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Higher Education

Earnings Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual earnings of all postsecondary teachers in May 2004 were $51,800. The middle 50 percent earned between $36,590 and $72,490. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,460, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $99,980. Earnings for college faculty vary according to rank and type of institution, geographic area, and field. Salaries for full-time faculty averaged $68,505, while the average for professors was $91,548, $65,113 for associate professors, $54,571 for assistant professors, $39,899 for instructors, and $45,647 for lecturers. Faculty in 4-year institutions earns higher salaries, on average, than do those in 2-year schools

Facts at a glance

  • Opportunities for postsecondary teaching jobs are expected to be good, but many new openings will be for part-time or non-tenure-track positions.
  • Prospects for teaching jobs will be better and earnings higher in academic fields in which many qualified teachers opt for nonacademic careers, such as health specialties, business, and computer science, for example.
  • Educational qualifications for postsecondary teacher jobs range from expertise in a particular field to a PhD, depending on the subject being taught and the type of educational institution.

Summary of what this career entails

Postsecondary teachers who work full time usually have flexible schedules. They must be present for classes, usually 12 to 16 hours per week, and for faculty and committee meetings. Most establish regular office hours for student consultations, usually 3 to 6 hours per week. Otherwise, teachers are free to decide when and where they will work, and how much time to devote to course preparation, grading, study, research, graduate student supervision, and other activities.

Examples and or details of work

Most secondary teachers have very flexible schedules and usually work on campus for 11-16 hours a week; they may teach nights, weekends, or online. Teachers may also work for only 9 months out of the year.

Degrees that lead to this career

Some of the degrees individuals can attain include:

  • M.S. in Education-Leadership for Higher Education
  • M.S. in Education- Postsecondary and Adult Education
  • M.A. in Education–Adult Education
  • PhD in Education-Higher Education
  • PhD in Education- Postsecondary and Adult Education
  • PhD in Education- Community College Leadership

Specific Career openings in this field

Some of the positions available for individuals who are interested in a career in higher education include college or university professors, administrative, and graduate teaching assistants. If an individual is a postsecondary teacher than the individual can specialize in Business, health specialties, vocational education, art, drama, music, mathematical,  communications, psychology, history, and much more.  


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Teachers—Postsecondary, on the Internet at