Teacher Salary Overview

Teaching is not a profession for the faint of heart. A candidate needs to be able to connect with today's youth, to partner with parents to guide young minds as they grow and mature into responsible citizens and productive members of society. Think you have what it takes to be a great teacher? Want to further your teaching career? Read on.

Location: California has some of the highest-paid teachers, with the top salaries reaching as high as $84,000 for a middle-school teacher in Whittier, California. Teachers in South Dakota fared the worst, with an average salary of $34,039.**

Average Salary: An elementary school teacher earns an average annual salary of $41,189, while a middle grade teacher can expect around $43,652. High school teachers make a bit more, averaging around $44,709 annually.

Tips for Advancement: Teaching jobs offer some opportunities for advancement. A high school teacher might become a team manager, overseeing a group of teachers divided into groups by class or subject. In most states, a licensed teacher is required to have at least a Bachelors degree. Advancement is possible by acquiring higher education, and in some states a teacher who begins teaching with a Bachelors will have a limited amount of time to obtain their Masters degree.

Perks: While teaching is listed among the jobs with the least average salary, the benefits of influencing the next generation are often less tangible and more personally rewarding than a high-end salary. The hours can't be beat, especially for working parents with school-aged children. Summers, holidays and a number of other scheduled days off are another big attraction for many, as well as the opportunity to earn additional income by teaching summer school, coaching a sport, or advising an extra-curricular activity such as a club. Medical benefits are offered to almost all teachers, and 66% also enjoy dental insurance. Nearly half get vision coverage as well.

Tips for Landing a Raise: According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paid positions are found in urban districts with less-desirable settings, where schools sometimes struggle to retain veteran teachers. Specialization also commands a higher average salary, with science, math and foreign language teachers, especially those who can teach English as a second language in demand. Negotiating for a raise depends on the position. Belonging to a union sometimes means individual teachers can't negotiate for raises. Instead, the union negotiates on its' members behalf for a percentage raise.

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