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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.


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.


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


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 its 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:

teachers salaries

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 judgment.

Kindergarten 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.


US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers,” “Middle School Teachers,” “High School Teachers.”

No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength. “Hunger in Our Schools.”

No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength. “Only a Teacher: Teaching Timeline.”

No Kid Hungry: Share Our Strength. “Which States Have the Highest and Lowest Teacher Salaries?”

College Turns Down Students Who Need Loans

In this day and age it seems that colleges and universities have turned into businesses more than state financed institutions of higher education. Ever since the recession started in 2008 enrollment has been on the rise which has led to colleges and universities almost fighting to get their share of the students, not caring how students paid for their education or how much debt they left their school with. With all of that going on it’s refreshing to see a school that is taking a stand and telling it’s students that it does care how it’s students pay for school and that it doesn’t want and in fact won’t allow it’s students to leave their campus in a financial black hole.

Most schools don’t care how students pay for their tuition which is why in 2010 college seniors graduated with student loans owed an average of $25,250, which was up five percent from the previous year. In addition to students leaving school with debt, parents have worked to help their children get through school and have found themselves with an average of $34,000 in student loans that they have taken out for their children.

In addition to the rising tuition costs students find themselves it a bit of a vicious cycle when it comes to their education. As more and more people have been laid off as a result of the recession, many of them returned to school to seek out higher education as an attempt to hide from the storm in hopes that by the time they were done getting the degree there would be a plethora of jobs waiting for them on the other side only to find that there aren’t any more jobs than there were when they went back to school but even worse there are now more

people just like them that are qualified degree holders who are now fighting for the same jobs.

In hopes of putting an end to this vicious cycle of debt The College of the Ozarks which is a private, evangelical Christian school in Missouri made news this week by no longer accepting applicants who need to take out student loans. When school officials were asked why they are no longer accepting these applicants Jerry Davis, president of the four-year school, told Reuters that “Debt is a big problem all over the country,” and that “Kids nowadays are not very sophisticated with money.”

While students being unsophisticated with their finances is an issue, it’s only part of the problem. The other huge issue is the rising increase in tuition costs. According to the U.S. department of education the average cost of a four-year college topped $22,000 for the 2010-20011 academic year which is almost triple what students paid just two decades ago.

While the College of the Ozarks isn’t cheap by any means, it’s below the average. Tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year is $17,900 which still seems like more than a student could handle on their own by trying to work part time and go to school full time. Even if they dedicated their entire summer to working full time it’d be difficult to earn enough money to cover tuition and living expenses for the entire year.

Even though it might be difficult to come up with the money, the school has taken a “tough love” approach when it comes to students seeking out loans. The schools president has said that, “This is a work college, not a debt college.” In addition to that the school’s president has said that it no longer works with students or banks in covering costs via loans, which is set to affect only about 99 current students because they currently carry private loans to offset some of their costs as far as boarding.

How do you feel about this schools approach to student loans? Leave your thoughts in the comment section down below.

Average Salaries of College Graduates Drops by $10,000 over 8 Years

The recent recession has hurt more than just the families who lost jobs during the time. Yes, many people were laid off as a result of budget cuts and decreased spending efforts made to keep companies alive. The resulting layoffs devastated the families affected. Another trend was happening that got lost in all the ink of companies killing off job positions.

What most of America was unaware of was that our economy was also slowly suffocating our full-time employees, even when they were fully qualified graduates from college.

Since 2005, average earnings per year by college graduates (with bachelor’s degrees aged 25-34 years old) started a steady decline that has continued to present day. Where they were once making on average a little over $64,000 per year, they are now only making just above $54,000 yearly. In 2009, they even dropped below the national average of all full-time workers age 18 and over and have continued to plummet ever since. The average of all full-time workers age 18 and over has stayed steady, between $56,000 and $58,000. It’s ironic and disturbing that our educated population has been willing to take lower paying jobs to provide for their families. The latter 2 years has finally shown the downward spiral flattening out and we may see an increase soon as our economy begins to fully recover.

We can learn one great lesson from this, when push comes to shove, the average full-time employee is willing to take a lower paying job if it means he or she can provide for their needs. And although a bachelor’s degree is helpful to pursue jobs of a higher caliber, they can also be used to get any job that will pay the bills. It’s hard to compete against a college grad for a bus driver or dental assistant job. For that reason, despite the rise or fall of the economy and despite how much people with bachelor’s degrees are being paid per year, you will always have a better chance at getting a job period, if you have higher education.


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