University Professors and their Exorbitant Salaries

Peeling Layers of Paint
Peeling Layers of Paint | Source

Recently I was surprised to read a Hub which claimed that college and university professors receive outrageously high salaries and that this is the primary cause of rising tuition. Of course there are many reasons and causes for rising tuition, just as there are many reasons for rising gas prices, medical costs, grocery prices, insurance co-pays, prescription drug costs, but information about those “costs” and “multiple causes” belongs in another Hub.

The following information (and much more useful and interesting information) can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11, published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics and available on their website.

For future reference this publication will be cited as (OOH-BLS) The information in the Handbook is based upon statistical data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2008, before the recession and economic dislocation which has affected so many Americans.

Harvested Timber
Harvested Timber | Source

Post-secondary Teachers - Salary Range


Professors – BA or BS and MA or Ms and/or PhD: Here is what we know about college and university professors. Median annual earnings of all post-secondary teachers in May 2008 were $58,830. The lowest 10% earned less than $28,870, and the highest 10% earned over $121,850. These are annual salaries earned by people who have completed “two to six years of graduate education” beyond their four-year Bachelor’s degree. (OOH-BLS)

Earnings for college faculty vary with their level of education–highest degree earned- MA, MS, and PhD, academic rank and title, length of service, type of institution- two year, four year, private, public, undergraduate, graduate, technical, comprehensive, large or small, geographic area, and disciplinary field [economics, mathematics,sociology, history, etc.]. (OOH-BLS)

In disciplines and fields with high-paying nonacademic alternatives—medicine, law, engineering, business, for example—salaries often substantially exceed the levels common for academic professors. Within the humanities and education, earnings are often considerably lower. (OOH-BLS)

Deterioration - Decay - Rust
Deterioration - Decay - Rust | Source

Adjuncts, Education Levels, Salary Levels


It should also be noted that most post-secondary institutions staff 20% to 30% of their courses with part-time professors, “adjuncts.” Adjuncts are paid on a per course basis and receive no benefits package By teaching numerous course sections at two or more locations some adjuncts may make as much as $24,000.00 a year. However, the vast majority of adjuncts earn between ten and fifteen thousand dollars a year.

Let’s examine both the level of education required for certain careers and the median annual income or “starting salaries” and see how compensation for professors compares with the salaries of other professionals. NOTE: This is a random selection of careers and professions which require a BA/BS and/or an MA/MS degree, from among the multitude of occupations listed in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. (OOH-BLS)

Sculptured Sand
Sculptured Sand | Source

Engineers, Attorneys, Physicians Assistants


Engineers – BS: Average “starting salary” offers for graduates of bachelor’s degree programs in engineering, vary from $52,000 to $83,000, based on a 2009 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Starting salaries vary widely depending on the particular field of engineering—civil, agricultural, mechanical, nuclear, chemical, petroleum. (OOH-BLS)

Attorneys – BA or BS and 3-year JD: In May 2008, the median annual wages of all wage-and-salaried lawyers were $110,590. The middle half of the occupation earned between $74,980 and $163,320. It comes as no surprise that salaries for experienced lawyers will often vary widely depending upon the type, size, and location of their employer’s firm. (OOH-BLS)

Physician Assistant – BS and 2-4 years training: The median annual wage of physician assistants was $81,230 in May 2008. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $51,360, and the highest 10 percent earned over $110,240. PA’s work in school and college clinics, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, general hospitals, and specialty surgical hospitals. And of course, income varies with respect to medical specialty, years of experience, practice setting, and region of the country. (OOH-BLS)

Magnifed Rock Formation
Magnifed Rock Formation | Source

Computer Systems Analysts - Loan Officers - Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators Personal Financial Advisors


Computer Systems Analysts - MS and 2-3 years training: Median annual wages of wage and salary computer systems analysts were $75,500 in 2008. The middle 50% earned between $58,460 and $95,810 a year. The lowest 10% earned less than $45,390, and the highest 10% earned over $118,440.(OOH-BLS)

Loan Officers – BA or BS: Median annual wages for loan officers were $54,700 in 2008. The lowest 10% earned less than $30,850, while the top 10% made over $106,360. Compensation for loan officers is bundled differently. Some are paid on the basis of commission only, some are salary only loan officers, and others earn a salary plus commissions. Not surprisingly, given human nature, loan officers who are paid on commission only, usually earn more than those who earn only a salary; earnings often fluctuate with the number of loans generated.

