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On average, in physics departments in the US, at what age do people get their first tenure track positions? What about associate professor and full professor?

Update: Several commenters have asked for my reasons for asking this question. Here we go.

I grew up in a different country and did my undergraduate studies in a different field, but I always liked physics and decided to become a physicist. When I started my graduate studies in physics, I had no idea what I was signing up for, partly because of my different background, but also because my mentors did not think this was relevant information.

Seven years was the average time it took for a Ph.D. in my institution. Many very good students took much longer than that (and no, having a masters degree didn't help to graduate earlier). Then postdoc for 3 to 5 years, then apply for job and not get any, start a new postdoc, need new results from the new position before applying for jobs. Dragging on for years while watching all of my friends who did not go to graduate school, got jobs, got promoted on their jobs, saved money for their retirement, got married, bought houses, had kids, sent their kids to school, and I am still in school.

I am not sure what decision I would have made had I known all the facts back then, but now that I am starting my own career, I feel like it is very important for me, as a mentor, to give my students all the facts. I do not want to be biased by my own experiences, so I am asking for statistics.

  • If someone is good in such a difficult and methodological sophisticated field, it doesn't matter much if he is 33 or 45 to become full professor, average nobel prize is awarded 20 years after discovery – user48953094 Oct 16 at 16:11
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    I don't know the answer, but I know that it is pretty uncommon for a tenure-track professor to be hired in an R1 physics department before their early 30s. – Buzz Oct 17 at 0:35
  • @user48953094 see my update. – stochastic Oct 17 at 16:17
  • well if you can't get any stats, anecdotes probably work better at getting the reality across to people anyway. – A Simple Algorithm Oct 17 at 17:06
  • I would try to answer the following revised version of your question: what is the average length of time between (1) completion of the Ph.D. and (2) beginning a tenure-track job? Many universities provide abbreviated CVs for their faculty members, from which you could tabulate some data. – academic Oct 17 at 18:59

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