Whether you've wanted to become a teacher since high school or you're already in the workforce and want to go into teaching as a second career, understanding teacher salaries can help you make some major education and career decisions. Learn about the teacher salary you can make in states across the U.S., and start your teacher education degree today.
Counting Your Teacher Salary
A teacher salary will vary widely depending on your geographic area, level of education and seniority. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary of elementary, middle and secondary school teachers was $51,000 in 2007, and in 2006, the top 10 percent earned $73,350. These numbers are highly competitive with comparable markets. For example, librarians, archivists, curators, public relations specialists and social workers all made equal or lower salaries.
A Boom Year for Teacher Salaries
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) also found that teacher salaries in 2007 exceeded the inflation rate for the first time in 15 years. This is especially important at a time when many other industries have cut back on raises and cost-of-living increases. But while the average inflation-adjusted salaries of all U.S. workers dropped sharply, teachers enjoyed an unbelievable 4.5 percent increase. If this kind of increase continues, a teacher salary will look better and better compared to some other fields.
Beginning Teacher Salaries
The AFT found that beginning teachers with a bachelor's degree earned an average of $35,284 for the 2006–2007 school year. That's a 6.2 percent increase over the previous year. With beginning teacher salaries increasing at a faster rate than teaching salaries overall, the profession is sure to attract more and more qualified teachers. This is great news because the BLS predicts 479,000 additional teaching positions will be available between 2006 and 2016, showing a larger growth than most other occupations.
Increase Your Teacher Salary
Many school districts pay you a higher teacher salary as you take more teacher-education courses and get more seniority. Teachers with master's degrees or national certification earn a higher teacher salary than others. Private school teachers generally earn less than public school teachers, but they often have other great benefits, such as smaller class sizes. Some teachers also supplement their income by teaching summer school, tutoring or performing other extra-curricular jobs in the school system, and many teachers earn $75,000 or more toward the end of their careers.
Teaching Salary by Location
Because of cost-of-living differences, your teaching salary will vary significantly depending on where you live. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported median annual secondary teacher salaries for the following major cities in 2008:
- Atlanta, Georgia: $53,940
- Boston, Massachusetts: $62,360
- Chicago, Illinois: $75,090
- Cincinnati, Ohio: $55,200
- Dallas, Texas: $47,710
- Los Angeles, California: $64,230
- Miami, Florida: $48,200
- New York, New York: $66,440
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: $53,690
- St. Louis, Missouri: $47,340
- Seattle, Washington: $56,960
- Washington, D.C.: $61,130
And added to the teacher salaries for each city, you must also consider other perks that generally make up teacher benefits. Good health and dental insurance are standard. In some areas, teacher shortages have districts offering a signing bonus in an effort to attract qualified teachers.
And don't forget about your summers and holidays off. When you factor all of this in, the average teacher salary gets more and more enticing. If you have a vocation for teaching, find the right teacher training today, and get on the path to earning a solid teacher salary while enjoying the other benefits that a teaching career has to offer.
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