How much do teachers make per year?

Teacher salaries vary greatly depending on educational background, geographic location, public school budgets vs. private school budgets, school district, grants, government funding and other factors. Historically, teaching is not a high paying job, but some states have started to reward their teachers by raising salaries over the last several years. In fact, a 2007 study found that public school teachers earned on average $34.06 an hour, which was significantly higher than white-collar workers. Not all teaches around the country can earn this salary, and there are some disputes over how it’s possible for a teacher to ask for a raise.

Generally, teachers are paid according to their experience and their level of education. If you don’t want to complete a graduate program right after you earn your Bachelor’s degree, you can continue to take courses to earn higher certification while you teach. Some teacher and public school advocates insist that teachers should receive raises when classroom performance and test scores improve, which, in theory, would benefit classes on the student level. In October of 2007, teachers at high-needs schools in New York City became eligible to earn bonuses based on student achievement. The average pay in New York in public schools was already $45.79 per hour that year.

Geographic location also plays a significant role in determining teacher salaries, especially in public schools. Government funding and state taxes vary around the country, so working in an area where the public school system receives a greater cut of taxpayer dollars probably means teachers will earn a higher salary. The average teacher salary in Louisiana, for example, is one of the worst in the country, and teachers take home less than five times the amount of the average professional in that state, according to a salary survey in 2005. Teachers in Connecticut, however, earn the highest average teacher salaries in the country, at around $57,760 per year. Because private schools do not receive government funding, teachers in those schools usually, though not always, earn less than public school teachers.

Another factor that affects teacher pay is subject and grade level. Secondary teachers often earn more than elementary or preschool teachers, while college professors can earn much higher salaries than high school instructors. Those who teach extracurricular subjects like theatre, foreign language or music may earn much less due to budgeting stresses within the district.

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