How much do university history teachers get paid?

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.

Average Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of the postsecondary history professor was £45,032, as of May 2009. This amount was slightly less than the average pay for university and four-year college professors who made £46,293 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.

Median Pay

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 £41,268 in May 2009. The middle 50 per cent of all professors earned between £31,024 and £54,814 per year. At the bottom of the pay scale were those who earned £23,081 per year, while the highest paid professors made more than £71,870.


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 £63,024 per year, as of 2009. The next highest average salary was £55,750, made by professors in California. New York history professors made a comparable salary of £55,126, while those in New Jersey and Massachusetts made £52,253 and £51,876, respectively.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.

Try our awesome promobar!