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8 Highest Paid College Professors in the U.S | Ultimate Guide

College professors, like every category of teachers, have the ability to change the world. They touch the lives of their students by challenging them and teaching them the skills they need to thrive. This ability is why they deserve to earn a lot during their career.

You should know that any list that focuses on things like the highest-paid college professors is dependent on different factors. Factors like location, level of experience and expertise, field of study, and sometimes, gender.

As you might have guessed, the highest-paid college professors are affiliated with prestigious and highly-ranked universities, as confirmed by business insider. Places like Cornell, Harvard, and Duke University.

This implies that they must have spent – time and money- perfecting their craft and contributing to society’s growth. It also means that they are versatile and thought leaders in highly specific fields.

Let’s take a look at some highly lucrative fields and then some names to remember in the world of professorship.

Types of College Professors That Make the Most Money In 2023

To have a shot at some best and highest-paying professor jobs, you need a high level of resilience, personally. Years spent on research as an undergraduate, a Masters and a Ph.D. student will speak to your experience.

Publications that show your interest, contributions, and possible future endeavors are also important to attain that renowned position.

Now, as important as these are, you can’t deny that there are some fields that will always pay more than others.

The list below has been compiled based on the most recent information provided by BLM in the occupational outlook handbook for careers in education; postsecondary to be precise (May 2020).

1. Law:

Lawyers make a ton of money, so it’s not rocket science that their teachers should too. The path to becoming a professor of law is no piece of the cake.

You need to be prepared to go to law school, actively search for practicing internships, work for a law review and hold a position at a distinguished court for a certain period of time. Not so easy, but definitely worth the expected returns.

The average annual pay for law professors is approximately $116,000.

Read: Top 10 Highest Paid Teachers Jobs in 2023

2. Healthcare:

This covers medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, therapy, surgery, etc.

If you’ve ever known someone in any of these fields, you must have heard them go on and on about how competitive things could get.

Healthcare will always be lucrative because, at some point in anyone’s life, they’ll need, and pay for, professional healthcare services.

And if there are no talented professors to teach the practitioners, what happens then?

According to the bureau of labor statistics, BLS, 14 out of the highest paying occupations belong to healthcare services, college professors inclusive.

This shows how much in-demand practitioners are, and how many trainers, and professors, have invested in training them.

The average annual pay for professors in health-related fields is $99,000.

3. Politics:

In a society where international relations, political dramas, and leadership scrutiny is the order of the day, you can’t deny the importance of knowledge of politics.

These professors handle topics such as comparative politics, political maneuvering, and other interrelated ideas, and they make a yearly average of $85, 760.

4. Economics:

Think money, Think industry, trade, and government policies. Economics studies all of these, and more. And you’d agree that being an expert in matters relating to money alone, puts you on a respected pedestal.

Professors in this field make an estimated average annual pay of $107,000. 

5. Business and finance:

Business is the soul of any economy. Half of the top 10 highest-paid college professors are in business administration, finance, business management, and business development and accounting.

Having a master’s and/or a doctoral degree paves the way to an outstanding career that can make you a decent living, with an average of $88,000.

6. Physics and engineering:

Inventions in the world can be easily attributed to physicists and engineers. It is only fair that those tasked with the duties of training these inventors are making a good amount of money.

BLS estimated annual salary for this is $103,000.

7. Environmental science:

The environment is important to our health. It gives us a place to live, share resources and interact.

Understanding and teaching sustainability seems to be paying off well for a lot of professors, at an annual estimate of $94,000.

8. Agriculture:

An innovative and progressive sector that utilizes different tools for sustainability.

It is no surprise that professors in agriculture make an annual average of $90,000. They are among the Highest Paid College Professors.

Agriculture is the future of the world. Without food, there is no life, and being a part of this is enough reason to earn that much.

Read: Top 10 Colleges with The Highest Paid Graduates in the World |2023

Do professors make good money?

As you’ve read above, the salaries of professors depend on a lot of factors, especially the field of study.

Professors working in local and state junior colleges would likely make less than private and state universities.

Likewise, law and business professors could make more annually than language professors.

The difference in salary range has little to do with the relevance of the field or the experience of the professor. It is the combination of several conditions that eventually determine each professor’s monthly and yearly returns.

Generally speaking, the right amount of qualifications related to your chosen field, and the best location that aligns with your goals, will set you up for good. You’ll be making good money, and it is a fulfilling job to do.

Below we will list the Highest Paid College Professors.

Highest-paid college professor

According to a list compiled by the best schools, David N. Silvers sits at the very top of the highest-paid college professors with an average annual income of over $4 million.

Incredible, right? You’d think only careers in sports would fetch that kind of yearly income. Now, you know better.

David N. Silvers is a professor of dermatology and pathology (health inclined) with experience from NYU and Duke University.

He has medical licensure from 3 different health institutions and tonnes of related publications. He is currently an affiliate with the Columbia University Irving medical center.

This profile summary reflects and emphasizes some of the points already made. First, he’s affiliated with prestigious universities, both from his student years and his teaching career. He’s in a lucrative field: health sciences. And he has a lot of publications around a specific area – dermatopathology.

Read Also: How to Get Paid to Do Homework for Others | 10 Best Websites in 2023

Others on the list are:

  • Zev Rosenwaks: Affiliated with Cornell University as a professor of obstetrics and gynecology with an annual salary of over $3 million.
  • Dean Takahashi: Affiliated with Yale school of management as a professor of finance, and an annual salary above $2.5 million.
  • William E. Fruhan Jr: Affiliated with Harvard Business School as a professor of business management and finance. He makes about $1.2 million annually.
  • Dan J. Laughhunn: A professor Emeritus affiliated with Duke University’s Fuqua school of business. His estimated annual salary is $1.03 million.
  • Andrew M. Isaacs: An adjunct professor of business and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. His annual salary is $709,000.
  • Kannan Ramaswami: A professor of Management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management with an estimated annual salary of $700,000.
  • Andrew Inkpen: Affiliated with the Thunderbird School of Global Management as a professor of Global Management. He earns an estimated of $566,000, annually.
  • Steven Weinberg: A professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Texas, Austin. The estimated annual salary is $536,000.
  • Graeme Rankine: An Associate Professor of Accounting at Thunderbird School of Global Management. He earns an annual estimate of $493,000.

If you look closely, you’ll notice a relationship between the areas of specialization of these professors, and the list of highest-paying college professor jobs.

It’s not a coincidence. The money mostly always follows the field.

College professors in California

California has over 500 institutions for higher education, including the prestigious Stanford University. The salaries of professors here also differ based on the level of experience and institute of affiliation.

With respect to experience, assistant and associate professors make a little less than fully recognized professors, about 30-40% less.

This, however, does not imply an unimpressive salary; at about $93k for assistant professors, $110k for associate professors, and $160k for Professors. 

Read: Ways to Get Paid to Listen to Calls in 2023


Being a college professor gives you the opportunity to positively influence the next generation. You also position yourself for constant career growth and professional development. 

If you have a dream to impact knowledge in people while making a comfortable living, here’s your chance to make a decision. Any one of the mentioned fields is lucrative enough to explore and establish yourself.

First, choose an area of specialization, and perform excellently in it. Then consider getting a degree in education to give you enough skills on how to share your expertise with others. 

Lastly, for high-paying professor jobs, be ready to invest – financially and mentally, and your returns will be worth the effort.



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