February 24, 2018

How Much Do Elementary School Teachers Earn?

Have you wondered what the average elementary school teacher salary is? If you’re considering a job as a teacher, you’ll want to know how much teachers make and what you can do to improve your salary options.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average elementary school teacher salary is (as of May 2011) $52,840.

However, that doesn’t mean that’s what you can expect to make when you get out of school. There are several factors that contribute to determining what you can earn as an elementary school teacher.

General Range of Elementary School Teacher Salaries

The bottom 10% of elementary school teachers make on average $34,910, but the top 10% of teachers make about $81,230. These numbers are representative of the country as a whole, so they may or may not be representative of your area and your spectrum of opportunities. As you can see, the salary spectrum is quite broad.

Do You Have a Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree in Education or Not?

Some schools will hire you as a teacher even if you don’t have an education degree. Many schools will hire you if you are taking classes to pursue a teaching degree or an online teaching degree since they see you are pursuing your education. This is called lateral entry, meaning you start out without a degree but get your degree as you teach.

Other schools will insist you have a bachelor’s degree in education, and still others will insist upon a master’s degree or certification.

In many cases, teacher salaries will vary at a school, related to what level of education or certification the teacher has.

How Much Experience Do You Have?

Experienced teachers are paid more than new teachers, for obvious reasons.

Public or Private Elementary School

In general, public schools typically pay better than private schools, but in some unique cases you will find the flipside. Some private schools, especially prep schools, do indeed pay better than the local public schools.

Many people find they like working at a private school more, whether it be for the sake of prestige or because they find the kids to be easier to teach (parents tend to be tougher on their kids if they act up or don’t perform well academically, since they are paying for their child to go there.) However, if you’re looking at which school will pay better, you’ll find that, on average, the pay at a private school is usually just under the local public school pay rates.

Secular or Religious Elementary School

If you work for a religious school, you’ll probably make less than you would if you work for a secular school. The average elementary school teacher salary is approximately $44,520, which is about $8,000 less than the average secular school salary.

Region of the Country

Who are the top payers in the nation? Alaska, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut and California are the five states that pay their teachers the highest salaries.

How much will you make (on average) in each of these states?

In Alaska, the mean elementary school teacher salary is $72,090.

In Rhode Island, the mean elementary school teacher salary is $71,840.

In New York, the mean elementary school teacher salary is $69,380.

In Connecticut, the mean elementary school teacher salary is $66,920.

In California, the mean elementary school teacher salary is $65,660.

The very highest paying metropolitan area is the Nassau-Suffolk, NY area, where the average elementary school teacher is paid a salary of $90,560. Now that’s something to write home about!

But who is hiring?

Texas, Illinois, Florida, California and New York are the five states that hire the most elementary school teachers each year. These states are big employers of the social services sector in general.

Urban or Rural School

You’ll find that, in general, urban and suburban schools pay more than rural schools. However, you’ll also discover that the pay range varies considerably across the country, so one urban area may indeed still pay better than an urban area in another state.

To find the average elementary school teacher salary for your area, check out this cool online salary calculator tool provided (free!) by Indeed.com.

Be sure to enter the keywords “elementary school teacher” in the Job Title search field and the name of city and state (or zip code) of the area you’d like to check. The calculator will provide the average salary for that area.

Do You Have a Specialty?

Are you a licensed to work as a special education teacher at an elementary school? Do you have a concentration in art, math, or literacy? These sorts of distinctions can affect your salary range a great deal, especially if you find a school that has an at-need or at-risk population where a literacy specialist or special education teacher is in high demand.

Elementary School Teacher Salary Summary

As you can see, teacher salaries vary considerably. Be sure to use the free online salary calculator we provided the link to so you can find out what the average elementary school teacher salary is in your area.



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