The challenges of pursuing and securing an academic position in Communication can be overwhelming. NCA's Career Center provides a range of data and materials about the contemporary academic job market and advice and resources for those engaged in the job search process.
The academic job market is complicated and ever-changing. NCA has gathered data, information, and resources about the academic job market generally and the job market in Communication specifically, to assist job seekers and job providers. Here you'll find information about the number of Ph.D.s produced in Communication, data about job positions in Communication, tenure-track vs. non tenure-track academic positions, academic salaries, and resources and other information sources.
Number of Ph.D.s Produced in Communication
Source: NSF, 2018 SED - From the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates. The NSF historically categorized earned doctorates in Communication with Librarianship. There are fewer doctoral programs in Library & Information Sciences than in Communication. The NSF also reports separate figures for earned doctorates in Communication (including the subcategories of Communication Research, Communication Theory, Mass Communication/Media Studies, Film/Radio/TV/Digital Media, and Communication/General).
Job Positions Data
NCA annually tracks the job postings submitted to CRTNET, the NCA online Career Center, and Spectra magazine (http://www.natcom.org/findajob/). The chart below reports the total number of job postings by year for 2009-2020. The figures reported are for discrete job postings and control for duplication.
NCA conducts extensive analyses of job postings in Communication. NCA also reports on job listings data each year:
- 2019-2020 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report
- 2018-2019 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report
- 2017-2018 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report
- 2016-2017 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report
- 2015 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report
- 2014 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report
- 2013 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report
- Analysis of Job Postings, 2005-2010
There is much discussion in the news media and elsewhere about the decline in academic jobs across the humanities and social sciences. NCA has analyzed the job postings data from several related disciplines to determine how the Communication job market compares:
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics also maintains employment data for numerous sectors of the economy, including “Communications Teachers, Postsecondary." This employment category includes individuals who “teach courses in communications, such as organizational communications, public relations, radio/television broadcasting, and journalism. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.”
- Number of individuals employed nationally in this category, 2018: 29,100
- Mean annual wage, 2018: $78,090
- Individuals employed in College, Universities, and Professional Schools, 2018: 21,400
- Individuals employed in Junior Colleges, 2018: 7,530
- Top five states for postsecondary Communications Teachers employment, 2018: New York, Texas, California, Illinois, Ohio
- Top five metropolitan areas for postsecondary Communications Teachers employment, 2018: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Dallas
Tenure-Track vs. Non Tenure-Track Teaching
The NCA 2017-2018 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report shows that 61 percent of 2017-2018 job postings sought individuals for tenured or tenure-track positions. The largest number of position postings were for tenure-track assistant professor positions. However, the greatest increase in the number of advertisements for non-academic positions, which doubled during the 2017-2018 academic year.
- “10 Ways to Get Yourself Fired,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 25, 2012.
- “AAUP Contingent Faculty Index, 2006,”
- American Association of University Professors, 2006.
- American Association of University Professors, “Contingent Appointments and the Academic Profession,” November, 2003.
- The Adjunct Project (blog)
- The Coalition on the Academic Workforce, “A Portrait of Part-Time Faculty Members,” June 2012.
- John S. Levin & Genevieve G. Shaker, “The Hybrid and Dualistic Identity of Full-Time Non-Tenure-Track Faculty,” American Behavioral Scientist 55 (2011): 1461-1484. doi: 10.1177/0002764211409382
- “Job Market Looks Brighter for Some Ph.D.’s,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 8, 2012.
- Steve Street, Maria Maisto, Esther Merves, & Gary Rhoades, “Who is Professor ‘Staff’: And How can this Person Teach So Many Classes?” Center for the Future of Higher Education, August 2012.
The 2017–2018 Faculty in Higher Education Survey, conducted by The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), contains detailed aggregate salary information for 162,8181 full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty representing 696 institutions and 34 academic disciplines. The chart below compares tenured and tenure-track faculty salaries by rank and discipline for Communication and similar disciplines.
