About Accounting Professors

I have often wondered about the life of an accounting professor.  My professors in school seemed to enjoy their job and their lifestyle. I always envied them but assumed they didn’t receive much pay as their big 4 partner counterparts.  After some research I found that I was right but at the same time I was wrong.

Accounting professors make good money

I was shocked to find out that accounting professors can start out making over 100k.  And that is just for 9 months.  Many professors will work during the summer months and add another 30% or more to their salary.  Also there are opportunities to get grants from companies to do special projects or research which can add even more on top of that.

Accounting professor’s salaries are available online.  For public schools in the United States you can find all employees’ salaries available.  It may be a little difficult to dig through and get it but with some good Google skills or the right links you should be able to find a lot of information.

The best part is the time.  Accounting professors are usually in the classroom teaching for 3 to 5 hours per week.  Then they may have another 5 or 6 hours per week with the students or preparing lessons.  But the bulk of their time is spent on doing their own research and publishing.  Al together an accounting professor will work about 40 hours per week.  But it’s very flexible so they can work for 3 hours one day and 10 hours the next.  The freedom to research what they love is also very rewarding.

It’s not all all good

There are two main points that may be seen as negative for an accounting professor:

  1.  The PhD program.  This is a 5 to 6 year stretch of studying, working, reading, and many late nights.  Also you receive very little to no pay.  Many PhD students will teach classes to earn a decent income while they are in the program.  This is really where you find out if research is the life for you.  If you make it through the program then you are definitely set.  With so few programs and the difficulty of getting accepted, graduates will definitely have a job available to them.
  2. Publishing.  Accounting professors must publish.  Their job is mostly to research and publish.  If they cannot publish but they want to teach, they can expect about 50% less income than their publishing counterparts.  So if you really want to teach then its advisable to just get a masters degree and become a lecturer not a professor.

The main thing that is exciting about accounting professors is the lifestyle.  I have spoken with several accounting professors and generally they love their job.  I haven’t done so, but I imagine if I took a random pool of accounting professors and a random pool of accounting professionals in Big 4 or industry jobs with about the same amount of experience, I would find the job satisfaction rate of the professors to be much higher.  So think about it and if you can get through the PhD program then the professorship might be your dream job.