Personal Financial Advisers – BA or BS and MA or certifications: Median annual wages for personal financial advisers were $69,050 in 2008. The middle 50% earned between $46,390 and $119,290. Personal financial advisers who work for financial services firms are often paid a salary plus bonus. Bonuses are not included in the wage data listed here. However, advisers generally receive commissions for financial products they sell, in addition to charging a fee. Wages of self-employed workers are not included in the earnings given here.

Peeling Paint
Peeling Paint | Source

Chief Executive Officers and Computer Systems Analysts


Chief Executive Officers – BA or BS and MBA or training: Chief Executives are among the highest paid workers in the United States. Median annual wages for general and operations managers in 2008 were $91,570. The middle 50% earned between $62,900 and $137,020. Local Government CEO’s - $82,150, Company and Enterprise CEO’s - $ 113, 690, Scientific Consulting Services CEO’s -$ 130.390. Total compensation for corporate executives may involve stock options and performance bonuses. Other benefits commonly enjoyed by top executives in private industry are the use of executive dining rooms, company-owned aircraft and cars, access to expense allowances, and company-paid insurance premiums. (OOH-BLS)

Computer Systems Analyst – BS, Certificates: Median annual wages ofor computer systems analysts were $75,500 in 2008. The middle 50% earned between $58,460 and $95,810 a year. The lowest 10% earned less than $45,390, and the highest 10% earned over $118,440. (OOH-BLS)

Weathered Boards
Weathered Boards | Source

Claims Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators - Advertising Managers and Promotional Managers - Aircraft Pilots, Co-Pilots, and Flight Engineers


Claims Adjusters, Examiners and Investigators – BA or BS: Median annual wages for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators were $55,760 in 2008. The middle 50% earned between $42,400 and $70,860. Median annual wages for auto damage insurance appraisers were $53,440 in 2008. (OOH-BLS)

Advertising & Promotions Managers – BS or BS: Median annual wages in 2008 were $80,220 for advertising managers - $108,580 for marketing managers - $97,260 for sales managers - $89,430 for public relations managers. Median annual wages for industries employing the largest numbers of sales managers can differ markedly: department store mangers - $54.560, automobile dealers - $107,000, wholesale electronics agents and brokers - $114,670.

Wages offered depend upon the employee’s level of managerial responsibility, length of service, and level and type of education; the size and location of the firm; and the industry in which the firm operates. Many managers earn bonuses equal to 10 percent or more of their salaries. (OOH-BLS)

Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers – BA or BS and Pilot’s License: Pilots who fly jet aircraft usually earn better salaries than pilots flying turboprop planes. In 2008, median annual wages of airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers were $111,680. Airline pilots usually are eligible for life and health insurance plans, and receive retirement benefits. Pilots are also given an expense allowance, or “per diem,” for every hour they are away from home. (OOH-BLS)

Back to the Beginning
Back to the Beginning | Source

Are There Conclusions to be Drawn?

Most college and university professors certainly make a comfortable living and earn above the median income for American workers. This is hardly surprising or inappropriate as teaching professionals have completed considerably more than the "median number of years of education." Those additional years spent earning professional degrees were costly in terms of time and money and delayed the age at which the individual actually starting earning a full-time income.

However, most professors consider the extra time, effort, and debt a reasonable trade off as most of us really like what we do: reading, writing, lecturing, and working with young adults. The average salary, which is low in comparison to the level of education and training obtained, is not nearly as important as the fact that we like and care about the profession we chose. At any rate, "outrageous faculty salaries" are not responsible for rising tuition costs.

As I mentioned earlier there are many reasons and causes for rising tuition. I am sure there are experts who could provide "all" the reasons, but I can mention a few of which I am aware. First, except for the recent years of recession, inflation and rising costs seem to be ever with us.Very, very few things cost less today than they did twenty years ago. I mention one exception to mollify my two sons who work in computers and IT - computers have gotten more powerful and over time prices have dropped substantially. I believe this is a fairly common market phenomenon when a new product is introduced - eventually there will be great economies of scale.

