How Much Do Professors Make In 2024: A Quick Guide

how much do professors make
how much do professors make

Naturally, you’ve amused yourself during lectures by putting yourself in the role of your professor, complete with spectacles perched on your nose, a chalkboard covered with creative scribbles behind you, and an articulate explanation of the universe’s most perplexing concepts. 

If you’ve always wanted to teach at the college level or you’re thinking about changing your career, you should start thinking about the job’s realities. The question ‘how much do professors make’ is obviously a significant element. 

You must inquire about the salaries of college professors. What are the salaries of full professors? What is the salary of associate professors, then? Also, what is the salary of assistant professors then? Or how much do professors make? Let’s start now!

What are the University-level teaching roles off the tenure track?

We understand that you wanted to know what the typical professor makes. And we will let you know! But first, we will discuss the various jobs that someone aspiring to the position of a college professor in the US could confront. 

We will start with the positions that rarely come with tenure or eligibility for tenure. Remember that the specifics of each function vary depending on the organization, so all five descriptions are pretty broad and bare-bones.

  • Adjunct professors work part-time, sometimes at a single institution and other times at several. They typically have one to two classes at each school where they work. Many adjunct instructors find it challenging to make enough money from just one school to support themselves. Therefore, they frequently pay the bills by combining their wages and schedules if they can. Adjunct instructors often have to grade papers and provide office hours in addition to teaching. 
  • Lecturers (also known as instructors) work full-time for one institution and have a complete class schedule. Tenure agreements do not bind them; instead, they are bound by brief contracts that are frequently renewed annually. In addition to giving lectures, seminars, and/or workshops, they also create course plans. However, they frequently have no duties except instructing.

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What are the University-level teaching roles on the tenure track?

You’re still curious about the salaries of college teachers. But we’re still not there! We’ll cover the roles that involve tenure or are eligible for tenure next.

  • An entry-level position that occasionally marks the start of the tenure track is that of an assistant professor. However, there are situations when this position is not eligible for tenure. In other words, even if an assistant professor lacks tenure in either case, this position may occasionally lead to tenure if the individual advances to associate professor. Assistant professors may work full- or part-time, depending on the institution’s demands. They frequently instruct introductory or pre-planned curriculum courses. They must also grade papers and provide office hours.
  • Associate professors, who sit between assistant and full professor, do have tenure. Assistant professors and associate professors share numerous responsibilities. Both are expected, for instance, to teach, provide office hours, and mark papers. However, associate professors frequently have more discretion over the courses they teach and how they do it. Additionally, they have the choice of taking a sabbatical every seventh year.
  • Senior-level positions now belong to full professors. Like associate professors, full professors have tenure and the flexibility to take sabbaticals. In addition to their regular teaching responsibilities, they emphasize growing their body of work and research. Typically, they have more control over their teaching methods and scheduling. Sometimes, they even develop entirely new classes for the university.

How much do college professors make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2016, a university professor made an average yearly pay of $75,430. Of all University Professors, the lowest paid earn less than $38,290 annually, while the top paid earn more than $168,270.

The size and location of the college or university, the subject taught, and whether the facility is private or public all affect the average compensation of a university professor. 

For instance, a university professor who teaches in the medical, veterinary, or nursing fields makes an average salary of $99,360 annually. In contrast, a university professor who teaches education earns $62,520 yearly on average.

According to the American Association of University Professors, full-time faculty at private colleges and universities make an average salary of $105,323, compared to $103,019 for those working at public institutions. 

Furthermore, whether working for a commercial or governmental university, professors at four-year colleges are paid more than their counterparts at two-year institutions.

Also, read this: Why do Doctors Make so Much Money in 2024? Full Explanations with FAQs

Harvard University Professor Salary

Harvard University’s prominence and notoriety are reflected in the fact that professor salaries there are among the highest in the world. Harvard professors are well-paid for their knowledge and achievements and are highly regarded as leaders in their disciplines.

Community College Vs University Professor Salary

There is frequently a sizable discrepancy between professors’ wages at community colleges and universities. Because teaching at the university level requires a higher level of study and skill, university professors often make more money than their counterparts at community institutions. However, this distinction can change based on the school’s location, size, and field of study.

College Professor Salary With PhD

PhD-holding college teachers often make more money than those who do not because of their superior training and experience. A Ph.D. is typically a useful asset in the academic sphere, although perceptions differ based on the institution, subject area, and other factors.

Public University Professor Salary

Professor pay at public universities varies significantly based on the school, the subject area, and other elements. Even though some public colleges pay less than private ones, they could provide other advantages, including lower tuition and access to a greater variety of courses and resources.

Bradley University Professor Salary

Professor wages at Bradley University are competitive in the higher education sector, reflecting the calibre of the university and its dedication to offering students a top-notch education. Bradley University professors are highly acclaimed for their knowledge and commitment to teaching and research and are paid well for their work.

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Community College Professor Salary With PhD

PhD-holding community college instructors often make more money than those without one, which reflects their advanced training and experience. The institution, topic area, and other factors can all affect the compensation differential.

How much do adjunct professors make?

As we noted above, many adjunct instructors need help to make the money they require. Only 20% of the adjunct instructors who responded to a report by the American Federation of Teachers recently indicated they can live well with what they earn teaching.

25% of respondents to the same survey claimed to make less than $25,000 per year, which is below the federal poverty level for households with four people. 33% reported having an annual income of under $50,000. And 38% claimed to receive aid from the government.

As we previously indicated above, many adjunct instructors need to cobble together a timetable by working for numerous colleges. Nearly 50% of the responding adjunct professors claimed to make less than $3,500 for each course they teach.

