February 24, 2018

Teacher Salaries

Wondering what teacher salaries look like? If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher, you need to know what kind of salary you can expect to make.

Teacher Salaries for Teachers Who Have Not Completed Degrees Yet

Some states will hire teachers who have not yet completed their degrees, entering them into programs like North Carolina’s lateral-entry teaching program. The teachers teach and go to school at the same time, finishing their degrees as they teach.

These teachers are usually paid less than accredited or degreed teachers. This serves as incentive to finish your teaching degree and to get certified.

Bachelor’s Degree Teacher Salaries

Some states will hire you only if you have your bachelor’s degree in education. Other states (one that will hire people who have not yet completed their teaching degrees) often pay degreed teachers more than the non-degreed teachers to differentiate between the two and to reward those who have finished their degrees.

Advanced Degree Teacher Salaries

You will earn the best salary if you hold a master’s degree or above. It will also help if you are National Board Certified, recognized for research or have distinguished yourself otherwise as being exceptional. As with most jobs, you will be paid more if you are well-educated and are more qualified in your specific field than the competition. Some schools seek out teachers with doctorates or exceptional research or project experience. These schools are unique opportunities for those who love to pursue higher education or research programs.

Average Teacher Salaries By Category

In general, you will be paid more if you teach an older set of children. This means preschool teachers will make significantly less than high school teachers or college professors.  The averages for these positions are as follows: preschool teachers can expect to make about $26,620, elementary school teachers can expect to make about $52,840, middle school teachers can expect to make about $53,130 and high school teachers can expect to make about $53,230. College professors can expect to make about $62,050.

These numbers were pulled from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and reflect the average incomes of all teachers, regardless of experience or region.  They are averages.

Entry Level Position Teacher Salaries

As you can imagine, most teachers start their careers making significantly less than the averages quoted here. That’s because, like most careers, teachers are paid more as they gain experience.

The average entry-level elementary school teacher salary is $40, 203, but the average entry-level high school teacher gets paid $43,668. This is because high school teachers are expected to have deep knowledge about a specific topic.

Middle school teacher entry-level salaries typically fall in between elementary school and high school salaries, coming in at $41,948.

Specialized Teacher Salaries

If you’ve specialized in special education, speech, literacy or math, you may be able to demand a higher pay rate, right from the beginning. Special education teachers in particular seem to be in high demand and are able to negotiate to higher annual salaries. On average, an entry-level special education teacher can expect to be paid between $41,174-$44,461.

Teacher Salaries by Region

One of the biggest factors in determining how much you can make as a teacher is determined by something that may seem arbitrary to you: where you live. If you live in Alaska or the Northeast, you’ve got a much better chance of making a high salary as a teacher. If you live in Missouri, North Carolina or Arizona, you probably won’t make much as a teacher, even if you are accredited and experienced.

Why is this? Some regions pay more just because the cost of living is higher. Other regions pay more because the state or private educational facilities have placed a premium on teachers and are willing to pay more. Some areas routinely have teacher shortages; other areas usually have too many teachers. Many factors play into this equation.

Teacher Salaries Overview

As you can see, teacher salaries vary due to education level, experience level and region of the country. You may wish to concentrate on a specific area of education expertise to distinguish yourself from the competition. You may also wish to pursue an extensive student-teaching program so you’ll have more work experience when you look for your first teaching job. This may catapult you into a higher pay scale category, if you can sufficiently prove that you have the experience and are offering exceptional value.

If you are flexible about where you can live, you may wish to research the salary averages for a few different locations. Just make sure to check into job requirements in the different cities since teaching requirements vary by state and region. By doing a little research, you’ll save yourself extra hassle, especially if you need to pursue a particular certificate or program to work in a particular school or city. After all, you want to be ready for the job and aware of what teacher salaries are available when you get into teaching position negotiations!








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