Second, the fact that parents and students are demanding "fancy and expensive" buildings, dormitories, and more and more services, conveniences, and extracurricular activities and events drives prices up. Third, trying to offer too many majors and choices at each college and university had led to rising costs; economies of scale and huge savings could be achieved if each state organized its higher education system so that each institution offered a handful of well developed and staffed degrees, instead of trying to offer everything to everyone.

Fourth, and this is a crisis of learning, not just economics. Many high school graduates with reasonable GPA's, as high as 15% to 25% of entering Freshmen (depending on previous education, experience and family socio-economic status) are unprepared to do college level course work. They and their parents spend a great deal of money paying for remedial course instruction in the basics, reading, writing, and mathematics, before they are ready for college level courses.

The "Four year Bachelor's degree" which takes four and a half to five years to complete (rising costs and debt load) is an all too common phenomenon on most college and university campuses. This will continue until students leaving high school are better prepared; better preparation is possible because students used to be prepared - thirty, forty, fifty years ago, colleges did not offer remedial courses to their incoming freshmen and we shouldn't be doing it now.

By the way, No Child Left Behind was not a step in the right direction; the number of college students needing remedial instruction continued to rise. Perhaps we need to study other national school systems and learn from those that are doing an exceptional job of preparing their students for college, for their future careers, and for life.

Stone and Mineral Formation
Stone and Mineral Formation | Source

More by this Author


Comments - Occupations, Markets, Education, Compensation 48 comments

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

An excellent piece of research and analysis on a subject most people know very little about in any specifics. It's nice to hear from someone in the field as opposed to someone looking in from the outside.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Great article and excellent research on this volatile topic. Most teachers do not make very much and unfortunately are underappreciated by many today.

Voted useful

John


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you. I appreciate that you noted the validity of someone speaking from within a situation, as opposed to making guesses and assumptions from the outside. Thanks for the encouragement.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi John - It is indeed a volatile topic. I kept coming across some very anti-teacher comments that indicated we are all rolling in money...and I could feel how easily I could be drawn into a lengthy and pointless argument. So I channeled my frustration into research and this article was the result. :)

I am always surprised and puzzled by the resentment some people express for teachers and education. Makes me wonder if the roots don't go back to an early America trying to set itself apart (business, entrepreneurs, etc.,) from the old "European" intellectual and aristocratic world which looked down on trade and business...or something like that.

I have forgotten most of what I learned in Richard Hofstadter's prescient book, "Anti-Intellectualism in America." Guess its time to read it again. :) Theresa


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

My Goodness you really tackled this.. and I always thought when you can't do.. you teach.. hmm.. another one of your eyebrow lifting hubs Bless you PHDAST7


The Frog Prince profile image

The Frog Prince 4 years ago from Arlington, TX

phdast - If you have any extra scratch can ya please send it my way? LMBO

You're obviously rolling in the chicken scratch and have all kinds of expendable income.

The Frog


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Why thank you Frank. I always appreciate your encouraging comments. I decided if I was going to tackle this topic I should do it thoroughly. And I am always happy to lift eyebrows. :) Blessings.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Dear Frog Prince - I do have these large wads of five hundred dollar bills in my pockets and they just weigh me down, because every month I get a bushel basket full of five hundreds. I was wondering what on earth to do with all my extra cash, so as I am tossing bills to the peasantry, I will be sure and throw some your way.

Seriously, I appreciate your ironic response to the irony that I even had to "make the case" that teachers aren't all that well paid. I loved your response and sitting in my swanky, expensively decorated office where I don't do any work at all, I laughed out loud. :) Thanks for the laugh. :)


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

What a well-researched and well-written hub! We (my husband and I) are educators and it is amazing how some people think we are overpaid---


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Audrey. It is amazing what some people think... and I am always taken aback by the rancor that is sometimes directed at scholars and academia. It makes me think I should go back and read Hofstadter's work, Anti- Intellectualism in America. But the barrage of criticism and misinformation did prompt me to do the research, so I guess I have a misanthrope on HP to thank for this HUB. :)


Justsilvie 4 years ago

Interesting Hub! I am always amazed when anyone says someone in the teaching profession is overpaid. I guess a lot of people forgot the quote "If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher".