This means that they will only receive this meagre, predetermined compensation rate, regardless of how much extra time and effort they invest in assisting their students’ learning. As a result, putting together their schedule can take a lot more time and work from them without giving them enough in return.

In addition to having trouble paying their monthly bills, 63.7% of people reported delaying dental care because they lacked insurance or couldn’t afford the copays. For the same reason, 43.3% of respondents indicated they had delayed receiving medical or mental health care

Another 43.3% stated they didn’t seek medical attention when they couldn’t afford it. Among the 17.6% of individuals who eventually sought medical attention when necessary, 17.6% saved money by not filling their prescriptions. 

And 27.2% saved money by refusing the Doctor’s advised medical test or treatment.

Furthermore, 36.5% of respondents indicated they have yet to learn how they can afford retirement despite their struggles with monthly and medical costs. So, what is the salary of adjunct professors? It is almost never enough, usually.

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How much do college professors make in relation to rising costs?

The pay for teaching professors has gotten poorer as student tuition and fees keep going up, and institution CEOs keep getting richer. Academic faculty’s average wages increased just 4% over the last 2-3 academic years. 

But inflation also increased. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) shows that average prices increased by 6.5% over this time. And when inflation is taken into account, that 4% fall in average salaries becomes a 2.4% decline.

Since the American Association of University Professors started keeping track of this information in 1972, this has been the biggest drop in the average wage over a single year. Additionally, average prices had increased by 7% at the same time.

Institutions still have the chance to raise professor salaries to keep up with inflation, but they’ve mainly failed to do so.

What is the Job Outlook for a Professor?

Overall, the BLS predicts that employment of postsecondary teachers will increase by 15% between 2016 and 2026, outpacing the average growth rate for all occupations.

Analysts anticipate a rise in the number of students enrolling in postsecondary institutions. These new students want to pursue higher education to acquire the abilities required to achieve their professional objectives. Universities will require more instructors to accommodate the increase in student enrollment.

However, due to restrictions put in place by state and municipal governments, these colleges and universities may be restricted in their hiring. Professor career options will be limited if finances for higher education are curtailed.

Although more postsecondary teachers are expected to be needed, some specialties are expected to grow more quickly than others. For instance, as the population ages, there will be a greater need for healthcare services, leading to a greater need for professors. 

The need for more academics in the healthcare field is anticipated to increase by 26% between 2016 and 2026. During the same period, the need for nursing skills lecturers will increase by 24%.

Being a professor can be financially beneficial as well as a way to give back to society. Achieving full tenure requires aspirant teachers to advance through the ranks by earning their Ph.D. degrees.

Professors at the assistant and associate levels get modest compensation, but the payoff is a stable financial future and the satisfaction of seeing your students thrive.

Related post: What is Estimated Family Contribution (EFC)?

What are the additional factors to consider when asking about salary?

You inquired about the salary of professors. How much do adjunct instructors make, you inquired? Additionally, we discussed averages. While averages help you estimate a rough pay range, many other factors can impact how much professors make.

  • Location. The state and city where you reside can have an impact on your income. However, always remember to account for the cost of living in the area when deciding where to look for a job.
  • Field. The subject you teach, and the speciality you have can have a significant impact on your teaching income. For instance, a professor who teaches legal courses will probably make more money than one who teaches humanities courses.
  • Experience. The pay that is provided to you frequently depends on your level of expertise in your profession and your teaching background. Or you can frequently ask for greater compensation by using your experience.
  • Ultimate level. Your income may vary depending on the terminal degree you earn. For instance, instructors with a Ph.D. may make more money than those with only a master’s degree.
  • Relevant Extra Revenue. If you specialize in a certain area, you can earn more money through your studies, writings, patents, conferences, presentations, etc.

Read: Is a 2.1 Degree Good? Colleges You Can Get Into With A 2.1 GPA

Frequently Asked Questions 

Which professor earns the greatest salary?

Education professors often make less than $65,000 per year, which is at the low end of the income scale. Law professors are the highest paid; thanks to their knowledge, they can earn over $120,000 annually. 

What are Harvard professors’ yearly salaries?

The average salary for a Harvard University professor in the United States is about $174,201 per year, which is 101% more than the national average. Fourteen (14) data points were used to calculate salaries, including direct employee feedback, user feedback, and historical and present Indeed job postings over the previous 36 months.

What kind of professor is in demand the most?

There is a huge demand for adjunct professors in academic areas focusing on health care, such as pre-med, science, and nursing. The subjects of law, business, psychology, engineering, architecture, biology, economics, and criminal science have the largest need for adjunct lecturers.

What are Oxford academics’ salaries?

In Oxford, UK, a professor typically earns £94,901. We use the 32 salaries posted anonymously by Professor employees on Glassdoor as a basis for salary projections. How accurate do you think £94,901 is? Your feedback aids Glassdoor in continuously improving our wage projections.

Is Professor UK superior to Doctor?

An academic with the title “Professor” is one who likely (but not necessarily) has a Ph.D. and has been promoted to the highest grade on the university pay scale. In the UK, an academic with the title “Dr” has a Ph.D. but hasn’t been promoted to the highest academic grade.

How much do Ph.D. students at Oxford make?

The typical Ph.D. student income at Oxford University is £16,712 annually, but students may earn between £10,510 and £136,742 annually. This estimate is based on 379 salary report(s) for Ph.D. students at Oxford University, which were either voluntarily submitted or calculated using statistical methods.


In summary, a variety of variables influence a college professor’s pay. And what are the wages for adjunct professors? That depends, ‌though. 

As you move forward, you will need to consider many things, such as where to get your terminal degree and how to become a college professor. 

Even though you will surely face challenges along this professional path, teaching at the university level may be a remarkably fulfilling experience. Don’t give up on turning your daydreams into reality if they frequently involve standing at the front of the classroom.



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