I've worked as an instructor for several for-profit career colleges, here's the scoop at ITT:
Instructors really care about their students, they really believe in the promise of education, they are working so hard to do justice to the time, money and hope the students invest, but the reality of the job slowly corrodes their souls.
The salary for an instructor with a bachelors is a flat $1500 per class. A class will typically have 20-30 students, each of whom paid over $2000 to attend. (that's a total of $40,000 - $60,000 per course).
The -minimum- workload for an instructor (class time @ 4.5 hours, grading @ 2, printing & photocopies @ .5, reviewing material, preparing lecture & activities @ 3, student emails/phone calls/in-person advising @ 2, corporate emails/data entry @ 1) = 13 hours a week x 11 weeks / $1500 = $10.48 an hour.
If you taught 3 courses a quarter (39 hour workload) you'd make $18,000 a year.
There are no raises or merit pay for instructors, though they can make a bit of extra money tutoring at $15 an hour.
If you have several sections of the same course, or have taught the course before, you can save a couple hours, but realistically the work usually far exceeds 13 hours a week, unless you grade on 'participation', or don't review the material before teaching from it, or grade during class. Or let the students leave an hour or two early. Many instructors do all of this just to survive.
To be 'full-time', an instructor has to teach 5 or 6 classes a week. They will hire very few 'full-time' instructors.
No benefits, sick time, or vacation time for adjuncts. While you can request an occasional day off teaching, you're responsible for arranging the substitute, preparing the materials, and doing the grading/emails as usual. If you are sick, you may still be asked to find your own substitute, and of course you'll have to have all the regular content and materials ready. Once I called in sick with a fever: I was asked to tough it out and let the class out early.
Teaching schedules can change without notice all the way up to the start of class. When the campus is busy, labs can be booked with two or more classes at the same time.
Contracts change every 3 months, with only a couple weeks lead time. Instructors can find themselves unemployed at any time, despite being promised classes. Several times I've been asked to teach a new course with only a couple days lead time.
Instructors are given a course with pre-built powerpoints, assignments, quizzes, exams and labs, but the quality is distinctly mediocre. The content is sometimes left years without significant updating (in 2011 the mandatory intro IT course still had floppy disks throughout the text). Instructors will have to invest significant time on their own in improving and updating the materials, they have to sign a contract saying this work will be considered property of ITT.
The courses come with a homework, a quiz, and a lab for each week. This is 3 things times 20-30 students = 60-90 things to grade per week, per class. There is no scan-tron, or computerized grading.
Because the course content stays essentially identical from quarter to quarter over all the campuses, cheating and plagiarism is rampant. I've seen final-quarter students turn in wholly plagiarized research papers with the work 'research' spelled wrong in the title. When cheating discipline was handed over to the administration, they gave the students a verbal warning, and said the penalty 'F' on the assignment could be interpreted as 50% (so student's chances of passing the class overall wouldn't be hurt). The students indicated by their response to the discipline that they'd been able to do this in other classes without consequence. Not to say that the instructors don't have a firm anti-plagiarism stance, because they do, it's just the reality of the amount of work instructors grade means it usually gets missed, and even if it's caught there is so much pressure to pass students that anyone who is caught is given a slap on the wrist.
As far as the exams, it's not uncommon to see questions from the exams in the weekly quizzes, homework, and review sessions, verbatim. And still exams are curved to as much as 30%.
Instructors are evaluated on their 'engagement' (how many students attend class - they are required to call and counsel every absent student) and 'success' (how many students pass the class). This naturally presents a serious conflict of interest when they are grading. All the instructors and stafff are put under enormous pressure to 'help the students pass'. Some will calculate how many students can fail under the metrics, and everyone else will be essentially guaranteed a pass through some kind of 'extra credit' or 'participation' points. This means that upper level courses will have many students who never actually learned the prerequisite material, and so don't stand a chance to learn the new material.
Instructors only get a couple hours of training, most in corporate policy, followed up by many hours of horrible mandatory on-line 'training' programs. They will get evaluated 3 times a quarter by another staff member, and while this is actually a really useful thing, they won't get much in the way of any other support/training from their supervisor.
The school can become so desperate to hire for a new quarter that they will be forced to offer an interview and a position to -anyone- who has the 'minimum background qualifications'. Instructors are sometimes asked to teach topics they have no actual practical experience in, or even any theoretical knowledge of, as long as it's in their field.
It is not at all uncommon for new instructors to quit within the first two weeks because of the workload and stress. Almost everyone else is actively planning their escape.
Look into the eyes of an adjunct instructor, and you'll see exhaustion, delusion, and desperation.