In this article, we go over the average salary for college professors, the employment outlook, and state-specific salaries.
Even though being a college professor has its own rewards, the pay structure can be problematic. Unfortunately for some, the pay isn’t always as generous as it’s rumored to be for university professors, who can receive a wide range of salaries.
However, the typical college professor’s salary isn’t too bad. The American Association of University Professors reported that the average full-time college professor earned $108,043 in the 2022–23 academic year, taking into account all instructor types and university categories.
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How Much Do Professors Make?
College professors make an average yearly salary of $67,352 in the country. In addition, the top salaries in each state are as follows:
- Alabama: $101,236 per year
- Alaska: $71,412 per year
- Arizona: $53,825 per year
- Arkansas: $48,816 per year
- California: $73,483 per year
- Colorado: $77,512 per year
- Connecticut: $73,104 per year
- Delaware: $46,384 per year
- Florida: $48,694 per year
- Georgia: $45,153 per year
- Hawaii: $109,872 per year
- Idaho: $63,180 per year
- Illinois: $61,537 per year
- Indiana: $52,756 per year
- Iowa: $67,356 per year
- Kansas: $66,180 per year
- Kentucky: $65,064 per year
- Louisiana: $66,648 per year
- Maine: $66,276 per year
- Maryland: $104,111 per year
- Massachusetts: $83,780 per year
- Michigan: $45,564 per year
- Minnesota: $47,528 per year
- Mississippi: $62,976 per year
- Missouri: $76,068 per year
- Montana: $63,504 per year
- Nebraska: $66,288 per year
- Nevada: $68,400 per year
- New Hampshire: $71,352 per year
- New Jersey: $73,512 per year
- New Mexico: $54,084 per year
- New York: $59,411 per year
- North Carolina: $77,242 per year
- North Dakota: $68,439 per year
- Ohio: $68,208 per year
- Oklahoma: $42,846 per year
- Oregon: $57,263 per year
- Pennsylvania: $68,977 per year
- Rhode Island: $69,072 per year
- South Carolina: $59,806 per year
- South Dakota: $65,040 per year
- Tennessee: $55,034 per year
- Texas: $59,294 per year
- Utah: $66,000 per year
- Vermont: $66,756 per year
- Virginia: $88,641 per year
- Washington: $58,595 per year
- West Virginia: $63,972 per year
- Wisconsin: $52,482 per year
- Wyoming: $76,600 per year
Salary Difference in University Vs. College
Moreover, despite the fact that the terms college and university are frequently used interchangeably, they have different meanings. In a big institution called a university, students can get their undergraduate or graduate degrees.
Larger institutions are typically where research is done. An associate degree or baccalaureate in liberal arts are both possible at colleges, which are typically smaller institutions.
When considering how much college professors make, this distinction is crucial. Salaries are influenced by a number of factors, such as education level, related degrees obtained, discipline or field of study, and type of educational institution, such as public or private., public or private and two- or four-year programs, research, tenure, and even location.
University instructors come in a variety of levels, including assistant and associate professors, whose positions are tenure-track. At a university, tenure may only be held by full professors.
Having tenure means that the professor and the university have an agreement stating that the professor’s appointment to the university may be for an indefinite period of time.
A tenured professor is one who has taught for a significant amount of time, has earned multiple degrees, including a doctorate, and has conducted a significant amount of research in their area of specialization.
Published Professors Earn More
Grant money, royalties from books or articles that have been published, summer teaching jobs, sabbaticals spent working for private or public organizations, overtime pay, and incentive payments can all raise a professor’s pay. Additionally, there are yearly pay increases that, particularly for tenured professors, can affect pay.
As a result, there are some professors who earn very high salaries that are significantly higher than those mentioned above. David Silvers makes over $4 million a year as a professor of pathology and dermatology at Columbia. At the university’s medical center, he oversees a highly specialized lab and teaches there as well.
Zev Rosenwaks, an additional instructor who deviates from the norm, is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Cornell University and the manager of a reproductive medical center at the university’s medical college. His annual salary exceeds $3 million. As you can see, there are numerous factors that affect the pay that college professors receive.
Adjunct Professors Often Make Less Than You Think
According to a 2022 report by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), adjunct professors—contingent faculty who are not on the tenure track—have a difficult time making ends meet.
According to the report, which included responses from over 1,883 respondents at two- and four-year universities between May and August 2020, a quarter of adjunct professors made under $25,000 per year. They fall below the federal poverty line for a family of four as a result.
The findings of the AFT also refuted the perception that adjunct professors typically hold other lucrative jobs in addition to teaching. Only 20% of respondents said they can afford their monthly expenses comfortably. Additionally, almost 50% delay receiving necessary medical care, and almost 20% rely on Medicaid.
The study also outlined the extent to which colleges and universities have become more dependent on adjunct faculty. 40 years ago, 70% of faculty were tenured or on the tenure track; today, 34% are not eligible for tenure, and 47% work part-time.
Job Outlook for College Professors
College professor employment is anticipated to increase by 11% between 2018 and 2028, which is a lot faster than the average job growth rate of 5%. It is anticipated that demand will rise as more students pursue higher education.
How Do You Become a College Professor?
A bachelor’s degree in the subject they intend to teach should be chosen by aspirant college professors first. Graduate school must be pursued after earning a bachelor’s degree. Most full-time professors at colleges and universities are required to hold a doctoral degree, with a master’s degree being the minimum requirement for college professors.
You should think about applying for a teaching assistantship while you are in graduate school to start gaining experience for a professor position. Many professors continue to pursue their doctoral degrees while working full- or part-time jobs teaching undergraduate courses after earning their master’s degree.
Final Words: How Much Do College Professors Make?
Both tuition prices and university presidents’ salaries are rising. But college professors’ pay has largely remained flat. Millionaire professors are extremely uncommon.
Below is a list of the top five full professors’ annual salaries for both public and private universities, as reported by Indeed.com.
- University of California, San Francisco, $295,123 (Public)
- University of Texas Medical Branch, $256,817 (Public)
- New York University, $225, 325 (Private)
- Yale University, $216,723 (Private)
- Harvard University, $205,584 (Private)
Is University Professor a Good Job?
Yes, being a professor is a good career. It pays well and has a high level of satisfaction, and it is a very rewarding field. To become a professor without making a significant contribution to your field, however, can be challenging as there are only a limited number of positions available.
Do Professors Make 6 Figures?
Pay varies depending on the institution type. At public 4-year institutions, a full professor makes an average salary of $129,000. At privately run four-year institutions, a full professor makes an average salary of $137,000.