The report also provides detailed aggregate salary information for faculty from 696 institutions for 63,980 full-time, non-tenure-track faculty. These data reflect salary information for non-tenure teaching faculty, specifically instructors, in Communication and similar disciplines.
Resources and Other Information
- “The Almanac of Higher Education 2012,” The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Adam Fulton, “Negotiate Like a Professor,” Inside Higher Ed, March 14, 2011.
- “Great Colleges to Work For 2012,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 5, 2012.
- Nate Kreuter, “Salary Realities,” Inside Higher Ed, September 5, 2012.
- “Presidential Pay vs. Faculty Salary Increases,2006-2010,” The Chronicle of Higher Education.
- Cheryl Reed & Dawn M. Formo, “Negotiating a Faculty Job Offer,” Inside Higher Ed, April 11, 2012.
- “Tuition & Fees vs. Faculty Salaries, 1981-2011,” The Chronicle of Higher Education.
NCA compiles tools and resources to support your career development, whether you are just starting out in academia or a seasoned scholar looking for new opportunities. Department heads, experienced job seekers, and employers offer insights and expertise on the hiring process, including tips for CVs and cover letters, interviewing techniques, and related information. In addition, tenured faculty offer advice for professional development.
- How to Play Your Cards Right: Lessons in Professionalism, Poise, and Probity - Nelle Bedner, University of Central Arkansas
- Telling your Story: The Research Talk and Teaching Demonstration - Mattea A. Garcia, Rollins College
- Recognizing, Evaluating, & Presenting Academic Skillsets to a Non-Academic Audience - Sarah McGhee, Association of American Medical Colleges
- Acing the Academic Interview: Strategies for Face-to-Face, Digital, and Phone Interviews - Dr. Peter Jorgensen
- Securing a Job Abroad: Exploring Academic Opportunities Outside the U.S. - Dr. Allison L. Eden
- Translating Professional Experience to the Academy: Strategies for Job Seekers and Current Faculty - Dr. Stacy Smulowitz
- How to Talk Yourself Into a Job: Nailing the "Job Talk" Experience - Dr. Peter Jorgensen
- The Academic Job Market in Communication: On Campus and Beyond - Dr. LaKesha Anderson
- Avoiding Land Mines when Interviewing with Administrators - Sue DeWine, Hanover College
- Interviewing with Insight: How to Anticipate Interview Questions and Formulate Meaningful Responses - Dr. Claire Procopio
- Embracing Opportunities Beyond the Academy - Dr. Elizabeth Baiocchi-Wagner
- Non-Academic Career Options for PhDs in the Humanities and Social Sciences - Columbia University Center for Career Education
Insights and expertise on the hiring process:
- How to Write a CV--The Professor Is In
- How to Write a Cover Letter--The Professor Is In
- The Academic Interview: Handling Difficult Questions
- The Academic Job Interview: Handling Difficult Moments
- The Academic Interview: Tips for Success
- Questions to Ask When Receiving an Academic Position Offer
- Preparing for the NCA Job Fair
- The Elevator Pitch
Relevant, timely, and useful information about doctoral programs in Communication. This information is offered for use by prospective and existing doctoral students, as well as other interested parties.
Getting the Most from Your Graduate Education in Communication: A Student’s Handbook
More than 35 Communication scholars lend their insight and advice to this graduate school survival guide. Featuring chapters on finding the right program, completing your thesis, getting published, and finding your first job, this handbook is a must for anyone considering pursuing a graduate degree in Communication.
Why Study Communication? Pathways to Your Future
This resource for prospective and new undergraduate Communication students provides a wealth of information about the Communication discipline; what Communication majors will know, understand, and be able to do after graduation; and career and study options for Communication graduates.
Professional Development During Your Doctoral Education
This informal introduction to professional development is designed for doctoral students in Communication. Addressing several issues involved with career development, the booklet is a primer to graduate school and helps one prepare for conversations and questions with faculty throughout one’s graduate education.