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Benefits of Being an Adjunct Criminal Justice Instructor

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Start a criminal justice degree at American Military University.

By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski, Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, American Military University

Criminal justice ranks in the top ten choices among college majors. Most schools around the nation offer a criminal justice degree, which plays an important role in educating students who are likely to enter some form of a law enforcement career. This course of study also provides police officers who hold master’s degrees with the opportunity to teach part time as an adjunct instructor. It’s a benefit for police officers and for students.

[Related: Off the Streets and Into the Classroom: Your New Teaching Career]

For police officers, teaching provides an alternative income source to working overtime or taking on extra details. As a result, adjunct teaching provides a new environment that may reduce police burnout from their police career.

Adjunct Teaching Online Can Be Lucrative

Many colleges and universities around the United States make it lucrative for officers to teach on the side. Adjunct teaching typically pays by the course versus by the hour. In a traditional campus, an adjunct instructor may teach classes one or two nights a week.

Because you are an adjunct, however, the work is not always consistent. But you can get a break from teaching when you need it because adjunct employment is typically on a temporary contract.

Online education has grown dramatically and many universities in the United States now offer criminal justice degrees online. This is also a good opportunity for police officers because teaching online is mostly asynchronous; you can teach online classes in your off time, or even before or after your shift.

Adjunct Time Commitment Can Be Based on Time Off from Police Work

I began my online teaching career while working as a full-time police officer. At one university I found that I needed to make only a five- to 10-hour a week commitment, which I could base on my off time.

[Related: Inspiring a New Generation of Leaders]

In online teaching, instructors typically check into class every day or so to answer students’ questions and to help foster class discussions. Assignments typically need to be graded within five to seven days after students submit them. That provides adjunct instructors with a lot of flexibility to meet their teaching obligations. This is an advantage for police officers because they can make $14,000 to $40,000 more per year as an adjunct instructor online without having to put on a police uniform and work from the comfort of their home.

Police Adjunct Instructors Provide Real-Life Experiences to Their Students

It is also an advantage for police officers to teach criminal justice classes because they can provide insight and instruction directly from the field of policing. Officers who work as adjunct instructors provide real-life experiences from the field, which enhances the classroom learning experience. It is also a benefit to students because officers can share their knowledge with the next generation of criminal justice practitioners.

[Related: The Scholar-Practitioner Approach to Teaching: A Criminal Justice Professor’s Perspective]

If you wish to get started in adjunct teaching, the most important step is to have that required  master’s degree. Universities seek adjunct instructors who are experienced in the field that they will teach, so a high-quality resume is also essential.

Since there are many criminal justice adjunct instructor applicants, it may take several applications at different universities before you receive your first adjunct teaching opportunity. One step that can help you begin a part-time career in teaching is to apply to local community colleges or universities. Gaining experience at a junior college may help you get hired later at a larger, higher paying university.

Police academies associated with a college might be a good starting place because you can network through the police academy to reach the school’s criminal justice department.

In addition, working as a part-time instructor will give you a change of pace and be rewarding by helping others through the knowledge you have gained in the field. In addition, it may help you start on a new career when you retire from the police department.

adjunctAbout the Author: Dr. Jarrod Sadulski has been a member of the Coast Guard since 1997. He also has experience in two local law enforcement agencies. His expertise includes infrastructure security, maritime security, homeland security contraband interdiction and intelligence gathering. He has received commendations from the Coast Guard. Currently, Jarrod is a supervisor in the Reserve Program and provides leadership to Reserve members who conduct homeland security, search and rescue, and law enforcement missions. To contact the author, email For more articles featuring insight from industry experts, subscribe to In Public Safety’s bi-monthly newsletter.


Dr. Jarrod Sadulski is an associate criminal justice professor in the School of Security and Global Studies and has over two decades in the field of homeland security. His expertise includes human trafficking, maritime security and narcotics trafficking trends. Jarrod recently conducted in-country research in Central and South America on human trafficking and narcotics trafficking trends and was the guest of INTERPOL in Colombia. Jarrod can be reached through his website at for more information.

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