Average Salary of a Penn State Professor


Penn State University consists of more than 19 campuses in Pennsylvania. The university has 17 colleges including communications, engineering, law, medicine and liberal arts. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) surveys this institution to determine the salaries of its teaching staff. It divides the campuses into baccalaureate, offering undergraduate degrees, and master’s, which offers graduate degrees. The latest surveys are for the 2010-2011 school year.

Baccalaureate Institutions

As with many institutions of higher learning, those campuses of Penn State that offer undergraduate degrees pay salaries according to professorial rank, with full professors making an average of $99,100 per year. Associate professors earn $76,900, assistant professors get $65,000 and instructors receive $53,600. Men earned more than women with male professors making $99,400 per year, compared with salaries for female professors at $98,300.

Master’s Institutions

For Penn State campuses that have master’s degrees, professors made more than their counterparts in undergraduate degree institutions, averaging $114,400 per year. Associate professors get $90,700, while assistant professors make 77,900 and instructors earn $54,000. Male professors were paid $114,600 annually compared to the $113,800 made by female professors. At the instructor level, salary differences were even more pronounced by gender: men earned $57,900 annually versus an average of $48,000 made by women each year.


All employees of Penn State, including professors, earn benefits as part of their compensation. These include health, dental and vision insurance, which require employee contributions. Exempt employees also accumulate 16 hours per month of paid vacation for one to 25 years of service, and 18 hours per month for 26 years of more. Pay for holidays, sick time and bereavement are also available. They also receive 75 percent off tuition fees for themselves and their families.


Professors receive retirement pay based on whether they were hired before, on or after January 1, 2011. Amounts differ according to date, but both employees and the state contribute to an annuity so that professors can receive pay based on their years of service and average earnings. Only legislative action can change retirement amounts. Retirement benefits also include health insurance, which is provided without any contributions. Dental and vision coverage, however, terminate on retirement.

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