U.S. community colleges are publicly funded institutions of higher education that offer the first two years of college education. Typically, community colleges are funded by counties or cities for the benefit of their residents. A community college generally offers both academic and vocational education programs. Many community college instructors are adjunct faculty paid for teaching specific courses. Adjunct faculty pay at community colleges is usually on a per-class or per-semester-hour basis.

Community College Adjuncts:

A community college adjunct faculty member is someone hired under a contract to teach a specific class. Generally, most community college adjunct faculty members aren't paid retirement or other benefits. Many community colleges operate on tight budgets, with relatively few faculty members on staff per each academic or vocational program or discipline. Depending on the community college, individual adjunct faculty members might be contracted to teach from 12 to 15 or more semester hours per semester, sometimes at relatively low pay.

Adjunct Pay Range:

Average adjunct faculty instructor pay varies by community college. A 2006 report by the Modern Language Association noted that community college average adjunct faculty instructor pay ranged from about $1,397 to about $3,000 per course. According to a 2008 article at the "Small Steps for Big Change" website, adjunct faculty pay at community colleges also depends on the education of the instructor. Generally, the article notes, community college adjunct faculty instructors are paid $2,200 to $3,500 per course.

Adjunct "Freeway Fliers":

The 2006 Modern Language Association article notes that many community college adjunct faculty members teach at multiple community colleges. By teaching courses on different days of the week, each at a different community college, adjunct instructors are able to boost incomes. The MLA article calls adjunct professors who teach at several community colleges "freeway fliers." Community college adjunct faculty freeway fliers may be able to earn a living wage by combining salaries for teaching several courses per semester.

Pay Per Hour:

Community college adjunct faculty may spend many more hours related to their courses than their pay might indicate. For example, adjunct faculty members aren't paid for time spent grading assignments nor for answering student emails or meeting with students before or after classes. Community college adjunct professors may spend two hours in class preparation time to every hour spent actually teaching. Counting time spent preparing for their classes, community college adjunct faculty members might earn $10 to $15 hourly.

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