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Any advice on gaining college online teaching experience with a Master’s degree?


Christina Deckard Fort Wayne, IN

My goal is to become an adjunct professor upon completion of my PhD degree, by 2025. I’m on application #43 and crickets as I do not yet have experience. I’m also open to landing a position in research. My target is an online position, 20-30 hours per week. Thank you

14 October 2021 6 replies Career Exploration



Christina Deckard Fort Wayne, IN

Thank you so much for your recommendations. I took your advice and contacted an advisor, filtering by "education" and my zip code. I located a former career counselor at a nearby university with over thirty years of experience and submitted my resume, cover letter and requested his help. Jackpot! Thank you so much for this recommendation!!!


Christina Deckard Fort Wayne, IN


Your suggestion of pursuing a government-contracted position is brilliant! I found a job that looks on par for my goal, (employer is CATHEXIS) however I still lack experience. I believe the best way to gain experience is to pursue adjunct positions at community colleges and by the time I am finished with my PhD and capstone (2025-2026), I will pursue Cathexis or a similar government-contracted employer. Thank you!


KIMBERLEY Latford Daytona Beach, FL

I feel your pain. I taught in adjunct and even FT lecturer positions galore years ago, w/ only one Masters degree, and now that I have two Masters degrees, it’s become much harder as the accreditation requirements, plus the requirement for “a terminal degree in the field” are much more universal than in the 1990s.
But with a PhD. you deserve and are qualified to be able to find adjunct work. Have you looked into positions as a military contractor, providing online education?
What I’ve found: there are multiple department heads on the other side of the academic HR beaurocracy that are DESPERATE for teaching talent, but similarly can’t push through the elaborate accreditation and hiring process at the college and university from their end, so you have to locate the job opening and then get the compliance of the department heads who want to fill the job. Both parties push it through together.
That said, pay is low for adjuncts, and you may want to pursue military contract positions requiring clearances for providing education, so that you get paid a living wage for what you do.


Charles Bowles New York, NY

Hi Christina,

Thanks for reaching out! I would see if your current Ph.D. programs offer any teaching opportunities. Generally speaking, students in the Ph.D. are offered teaching opportunities in the second to third year of their Ph.D. program and can provide you the experience necessary when you complete your program.

In addition, I would look into tutoring. If there is a tutoring center on campus or private tutoring service, then they would probably take someone studying for their Ph.D. While it is not teaching in a classroom, it is a great way to hone your interpersonal skills with students and develop your teaching style to learn in a low-risk environment.

Finally, I would look at our "Community" tab to find advisors with Education experience. On our "Community," you can find all sorts of advisors with varying levels of experience in education (including "Higher Ed"). Here is the link, and I would recommend refining by, "Education"

Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!




Christina Deckard Fort Wayne, IN


Thank you so kindly for responding to my inquiry! The research you have already completed regarding accreditation standards is shocking; however, it answers many questions. I have found that most community colleges have a "hiring pool," so it's the "hurry up and wait" mentality. I have also been considering alternative opportunities for enrichment, specifically earning certificates or licensing programs. Today, I started exploring internship opportunities rooted in research.

I am incredibly thankful for your expertise, especially gleaning the accreditation knowledge from deans and associate deans. Your insights have not only provided answers but alleviated the frustrations of seeking employment in higher education. I wish you the very best in your doctoral studies!



Jeff Westling Virginia Beach, VA

Christina, I am in a similar boat. I have been looking at adjunct professor positions with no success yet. I have two masters degrees, a professional engineering license and project management professional certification as well as 27 years of active duty time. After having discussions with approximately 30 different deans or associate deans at various colleges and universities, the common point is that to adjunct at a college or university that maintains strict accreditation standards the adjunct needs a terminal degree in their field. Terminal degree with work experience and/or certifications and licenses is a bonus. I am two quarters into my doctorate now for this reason. All the deans I talked to said the experience, especially that gained from the military is not the issue or concern. Everything is tied to them schools maintaining their accreditation and not set a precedent for that becomes subjective regarding terminal degrees regardless of certifications and masters degrees. They indicated it is possible to adjunct at some schools that specifically state terminal degree not required or masters degree preferred, but they call into question the quality of the program from an accreditation perspective. The suggestion most offered, due to a lower bar for professor requirements, is to seek adjunct opportunities at community colleges, technical schools and college prep schools. Many of those schools settle for hiring subject matter experts with practical work experience in the field who hold masters degrees and professional certifications to teach in the associates and continuing education programs.

Good luck with your PhD pursuit. Hopefully you will find different responses regarding adjunct opportunities that I have found.


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