if you speak a second language, there are opportunities to use that skill, as well.
Sciences and Mathematics
The demand for workers skilled in math and sciences has been growing for decades—the economy has come to depend on STEM students, and that is a trend showing no signs of stopping. So you can expect there to be plenty of jobs teaching math and science online—and you’d be right to think so.
Finger Lakes Community college in upstate New York hires, at $945 per contract hour, for mathematics positions where having online teaching experience is a plus. Same with West Virginia Northern Community college, who hired for both on-campus and online classes.
The sciences, too, are moving to an online format. The California Baptist University hires adjuncts for an online course in research methods and statistics. Biology is a popular subject, with Los Angeles Pacific University offering more than $30 an hour to teach biology online—and in lieu of actual online teaching experience, they accept the completion of an online teaching certification process (granted, they are only authorized to hire in nineteen states, but that is still quite a range).
Common sciences where you will find jobs for online courses include physics, psychology, astronomy—even fire science! (Fire science is taught online by colleges like Arizona’s Mohave Community College, and Washington’s Everett Community College and Skagit Valley College).
Many of the courses I’ve detailed so far largely fall under the umbrella of undergraduate courses, and they are often courses required of all students—like composition or mathematics. It’s often the case, though, that one can teach upper-division undergraduate courses and even graduate courses—psychology is a prime example. But other courses are far more specific to particular industries, and if you have degrees and/or experience in those industries, a whole new level of opportunity opens up.
There is an increasing number of adults wanting to take college coursework to further their career—and many of these courses are online. That’s no surprise, given that the typical adult—who probably already has a career, a family, and other responsibilities—can’t fit college classes into their day. what used to be “night school” is now largely handled online.
Penn State offers a number of such courses. Supply chain management, graphic design for communications, marketing, management, and computer science are all offered as online courses for adjuncts to apply for.
Central State, prior to the Summer 2020 semester, was in urgent need of online adjuncts in criminal justice, business management, and early childhood education. Beginning in the fall of 2020, they planned to offer their intervention specialist (INS) program online, as well. Professional coursework is growing, and help is clearly needed.
I’ve written elsewhere about the need for adjuncts to teach things like nursing and accounting. Even radiology technology is taught online. Teaching classes like these will allow you to interact with what we might think of as more traditional undergraduate students and adults who are already professionals in their field.
So what courses can you teach online? A lot, it turns out. Many job boards post far more than I can account for here. Start searching our AdjunctWorld online teaching job database and see what turns up.