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Not Getting Rich and Not Dying Trying

My 9-month salary is 50K. I work as an assistant professor for a community college in a mid-sized, highly livable city in North Carolina. We love it here.

(My salary has not changed much in four years. There are plenty of opportunities to teach and do other work for the college in the summer, and I also do a little adjuncting on the side with my employer's permission. Altogether I bring my yearly income up to around 75-80K.)

Google search is your friend

To find salary information for faculty who teach at state colleges and universities, search in Google for the state's name and terms like "salary database" or "transparency."
I was a faculty member at a state university in Nevada, and our salaries are available here: https://transparentnevada.com/
California state salaries are here: https://transparentcalifornia.com/
Ohio state salaries are here: https://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/
and so on. I can confirm that the salaries listed in the database for me were accurate. It's been two years since I left academia, and I now make 17k more than my salary at the time that I departed from the university.


Hired in early 2010s, TT, regional campus of state school (4-4 load) in midwestern midsize city: started at $50k (after negotiating-- very carefully).
Now, shortly after tenure and promotion, I'm in the mid-60s. (Notably, we have a fairly strong union.)

Underpaid in the UK

The pay scales for academic staff in the UK are negotiated at a national level between the University and College Union (UCU), which is the representative body for academics in the UK, and the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA), which is the employers' association.

You can find the national pay scales on the UCU website:


Pay at the majority of UK higher education institutions is governed by the HE single pay spine:


This is subject to a weighting for academics at institutions based in London, largely negotiated locally.

Lecturers (the lowest rank of permanent academic staff) at a junior level, i.e. without prior experience or a current academic salary that the hiring institution might match, usually start around point 30 on this scale.

The pay scales for full professors are different, and as far as I know, set locally by particular institutions. If you search for "professorial pay scale uk" or similar you'll get a bunch of results. UK HE institutions publish these scales on their websites.

Workers of the World Unite

All of this is within the last five years.

I have worked two NTT, full-time lecturer jobs at flagship state universities with grad programs. Both had 3-3 loads and some TA help. My salaries were $45k and $50k. Both came with a little cash for travel.

I worked a TT job at a non-elite SLAC in a LCOL area. Salary was 54k. I negotiated that up from 52k. Teaching load 3-4.

I currently work a (junior) TT job at a regional state university in a LCOL area. Salary is 52k. I negotiated that up from 50k. Teaching load 3-3.

These salaries would be untenable in a HCOL area, but they're fine for where I am. Both TT jobs have/had regular 1-3 percent annual increases, and more substantial increases at promotion.

If you're hired at a state school, usually you can find salaries for all faculty in all departments somewhere online. (They are usually delayed a year or two.) This will let you know what is feasible in terms of negotiation. I never tried to negotiate my NTT jobs.

Good money, but not a good life

I was in a vap position in a wealthy private r1 in the midwest. 55k was the salary, and with optional summer teaching abroad (wich paid really well!) I got to 65k. Next, I was transferred to another institute in the same university and was offered 65k with the same title, plus the same opportunity for the summer (so, a total of 75k). In both cases, I had a 2/2, but I had a lot of admin stuff, advising for undergrads, etc. Now I moved back to Europe, I make less money, but quality of life is way better.

new associate

I am a newly tenured associate professor at a SLAC in the southeastern US. I was hired in 2015 at $72,000 and my current salary (pending raises to take effect in July) is $87,000. This is exclusive of benefits (including a 9.5% 403B contribution by my institution) and bonuses for advising, directing theses, taking part in grant-funded initiatives, and so forth. My extra income along these lines (excluding institutional retirement contributions) should come to about $7,000 this academic year, but it is often a bit lower. My understanding is that this package is unusually good for philosophy, but that the compensation offered at northeastern and Californian SLACs such as Amherst, Williams, and Pomona (not to mention major private R1s) is better still.

Assist. Prof in Asia

Converted into USD from the local currency:
Starting salary roughly $75,000
Current salary roughly $88,000

This doesn't include bonuses (about $10,000 a year given performance), travel allowance (roughly $3700/year), and housing allowance in the Asian country in which I live as an ex-pat.

Of course with local taxes, and the US policy of double-taxing its citizens abroad, take-home can be less.


Hired mid-2010s in very low cost of living area and started at $49K/year for a 4-4 load. Not a lot, but enough to buy a starter house here.

TT guy

I was hired (Assistant level) by an R1 in one of the most expensive areas in the US at $74K in 2017. I negotiated with an outside offer to a raise to $84K in 2018. I think I now make about $88K with cost of living raises etc. (Still at Assistant level.)


Hired TT in mid-2010s at a regional state university (4/4, no graders or grad program) in the midwest. Comparatively, rent is low, but utilities and food are expensive. We also pay a chunk of the premium for mediocre health insurance (well over $1,000/year for a single person).

Starting salary: $52,000
Current salary (several years after tenure): $63,000

We've been lucky to get cost of living adjustments - some years more than others. The salary increase for promotion to associate is $3,000. No union, so it's the will of the people in charge.

Southern TT

Hired TT at a liberal arts university in medium sized city in the southeastern US (3/3 teaching load).

Starting salary: $57,500
Current salary (several years after tenure): $75,000

We receive annual merit raises.

So Expensive Cal

Hired TT at a teaching focused state school in southern California with a salary of $67,500. 4/4 load.

I am still pre tenure. Our annual 3% raises were canceled because of COVID.

Cost of living is EXTREMELY high. For example, the median house cost is $750,000.

I was not given much money for a cross-country move to take the job. As a consequence, I am still paying off the debt that I incurred from my move.

If I receive tenure, I will get a 9% pay increase.


Hired into a tenure track position at a CC in 2013 at 53,000 a year in very low cost of living place.
Changed jobs into a tenure track job at a CC in 2017 to a high cost of living place and started at 73,000. Have had a roughly 3% raise every year since I started except last year due to pandemic. Many opportunities to raise pay through summer teaching, extra responsibilities.
My main complaint is that at my current place there is very little opportunity for a more significant jump in pay unless you go into administration. We don't have 'ranks': we just have untenured/tenured. No assistant/associate/full.

Not working class anymore and not pretending otherwise

I'm at a CC in the mid-Atlantic. I started at a base salary of 53,500 and after four years I'm at about 58,000. I'm supposed to get a promotion to associate professor next year I think which should bump my salary $1,500 at least. We don't technically have tenure, but functionally we have as much job security as the people I know who are TT. There are always summer teaching opportunities in philosophy and overload opportunities too. I usually take two or three summer classes which bumps my salary about 10,000-15,000. One can take up to four classes, but I've decided not to do that many for the foreseeable future. Full professors and some associate profs here with a lot of years in the system often make about $70,000-75,000 base. The pay for summer classes is based on base salary so these people can easily earn right at or a little over $100,000 if they take 3 or 4 summer classes. The cost of living in the region as a whole is about average. It's a little lower than average in the city we live in and a little higher in the suburbs but the variation isn't huge. The job's much lower stress than I think most R1 or even R2 jobs are. The health insurance is excellent and the retirement benefits are solid. The workload is 5/5 but it isn't bad once you figure out how to do it. Even before the pandemic we did a fair amount of online teaching, which is honestly pretty easy though unrewarding. With a good mix of face to face though one gets a very manageable workload and pretty rewarding work.

Can this be anon even to you? You seem nice enough, but I don't know you well enough to share my salary with you ...

Assistant Professor at Private R1, big expensive east coast city: ~90K in mid-teens, exclusive of benefits (housing is really expensive and there's no stipend, subsidized apartments, etc., so the salary doesn't go as far as you'd think). Now more like 100k, still pre-tenure.

Job 2

Hired TT in 2013 at an R2 in the Midwest with a fairly low COL and a 2-3 load: hired at $50k, left the year before tenure at (I think?) $62k, which included two retention raises. Effectively no cost of living raises due to state finances.

Hired in 2019 as Associate without tenure at a wealthy R1 in the northeast with a fairly low COL and a 2-2 load: hired at $76K, now with tenure I make $82K, and am told to expect about 2% raise each year.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

If this is not the right place to ask this, I apologize. However, those of you who were able to get raises by securing an offer from another school, with whom did you negotiate that raise? The dean of your college, or your department chair? What are the logistics of initiating that negotiation?

Even more expensive cost of living

Associate Prof at R1 making about 110K USD year, but cost of living is extremely extremely high - median house cost is about $1.3 million USD.

Mike Titelbaum

You can find salaries for professors at all University of Wisconsin system campuses here:


The one thing to note about that data is that you're looking at how much someone got paid in a 12-month period, which is not necessarily their academic year salary. For instance, if someone started halfway through the year you'll only see half their salary. Or if they taught an extra course during the summer, that pay will get lumped in as well.

how did Socrates support his family?

I'm at a tiny non-elite Catholic SLAC in a medium cost of living city. I teach a 4/4. The order that runs my institution takes a vow of poverty, and I think they've extended this vow to the rest of us (only half-kidding about that). I'm an Associate Professor now. I started at 39 k per year and now make 50 k per year (9 month contracts). I tend not to teach in the summers, but if I were to do so, I would make more money (like 3 k per course). Clearly, the money is not good here. But, aside from that, it's a good job: nice area to live in, nice people to work with, nice students, etc.

UWA lecturer

For an Australian perspective, here are the academic salary scales at the University of Western Australia, freely available online (you can use xe.com to convert from AUD to USD or other currencies):


Tenure doesn't exist here in the same sense that it does in the US; nonetheless, TT-equivalent jobs usually start at Level B ('Lecturer'). Level C is Senior Lecturer, Level D Associate Professor, Level E full Professor. The 'step' increments are (more or less) automatic and annual; to move from one *level* to another you need to apply for promotion based on performance.

Another Australian Academic

A bit more detail on Australia: ECR starting salary around 100K AUD (=77,500USD). We don't have tenure but the salary 7 years in depending on location is about 115K AUD (=90K USD) and tops out at about 200K AUD (=150K USD) for full professor. We also get paid 17% superannuation (pension) on top of that. As UWA lecturer says starting positions are typically tenured but you do have to apply to continue to move up the scale based on performance (roughly every 3-5 years). It is important to note that despite the apparently high pay, profs aren't all in gravy here, the median house price in Sydney is 1.3million AUD and Melbourne not far behind. Plus the cost of living is very high comparatively so this money doesn't go that far.

Asst prof in Canada

I am at a Canadian public research university, probably something like an R2 by US standards. In USD, starting salary was $70,000. Now in year 4 (still pre-tenure), it's $90,000 USD. We have a pretty generous annual across the board raise and also annual merit raises.


My first TT job was at a minor state school in an urban area in the Northeast (3/3 with one course release most years). Starting salary was $55k, up to about $63k after a few years, good benefits thanks to the union, lousy money for travel etc.

After a few years I left that job for a private SLAC in the Midwest (2/2.5). Starting salary $75k in a significantly cheaper place to live, somewhat worse benefits, much more money for travel, plus I think $6k in startup money.

FT NTT in Canada

Also in Canada, FT NTT in a non-degree-granting department at a university with a strong faculty union but no tenure and a 4/4 load. Cost of living here is sky-high--the average house price is ~$1.2 million USD.

I started two years ago at ~$48k USD (which is about the average household income here... which makes the cost of living even crazier). I'm now at ~$62k USD, and the salary scale tops out at ~$77K USD, which I should hit in another five years, with yearly raises of ~$2500 USD.


For comparison, here are the APA figures about average starting salaries for Philosophy *Bachelor's degrees*


It's not pretty.

Bioethics Philosopher

For those considering being a philosopher in academia but not in a philosophy department: salaries in academic medical centers usually align with the AAUM reports. PhDs in bioethics are reported as making high 80s to low 100s (in thousands of USD) as starting assistant professors depending on other experience, region of hire, etc. for 12 month jobs, usually with good retirement and health benefits. Many medical schools only offer tenure for those winning RO1 grants, but TT and non TT move through the same ranks of promotion from Assistant/Associate/Full.

New Assistant prof

In Western Canada at a public research university. Starting TT position with $88,000CAD.
My understanding is that there are annual salary and merit based pay increases, so it will probably rises about $2,000CAD per year, but I am new so have yet to see what really happens.
Comes with lots of good benefits that have been a game-changer for me (pension, dental, mental).


Hired TT at a public university (R2) in the northeast. 3-3 load with only undergraduate programs. My starting salary was 55K. No regular raise before tenure. I was told the benefits were good but I really have no idea what counts as good benefits. Summer teaching is available but depends on enrollments.

thinking about a bioethics position

@Bioethics Philosopher - can you say more about how to look for these jobs? Is there a separate job database? Must one's dissertation be on bioethics or is it sufficient to have an AOS or AOC in bioethics? Thanks!


Similar to the UK, the Netherlands has a shared salary scale at the national level. You can find the numbers here https://www.vsnu.nl/files/documenten/CAO/Salarisschalen%20per%201%20juni%202020.pdf and background info on benefits and conditions here https://www.vsnu.nl/en_GB/cao-universiteiten.html

My understanding is that scale 11 and 12 are for assistant professors, 13 and 14 are for associate professors, and H2 and H1 are for full professors. You go up a "step" within each scale once a year more or less automatically, but moving across the scales requires a promotion.

Salaries are in EUR per month, but there's a holiday allowance and end of year allowance so annual salary is almost 14 times the reported number. So an assistant professor will make at least EUR 52k (USD 63k) and a full professor could range up to EUR 140k (USD 170k). None of this includes the employer pension contribution of about 17%.

It might also be worth pointing out the "P" column in the salary table, which is for PhD students. They start at about EUR 33k (USD 40k) and also get pension benefits.

Bioethics Philosopher

@thinking about a bioethics position: great question. Having a dissertation focused on bioethics would be helpful, having bioethics as an AOS would be necessary (not merely an AOC). If you want to teach bioethics in a medical school then these things are probably sufficient. If you want to be working as a clinical ethicist in a medical center you will want to do a fellowship that specializes in clinical ethics (usually a 2 year postdoc, they often launch searches in the fall and tend to post to PhilJobs but also watch bioethics.net). Check out the Philosophers in Industry linked to on the Cocoon website which has a lot of folks who have pursued this path listed who would be excellent resources.


I started in a VAP at a SLAC in the Southeastern US with a salary of 55k (spent 5 years there). I was recently hired TT at a Cal State school for 68k but in an area that has a low-cost of living by California standards (The CSU system is unionized, FWIW). I'm currently negotiating a TT offer from an other SLAC in the Southeast that started at 55k and has moved up to 60k. Hopefully I can get them to move up even further, otherwise, I'll stay where I am.

Gambling Addict

Here's some info for this year. Renewable NTT position at an R1 in a rural state (not in a Philosophy Department). Salary is 46k. Tried to negotiate up. No luck.

Coastal Asst Prof

Started at $75k a couple years ago (TT, Private R2 with 2/2, expensive coastal city). When I got the offer (which was for somewhat less than that), I was told the number was at the high end of what could be expected since it wasn’t from an uber-wealthy R1 or super-elite SLAC (my advisor recommended I not negotiate; a younger mentor told me I should ask more but recognIze that the offer was already very good).
We get a decent retirement (10% of salary). Raise percentage was minimal my first year (less than cost of living) and zero my second year (pandemic). Teaching in summer is available if desired (mainly because most faculty don’t do it, not because we offer a lot of classes), and is about $10k per class for me (varies by level, so Assoc or Full Profs make more). Summer research funding is available, though not every summer. Still, in the years I’ve been here, my gross hasn’t been less than $80k, and was ~$87k last year.

Before I had a VAP at a large public institution at a mid-cost city and made $40k with a 3/3; TT faculty made something like $65k to start.

One place I had a fly out at (small SLAC in southeast) gave me salary tables in advance so I knew what to expect (low-$50s). A friend at a SLAC with a 4/4 at an east coast city started (~2015) in the mid-50s.

bitter and not hiding it

Mid-Atlantic private college, 4/4, NTT.

Started 49k ("we weren't supposed to give you even that much!") a few years ago. Nominal raises in the years since that total in the hundreds of dollars. There's a "crisis" every couple of months incompatible with faculty raises, but compatible with lots of new and expensive administrative hires and building projects.

Things must not have always been this way, because senior faculty even in philosophy make more than twice my hired-in wage. Faculty in other disciplines must also have it better, as a recent benefits presentation included a reference to 70k as a "lower-end" faculty salary.

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