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New NCES Report Provides Employment Data and Faculty Salaries in Higher Education

December 1, 2009

America's postsecondary education institutions employed about 3.7 million individuals in the fall of 2008, according to a new report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The report, Employees in Postsecondary Institutions, Fall 2008, and Salaries of Full-time Instructional Staff, 2008-09, is based on the results of the most recent Human Resources (HR) Component of the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) winter 2008-09 data collection. According to this data, about 2.4 million (65%) of higher education employees were employed full time and about 1.3 million were employed part time. The number of employees includes those who were employed in medical schools and in degree- and non-degree-granting institutions.

Public two-year and four-year colleges and universities, which enroll about 80% of all students in American higher education, also had the largest workforces. Collectively, public institutions employed approximately 2.4 million individuals, while private not-for-profit institutions has staffs of 1.1 million and private for-profit institutions employed 208,000.

Degree-granting colleges and universities employed 1.4 million full-time professionals. Of these, roughly 47% had faculty status: 21% with tenure, 9% on tenure track, 10% not on tenure track, and 6% were employed by institutions without a tenure system.

The report provides academic year 2008-09 average salary information for 578,302 full-time instructional staff at degree-granting institutions (excluding medical schools). Approximately 26% of these staff members were full professors, 22% were associate professors, and 23% were assistant professors. The remaining were instructors, lecturers, or employed by institutions that did not use academic ranks.

Based on adjusted 9-month average salaries, institutions reported that on average full professors had salaries of $101,658, compared with $73,246 for associate professors, $61,479 for assistant professors, $53,107 for instructors, $53,472 for lecturers, and $53,743 for those with no academic rank earned. Salary levels varied by institutional type and control. Instructional staff at four-year private non-profit colleges and universities earned an average salary of $77,344, while those at four-year public institutions earned $76,126 and those at two-year public institutions earned $60,212.

The full report is available on the NCES Web site.


Ken Redd
Director, Research and Policy Analysis