Is it possible to make more money than your college professors the year after you graduate at a corporate job?

Some college professors with decades of experience make only 50k-75k a year. Is it possible for a recent college graduate with little to no experience to make more money right out of college at a corporate job than his professors?

If yes, how does this make any sense that someone in their 20s make more money than someone at the top of their field working longer than the recent college graduate have been alive?

Comments (14)

Mar 7, 2018

the best people in the field probs wouldnt be teaching, its sort of silimar to asking...who should earn more kobe byrant or his coach, even if his coach has more experience

also, question your statistics for college profesor salaries, seems low

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Mar 7, 2018

This is totally wrong for pretty much every subject where being a professor requires getting a doctorate (which is most of them). Being a tenure tracked professor at almost any university/college you wouldn't immediately laugh at means not only finishing a phd, but also publishing original research that advances your chosen field and is recognized by the top people in the field as doing so. You literally have to be one of the best in the world at some subject (usually pretty narrow) to get a job anywhere. The salary is lower since success in academia isn't as tied to your take home pay as it is in finance, and since most professors just prefer living a comfortable enough life studying and researching what interests them over grinding away doing whatever can make them the most money as quickly as possible.

Mar 7, 2018

You objectively do not have to be one of the best in the world at some subject. if that were true, why would there be differences in college rankings? To think that there aren't shitty professors out there is silly.

I think you're putting the process of getting a doctorate way up on a pedestal. Have a family member who's getting a doctorate in a very tough field (don't want to specify to maintain anonymity). This person tells the family all the time how much BS is involved with your doctorate and trying to pretend to your advisors that the research you're doing is worthwhile and will mean something, even though my family member knows it'll do dog shit.

Mar 7, 2018

Professors are attracted to their profession for intrinsic reasons (passion for their field, love of teaching and/or research, etc). Higher intrinsic value means less extrinsic ($$$) rewards are needed to attract them. Also your numbers are on the low end.

Mar 7, 2018

The university pays them that much, however oftentimes they serve on boards, as consultants, and unbiased experts.

I dated a NYU prof for awhile. She was nuts and made way more money than I did with all the side hustles which was more than 2x her university salary.

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Mar 7, 2018

The ones that write text books make significant royalties. Way more than their salary.

Mar 8, 2018

Yup, even more so when they require all 100+ students to buy their book for the class they are teaching.

The many editions that get printed every few years with little substantive revisions also help them generate a lot of money.

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Mar 7, 2018

The salary range for a college professor varies so wildly that you really can't make a distinction like this. You could find cases for people way above your range and maybe even some below it (possibly?). Plus you're comparing the grads to someone at "the top of their field" - a Phd just means you put in the work, it doesn't make you a genius. I work at a BB, trust me, there's a ton of dumb Phds out there.

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Mar 9, 2018

At my state school, a new assistant professor makes like 90k to start. That's not tenure, assistant professor in Engineering. Factor down for humanities and they probably make 60k in a state that doesn't value education. No way are many PhDs making 50k unless the market is saturated with doctorates in that field. In that case, why the fuck do people get PhDs in saturated fields and then complain? Do a fucking ROI assessment dumbasses.

Mar 10, 2018
trustmeimanengineer:

At my state school, a new assistant professor makes like 90k to start. That's not tenure, assistant professor in Engineering. Factor down for humanities and they probably make 60k in a state that doesn't value education. No way are many PhDs making 50k unless the market is saturated with doctorates in that field. In that case, why the fuck do people get PhDs in saturated fields and then complain? Do a fucking ROI assessment dumbasses.

Yes, there's a huge range in salaries. Business/law/medicine/etc >>> humanities. The UC system makes professor's salaries publicly available. Check them out here: https://ucannualwage.ucop.edu/wage

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Mar 10, 2018

professor ranked one of the least stressful jobs