What Is the Average Salary of a Teacher?

What you can expect to make upon graduation depends largely on a number of factors. While surveys have placed the average salary of teachers at around $47,602, what you will make will vary depending on where you live and work, your experience and qualifications, and the demand for teachers with your skills in your area. In order to get a good idea of what you‘ll be making, you need to consider a variety of factors.

The national average of teacher salaries includes not only new teachers, but those who have a good deal of experience as well. Therefore, what you will make when you graduate may be considerably lower than the national average. This can make paying for housing and the cost of student loans a difficult financial burden, and should be something that you consider before accepting a position. Some just starting out in the field may need to take on additional part time jobs on the weekends or during the summer to make ends meet.

Often, teacher salaries vary widely from district to district, with some schools compensating teachers with high salaries and benefits and others only offering bare bones wages. Before accepting a position, make sure to check out the different districts in your area. This means not only checking out the differentials in salaries, but also asking current teachers in the districts about benefits and the pros and cons of the school.

Another factor that will play largely into what you will make will be the state or area that you live in. Connecticut has the highest teacher salaries with an average of $57,760, with California a close second. The other top five states are New Jersey, Illinois and Rhode Island. The state at the low end was South Dakota with an average of only $34,039. Of course, the salaries in many places are higher due to higher living expenses and this is an important factor to consider. For example, teachers living in Chicago, Illinois will make more ($53,713) than those living in a city like Springfield, Illinois ($48,015).

Salary will also vary depending on your level of education and what you choose to specialize in. Those with Master’s degrees can expect to make substantially more than those with Bachelor’s degrees, in some places several thousand more on average. Additionally, teachers who decide to pursue careers in secondary education rather than primary education often stand to make more, and those who choose particular majors may be better off, with science teachers earning top dollar and history and math teachers making less on average.

While it may be tempting to choose a specialization or district based on salary, make sure you consider what your true passions are as well, and make that a key factor in deciding where and what to teach. No matter what you decide to teach, you’ll have a wide range of salaries and options open to you depending on where you’re willing to teach.

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