In general, instructors at the postsecondary level must hold a doctorate degree in their field to work at a college or university. Microbiology teachers are no exception. Salaries vary by institution, position and location.
As of 2012, half of all postsecondary biological science teachers earned at least $74,180 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of the top 10 percent, salaries often exceeded $151,940. The bottom 10 percent earned less than $39,930, though the average was closer to $87,060.
Earnings by Position
Not all teachers enter the field as full professors. In fact, a microbiology teacher may need to start as an assistant professor before becoming an associate professor and then a tenured professor. According to a survey by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, for the 2012-2013 academic year, new assistant professors in the biological sciences averaged $69,251 with a doctoral degree. Those already teaching as assistant professors averaged $68,027, while associate professors brought home $80,025. Full professors earned the highest salaries, averaging $104,955 a year.
As with many careers, earnings vary by location. Of the states, those working in Alabama earned the highest wages, averaging $125,800 a year, according to the BLS. College biology teachers in New Hampshire ranked second, averaging $117,480, while those in Massachusetts were third, averaging $110,740. The lowest reported wages were in Illinois, where the average was just $56,760 a year.
The BLS expects employment opportunities for postsecondary teachers to grow by roughly 17 percent through 2020. This is faster than the national average for all U.S. occupations, a projected 14 percent. With just over 50,000 postsecondary biological science teachers working in 2013, the 17 percent growth works out to the creation of approximately 8,500 new jobs over the course of a decade.
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