Is an adjunct professor considered self-employed? In short, in most situations, the answer to that is no.
If you are an adjunct professor, you’re likely going to be classified as an employee, which means you’re going to receive a W2 at the end of the year, and any taxes throughout the year will be withheld from whatever your ultimate compensation ends up being.
If an Adjunct Professor Is Working as an Independent Contractor
If you are a 1099, that means you are classified as an independent contractor, you’ll get a 1099 at the end of the year, and then no taxes will be withheld. You will be responsible for paying those taxes either quarterly or at the end of the year.
There is an IRS 20-factor test that kind of determines whether someone is an independent contractor or an employee, and in the academic arena, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to have an adjunct professor classified as an independent contractor.
So, a few of those factors would be, does the adjunct professor have control over how often they teach, when they teach, and when the classes would be? Is the school providing the classroom and supplies and scheduling and administrative support? And in almost every scenario, the answer to that is yes, the academic organization is going to provide all of that. And so, it’s very unlikely that an adjunct professor would be classified as an independent contractor.
If an Adjunct Professor Job is more than Teaching
Now, let’s say an adjunct professor maybe is working part-time, doing some counseling, tutoring, or something like that.
Well, in that scenario, it probably would make sense to be an independent contractor. And then you could always create an LLC, get an EIN from the IRS, create a bank account, and then you could use that to deduct a lot of the expenses associated with being a professor.
Or as I said before, a tutor or counselor, whatever you want to call yourself. But if you’re working for an academic facility, it’s very unlikely you are considered self-employed or a 1099 independent contractor.
Questions about Adjunct Professor Jobs or Adjunct Faculty in-depth Contract Review
Now, if you have an appointment letter, employment agreement, or independent contractor agreement that you’d like reviewed, you can always contact my law firm.