Professors in the United States

Professors in the United States commonly occupy any of several positions in academia. In the U.S., the word "professor" informally refers collectively to the academic ranks of assistant professor, associate professor, or professor. This usage differs from the predominant usage of the word professor internationally, where the unqualified word professor only refers to "full professors." The majority of university lecturers and instructors in the United States, as of 2015, do not occupy these tenure-track ranks, but are part-time adjuncts.[citation needed]

Research and education are among the main tasks of tenured and tenure-track professors, with the amount of time spent on research or teaching depending strongly on the type of institution. Publication of articles in conferences, journals, and books is essential to occupational advancement.[1] As of August 2007, teaching in tertiary educational institutions is one of the fastest growing occupations, topping the U.S. Department of Labor's list of "above average wages and high projected growth occupations", with a projected increase of 524,000 positions between 2004 and 2014.[2] In 2011, a survey conducted by TIAA-CREF Institute senior researcher Paul J. Yakoboski estimated that 73% of professors with senior tenure ranged between the ages of 60 and 66 and that the remaining 27% were above the age of 66.[3] Yakoboski estimated that 75% of these professors have acknowledged that they have made no preparations for retirement due to the ongoing financial crisis and reluctance to leave their profession.[3] A 2013 survey conducted by Fidelity Investments would echo similar results when the question about retirement came up.[4]

In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics counted 181,530 professors, 155,095 associate professors, 166,045 assistant professors, 99,304 instructors, 36,728 lecturers, and 152,689 other full-time faculty.[5]