Average Teacher Salary 2017 – How Much Do Teachers Make

Chemistry Teacher with Students in Class --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Teaching is probably one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. There are a lot of people who can tell stories about having a teacher at some point in their life who changed the course of their careers forever. Maybe you had a chemistry teacher who inspired you to become a scientist, or maybe you had an English teacher who inspired you to become a novelist. I don’t think that you can really argue against the fact that teachers are capable of changing the lives of their students. They help to bring up our youth, and they’re pretty much the backbone of the country. It’s no surprise that so many people feel inclined to become teachers.

However, it’s common knowledge that teachers aren’t especially well paid for their work. This is typically due to the fact that teachers are paid with tax dollars, which means that a certain salary isn’t as easily guaranteed as it could be for someone working in the private industry. Should the salary of your average teacher discourage you from pursuing a career in this important field? How much is the average teacher paid, anyway?

Average Teacher Salary – $44,000

The average teacher is paid about $44,000, which is obviously a pretty low number. Teachers have a vital job, but their pay doesn’t really seem to reflect that. However, since that’s an average salary, that obviously means that some people are paid more and some people are paid less. What can positively affect a teacher’s income? First, let’s consider location. Since there are schools across the country, that means that teachers are needed across the country. You might figure that that means that there is an equal need for teachers across the country. You would be wrong. Larger cities, especially larger cities with more school-aged kids, have a greater demand for teachers. If you’re a teacher living in a city like Chicago, New York City, Houston, San Diego, or Los Angeles, then you will probably have an easier time finding work than someone who lives elsewhere. You may also be paid a little more.

Next, let’s talk about how experience can affect the salary of a teacher. Just like with every other field, in teaching, someone with more experience is generally paid more than someone with less experience. It’s a very common principle in employment, and it definitely applies to this position. Generally speaking, a teacher with over twenty years of experience can be paid up to $20,000 more than someone with just entry level experience. What in the world could possibly account for such a large difference in teacher earnings? When a teacher has been working for a long time, they are generally more familiar with the subject that they are meant to teach. They are better at working with students, and they are better at working with faculty. To put it simply, they’re better teachers. As a result, they are paid more for their work.

Finally, let’s consider how education can affect the salary of a teacher. When you talk about teaching in general, it’s possible for people to possess different levels of qualification. For example, someone who teaches advanced courses at a high school level probably has a broader education background than someone who teaches at an elementary grade level. In teaching, you generally just need a bachelor’s degree in order to begin working. However, many public schools really like to see applicants with a master’s degree. If you want to take it in even further, you can pursue a doctorate to maximize your earning potential. If you can’t afford that kind of education, though, you shouldn’t be discouraged. Four years at a good school is just about all you really need in terms of education in order to begin teaching yourself.

How to become a teacher – Do you have to go to school?

If you’ve read all of that information above, then you may be interested in becoming a teacher. Sure, the pay isn’t great, but there are a few things that you can do in order to get into the field. The first thing that you need in order to be a teacher is a high school education. As you can probably imagine, someone hiring a teacher is obviously looking for someone who is, well, educated. A high school diploma or its equivalence is the first step toward that. If you’ve already dropped out of high school, you don’t have to start worrying just yet. You can still get a diploma equivalence by obtaining a GED or something similar. You still have hope. Once your high school education is out of the way, it’s time to start looking to obtain your undergraduate degree.

In undergraduate school, you’re going to want to obtain a degree in education of some kind. If you’re looking to teach at a high school level, then you may need to also obtain some kind of degree in the subject that you want to teach. (This is because, at a high school level, curriculum often gets a lot deeper than it can get in middle or elementary school.) If you just want to be a preschool teacher, then you may be able to find work just with an associate’s degree. However, a bachelor’s degree is definitely the recommended minimum in this situation. Once you’re done with that, even if you decide not to go to graduate school, you still have a little bit of work to do. In order to teach at a public school, you usually need to be certified or licensed in some way.

The specific laws behind these requirements differ from state to state and grade level to grade level. However, in almost every case, you need a little bit of teaching experience. How exactly can you obtain teaching experience without actually being a teacher, you ask? Through student teaching. Student teaching is sort of like an internship for teachers, where you’ll help out another teacher or professor while also earning hours of experience for yourself. It’s a major hassle, but it’s a necessity in becoming a licensed, certified teacher on your own time. If you want to teach at a private school, you don’t legally need any kind of certifications, but the people hiring you may still want you to have them anyway. It’s a good thing to have, and it requires additional work, but it’s not something that you can just avoid.

Once all of that’s out of the way, you’re pretty much ready to get into the classroom. As you continue to work in education, your growing body of experience will allow you to potentially negotiate a greater salary further down the road. If you find yourself at an impasse, then you can always go back to school and get a better degree. As with pretty much every other field, the more degrees you have, the better you can get paid. Salary aside, teaching is very rewarding work, and I think that you will be plenty satisfied with the experiences that you’ll acquire during your time working in this profession. Teachers have a very important job in this country, and with enough work, you can help them with that job.