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I guess they do forget the quote! :) I am always amazed when someone labels teachers communists! Because they once saw a professor shouting at a leftist political rally on TV. But all of his professor colleagues were calmly and quietly going about the business of teaching. Oh, well, maybe the topic for another Hub. :) Thanks for the comments. Have a great day. :)


Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

Very interesting data - and full of good details. I can vouch for the low salaries for adjuncts; I teach because I enjoy it - thankfully I don't rely on that income! Thanks for the reality check on these careers.

Voted up, interesting and useful.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks. As an adjunct you DO know about the salaries. Three times in the last eight years I took a motion to the Faculty Senate to increase the pay for our adjuncts. Every time the Faculty voted to approve and the President said no. Very, very discouraging. How wonderful that you teach because you enjoy it. I was a "full-time" adjunct at three different colleges for two years before I found my current position. :)


Credence2 profile image

Credence2 4 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

Phdast7- Thanks for clearing this up as I have always wondered about this issue. So the stark incresase in the costs of higher education relative to inflation in other areas obviously have nothing to do with faculty salaries. You state clearly that there are other factors.

Your point on the inadequacy of K-12 preparation is noted. BTW what does the photos in your article have to do with topic?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Credence2 - There doesn't seem to be any direct relationship. it also occurs to me that we are trying to educate a larger percentage of our high school graduates than ever before.

Twenty, thirty, years ago a man with a high school diploma could makea good living and support his family. Much harder to do now...and many of those jobs have gone overseas.

But I also think a lot of those jobs have disappeared because of technology - more skills (college) are needed for many of the jobs that are available today.

In addition tot he things I mentioned in the HUb, think a lot of the cost increase comes from infrastructure and high tech equipment in classrooms and libraries.

When I started college back in 1972 our rooms were well equipped....with desks, a blacboarld chalk, some pull down maps, maybe a bulletin board. Oh, and the professor had a big old ugly metal desk. Pretty cheap...and this was at one of the newer, nicer community colleges in Gerogia.

Today, classrooms are full of extraordinarily expensive technology; every department at every college maintains a fancy web site; the library purchases databases of thousands of journals and magazines.

The entire campus is wired, we have smart boards and fancy overhead projectors that link to the internet. I cannot even imagine what kind of expenses the science departments have so their students will be up with current lab practices. Gymnasiums are expected to have state of the art work outrooms...what happened to volleyball and basketball and running? This is part of the cost increase.

Oh, the pictures? No connection at all. I just have these interesting pictures of various textures and colors and I wanted to use them. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting. Theresa


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"This will continue until students leaving high school are better prepared" - Highschool was such a joke ... and that was over a decade ago, I can only imagine what it is like now.

I never really looked at professors as wealthy people. I had one history professor who I honestly always saw in the same pair of brown, wore-down dress-pats for years in a row ... there were all kinds of jokes running around the lecture room about those "things" ... I am sure he could afford a second pair but I guess pants were not that important for him and that's fine too.

The only thing that really smiled at me about being a professor (I would never try a high-school ... I wouldn't put up with the kids at that age) was the fact that You get summers off. I like having my summers free. : )

Well, I enjoyed the read. Thank You.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello White Wolf - Most high schools are pretty bad. Incoming freshmen are less and less prepared to do college level work. It a huge problem and nobody wants to take responsibility and make the tough changes that are necessary.

Your perception of professors is quite accurate. If we are not adjuncts and can stay in the same place for a few years, most of us will make thirty, forty, and maybe fifty thousand near the end of our career. We are comfortable, but certainly not wealthy.

What skews the salary averages are the occasional superstars at prestigious universities (medicine, law, business, some sciences) who make salaries between 80 and 120 thousand. But they are the minority.

Fifteen years ago with a masters and five years of a six year Doctorate completed, and 4 years teaching experience. I was offered 25 thousand at a small liberal arts college. I jumped at it because it was so much better than being an itinerant part-time instructor carrying my boxes of teaching materials and lectures in the trunk of my car.

