According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a teacher is approximately $55,000 per year. This means that half of all teachers in the country make more than this amount, and half make less. The 10 percent of teachers who are paid the lowest make less than $36,930 per year, and then 10 percent who are highest paid make more than $85,690. This variance depends on a variety of factors, including region, type of school, years of experience, and education level. Read on to learn more about teacher salaries in the United States.
Teacher Salary by Region
The highest paying states for teachers are, in order from highest to lowest: New York, Alaska, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. In general, teachers command the highest salaries in the New England, mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes, and West Coast regions. The highest paying metropolitan areas for teachers are, from highest to lowest: Nassau County, NY; White Plains, NY; Poughkeepsie, NY; Anaheim, CA; and New Bedford, MA. The second tier of salaries by state includes much of the West and Midwest, followed by a third tier that covers the South and a lowest-paying tier that includes most of the mountain and plains regions.
Becoming a Teacher
Teachers are required to have a bachelor’s degree and, if teaching in public school, must be certified and licensed in the state where they’ll teach. The subject in which you earn your bachelor’s depends on the state. Typically, elementary teachers major in education or child psychology, while middle and high school teachers major in the subject in which they’ll teach and take additional teacher preparation courses. Upon completing their degree requirements, aspiring teachers must also spend time in the classroom under the instruction of an established teacher. A test and a certain number of student teaching hours are required to become certified.
Job Outlook for Teachers
Job opportunities for teachers are expected to increase by six percent over the next decade. This rate is slower than other occupations. However, 52,900 new jobs are expected to be created for high school teachers, driven by retirement of existing teachers and the decrease in student-teacher ratios. Growth for teaching jobs will also be largely regional, with many new opportunities expected in the South and West. In addition, teachers in subjects where there are a shortage of qualified teachers, including math, science (especially chemistry and physics), English as a second language, and special education, are expected to be in high demand. If you love helping others and are willing to work hard, teaching can be a very lucrative and rewarding field. While there is a wide range for the annual salary for a teacher in the United States, the highest paying jobs and prospects will be for those who work in an underserved subject or region.