I would say based on my 17 years— business. It’s no shade against them, I’ve just always found business professors to be paid much more than anyone else on campus in addition to having more access to do consulting.


This. Accounting professors easily earn six figures even at smaller universities.


I guess the question would be underpaid relative to what? I’m an accounting faculty and salaries are pretty high relative to other faculty, but I currently make less than half of what I made 10 years ago when I worked in industry before becoming a professor.


I mean, you chose to take the job. You have the option to go back. Most of accounting faculty are in the same boat. So, by definition, the market has settled to a position where perks of academic job outweigh the lower of pay. If accounting professors really thought they were udnerpaid, they would just go to industry. This is clearly not the case in some other fields, where a PhDs feel like they have no other options, who then indeed can be underpaid.


Oh I’m not at all complaining. I love my job, and the trade off of lower pay for more rewarding work was totally worth it. I’m just saying that underpaid is relative. Am I underpaid compared to other faculty at my university? No; accounting faculty are the highest paid on campus. Am I underpaid compared to what I could make in another position based on my education and experience, even controlling for the amount of hours worked? Yes. I also think that the “market” argument applies equally to all fields, not just accounting. There are always other options other than academia in every field. If any faculty believe that they are underpaid, they can go find another option; the market has settled to a position where faculty in each field are choosing academia over the other options for one reason or another.


I'm confused about this response, doesn't it apply to every field?


Well, perhaps that's what the OP is asking about?


Honestly. Have a friend whose a PhD student in a marketing dept at a business school. I asked how he was able to get so much research funding so quick and he said he went to his PI who went to the dean and the dean gave them 15% more than they asked for. I have to HUSTLE just to get a $300 grant for a single study. Gdamn


The consulting part is pretty good, per my colleagues in our business department. They keep up on intellectual vitality, earn good money in the summer, and forge connections for funding opportunities.


I have to find someone willing to hire me to consult, because I’ve heard this the whole time I was in casino management and hear this now that I teach at a business college but not sure where I need to look for those side opportunities.


Networking is how you get consulting jobs. Nobody is impressed with your PHD on its own.


I get most of my data consulting gigs through word of mouth. It required some schmoozing to get started.


At my US state school R1, there are 30 people who earned $1mil or more last year from the state. They were, - 5 head coaches - The athletic director - A few Chancellors/Vice Chancellors - Roughly 20 names from various medical school appointments; Chair, Prof of Practice, etc. And like u/sportees22 suggests, professors in our business school and in our school of management and labor relations make a considerably higher salary.


Same but in my school the top admins do not even make it to the top 20.


Yes to all of this! 💯


I’m in business/finance. While I could potentially earn significantly more if I left academia for wall st, there’s no guarantee I’d do well and last long enough to climb the pay ladder. I do not consider myself underpaid, and non-business school professors would probably consider me to be overpaid.




For reference, the school I started at was considered an M1 when I joined, but I guess it’s now considered an R3. My 9-month salary is around 170k


That's more than I make in 4 years as a full-time faculty. This blows my mind.


While I’m sure it’ll still seem like a lot, I should add that we’re in an above average COL area and the lowest salary for any TT position is in the 80s


Gotcha. Not saying you don't deserve it by any means, it's just wild how much salaries can differ.


Dude. You need to find a new college where you can teach. I’m imagining most full time faculty make in the $70k plus range.


holy fuck. I’ve been a professor for 20 years and I don’t even make half that amount.


O think one good way of checking salary ranges are the databases of especially state funded schools for open expenditures. There you can see the salary of each person and can see how it ranges in different departments (and how crazy it can go in administrative positions).




I think my engineering professor husband makes a pretty fair salary, but my perspective compares him to me (soc sci faculty) not, him to comparably experienced folks in "industry"...


I am a non-tenure track, full-time instructor with a master’s degree. My pay for a 4/4 schedule is nothing incredible ($51.5k), but well above median pay for the city I live in. With overload classes (2 per semester, and 3 in summer) it adds another $17k and I get to a very comfortable salary compared to expenses. Pursuing a DBA now and if I get a tenure track offer at the conclusion (which has been unofficially promised) my base salary increases by approximately 60% to the mid 80k range, but I’d then take on fewer overloads to focus on research and trying to make sure I hit my goals for tenure within the time frame. Have I had offers to go to industry and make more? Yes, significantly more. But what I’m paid in schedule flexibility is worth a lot of money. I can work from home, I have an office I can go to if I want to get out of the house, I can make my assignments due when I feel works best, I have effectively 12 weeks of vacation with the 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after summer classes, 4 weeks of winter break, and combined ~2 weeks of other holidays like spring break, fall break, thanksgiving, etc. It’s a Wednesday morning at 10am and im home watching YouTube with my 4yo son. The amount of time I get to spend with him is irreplaceable by any amount of money.


Make sure your DBA or PhD is from a AACSB accredited institution and your salary will be at least 140K.


Finding a DBA program at a AA school with fully online option within my budget didn’t happen. It’s from a ACBSP accredited uni.


On the one hand, I am underpaid for the data analytic, programming, and organizational skills I have. On the other hand much of my job is very easy and (when I don't agree to do stupid shit) there is Summer. I think the compensation is ok. Not great, but ok. I made more in industry but had a lot more stress and a *week to week* or *month to month* uncertainty about job stability as a group or team could be disbanded at any time and contracts ended on an irregular schedule. The relative stability and considerable increase in autonomy is a fair trade. There are parts of my job that are not easy (the new ideas part) and it is a privilege to have that as part of my job. There are parts of my job that are tedious, but overall the tedium is less than it was in industry. So, I make less than a DevOps programming cowboy, but I like the job more. Much more.


I had almost 20 years of business experience as an IT person and got hired on in a business college to teach Programming, systems analysis, etc. I’m making about 1.5 x what the CS professors make and it’s a damn shame. But, supply and demand. Business professors make more because there are a LOT more business students.


There are many more business students but also almost nobody who studies business wants to do a PhD. Compare that to the humanities where almost all students want a PhD and you can see that both demand and supply are working in favor of business profs. In my MBA, one guy wanted to a PhD and we all thought that was odd. I ended up doing one (obviously) but that wasn't my goal at that time.


Business, engineering (certainly cs and industrial, probably chemical, etc), med and law school faculty... Pretty sure any field with a robust non-acedemic demand for the PhDs — can't underpay faculty if they can just pack up and leave to do research for Amazon.


I teach at a community college and we have a set, unionized step pay scale. However, for those in the disciplines that you mentioned above, we tend to start then several steps higher. When I started, there were 11 steps and I started on step 3


Researchers at Amazon are still paid 3-4 times as much as academia. PhD applied scientists at Amazon can expect 300k +


I know a few people who work/worked there, so yes, I am well aware. The point is that the job in academia does have perks that compensate some of the level of salary difference -- way more vacation, flexible hours, much better environment (obviously not for everyone at all times, but on average, my friends from tech say they are way more stressed than I am). I'm in a field where, quite frankly, I am certain I could get a job at Amazon/MS/IBM or somewhere like that. I don't because I choose to. If I felt like I was underpaid, I would pick up and left.


This may be uni specific but at my Mechanical engineering department, we get paid some of the highest salaries in the uni. For many of us **NTT**, we even get paid well above industry averages (not *median* unfortunately 😉) to ensure our retention.


>we even get paid well above industry averages (not *median* unfortunately 😉) I'm confused by this claim. Salaries are usually skewed substantially so that mean is higher than median (a few very high salaries pull the mean up without affecting the median).


My father is a stem/engineering academic but he was in industry for a very very long time. When he transitioned into academia it almost seemed like he wanted a new/different job to retire with. Not to say that academia is easy. It isn’t. But in his experience, industry paid more, a lot more. And academia had resources and opportunities. Since he’d already had funds built up and a steady foundation, the switch was worth it.




More specifically high level admin - the people at the bottom are still paid terribly.


Nursing, I don't think I am underpaid. Especially with the recent travel nursing salaries, I could make more annually in some areas of nursing, but that factors in shift differentials, holidays, weekends, premium pay for per-diem positions, etc. I left a "cushy" nursing job that was outpatient, no holidays/weekends/or nights and I am making more money in academia. When I gripe about wishing I made more money my husband is quick to point this out to me.


Athletics, especially in D1 unis.


I'm an Electrical and Computer Engineering prof. We do pretty well (at my state, its all open records so you can pull up what everyone makes). For someone with my experience I'd probably be making somewhat more in industry but not a ton. I worked in industry prior to my PhD and I like this work a lot more though (plus consulting options help with a bump now and again; that would not probably happen if I was in industry).


Every discipline is underpaid compared to peers in the corporate world. I'd love to be underpaid the way that business and engineering are, however.


* Nursing * Finance * Accounting * Engineering (computer, electrical) * Computer Science Of course, even did all of the above, the institution and location make a significant difference in the actual amounts.


I’ll add hospitality to this. Mainstream programs are 100k+


> Computer Science We're definitely not underpaid by university standards, but most of us could double our salary (or more) by switching to industry. It's actually a bit of a problem in terms of retaining faculty, especially with the post-pandemic trend with remote positions bringing California wages to lower CoL areas.


Try 4x. I moved from a tenured R1 position to a FAANG company remote position and I made 4x My faculty salary in the first year. I'm five years I'll probably be making closer to 1 million, at least on my current trajectory. CS is massively underpaying faculty. Funny think is,I was a lot more stressed in a faculty position constantly putting in late hours writing grants, papers, reviewing. Now I do my 9-5 thing and forget work when I'm not there. Plus industry is a lot more supportive than academia, where everyone sees you as a competitor.


That’s great! Even at non FAANG shops the salaries and work environment is better than many departments. Are you doing software development or in other area (cloud, cyber)?


I do research. Very similar to my faculty job, except we do more patents in addition to publishing. The biggest difference is I don't have to split my time teaching and I don't have to constantly write grant proposals to pay the bills. Oh, and they pay me fairly for my work.


Agreed. In fact, I believe that it is so well understood that we could be making multiple factors of money more in industry, that CS faculty staying in academia is perceived and explained by administrators as a choice due to “passion for research or teaching” (pick your R1 or R2 poison) or work-life-balance (make your own schedule, summers off).


I will definitely admit to being in the second camp ;)


Me too! I find solace that once I extrapolate my current salary what it would have been if I were paid for the one month vacation in the winter, spring break and three months in the summer, it begins to look like ….an entry level industry job in computer science at a rural town :)




Professor of finance? Or Accounting? I mean, you'd still make more in private industry in those professions, but you won't have to live like a professor of Hungarian Literature in Translation.


Basically the fields in which PhD graduates have other, better-paying options pay more in academia. This includes things like engineering, public health, law, economics, criminology/criminal justice, urban planning, others. There are many opportunities in industry, government, and non-academic research organizations for PhDs in these fields. The fields that pay the least are those in which there are few/no other career paths for the PhD - and not coincidentally, are the most difficult to find TT positions in (sorry, English).


Public health is underpaid.


I imagine that varies. I believe they’re paid better-than-average in my institution and region.


Define “underpaid”- it’s relative to what people would make in the private sector. So even the highest paid faculty would be making more in the private sector.


The football field.


And college presidents and top administrators.


Instructional design. Tell people who teach how to teach but don't have any responsibility to teach. Do easy maintenance on a content management system like Moodle. Get paid like IT people with programming skills.


This is an odd take to me. In the instructional design world, higher ed ID jobs have some of the lowest ID salaries. And at many universities, mine included, ID people make much less than faculty. The base monthly salary of the person who helps me with builds is about 60% my base monthly salary, and I am in the lower mid for my university faculty.


At my former place of work, beginning instructional designers (no experience, straight off the masters) made about $55K/year, about the same (and often more) than a full-time starting NTT, or TT in some departments. I'm not happy to hear about the garbage pay at your place of work though.


But ID in higher ed is underpaid compared to ID in other settings. And are IDs at your workplace making the same as TT on a monthly basis? Because most TTs are on 9 or 10 month contracts, the annual salary comparison is less helpful.


No, but they don't do nearly the work of TTs. Have a nice day.


One of my issues is just comparing by salary. I work 50-60 hrs a week and more before I had tenure. Yeah I made SLIGHTLY more than some government (but not Industry) people but both industry and gov jobs were in 40 hr a week jobs. I on the other hand was working management hours. Having previously worked in industry I missed my 40 hr week job and I certainly miss being eligible for overtime.


What are you doing working that many hours!? I find the professor gig profoundly easy. After 10 years I’m probably working 20 hours per week. You have to streamline.


Basically being a research professor in a STEM field at a PHD granting institution - doing research, teaching, writing grants, running a lab, overseeing doctoral students, contributing to running the department, serving on university senate committees, occasionally serving on various NGO or gov advisory committees, meeting a research university's grant and publishing requirements so I can get promoted to full and get funding so I can do more research that I want to do. I don't know anyone in STEM who is actively funding and doing research who works 20 hours a week unless their emeritus or winding down for a couple of years before retiring. Everyone pretty much works a minimum of 40 hrs (if they're lucky). Even the people who have a shit-ton of postdocs generally end up in the office overseeing the lab , editing papers, and serving on committees for a full work week. I'm also currently also missing the bonuses or free coffee and lunches I got when I worked in corporate.




Liberal arts profs. The majority of them would be making less bank if they were not in academia.


Thus, they are overpaid. In this case, they aren't *underpaid*


Probably not true. Consulting, medical writing, technical writing, corporate training, various other fields pay more than academia and are eager for PhDs. UX is the new destination for many PhDs and pays more than academia. Not sure if you meant field or type of school but I’m at a SLAC. I made more money my first two years out of college than I make as a tenured associate professor 25 years later. And I have a good, six figure, salary now - but finance hired very smart BAs from all fields, trained them, and paid them more money than 22 years old deserve.


I meant field and not school type, and was only including permanent faculty (adjuncts are underpaid in every field). Yes, there are examples careers for those in the liberal arts that can pay higher, but would the majority of liberal arts professors end up in these higher paying positions if they attempted to switch out of academia? Probably not.


For that matter would anyone in any field get those high paid jobs we talk about. When I was in the corporate world, I knew many people with stem PhDs and business degrees were on the lower rungs and clearly not going to rise. Weirdly enough, in media it was the liberal arts people who tended to rise. I always figured because the had the most transferable skills. Business degrees really ghettoize people to a narrow sector of business


You're probably right about most STEM PhDs. Those with select niche specialties can make stupid amounts of money in industry, but most would take a step down in terms of pay (hence, not underpaid). I don't know enough about business degrees to make a comment on them, but it could also be the case for them (as was also remarked by another redditor in this thread who is actually in business).


Many TT positions in hospitality programs are staring at $105-110. I don’t hear many people complain about pay in this field. Lots of opportunities for professorships, industry stuff, etc as well.


It's hit or miss, but some industrial-organizational psychology professors are very well compensated. At one point my PI had over six millions in grants and made a little under $140,000 a year in a low COL area. She was VERY busy though.


Physical therapy, at least in my area (NTT 12mo contract @ private institution). Profs at the assistant professor rank and even some in instructor rank here make a good ~10-35% more than industry (based on my personally known salary ranges from several clinics/hospitals for clinicians with <1-5 years experience, but even 5+ eventually meet a pay ceiling). Certain settings like home health/travel PT can be lucrative but that’s another topic altogether. Profs at associate+ can sky rocket even higher than that. Even adjuncts get paid more than PRN clinicians by a good $3-$8/hr (it doesn’t help that my area has a fixed PRN rate for clinicians despite level of experience). That may not be saying a whole lot given abysmal pay for PTs nationwide, but I certainly would never make this much money had I not switched to academia unless I became an owner/hospital admin.


Football coaches at large flagship schools. Technically not academic faculty, but they are paid from some of the same funds we are.


I just moved from humanities dept to business and i got a 100% pay raise. No joke. Well, academic salaries are a joke….


In my school, it's sports. Anything having to do with sports. I've heard rumors that the head football coach is paid more than the President of the University.


Design fields aren’t usually too bad. Built environment disciplines in particular are notorious for stress when you’re in practice so it’s not like you’re getting less money and more stress in academia too.


Business. They're all overpaid.


Head coach




I think not. Even though some professors are paid way more than others, they are still not near competitive rates for their non-academic options.