Throughout the last several years, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduate students who participate in PROMISE: Maryland’s AGEP have given various reasons for and against planning to choose careers in the academy. Among reasons against becoming a faculty member, students have told us that “professors don’t make any money” or that “professors are poor.” Students may be surprised to learn that they are often making assumptions without any data. We’ve found it interesting that students who really wanted to teach and have a research program were considering going to industry because they thought that they wouldn’t make a decent living as a professor. To combat this notion, over the years, PROMISE has been giving students opportunities to hear from, and talk with, STEM faculty from around the country during our PROMISE Summer Success Institutes (SSI). The students learned that not only were many of the professors making a very comfortable salary, but that many were, by their own admission, “living large!” Students were not aware that many faculty salaries are based on a 9 month scale, which means that faculty can do something else for 3 months in the summer, including taking advantage of other opportunities to make even more money. Some faculty choose to supplement incomes through grant funding, teaching a summer class, or working on a project in another university/industry/government lab. Some faculty choose to take the summer off to travel, spend time with family, or as PROMISE faculty “Mentor-in-Residence” put it, “go fishing.”
The following table presents a sample of faculty salaries from a few STEM fields at different ranks: Assistant Professor (entry-level, immediately following completion of a PhD or postdoctoral appointment), Associate Professor (after tenure, which generally requires 7 years of experience and a strong record of research and publications, teaching, and service), and Full Professor (promotion after having the qualifications of Associate Professor, achieving national/international reputation for scholarship, continued service to the university.) For more information on faculty rankings, see the 2011 “Promotion and Tenure” policies for UMBC as an example: http://www.umbc.edu/provost/Faculty_Handbook/section6.pdf. The numbers in the table showcase a range of salaries based on faculty rank for a few STEM fields. Some of the ranges represent high end or top levels of salaries, and others are medians. The time frame also varies as some numbers represent salary paid out over 9 months, while others represent an annual 12 month salary.
|Biomedical Engineering||$83,508||$98,328||$138,162||9 month (As of 2011)|
|Electrical and Computer Eng.||$84,582||$96,183||$123,568||9 month (As of 2011)|
|All, Community College||$86,501||$95,431||$105,300||12 month (As of 2010)|
|Chemistry||$74,000||$91,000||$142,550||11-12 month (As of 2009)|
|Physics||$76,000||$102,000||$174,000||11-12 month (As of 2006)|
NOTES. Information has been compiled from the following sources:
- Salaries 2009: Analysis of the American Chemical Society‘s 2009 Comprehensive Salary and Employment Status Survey, published by the American Chemical Society. Range in table represents median salaries. http://portal.acs.org/portal/PublicWebSite/careers/salaries/surveys/CNBP_026817
- Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) Faculty Salary Scale, FY 2010. Range in table represents Grade 13, “High or Top” level. http://www.ccbcmd.edu/media/hr/faculty_salary_ranges.pdf
- “The Bent” Magazine of Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honor Society, Spring 2012, reporting American Society for Engineering Education salary data from 2010-2011. Range in table represents median salaries. http://www.asee.org/papers-and-publications/blogs-and-newsletters/connections/2012March-special-issue.html#Faculty
- Salaries of PhD Physicists and Related Scientists During Spring 2006: Summary Report, published by the American Institute of Physics. Range in table represents “Top” level. http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/highlite/salary/salsum06.pdf
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