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The Teacher Salary

Average Salaries for Teachers

Teaching has traditionally been seen as a career that is not financially lucrative. However, while it's true that teaching is unlikely to be making any "10 Best-Paying Jobs" lists anytime soon, it's a career that pays better than you may expect. Especially when you consider other bonuses such as vacation in the summers, opportunities for supplementary income, and benefits and retirement, teaching is not a career that deserves to be shelved over income potential.

Annual Wages vs. Other Professions

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)'s Occupational Outlook Handbook, teachers from elementary schools all the way up to colleges were all making a higher median annual salary than the national total in 2016.

  • The BLS reports that the median annual wages across all occupations as of May 2016 were $37,040.
  • Meanwhile, the median annual wages for various teaching careers as of May 2016 were:
    • Kindergarten teachers: $52,620
    • Elementary school teachers: $55,800
    • Middle school teachers: $56,720
    • High school teachers: $58,030
    • Postsecondary teachers: $75,430
    • Special education teachers: $57,910

On top of this, in many districts, teachers are also paid for the extra hours they spend in professional development training. There are also many other ways teachers are able to supplement their income: tutoring, coaching, summer school, earning a higher degree and more.

Location, Location, Location

Teacher pay can vary depending on where you teach. For example, if you are teaching in New York City, your pay is likely to be higher in order to accommodate the higher cost of living. Some school districts pay higher salaries for the first 5-10 years as a way to attract new teachers and retain them. Other districts that are in desperate need of teachers may offer other incentives: perhaps help with relocation, help with buying a home, or a signing bonus. Click on one of the state names to the left to find out more about teaching careers and salaries in the state you are interested in.

Sources:

  1. Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, visited 1/8/18, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/kindergarten-and-elementary-school-teachers.htm#tab-5
  2. Middle School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, visited 1/8/18, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/middle-school-teachers.htm#tab-5
  3. High School Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, visited 1/8/18, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/high-school-teachers.htm#tab-5
  4. Postsecondary Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, visited 1/8/18, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-5
  5. Special Education Teachers, Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Department of Labor, visited 1/8/18, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/special-education-teachers.htm#tab-5

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