Are you considering teaching as your next career? Perhaps you want to be a teacher in the USA, but you’d like to understand more about what they get paid first? While teaching in the USA is a very important job, it is notoriously poorly paid. Of course, with teachers’ pay, teachers in different regions of the world receive different salaries, some significantly higher (and remember, different countries also have their own standards of living), because of this, there are a lot of disgruntled teachers in the USA, concerned that their salary doesn’t meet the cost of living.
There is Opportunity
Without doubt, teaching is a great career path as it can lead to bigger salaries, for example, you may become a head of department, or a head of academics, even a principal one day! Of course, teaching high school level students and teaching elementary level students makes a difference to salary, as high school teachers tend to get paid more. Equally, college lecturers and college teachers have a different pay structure. One of the benefits of being a teacher is that you can use your abilities and also coach students privately to supplement your income. Let’s look more closely at teachers’ pay, teachers in the USA.
Unfortunately, while education is so vitally important for our children’s future and the future of the world we live in, teachers in the USA are relatively low-paid even though they’ve studied hard to gain the right certification. This also means that many teachers need to supplement their income with a second job!
Teachers’ pay, teachers – First-Placement Teachers
In the USA according to the National Education Association, most first-placement teachers on average earn less than $40,000 (this varies depending on state). Lots of these teachers have to also pay out for supplies in their classroom although of course, this shouldn’t be common practice. However, in studies, teachers at this level often remarked that they had to pay out $500 or more on supplies over a teaching year.
Average Teachers’ pay, teachers Salary
The average salary for a teacher is around $65,000 but in a study of over 300 districts, many teachers were only paid $30,000 as a starting salary. This is 22% less than other professionals with a similar level of education. For more on the different pay scales according to state and district, click here:
USA is Lower On the Teachers’ Pay Scale Than Other Countries
Worryingly, the USA is ranked at number 7 in the teaching pay-scale worldwide with teachers in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Ireland and South Korea earning substantially more. In Luxembourg, for example, teachers take home on average, $140,000 a year for high school teaching and $124,000 for elementary school teaching. In the US, a high school teacher takes home on average $73,000 whereas an elementary school teacher takes home around $68,000. Check it out all if you’re wondering how much do teachers get paid, US states’ teachers salaries here.
New York Teachers’ pay, teachers in NYC
US teachers in New York do better than their colleagues in other states. For example, on average, a New York teachers’ pay, teachers in NYC will take home $80,000 a year for high school but to be a teacher in New York, you must also have a master’s degree. Compare that to teachers in Oklahoma, who only earn on average $40,000 a year! This is why the National Education Association tell us that around 20% of teachers have a second job.
Long Days, Lots of Hours
The salary doesn’t really account for the hours that a teacher puts into their day either. While the school day in the USA is around 7 hours long, teachers often work around 14 hours a day. The job isn’t just about teaching children in a classroom setting, it includes lesson planning, grading work, staff meetings and being present on school trips. Teachers are often at school for hours after the children have left for the day. Plenty of teachers work a 70-hour week, some 80 hours+.
It’s also worth pointing out that the National Education Association tells us that the average salary teachers’ pay teachers for a US teacher decreased by 4.5% over the past 10 years (in comparison to inflation) and starting salaries have also decreased by almost 3% over the last decade. That means teachers today earn less than they used to – yet the cost of living in the USA has gone up significantly.
Americans Believe Teachers are Underpaid
It will likely come as no surprise to learn that 71% of Americans believe that teachers are underpaid and because of the low salaries, less people are choosing teaching as a career path. Teachers themselves generally feel undervalued and many have considered leaving their profession, in fact, lots have which could also be another reason why there’s currently a teacher shortage in the USA.
So, while teaching in the USA is a wonderful career and for many teachers, it’s vocational because of the pleasure of seeing children blossom with knowledge, it is still poorly paid. There’s a lot of work involved, from studying to become a teacher and gaining the certification required, to the day-to-day requirements. The bottom line is, if you do want to teach, be aware of the salary limitations and consider coaching as a side-line to boost your income. Sometimes, the personal reward outweighs the financial reward but for many, this won’t be the case when it comes to teachers’ pay, teachers in the USA.