I am with you, I could never tolerate high school students.

Summers off! I wish! Only a few weeks are free for most of us. We are expected to read, write lectures, build new courses, conduct research, write conference papers, and publish. Our contracts specify that we perform these duties in addition to teaching and lots of committee work, report writing, etc. (its all in the Hub about Tenure)

Still, we like the profession and the intellectual nature of our work or we would be doing something else. :) I can't really complain, I just get indignant when some idiot outside of the academy announces that we are all horribly overpaid and that we don't care about our students. Then I get cranky and write a Hub. :)

Enjoyed the conversation as always. I hope all is well with you. Theresa


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

I agree with you and support you 100%. Your source and information is spot on! The same for public school teachers; their salaries are not causing the finanacial problems in public school systems across the nation. And, Thank you for what you said about No Child Left Behind. It has been a hinderance and not a panacea to K-12 education. I realize the remedial classes taught at the college level and no such classes should ever have to be taught at the college and university level. The the "dumbing down" of American students began many, many years ago and the consequences are being felt today.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Greetings Mrs. Theresa,

I am not sure if You saw this documentary on CNN but if You did not, here is a short part of it about education and teachers in Finland (and the U.S. too but that's not the interesting part ...).

The entire educational system needs to be revised here in North America, in my opinion. And as the documentary says too, teachers need to be paid a lot more and need to have a lot more freedom and power in regards to what they teach and how they teach.

I'd ask for a raise : ) Cheers!

(I greatly apreciate You having the profession that You do - thank You.)

I forgot the clip lol: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXR-7YawCbE


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Suzette. I am always amazed at the resentment and anger some people express toward teachers and how misinformed they are about the reality of salary levels.

I would have said more about K-12 teachers, but I can't speak authoritatively there, but I do know that teachers everywhere else in the civilized western nations seems to respect and value teachers more than we do. Such a shame!

Good to know your opinion about "No Child" because everything I have read has been negative and of course there is the growing remedial course problem.

How and why did American education get so off the track? What were the causes of the "dumbing down?" Could this be a future Hub for you? Inquiring minds do want to know. :)

We all started first grade sometime during the 1960s and because we were Air Force brat, my brothers, sister, and I went to many different schools in Georgia, Tennessee, Athens - Greece, California, and North Carolina.

But we graduated high school able to read, study, and write papers on a level that I don't see until I have college Juniors and Senior in my classes. What happened to American education? Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

White Wolf - I had not seen the documentary. Thank you for sending the clip. Very interesting results and process used in Finland. Apparently, their 1-12 teachers have a degree of freedom and flexibility only achieved in the US in some, but not all colleges and universities.

I have a great deal of freedom in how I design/teach my courses -- a combination of a moderately religious private, but extremely liberal university and a series of School Deans who care more about the positive results I get with students than about micro-managing my teaching.

The Finnish educational system is very impressive - they are doing so many things right....starting children a year later, insisting on master's degrees, paying their teachers well, giving them some freedom in how they teach, throwing out standardized testing which accomplishes nothing aside from making testing companies rich, shorter hours with more creative and intensive learning.

Yes, America is heterogenous and does not have a homogenous population, but if done on a state by state scale, I think we could learn a tremendous amount from the Finns, and other European/Canadian educational systems, and greatly improve the education we offer our children.

I will ask for a raise and tell my Dean you told me to. :)

And you are very welcome (it is so nice to be thanked occasionally) and I will continue doing the best I can with my students. I am hoping pf course that some of them will choose teaching themselves. In the past ten years we have had about forty students (we are a very small institution - 1200 students) from our History and Interdisciplinary Studies programs go on to become teachers and professors. :)

I hope there will be many more. Thanks for the CNN clip and your comments and questions. It is always a good conversation. :) Be well. Theresa


Sueswan 4 years ago

Hi Theresa,

Many people say things without knowing all the facts.

Good teachers are worth their weight in gold.

I remember reading a newspaper article by a retired professor. He wrote that he did not believe that all students were entitled or deserved a higher education. We need to raise the standards instead of lowering them just because Johnnie or Susie's parents think that they should be entitled to a college/university education.

I love the first painting, Peeling Layers of Paint.

Voted up and awesome.

Have a good day. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Sue - I think you are right, an awful lot of people simply don't know. I was hoping that maybe a rational, unhistrionic look at the facts and statistics might change some minds.

That professor may have been right. In Europe an awful lot of people go into service and technical positions with either two year's training or a two year degree and they make very good money. A four year liberal arts degree is not required and frankly not helpful. Glad you loved the peeling layers of paint. Thanks for the votes and your comments. Theresa


Drtruthman profile image

Drtruthman 4 years ago from Harlingen, Texas

Great article. I know this all too well to be true. I tried early on following semi retirement as a pastor to become a professor in Psychology or Biblical Languages. But besides the politics of getting in, the money just wasn't there which is why I remained an insurance adjuster which unless it's a catastrophe, there is no way the average adjuster is making the money stated here in your article and 36,000 adjusters have lost their jobs in the past 3 years. Thanks God for the Hail storms in Texas, many of us are now going back to work. I voted UP all across and as usual a great article. Lee


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Drtruthman - Glad you liked the articleand confirm thatthere is not that much money in teaching, even at the college level. The numbers I used were compiled by the govt and were from 2008 beforet the housing bubble burst and the recession rolled over us and put so many people out of work, obviously adjusters were hit bad. Any time there is a surplus of employees and a shortage of positions, salaries are goring to fall and I guess they really did. So hail storms equals work for adjusters...well of course it does. I just never thought about it before. :) Thanks for the comments. :)


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 4 years ago from Space Coast

Oh come on, now. We all know that teachers on every level are villains who make entirely too much money and drain the life out of economic system with their exorbitant benefits packages. The treasury will fill back up soon as we bring their salaries into line with the private sector.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi WD - Ok, I confess I make a scandalous amount of money and I hardly do any work at all. And frankly, I get a kick out of draining the treasury and impoverishing the people around me. Conversing with you is always a kick. :) Theresa


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

The photos and their symbolism were priceless and the information beyond interesting. Your last summation about "No Child Left Behind" was, in the opinion of this former teacher, the best part of the hub! Great job my friend!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi billybuc-

That's right, you were a teacher, so you know only too well. I kind of knew what I was looking for to begin with, but the statistics and salary range for people in various professions shocked even me. Glad to know I am not off the mark in my opinion of "No Child Left Behind." Thanks for the great comments. :)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

A great explanation of what are post-secondary teachers earn. It should also be said that getting to this salary level takes many years of hard work and dedication. Voting this Up and Useful.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Aurelio- You are absolutely correct, it takes many years and much work and dedication. You pretty much have to love your subject to stay with it for such a long time. Thanks for the votes and for commenting. I appreciate it. Theresa


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Drat! I knew I should have become an attorney lol.

You are right of course.

With the average teachers/lecturers qualifications, we could have gone into something like the stock market and earned a gazillion dollars.

Would we be happy? I don't thinks so.

US salaries seem comparable to here. The adjunct issue is the same here too.

A UK lecturer has to get 21 hours per week before than will get offered a contract.

Most times that can mean working in several different colleges.

It can take years to just get a contract and during those years, there are no benefits of course.

Are we underpaid for our level of education. Definitely. Would we do something else? Doubtful.

Great hub Theresa votes and sharing.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

Wow, what a wonderfully written and informative hub. It has always bothered me that college professors make such paltry salaries, while the coaches make millions. Where are our priorities? I am an adjunct instructor at the community college and taught undergrads in grad school at the University. Schools save a lot of money by employing people like me, too! Well, I'd better not get started....LOL. This is a great hub. Many votes and sharing.

Oh, and it was your title that got my attention. Very clever!


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

I'm not sure if this is true everywhere, but salaries at our public university are openly disclosed and available to the public. There are a few endowed professors at colleges and universities that can be receiving to $200,000+ as salaries but those are far and few between.

A Ph.D. in a college or university setting makes significantly lower money than if he or she were in the private sector. The trade off is "usually" more job security, more freedom in research pursuits, and as mentioned flexible schedules! I think many profs would take that over a huge salary any day:)

And of course, location matters. A teacher in the mid-West of the United States is going to make significantly less than on the East or West coast simply due to the differences in cost of living.

Great hub!!


KrisL profile image

KrisL 4 years ago from S. Florida

As a fellow state college professor in the humanities, thanks for this hub.


Levertis Steele profile image

Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

I do not understand why some people say that a $58,000.00 a year teacher's salary is generous, as if to say that the teacher deserves no more. A teacher on that salary would bring home about $3,600.00 monthly, a rough estimate, excluding deductions. House note, car payment, insuramce payments, children's needs-especially college students-utilities, groceries, miscellaneus, medical expenses, and any other necessities would eat this income up. Most people in this income bracket would be very fortunate to be able to avoid living from check-to-check.

There are always so many complaints, demands, put-downs, blame labeling, and unappreciation directed toward teachers who are held responsible for nearly everything that happens to a child. Parents, the children, environment, and some others are seldom blamed. Teachers are always at fault and under threats of being fired or sued. Even children are bold enough to say to teachers, "I can hit you, but you cannot hit me."

Highly qualified teachers are leaving the educational field right and left to go into their own businesses or other jobs because they feel overwhelmed by the strains of teaching and always catching the slap in the mouth. Public school teachers, although every one is a different individual, are critized so badly and blamed for what a minority of educators do incorrectly. Some teachers are reluctant to say that they teach for fear of the constant bashing of teachers.

Over the years I have seen many teachers resign only to transition to an institution for the insane because of over working, excess worry, and the constant weight of criticism coming from the school communities.

Making a positive difference in a growing student's life is a very rewarding accomplishment for a good teacher. If not for the love of children and pride in doing one's best to educate them and prepare them to be productive citizens, there may not be many quality teachers of children. The irony of it all is that most of the harsh critics would never think about dropping down to the "generous" salary of a teacher and giving students what they declare that they need; yet, they seem to have all of the answers. Educatiing children is so complex because every student is an individual, and there will always be constant struggles to get it right for each child. There is no formula or program that is a cure-all. It is part of the job of teaching, but only the teachers seem to know that.

A teacher can teach students who would later become great doctors, lawyers, musical and acting stars, professional sports stars, etc., and these people could amass hundreds of millions of dollars, but the ones who taught them could never come close to a salary like that. Every time a teacher gets a raise, the communities start badmouthing their discontent. A garbage collector in some states, or even a well-profiled stripper, makes more money than the average teacher.

I once remember a commedian saying, during one of his shows, that there was a time when Christian stars could not stand where he was and sing praises to God, but he could stand there, shake his privates in their faces while making a joke, and, in time, become rich. My point is that the teachers, in many cases, are seldom appreciated and are definitely the unsung heroes in many locations of our world.

When a teacher arrives at the end of her working journey and can still look back with fondness and celebrate the love of her old job, love of molding minds, love of collaborating with the educational team to plan effective programs, even overtime, for the education of children, and live off a salary that would hardly make one rich, please believe that he/she was a good teacher or, at least, did his/her best job to help turn out young men and women that we can all be proud of.


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Michael- For the big money we should have become attorneys or become the CEO of our father's business empire. :) Interesting to know that UK salaries are pretty comparable. Sad to know that adjuncts and part time lecturers have it rough on both sides of the pond.

We are underpaid, but we do love what we do...and that does make all the difference in the world. Thanks so much for sharing this Hub. It had lain dormant for quite awhile but your "Imprimatur" (great word which I seldom get to use) led to renewed interest, views, and comments.

I think that means you are a well-respected and powerful man on HP. I am glad I know you or many reasons, and now I can add that I am coasting along on your coattails. :)

Have a great weekend. Theresa


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

KrisL - You are so very welcome. You of course know from experience exactly what I am talking about. Thank you for continuing to educate the young people who will run day be running our nation. You certainly deserve to be appreciated. :) Thanks for the comments.


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Victoria - Thanks for stopping to read and comment. As an adjunct instructor you know only too well what I am describing is true. I too am baffled at the "resentment" many Americans have about the "high salaries" that we don't even make. It is both perplexing and frustrating.

