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Characteristics of Postsecondary Faculty
(Last Updated: May 2014)

From fall 1991 to fall 2011, the number of full-time instructional faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 42 percent (from 536,000 to 762,000), while the number of part-time faculty increased by 162 percent (from 291,000 to 762,000). As a result of the faster increase in the number of part-time faculty, the percentage of faculty who were part time increased from 35 to 50 percent during this period.

In fall 2011, there were 1.5 million instructional faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions—approximately half were full time and half were part time. Faculty include professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, lecturers, assisting professors, adjunct professors, or interim professors (or the equivalent).


Figure 1. Number of instructional faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by employment status: Selected years, fall 1991 through fall 2011

Number of instructional faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by employment status: Selected years, fall 1991 through fall 2011

NOTE: Graduate students with titles such as graduate or teaching fellow who assist senior faculty are excluded. Data through 1995–96 are for institutions of higher education, while later data are for degree-granting institutions. Degree-granting institutions grant associate’s degrees or higher and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Beginning in 2007, includes institutions with fewer than 15 full-time employees; these institutions did not report staff data prior to 2007.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), “Fall Staff Survey” (IPEDS-S:91–99); and IPEDS Winter 2001–02 through Winter 2011–12, Human Resources component, Fall Staff section. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 315.10.


From fall 1991 to fall 2011, the number of instructional faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 84 percent. The number of full-time faculty in degree-granting postsecondary institutions increased by 42 percent (from 536,000 to 762,000) from 1991 to 2011, compared with an increase of 162 percent (from 291,000 to 762,000) in the number of part-time faculty. As a result of the faster increase in the number of part-time faculty, the percentage of faculty who were part time increased from 35 to 50 percent during this period. Additionally, the percentage of all faculty who were female increased from 36 percent in 1991 to 48 percent in 2011.

Although the number of instructional faculty increased at institutions of each control type from fall 1991 to fall 2011, the percentage increases in faculty were smaller for public and private nonprofit institutions than for private for-profit institutions. During this period, the number of faculty increased by 64 percent (from 580,900 to 953,200) at public institutions, by 83 percent (from 236,100 to 432,700) at private nonprofit institutions, and by almost 1,400 percent (from 9,300 to 137,700) at private for-profit institutions. Despite the faster growth in the number of faculty at private for-profit institutions over this period, only 9 percent of all faculty were employed by private for-profit institutions in 2011, while 63 percent were employed by public institutions and 28 percent by private nonprofit institutions.


Figure 2. Percentage of full-time instructional faculty whose race/ethnicity was known, in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by academic rank, selected race/ethnicity, and sex: Fall 2011

Percentage of full-time instructional faculty whose race/ethnicity was known, in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by academic rank, selected race/ethnicity, and sex: Fall 2011

NOTE: Graduate students with titles such as graduate or teaching fellow who assist senior faculty are excluded. Degree-granting institutions grant associate’s degrees or higher and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Race categories exclude persons of Hispanic ethnicity. Estimates are based on full-time faculty whose race/ethnicity was known. Detail may not sum to 100 percent because data on some racial/ethnic groups are not shown.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Winter 2011–12, Human Resources component, Fall Staff section. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 315.20.


In fall 2011, of those full-time instructional faculty whose race/ethnicity was known, 79 percent were White (44 percent were White males and 35 percent were White females), 6 percent were Black, 4 percent were Hispanic, 9 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, and less than 1 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native or two or more races. Among full-time professors, 84 percent were White (60 percent were White males and 25 percent were White females), 4 percent were Black, 3 percent were Hispanic, 8 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, and less than 1 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native.


