College costs may be rising, but faculty salaries isn’t the reason: Average professor pay actually declined by 1 percent last year, in inflation-adjusted dollars, according to the latest survey from the American Association of University Professors.
The overall average salary across all ranks of faculty rose 1.8 percent in 2011-12, to $82,556. That becomes a 1.2-percent drop after you factor in inflation. Full professors earned $113,176, but those at the instructor level pulled in just $47,847, less than the median pay for a tool and die maker.
Professor pay varies widely at colleges in the Washington region; given the area’s relatively high cost of living, some D.C. faculty struggle as much as novice K-12 teachers to make their monthly housing payments. Full professors at Trinity Washington University, for example, earn $79,100, and full professors at Howard Community College take in $82,700. The least-well-paid professors at those institutions earn around $50,000 annually.
Here is a list of the Top 10 salaries among colleges in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, ranked by full professor pay:
1. Georgetown University. Full professors earn $167,100 on average, one of the most competitive pay rates in higher education. (The top five schools, Harvard, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Stanford and Princeton, all top out above $190,000 on this measure.) Assistant professors at Georgetown earn $94,400.
2. American University. Full professors earn an annual $156,100, second-highest among D.C. institutions. But those at lowest rank, instructors, earn just $50,400.
3. George Washington University. Full professors earn $152,000. Instructors earn $62,400.
4. University of Maryland at Baltimore. Full professors earn $142,600 at the state’s professional-school campus, the highest rate among Maryland institutions (although the survey does not include Johns Hopkins University).
5. University of Virginia. Full professors earn $141,600, the highest rate in Virginia, placing U-Va. just outside the Top 10 among public universities nationally. (And inside the Top 10 if you exclude the med-school campus in Baltimore.)
6. University of Maryland. Full professors earn $136,300, a pay rate comparable to that at University of California at Irvine and Ohio State. Instructors earn $60,100.
6. (Tie) University of Richmond. Full professors earn $136,300, near the pay scale at Williams and Amherst.
8. University of Baltimore. Full professors earn $134,000.
9. George Mason University. Full professors earn $130,900.
10. United States Naval Academy. Full professors earn $127,200.