History professors at the university level are professional historians who both teach and research history on an ongoing basis. History professors teach students the basics of history through survey courses and more advanced and detailed history through upper-level and graduate coursework. A Ph.D. is typically required to teach at the university level. The pay for university history professors varies by location and also by the type of institution.
Duties and Pay
The typical history professor is paid an annual salary for nine months of teaching and research. Many full-time professors pick up additional courses in the summer making it possible to earn additional pay over and above their annual salary. Others will supplement their income by teaching as an adjunct instructor for other schools like community colleges or by even teaching online classes. Those who have published books may receive additional book royalties, especially those who have written textbooks used at the college or secondary education level. Professors at universities are typically expected to split time between their two primary duties: teaching and research. University professors are expected to continue publishing in their field of historical expertise to maintain their positions at that level.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of the post-secondary history professor was $69,280, as of May 2009. This amount was slightly less than the average pay for university and four-year college professors who made $71,220 per year. The difference in pay is largely a reflection of the fact that the Bureau also factors in the pay of junior college professors in its assessment of history professors. Of the 21,810 individuals employed as full-time history professors in 2009, 15,820 of them taught at four-year institutions while the remaining 5,920 taught for two-year community colleges.
The average pay of university history professors can be put into perspective by comparing the median pay and the pay of those at both ends of the pay scale. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay of college and university history professors was $63,490 in May 2009. The middle 50 percent of all professors earned between $47,730 and $84,330 per year. At the bottom of the pay scale were those who earned $35,510 per year, while the highest paid professors made more than $110,570.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also notes the states in which you can find the highest concentration of history professors and the top-paying states for this profession. Professors in Rhode Island made the highest average salary at $96,960 per year, as of 2009. The next highest average salary was $85,770, made by professors in California. New York history professors made a comparable salary of $84,810, while those in New Jersey and Massachusetts made $80,390 and $79,810, respectively.
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