How much money can you make in academia?
Graduate students getting a Ph.D. make around $20,000 a year.
Post doctoral students make around $40,000 a year.
Assistant Professor make around $60,000 to $90,000 a year.
Associate Professor make around $70,000 to $130,000 a year.
Full Professor make from around $90,000 to up to more than $200,000 rarely depending on the source of income.
As a student or postdoc, compared to how much you could potentially make in industry, being in academia is really not a great deal. If you are in for the long hull, you are rewarded for your efforts. But the academia route is very long and hard, though straight forward and not so full of twists and turns as some other careers. There is the joy of discovery, of contributing to science, and making a difference in the world. Yet there’s also the constant pressure of obtaining grant money and the politics involved in getting tenure or being promoted to Full Professor. I just had the pleasure of editing someone’s rebuttal letter during their promotion process. Not fun.
Now consider this. In addition to students and professors there’s other people in your institution. Who are they? That’s right the administrators. Businessweek just put out quite an interesting article on the troubling administrator-to-Professor ratio both in terms of the number hired, and in the amount of money they make. I’m not talking about the sometimes super helpful administrative assistants for your department (some of whom are the most wonderful people in the world). I’m talking about the administrators in fancy suits whose office takes up floors and sometimes entire buildings, the administrators you never talk to and have no idea what they do. They hold titles like acting provost (~$300k/yr), vice and assistant provosts (~$200k/yr), deans and vice presidents (~200k to ~500k/yr).
I’ll have to look into what they actually do and how you become one…