Post Academic


University Salaries Revealed! Kind Of

Yesterday, I recommended Glassdoor.com as a way to get the scoop on a company. Then I wondered if I could get any information about universities from the site.

For kicks, I looked up “assistant professor,” and the sheer range of salaries that appeared was astonishing. You can look up any school, but I plucked out a few salary ranges:

Assistant Professor at Texas A&M: $58K-113K
Assistant Professor at the University of Florida: $52K-$95K
Assistant Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago: $55K-$87K

Right below the salaries for the Assistant Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago position, I noticed listings for the University of Chicago, and profs at private schools appear to make more, between $58K and $186K. Yet their base rate isn’t all that different from the base rate at public universities.

The base rate is probably the most realistic expectation if you are hoping to land a job as a humanities prof. However, knowing how high a university is willing to go can give you more bargaining power if you get a job offer, especially if you find out how much similar universities are willing to pay.

If you are considering grad school but think you might have to go into debt, checking Glassdoor.com can help you figure out how long it will take for you to pay off your loans with a certain salary. If you don’t think you can pay off your loans at between $50 to $60K a year, you might want to shift gears or go to a less expensive school.

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2 Responses to 'University Salaries Revealed! Kind Of'

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  1. Michelle Wright said,

    Yes and No—

    Note that these are faculty salaries across the board, not just Liberal Arts (Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences), –these include Law, Business and Medical salaries among others. As you might expect, the salaries outside of the Liberal Arts tend to be much, much higher.

    It is absolutely empowering (and I would add, necessary) to know what the top-end of the range is, but be sure it is in the Liberal Arts and you are not asking for what an assistant professor in the medical school will expect–the university knows the latter will likely be bringing in hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in grant money over the course of their career.

    A final tip: remember that once a school has made you an offer, YOU now have a great deal of power because, unlike a non-academic job search, your department only has one time in the year to hire and they cannot be sure that their 2nd choice will still be available if you turn them down.

    Also check with the professional organization in your field as some orgs, like the Modern Languages Association, have established your right to have two weeks to make your decision. Many chairs will try to pressure you and mislead you as to your rights.

  2. Arnold Pan said,

    Thanks, MIchelle, for the thoughtful response. I had a similar response to seeing the high end of the Assistant Prof payscale, that it must include faculty listed at that rank in professional programs. The schools that have six-figure Assistant Prof salaries are ones with professional programs (business, law, med) or are top scientific and engineering schools. Without more detailed data, that’s what I’m guessing must be skewing the averages.

    The most important point you make here is how folks can use the info in an “empowering” way, as you put it. I’ve never thought of it before, but the annual cycle can be used to the candidate’s advantage, once s/he gets to the point of having offers to weigh.

    Thanks again for all the thought-provoking points!


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