How Much Do College Professors Make on Average

How much do college professors make? What's the average annual salary of a college professor? In a college context, teaching students can be both thrilling and gratifying. A position as a college professor is a wonderful career for anyone who enjoys teaching, with a good job outlook and high income potential.

how much do college professors make

What does a professor do?

Professors are often employed by big universities. They frequently spend a significant amount of their time in this environment performing research and experiments, as well as seeking for funds to support their study. They frequently devote less time to teaching. Graduate teaching assistants, who are supervised by a professor, can teach classes.

Professors can instruct large groups of hundreds of students (typically with the assistance of many graduate teaching assistants), small groups of 40 to 50 students, seminars with a few students, or laboratories where students practice the subject matter. As more part-time, older, and culturally diverse students enroll in postsecondary institutions, they can work with a more diverse student body.

Professors stay current in their fields through reading academic publications, conversing with peers, and attending professional conferences. Professors must do research, such as experiments, document analysis, or critical evaluations, and publish their findings in order to acquire tenure (a guarantee that they will not be fired without cause).

Full-time professors, especially those with tenure, are frequently required to devote more time to research. They can also be required to participate on more university and college committees. Adjunct professors are part-time professors who spend the majority of their time educating students.

How much do college professors make?

At $202,199, the average full professor pay at private, doctoral schools was the highest of all total wages. Instructors at religiously connected colleges, on the other hand, made the least money, with an average income of $51,444.

how much do college professors make

National average salary

Full professors make an average of $99,616 at public universities and $125,420 at private colleges at the bachelor level. The difference of 23% shows how much more money academics can make in the private sector.

According to the American Association of University Professors (source), the average full-time college professor earned $101,810 in the 2020-21 academic year, encompassing all teacher kinds and university categories. During the same time period, full professors in the United States earned an average of $140,543.

Type of professor and income

Professors in Massachusetts were paid $141,251 per year on average. Professors in New York made $124,080, while those in New Jersey got $127,703. Professors are paid differently in different fields of specialization. Law professors had the highest average pay of $137,120, according to the BLS.

Professors who teach health specializations come in second, earning $132,640 per year. Economics professors make $117,750 on average, engineering professors earn $109,950, and business professors earn $102,600 on average.

Average salary of a professor by state

  • Professor: $140,543 per year.
  • Associate Professor: $95,828 per year.
  • Assistant Professor: $83,362 per year.
  • Instructor: $62,926 per year.
  • Lecturer: $66,669 per year.
  • No Rank: $73,625 per year.
  • Combined: $101,810 per year.

Source: American Association of University Professors

Assistant professor average salary

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the average pay of an assistant professor at a public four-year institution was $70,246 in the 2015-2016 academic year.

College professor salary by state

College professors earn an average of $67,352 a year in the United States. In addition, the following are the highest wages in each state:

  • 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

College teachers, with a few exceptions, are required to have a doctoral degree in their specialty. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor, some institutions prefer to employ teachers with several years of non-academic job experience.

how much do college professors make

Job market outlook

Professors in higher education have a promising future. College professors are anticipated to have an 11 percent rise in employment between 2018 and 2028, much above the overall 5% growth. As a result of more students seeking higher education, demand is projected to rise.

College and university professors are expected to expand at a faster-than-average rate, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because tenure-track posts will remain competitive, part-time and non-tenure-track employment will become more readily available.

Jobs similar to college professor

As you investigate alternative job possibilities, here are some related occupations to consider:

Research assistant

Research assistants earn an average of $16.13 per hour in the United States.

A research assistant's primary responsibilities include performing tests as well as collecting and evaluating data. While research assistants' daily writing tasks vary depending on the subject in which they work, some of their major responsibilities include revising papers, asking for grants, reading current literature, and other activities that help research projects stay on track.


Average hourly wage for a teacher in the United States is $19.14.

A teacher's primary responsibilities include instructing pupils at all stages of their schooling. Developing and releasing instructional content, overseeing courses, providing individualized training for students, and assessing and recording each student's progress are just a few of their major responsibilities.

Kindergarten teacher

Kindergarten teacher's annual pay averages $41,021 in the United States.

A kindergarten teacher is in charge of educating kindergarten students in an elementary school. Plan, execute, and assess lessons, introduce students to math, science, language, and social studies, and educate with patience and creativity are just a few of their responsibilities.

how much do college professors make

Assistant professor

Assistant professors earn an average of $62,660 a year in the United States.

An assistant professor is a freshly hired member of a university or college's faculty who is responsible for teaching students and publishing academic articles or journals. Developing and implementing instructional techniques, leading and mentoring research researchers, and supervising and assisting teaching assistants are among their major tasks.

Associate professor

Associate professors earn an average of $83,648 per hour in the United States.

An associate professor is a university or college professor who is trying to make a name for oneself via research. They generally teach classes related to the subject in which they have earned a master's degree. Many associate professors additionally serve as advisers to students who are majoring in the subject of study of the associate professor. Teaching and mentoring students, publishing research, representing the university at conferences, and participating on faculty committees are just a few of their major responsibilities.

Common questions

Questions regarding college professor salaries.

Is it possible to earn a high income as a professor?

In 2018, Harvard Business School professor emeritus William E. Fruhan Jr. was reported to have made $1.19 million.

how much do college professors make

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