salaries etc

SLF notmyaddress at
Mon Aug 7 12:44:30 EST 2000

> Several of you mentioned the low post-doc
> salaries. How low is low, is there a general range of post doc salaries
> someone could give me?

Most postdoc salaries are determined  by the NIH base (that is, what NIH
pays on their fellowships), which is somewhere around $26K in the first year.

This is a significant improvement over just a few years ago when it was below 20K!

It goes up with each year of post-PhD experience.  A PI can offer more, if they
have the money, but  grant money is tight and they often don't.
Private fellowships can be significantly higher.

there are of course mean people who pay below the NIH base, but why would
you want to work for them?

> Also I've been wondering what is the average range of a professor
> salary? I've seen the range in industry and have looked into that job
> market a little but it's hard to find out academic salary info.

Highly variable according to the type of insitution--big research universities pay more than
small, medical schools pay more, but they all come with their own costs.  And benefit
packages also vary enormously, which can make a place with a smaller salary more
attractive.  You might try the Women in Biology Launch
Page ( which has an extensive careers
section, and also information on equal pay and salary scales.

> Several of you also mentioned ageism. This is my biggest fear... If I'm
> 37 now, 38 by the time I finish my undergrad... I'll be 43+ when I
> finish my doctorate. Although I look pretty young (got those good
> genes... hmmmm... maybe I can clone them....) I worry that ageism will
> diminish my chances for a good job.

In my experience and observation, this is not as big of an issue--I have known
several people who got hired in their 40s, and these days, I don't see ANY 20 -
somethings on the market!  Postdocs and grad school take too long.   the key
thing is to have done great work.  You won't get hired without it, no matter how young
you are.

if it's right for you, then do it .  the worst thing is to look back in  a couple of
yeras saying "if only I had".

By the way, I hope you realize that your fees will be paid and you will be paid a
stipend in graduate school--that is, no more big student loans!

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S L Forsburg, PhD  Associate Professor
Molecular Biology and Virology Lab
The Salk Institute, La Jolla CA
forsburg at

Women in Biology Internet Launch Page
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