NCA Career Center

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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

Graph showing number of PhDs between 2010 and 2019

Source: NSF, 2018 SED - From the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates. The NSF 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 COMMNotes, the NCA online Career Center, and NCA's online magazine Spectra. The chart below reports the total number of job postings by year for 2009-2021. The figures reported are for discrete job postings and control for duplication.

Graph showing number of positions advertised with NCA, 2009-2021

NCA conducts extensive analyses of job postings in Communication. NCA also reports on job listings data each year:

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:

Graph showing job postings in related disciplines

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, May 2020: 28,430
  • Mean annual wage, May 2020: $80,940
  • Individuals employed in College, Universities, and Professional Schools, May 2020: 20,990
  • Individuals employed in Junior Colleges, May 2020: 7,370
  • Top five states for postsecondary Communications Teachers employment, May 2020: New York, Texas, California, Illinois, and Pennsylvania
  • Top five metropolitan areas for postsecondary Communications Teachers employment, May 2020: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC

Tenure-Track vs. Non Tenure-Track Teaching

The NCA 2020-2021 Academic Job Listings in Communication Report shows that 44 percent of the 2020-2021 job postings sought individuals for tenured or tenure track positions. The largest number of position postings were for assistant professor positions. During the 2020–2021 academic year, 18 percent of positions posted were for non-academic positions.

Graph showing tenure vs. non-tenure track teaching


Academic Salaries

NCA’s November 2019 Spectra issue, “The State of the Communication Discipline,” presented data on five aspects of the Communication discipline: Departments and Programs, Faculty in Communication, Undergraduate Students in Communication, Graduate Students in Communication, and Communication Scholarship. The issue reported on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) about postsecondary Communication teachers. The chart below compares postsecondary teacher salaries in Communication and similar disciplines, using 2018 data from the BLS.

Postsecondary Teacher Mean Wages for 2018

The issue also included data from the 2019 College and University Professional Association for Human Resources’ (CUPA-HR) Faculty in Higher Education Annual Report. The report indicated that faculty salaries for all disciplines had increased by an average of 1.73 percent in the three years preceding the report. The charts below break down the average salaries for tenure-track and non-tenure-track positions at different types of institutions.

Tables listing average Tenured/Tenure-Track faculty salaries and average Non-Tenure-Track faculty salaries


NCA Prep Talks

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. These are the three most recent PrepTalks from the NCA Annual Convention. Below you'll find past PrepTalks on a variety of topics.






Insights and expertise on the hiring process:

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.

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.