Rolling in the Big Bucks! (Just Kidding) A Snapshot of Academic Salaries

Over the past several months, there has been much talk about how teachers make a heck of a lot of money. I read and listened to several of these reports as I waited for the water to boil for my ramen noodles.

This week, the Chronicle of Higher Education released data showing the average salaries of professors from hundreds of academic institutions across the nation—from tenured profs at private institutions that grant doctoral degrees, to adjuncts who teach at community colleges.

Not surprisingly, private universities like Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton offered the highest paying positions, averaging a nice $190k or so per year. Professors at the top levels of public universities earn about a third less than their private counterparts.

Of course, these positions are few and far between. Most professors work in lower tiered schools. The average for these colleges ranges from about $87k for a tenured professor to around $40k for a professor of “no rank” (adjuncts).

While the highest paying schools certainly provide a nice living for their professors, even they fall far below what those individuals might be earning in the non-academic world. In fact, that is probably true of an academic on any rung of the teaching ladder.

Where does your school fall in the salary range? Read the full report here. If you are considering teaching, does this information change your mind at all? While it’s true that no one goes into teaching for the money, the reality is quite eye-opening, to say the least.


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