Difference Between Adjunct and Associate Professor (With Table)

Teaching is, without a doubt, a holy profession. Teachers have a significant impact on students’ life. It is really necessary to have a good education to secure the future. But, while getting a quality education, there should be a well-qualified lecture that makes learning a fun, resourceful experience. Professor is a title given to someone who teaches at a university. There are different types of professors and, Adjunct and Associate professors are qualified, doctorate holders. However, there are differences in the functioning of these two.

Adjunct vs Associate Professor

The main difference between Adjunct and Associate professor is that the Adjunct Professor works part-time or in a temporary, visiting post. On the other hand, Associate Professors are full-time employees with tenure.

An adjunct professor is a typical part-time professor. They do not work regularly and universities prefer hiring adjunct professors since there are numerous benefits to the university. They can pay adjunct academics less and provide fewer benefits, and these instructors are more flexible than regular professors. The contract with adjunct teachers can simply be renewed or terminated by the university. Additionally, adjunct professors have the option of teaching at two distinct institutions at the same time.

The associate professor is a full-time position professor. Associate professors are assigned a lot of tasks. An associate professor can teach while also conducting research. They are, however, tenured. A mid-level professor with a doctorate who teaches classes in his field of study is known as an associate professor. In addition, an associate professor has more experience.

Comparison Table Between Adjunct and Associate Professor

Parameters of ComparisonAdjunct ProfessorAssociate Professor
TenureAdjunct professors do not have tenure.Tenure is granted to associate professors.
salaryAssociate professors are paid less than adjunct professors.Associate professors are well compensated.
QualificationA doctoral degree is not required for adjunct professors.A doctoral degree is required for an associate professorship.
DurationThe role of an adjunct professor is part-timeAssociate professors are full-time employees.
BenefitAs associate professors, adjunct teachers do not receive additional benefits.Associate professors have a variety of tasks, including advising students, and they are eligible for additional University perks.

What is Adjunct Professor?

A part-time lecturer is known as an adjunct professor. Of course, he is compensated for his efforts, but he will not be eligible for tenure. In the interim, he can do research or teach at a different university. However, he will not be eligible for the advantages that associate professors receive. But, the job of an adjunct professor is really flexible because they are in visiting position.

In addition, the length of time spent working as an adjunct lecturer at a college differs per country. Adjunct professors are also referred to as adjunct lecturers or adjunct faculty. However, a doctoral degree is not required to work as an adjunct lecturer. It is, nonetheless, recommended. Meanwhile, an adjunct professor does not have many responsibilities and is not required to attend regular faculty meetings.

Adjunct teachers are preferred by universities because they require less upkeep. They are paid less than regular professors, and the university has the authority to change or terminate the contract with adjunct professors at any time.

What is Associate Professor?

Associate professors work full-time or on a regular basis. Associate professors must have a doctorate in order to be hired, and they are on the tenure track. Most often they are classified as mid-level professors.

In comparison to adjunct academics, associate professors have more employment stability. They are also permanent and can’t be dismissed easily because of their tenure. To obtain tenure, they must teach for a period of 5-7 years. They have a lot of responsibility because they are permanent regular employees, and they get to advise, evaluate, and instruct the students.

Associate professors have more experience than assistant professors because they have advanced from assistant professor to associate professor. An associate professor’s post may evolve into a full-time professor’s position in the future. Universities provide various privileges to associate professors, and their positions are permanent.

Main Difference Between Adjunct and Associate Professor

  1. Adjunct professors serve as part-time lecturers and meanwhile, Associate professors enjoy the freedom of becoming permanent personnel.
  2. Adjunct professors are paid less, but Associate professors are paid more and have better benefits.
  3. The university’s contract with adjunct teachers is non-tenured, although associate professors are normally tenured.
  4. While a doctoral degree is not required to work as an adjunct professor, an associate professor should have a doctoral degree in order to teach as an associate professor.
  5. The responsibilities of an adjunct professors are limited, and they are not required to attend faculty meetings. Associate professors, on the other hand, are responsible for providing guidance to students and must attend University-sponsored faculty meetings.


Teaching is truly a noble profession. They have the ability to transform a student’s life from zero to infinite knowledge. It is really a sacred job since many students and parents are dependent on them. Professor is a prestigious and responsible position. Obtaining a position as a professor is not an easy endeavour.

A professor can easily be hired if they have extensive knowledge, experience, and expertise. However, there are many types of professors whose roles and responsibilities vary from one stage to another. There may be professors who are at the beginner stage and there may be professors with high knowledge and experience.

Adjunct professors work part-time as professors, whereas assistant professors are the entry-level associate professors who advance to associate professor status after a few years of experience. But, they all are equally respected since they shape the future of students. There may be variances in compensation perks and other factors, but they all teach with the utmost patience and a desire to improve the lives of their students.


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  2. https://aacnjournals.org/ajcconline/article-abstract/18/2/133/5629