Humanities Indicators
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Workforce  >  Postsecondary Humanities Faculty
 
Faculty Earnings

According to the most recent data available (from 2004), humanities faculty received the lowest average income among the various fields in academia, both in aggregate and at the various ranks.

Findings and Trends

  • In 2003, full-time humanities faculty had the lowest annual income relative to faculty in other fields, with median total earnings from employment of $61,852 (in 2007 dollars) (Indicator III-14a).
  • The comparatively low income level of employment income for humanities faculty can be partially attributed to the relatively small salaries humanities faculty received from their institutions and partially to their limited ability, compared to their counterparts in certain other fields, to earn additional income from other sources. Median reported earnings from employment outside academic institutions were not high in any field. However, in the fine arts—the field with the lowest institutional income but the highest additional income, that additional income was sufficient to make the total 2003 earnings of its faculty higher than that of faculty in the humanities.
  • In 2004, the median annual salary of full professors in the humanities was $78,900, placing them, along with education faculty, second from the bottom in the field rankings (Indicator III-14b). Although humanities faculty salaries were somewhat higher than those in the fine arts, full professors in the humanities earned $37,000 less than health science professors of the same rank (the top earners among postsecondary professors). The earnings of full professors in the humanities were somewhat less than those of associate professors in engineering, health sciences, and business. Assistant and associate professors in the humanities fared similarly to full professors, receiving lower salaries, on average, than their counterparts in every other field except the fine arts.
  • Once they have been adjusted for inflation, the data reveal that while most humanities faculty salaries dipped slightly in the early 1990s, salaries at all faculty ranks increased during the following decade (Indicator III-14c). The net increase from 1987 to 2003 was somewhat greater for assistant and associate professors, whose median salaries rose approximately 5%, than for full professors, whose salaries rose only 3% over the same period.
III-14a: Median Full-Time Faculty Earnings from Employment, by Primary Teaching Field, 2003
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (2004); data accessed and analyzed via NCES’s online Data Analysis System at http://nces.ed.gov/das/. Salary figures were converted from 2003 to 2007 dollars using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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III-14b: Median Salary of Full-Time Professors, by Rank and Primary Teaching Field, 2003
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Study of Postsecondary Faculty (2004); data accessed and analyzed via NCES’s online Data Analysis System at http://nces.ed.gov/das/. Salary figures were converted from 2003 to 2007 dollars using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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III-14c: Median Institutional Salary of Full-Time Humanities Professors, by Rank, 1987–2003
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Study of Postsecondary Faculty; data accessed and analyzed via NCES’s online Data Analysis System at http://nces.ed.gov/das/. Salary figures were converted from 2003 to 2007 dollars using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) produced by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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