From preschool teachers to professors: A breakdown of teacher salaries.

Jobs in education in the United States are projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Still, many school districts are experiencing teacher shortages, with the pandemic exacerbating hurdles like low pay, poor benefits and concerns over safety. 

From preschool teachers to professors: A breakdown of teacher salaries.

According to an EdChoice survey, about half of U.S. teachers under age 55 considered leaving teaching in fall 2021, and 64% of teachers older than 55 considered retiring in fall 2021. Many attributed this to feeling undervalued and underpaid, the survey results.

Here’s how much those in the business of education make in a year:

How much do teachers make?

Primary and secondary school teaching positions require a bachelor’s degree and a certification from the state where you intend to teach. Certifications vary state to state. Many require credit hours in specialty areas and passing scores on certification tests. 

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses the median wage in its survey of teacher salaries. It defines median wage as the wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Here is the exact BLS breakdown of median wages for different grade levels of teachers.

  • High school teachers: $61,820
  • Special education teachers: $61,820
  • Middle school teachers: $61,320
  • Kindergarten and elementary teacher: $61,350
  • Preschool teachers: $30,210

Adult basic and secondary education and ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers make a median wage of $59,720, the BLS reports. 

How much do professors and post-secondary teachers make? 

Post-secondary teachers include professors in colleges, professional schools and community colleges. This field is varied because it contains everything from full-time tenured professors to part-time teachers. A master’s degree may be sufficient for some positions while others require a PhD to teach college students. 

Post-secondary teachers earn a median wage of $79,640, according to BLS. 

How much do teacher assistants make?

Teaching assistant positions can be a necessary part of a bachelor’s degree or part-time work for some. Teacher assistants work with a licensed teacher and aid learning in the classroom. 

According to BLS statistics, teacher assistants make a median wage of $29,360 a year. 

How much do school principals make?

Whether surrounded by 6-year-olds or 11th graders, principals manage the daily operations of a school and carry out administrative duties. According to the BLS, the typical entry level education for a principal is a master’s degree. 

The median annual wage for elementary, middle and high school principals is $98,420.


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