How Much Do Teachers Make?

New Article Series: How Much Do Professions Pay?

Check City would like to officially introduce its new article series about how much different professions pay. Understanding the median salaries for a profession is a very important thing to know, whether you are looking for a new job, or looking to choose a career. In fact, between 10,000 and 100,000 people have searched online for the answer to how much teachers make. Well, search no longer! With our new article series about professional pay you can get all the answers you need to make informed decisions as a student and future employee.

Teachers have a lot of influence over their students. Teachers help their students learn social skills, and figure out what they want to be when they grow up. They have the ability to forever change the course of a student’s life. Teachers help us grow as people, realize our passions, and teach us how to fully pursue those passions and contribute to a healthier and happier community. Students spend about 13,000 hours each year at school with their teachers. Needless to say, the teaching profession is an important aspect of our society.

How to Become a Teacher

Once you decide you want to become a teacher you may want to consider what type of teaching you want to go into. You can teach different subjects and at different grade levels. Primary education is the first level of education done by elementary school teachers. Secondary education refers to middle school and high school. Higher education is typically how we refer to any level of education done after the high school level, like college. As with all professional careers today there is a process that prospective teachers must go through in order to be qualified and subsequently hired by an employer. This process to becoming a teacher includes an education specific to your field, certifications, and classroom experience.

First,

You’ll want to get a bachelor’s degree.
Elementary teachers often major in education or child psychology. Middle and High School teachers tend to major in whatever subject they wish to teach while taking teacher preparation courses alongside that. College professors must also go to graduate school to complete a master’s degree. Depending on the university and the area of study you would like to teach you may also need to get a doctoral degree.

Second,

You will get certified and licensed to teach in your state.

Third,

In order to complete your certification, you will have to spend a certain number of hours in the classroom under the instruction of an established teacher, and take a certification test. You can think of this part of the process like an internship that is required for your teacher certification.

As a prospective college professor your university may have their own requirements to enable you to teach. You may need to work a number of years as an associate professor first or meet certain publishing requirements.

What Teachers Do

The tasks of a teacher are going to vary by grade level, subject matter, and school district or university. But in general teachers in the primary and secondary education levels (elementary through high school) will do the following:

  • Create lesson plans
  • Teach core subject materials
  • Teach social and group skills, and other proper behavior
  • Enforce classroom rules
  • Evaluate their student’s abilities, strengths, and weaknesses
  • Teach to the entire class, in smaller groups, and one-on-one
  • Grade assignments, essays, tests, and quizzes
  • Communicate with parents and guardians about the student’s behaviors, grades, accomplishments, and struggles
  • Prepare students for standardized tests required by the state
  • Supervise during lunchtime or recess

Some of these tasks are exclusive to teachers in the primary and secondary grade levels, while professors teaching in higher education (college level) may not have some of these same duties. Professors do however have the following duties:

  • Create a syllabus and semester lesson plan
  • Give lectures, discussions, and demonstrations
  • Grade student assignments and tests
  • Record grades
  • Fulfill university requirements for professors like publishing papers every so often

What Determines Pay

Generally most jobs are going to vary in salary depending on things like what state you work in, your specific employer, how much experience you have in the field, and how much education you have. But sometimes a career will have its own variables that go into determining salary, and factors that weigh more heavily on that decision than others. For teachers, the following variables play into determining salary:

  • The state and region you work in. Every school district is going to be different.
  • What type of school you work in. A private school, a public school, and a charter school are all going to pay differently.
  • The years of teaching experience you have.
  • Your level of education.
  • If you specialize in a certain area.

How Much Do Teachers Make:

There has been a lot of turmoil in the news lately about teachers’ salaries and whether teachers are being paid fairly. Teachers have been a part of several protests in the recent past, asking for better wages and more funding for their schools. During these protests some teachers have even gone on strike and stopped teaching to try and get their voices heard. This aspect of the teacher strikes has been a particular point of controversy since teachers aren’t just seen as employees. The role of a teacher is culturally held aloft as more of a noble pursuit than as the means to someone’s livelihood, making it difficult for teachers to talk about wages without judgement.

Kindergarden and Elementary School Teachers Make:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that kindergarten and elementary school teachers make a median salary of $57,980 a year with a job growth rate of 7 percent.

Middle School Teachers Make:

Middle school teachers make a median salary of $58,600 a year with a job growth rate of 8% which is a bit closer to average growth rates.

High School Teachers Make:

High school teachers make a median salary of $60,320 a year and also have a job growth rate of 8%, which the BLS calls “as fast as average.”

Substitute Teachers Make:

Kids may miss a school day here and there, but class will still go on even if a teacher needs to miss a day. That’s why there are substitute teachers that can fill in or regular teachers when they aren’t available. They usually make a mean annual wage of $31,510 at $15.15 an hour.

Private vs Public School Teachers:

Believe it or not Private school teachers actually make less than public school teachers generally do. Obviously this is going to depend on the school because some public school district areas do better or worse than others, while some private schools are more expensive than others. But on average, public school teachers make $50,000 a year while private school teachers only make $36,000 a year.

Side Hustles for Teachers

Being a teacher also includes a number of side hustles that can provide some extra income to teachers.

  • Tutoring
  • Summer camp or summer school
  • Selling worksheets, lesson plans, and other classroom materials
  • Creating curriculum for publishers
  • Proctoring exams
  • Teaching adults

Whatever your profession might be, there are always ways for you to make a little extra income to cover all your expenses. Teachers aren’t the only ones who struggle to make ends meet each month. Many people get hit with emergency expenses that can also make hurt your monthly budget. When you have a bad month financially, you can depend on the Check City Personal Loan to see you through it and get you quickly back on your feet again.

So What’s the Problem?

The short reason you’ve been hearing so much lately about teachers struggles and issues with teachers’ salaries is because the issue goes beyond their income. The problem isn’t so much that teachers need a higher wage, but that their classrooms and their students need more funding. In order to adequately provide for their students and to facilitate their success, learning, and care, teachers often end up using their own money in order to do their job well. So in this sense the issue may not be that teachers pay is too much or too little, but rather that the situation is unfair. Most full-time jobs are required to provide their employees with whatever they need to do their job successfully, and this is where teachers have been struggling the most to keep up financially.

Teacher’s Need More Funding

There are a lot of important things that go into successful learning for children and adolescence. They spend the majority of their day at school and nee to be adequately fed in order to focus throughout the long school day. They also need a number of materials in order to actively learn, practice, and take notes. Teachers also need materials and resources to teach their subjects in the best way possible for each child. Providing food, notebooks, and pencils to kids and teens from low-income families are just some of the many personal expenses being left on the shoulders of teachers alone.

Teachers should be able to have the funding and resources necessary to have a successful classroom. Some school districts and states are doing better than others at funding their schools and providing their teachers with a decent salary for their area and hopefully the number of school districts doing well by their teachers and their students will continue to grow. The teaching profession is a unique opportunity to mentor and mold the coming generations and by so doing, help build us all a better world.


READ MORE
Take a look at Education Week’s article “Which States Have the Highest and Lowest Teacher Salaries?” to see what teachers are making in each state.


Learn about the history of the teaching profession on PBS.org.


Read Hunger in Our Schools to see the data on kids going hungry in schools today.


Visit the Bureau of Labor and Statistics site to see their survey about teacher’s salaries.


FEATURE IMAGE BY NEONBRAND
OTHER IMAGES BY PAN XIAOZHEN

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