Child development professor salary & career outlook
Child development professors teach courses on developmental psychology, cognitive processes and psychological counseling. They are also responsible for grading students' work, supervising graduate research projects, and researching and publishing their own papers. At times it can seem like a lot of plates to keep spinning. Your education may take many years, too, but top earners in this field can make an exceptionally good income, especially if they hold doctoral degrees. If you are passionate about child development and preparing the next generation of child development psychologists, this is a potentially rewarding career in so many ways.
Child development professor salaries
The market is variable for postsecondary teachers in general, but most make more than the national average for all professions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average national salary for professors was $76,060 as of May 2013, with the highest 10 percent of earners making $123,620 or more.
The American Psychological Association's most recent survey of faculty for 2013-14 salaries according to rank and years in that rank gives a more complete picture. The mean (average) and 90th percentile salaries for full professors who hold a doctoral degree and teach at the master's level were as follows:
- Less than 3 years — mean: $80,440; 90th percentile: $100,000
- 3-5 years — mean: $79,781; 90th percentile: $94,070
- 6-11 years — mean: $87,287; 90th percentile: $112,122
- 12+ years — mean: $94,458; 90th percentile: $120,053
Assistant professors with less than three years of experience earn an average of $56,369 annually in the U.S. Associate professors just starting out earn an average of $65,436 annually, and top earners in that rank with six or more years of experience can average $70,185 per year.
The same 2013-14 APA survey provided the following salary results for full professors in the following departments at the doctoral level:
- Psychology, 12+ years — mean: $137,542; 90th percentile: $195,700
- Education/Counseling/School, 12+ years — mean: $106,325; 90th percentile: $132,762
- Human Development, 12+ years — mean:$166,065; 90th percentile: $221,056
As you can see, salaries vary quite a bit based on experience, but where you decide to teach also makes a difference. For instance, the APA survey shows that full professors with doctoral degrees who taught in doctoral programs in the Mid-Atlantic states had the highest salaries, averaging $150,545 annually. In private universities in the same region, that average increased to $157,894, with top earners making $217,345 or more.
Schools, training and beyond
Anyone interested in becoming a child development professor should be ready to devote some serious time to the endeavor — you'll need at least a master's degree, and most likely a Ph.D. to teach at the university level. Child development professor training is available online for those looking to work toward a higher degree, and often schools are looking for people with distance learning experience to help shape their own online curriculum.
Outlook for child development and psychology careers
According to 2012 forecasts through 2022 from the BLS, their latest available data, the job market for postsecondary psychology teachers is expected to grow by 14 percent nationally, adding 6,800 jobs for a total of 54,200. The BLS projects 19 percent employment growth for postsecondary teachers in general during the same period of time. Certain individual states are expected to see stronger growth than others for the decade lasting from 2010 through 2020, according to Projections Central. These include:
- Georgia: 39.9% projected growth; 330 new jobs
- Utah: 35.0% growth: 110 new jobs
- Washington: 23.5% growth: 210 new jobs
However, those numbers cover postsecondary psychology teachers as a whole, and it's impossible to say how many of the new jobs will be focused in child development in particular.
Increased enrollment and retiring psychology professors are expected to account for the growth in job openings; however, competition for tenure-track positions may be even fiercer as schools turn to the lower cost option of adjunct professors and part-time lecturers.
The BLS projects 12 percent growth in other psychology professions through 2022. As the demand for the services of trained psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and therapists continues to increase, psychology professors must be there to train them. Child development professors who can't get full-time teaching positions right away may be able to use their expertise at secondary schools, in research hospitals, and even with private clients.
American Psychological Association, 2013-14: Faculty Salaries in Graduate Departments in Psychology, 2013-2014 Salaries for Full-time Faculty in U.S. Master's Departments by Type of Department, Rank, and Years in Rank, Table 17
American Psychological Association, 2013-14: Faculty Salaries in Graduate Departments in Psychology, 2013-2014 Salaries for Full-time Faculty in U.S. Doctoral Departments of Psychology by Region, Rank, and Years in Rank, Table 5,
American Psychological Association, 2013-14: Faculty Salaries in Graduate Departments in Psychology, 2013-2014 Salaries for Full-time Faculty in U.S. Doctoral Departments of Psychology in Private Institutions by Region, Rank, and Years in Rank, Table 7,
American Psychological Association, 2013-14: Faculty Salaries in Graduate Departments in Psychology, 2013-2014 Salaries for Full-time Faculty in U.S. Doctoral Departments by Type of Department, Rank, and Years in Rank, Table 8,
Occupational Employment and Wages for Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary, Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013,
Psychologists, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,
Postsecondary Teachers, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition," Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 8, 2014,
Long Term Occupational Projections for Postsecondary Teachers, Projections Central,
Summary Report for: Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary, O*Net OnLine,