Thank you for the votes and for sharing. I kind of thought the title would catch people's attention. So glad it did. :) Hope you are having a great weekend. :)


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Kris - You wrote, "A Ph.D. in a college or university setting makes significantly lower money than if he or she were in the private sector. The trade off is "usually" more job security, more freedom in research pursuits, and as mentioned flexible schedules!"

You are absolutely correct and I am glad to know that I am not the only one who thinks so. In the southeast there is a website that makes public the salaries of the top 5 or 10 college and university administrators. They are of course much higher than the salaries for regular professors -- I wonder if that is where part of the misunderstanding and resentment comes from.

And of course location does make a difference, as well as discipline. I hate it, but a Business professor with an MBA is hired at 50% higher salary than an English professor with a PhD. Just infuriating at times. I try not to think about it too often. Thanks for the comments. :)


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Levertis - Thanks for your thorough and supportive comments. I appreciate hearing from other people about this. I totally agree with you, 58,000 is not an exorbitant salary and so many of our professors make considerably less than that. You make excellent points and support them with great examples. I absolutely love and Say Amen! to your final paragraph.

Do you realize that with just a little tweaking, you have basically written a hub. I encourage you to publish it. More people need to read what you have written. Thanks so much. :)


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tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Great article! I worked for many years in a University and it surprised me to learn how little professors made, especially those starting out. For the amount of education that professors must have, the pay doesn't seem to be very fair. I guess the hours and the nature of the work is what draws educated people to teach. Very eye opening to those who think professors made big money.


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Tammy. It is good to have confirmation from other people. After all these years, I am still amazed when someone say (often with some anger and real animosity) that exorbitant faculty salaries are surely the reason for rising tuition.

And you are right, what draws faculty to college-level teaching is love of the discipline (history, English, astronomy) and the flexible hours (45 to 60 hours a week, but many of them are spent in libraries or at home - you are not chained to a cubicle 9 to 5), and the relative freedom to build a course, craft your own lectures, develop your own style of communicating with students,and to work in relative peace and quiet without a boss watching your every move. Those are all definitely perks.

Thank you so much for your comments. :)


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 4 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

I think like in many industries you'll find some really high earners and then the rest of us. I've never been one to complain that professors earn too much, they undoubtedly earned what they are earning.

That high school students are ill-prepared is a travesty; it is a failure on the part of the parents, the educators as well as the students themselves. Is there a solution? Who knows.

Great hub voted up and interesting.


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I agree. There are always those at the top who tend to skew the average. The sorry education level of students should be laid in equal measures at the feet of parents, students, and teachers. I don't have a solution either, but we really need one.

The sharpest, hardest working, most accelerated students in my university history classes are invariably from somewhere else: Britain, Holland, Germany, India, Japan, China. We have a problem and we need to address it.

Thanks for the visit, comments and votes. :)


ElleBee 4 years ago

Great analysis! I always wonder how exactly people came to this conclusion that professors were inherently wealthy individuals. It definitely didn't seem to be the case with most of the professors I had in college and grad school. The only exception seems to be professors in scientific fields which offer more research opportunities than social science/liberal arts fields, but this was as the result of their research and such not a result of the college simply giving them higher salary. Great to see an inseider analysis. Very interesting.


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phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

ElleBee -- Sorry it took me so long to respond (family members in the hospital - better now). Thank you so much for your gracious and enthusiastic comments. It still baffles me that so many people assume professors are "close to rich." Most of us start off lower class and work our way up to the middle class. I guess the occasional famous academic "superstars" get all the attention and the big salaries. Since I wrote this, I have also seen statistics in two different publications about what has increased in the last 30 years (aside from sports and extracurricular activities).

Administrators , as a percentage of all college staff, and administrative salaries have been growing by leaps and bounds. Kind of like the CEO, top management explosion we have seen in business in the last few decades.

Thirty years ago. A college with 10,000 students had 10 top administrators who made 150% as much as the average professor. Today, the same size institution (10,000 students) has 15 to 20 top administrators who make 200-250% as much as the average professor. This is a growing problem. College presidents used to be comfortable, now they are rich.

You are correct of course. Professors who do scientific research have always pulled in more money through research grants. :) Thank you for appreciating an insider's view. :)

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