How Much Do Teachers Earn?

How Much Do Teachers Earn?

One important aspect of deciding to become a teacher is knowing what type of salary you can expect. After all, you aren't going back to school to earn minimum wage, right? Luckily as a teacher you can earn a great salary, and as you build upon your experience and education, you can earn even more. Top salaries as teachers can reach $90,000 or more – all you have to do is put in your time.

Determining what salary you can earn as a teacher depends on several factors including:

  • Where you are teaching
  • What level of education you have
  • What type of teacher you become

Current Salary Trends

The American Federation of Teachers report of "Survey and Analysis of Teacher Salary Trends 2007" across the United States lists the average teacher salary as $51,009. Since this is an average, it is unlikely that as a new teacher will make close to the average for a few years. You'll have to make do with your entry-level salary until you gain more experience.

By State

The average salary for teachers also varies significantly by state. The top 3 states are:

  • California: $63,640
  • Connecticut: $61,039
  • New Jersey: $59,730

The three lowest paying states for teacher's salaries are:

  • South Dakota: $35,378
  • Utah: $37,775
  • North Dakota: $38,586

However, when you are considering your potential salary you also need to look at the cost of living in that area. If it costs much less to live in a state (housing costs, food costs, etc.), then a lower salary should not have much of an effect on how you live.

By Type of Teacher

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of (in May 2008) were:

  Preschool Kindergarten Elementary Middle High School
General Teachers      $23,870                                            ranged from $47,100 to $51,180
Vocational Educational Teachers      N/A      N/A      N/A      $47,870      $51,580
Special Education Teachers                                            $50,020      $50,810      $51,340

For more U.S. Teachers Salaries and Career information, check out:

Do Your Research

The best method of determining your potential teacher salary is to look at job postings for teachers in your area. Check out job boards for teaching positions, as most of the job descriptions will include a base salary range. You can also contact your local school board and talk to the Human Resources department, as they may be able to provide you with the base pay rates for teachers in their district.


Along with your teaching salary, you should also consider the available benefits: medical and dental insurance, pension, and of course a decent amount of time off. Jobs that require the same amount of education and training may pay more than a teacher's salary, but most of them won't give you the same level of benefits.

Schools Offering General Teaching Courses: