Fast food and retail store workers are leading the charge to increase low wages. But these five professions are also stuck with near minimum wages, despite a high level of training and skills or long hours at their jobs.
Adjunct professors teach the same kinds of classes as full-time, tenured faculty members at many colleges and universities. Adjuncts have advanced degrees and spend similar amounts of time grading papers and tests.
But because they are not considered full-time, adjuncts are paid far less. According to the American Association of University Professors, a 2010 survey found that their median pay is $2,700 per 3-credit-hour course. This means that even if an adjunct professor teaches between two to four classes per semester, as most tenure-tracked faculty members do, they would still only make up $21,600 per year.
By contrast, the average salary for full-time faculty members was $84,112 and the average pay for a full-time professor at a university that grants doctoral degrees was about $135,000.
John Curtis, director of research and public policy at the AAUP, said that the discrepancy arises from an ill-conceived notion that part-time adjunct professors just show up, teach and probably don't do anything else.
"But there's a lot more work that they do, and it's a false distinction," he said.