Figure 3. Average salary of full-time instructional faculty on 9-month contracts in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by academic rank: Selected years, 1992–93 through 2012–13

Average salary of full-time instructional faculty on 9-month contracts in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by academic rank: Selected years, 1992–93 through 2012–13

NOTE: Graduate students with titles such as graduate or teaching fellow who assist senior faculty are excluded. Data through 1995–96 are for institutions of higher education, while later data are for degree-granting institutions. Degree-granting institutions grant associate’s degrees or higher and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Beginning in 2007, includes institutions with fewer than 15 full-time employees; these institutions did not report staff data prior to 2007. Salaries are reported in constant 2012–13 dollars, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), "Fall Staff Survey" (IPEDS-S:91–99); and IPEDS Winter 2001–02 through Winter 2011–12 and Spring 2013, Human Resources component, Fall Staff section. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 316.10.


In academic year 2012–13, the average salary for full-time instructional faculty on 9-month contracts at degree-granting postsecondary institutions was $77,300; average salaries ranged from $53,400 for lecturers to $108,300 for professors. The average salary (adjusted for inflation) for all full-time instructional faculty on 9-month contracts increased by 10 percent from 1992–93 ($72,600) to 2009–10 ($79,700) but decreased by 3 percent from 2009–10 to 2012–13 ($77,300). Average salaries for specific academic ranks also increased between 1992–93 and 2009–10: average salary increases were 16 percent for professors (from $95,400 to $110,700), 11 percent for associate professors (from $71,300 to $79,100), 12 percent for assistant professors (from $59,500 to $66,400), 33 percent for instructors (from $46,300 to $61,700), and 12 percent for lecturers (from $49,600 to $55,700). From 2009–10 to 2012–13, however, average salaries across academic ranks decreased: the decreases ranged from 2 to 7 percent.

The average salary for all full-time instructional faculty was higher for males than for females in all years for which data were available. In academic year 2012–13, the average salary was higher for males than for females ($84,000 vs. $69,100). Between 1992–93 and 2012–13, the average salary increased by 8 percent for males and by 11 percent for females, after adjusting for inflation. Due to the faster increase in salary for females, the salary gap between male and female instructional faculty overall in 2012–13 was lower than in 1992–93 ($14,900 vs. $15,400). However, the gender gap in salary for professors increased from $11,700 in 1992–93 to $16,900 in 2012–13.


Figure 4. Average salary of full-time instructional faculty on 9-month contracts in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by control and level of institution: 2012–13

Average salary of full-time instructional faculty on 9-month contracts in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by control and level of institution: 2012–13

NOTE: Degree-granting institutions grant associate’s degrees or higher and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Salaries reflect an average of all faculty on 9-month contracts rather than a weighted average based on contract length that appears in some other reports of the National Center for Education Statistics.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), Spring 2013, Human Resources component, Salaries section. See Digest of Education Statistics 2013, table 316.20.


In academic year 2012–13, the average salary for full-time instructional faculty at private nonprofit institutions ($85,400) was higher than the average salaries for instructional faculty at public institutions ($73,900) and at private for-profit institutions ($45,700). Among the specific institutional types, average instructional faculty salaries were highest at private nonprofit doctoral institutions ($99,900) and public doctoral institutions ($84,300). Average salaries were lowest for instructional faculty at private for-profit institutions ($45,700) and private nonprofit 2-year institutions ($48,200). From 1999–2000 to 2012–13, average instructional faculty salaries were 2 percent lower at public institutions but 7 percent higher at private nonprofit institutions and 13 percent higher at private for-profit institutions, after adjusting for inflation.

In academic year 2011–12, approximately 45 percent of institutions had tenure systems. The percentage of institutions with tenure systems ranged from 1 percent at private for-profit institutions to almost 100 percent at public doctoral institutions. Of those faculty at institutions with tenure systems, 49 percent of full-time faculty had tenure in 2011–12, compared with 54 percent in 1999–2000. From 1999–2000 to 2011–12, the percentage of full-time faculty having tenure decreased 5 percentage points at public institutions, 4 percentage points at private nonprofit institutions, and 46 percentage points at private for-profit institutions. At institutions with tenure systems, the percentage of full-time faculty having tenure was generally higher for males than for females. In 2011–12, some 54 percent of males had tenure, compared with 41 percent of females.


Glossary terms: Private school, Public school or institution
Data Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)


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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education