How Much Does a Teacher Make a Year?

By Jacqueline DeMarco · April 02, 2024 · 6 minute read

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How Much Does a Teacher Make a Year?

The most recent mean annual salary for teachers nationwide is $66,450, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, there can be considerable variation depending on where a person lives, what level of student they teach, how much experience they have, and other factors.

Working as a teacher comes with an equal set of challenges and rewards. Being able to help shape young minds can be very fulfilling as well as challenging.

Want to learn more about how much teachers make and what the role entails? Read on for more insight.

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What Are Teachers?

Working as a teacher can look a bit different depending on whether the teacher works in an elementary, middle, or high school setting. That being said, all teachers create lesson plans and deliver those lessons to their students. They often work individually with students who need a bit of extra support and can help foster social and emotional development. Alongside instructing pupils, they grade assignments, write report cards, and meet with parents to help them understand their child’s education progress.

Teaching may not be the right career for those who are introverts. It typically involves interacting with students, their parents, and other faculty members for much of the workday.

Worth noting: Qualifications for teaching can vary. Teachers may be required to have certificates in order to teach, which can mean time, energy, and expense to attain those credentials.

💡 Quick Tip: When you have questions about what you can and can’t afford, a spending tracker app can show you the answer. With no guilt trip or hourly fee.

How Much Do Starting Teachers Make a Year?

Like many chosen career paths, working as an entry-level teacher often comes with a lower salary. How much money might a teacher make a year when they are first starting out? The mean salary for the lowest 10% of earners in this role nationwide is $30,230.

Incidentally, some teachers do rise to earn six figures. As teachers gain years of experience, they can increase their salary (the top 10% of earners make $102,800 per year).

What is the Average Salary for a Teacher?

Regarding how much a teacher can expect to earn on average, as briefly noted earlier, the national mean is $66,450. That being said, the state you work in can greatly impact how much they earn. Cost of living and other factors are responsible for the variation in salaries, which can be significant. For example:

•   The average annual salary in Florida is $32,088.

•   In Oregon, the average is $52,816.

Prospective teachers can review the following chart to learn more about what their salary and hourly wage expectations should be in their state.

What is the Average Teacher Salary by State for 2023

State Annual Salary Monthly Pay Weekly Pay Hourly Wage
Oregon $52,816 $4,401 $1,015 $25.39
Alaska $52,647 $4,387 $1,012 $25.31
North Dakota $52,570 $4,380 $1,010 $25.27
Massachusetts $52,116 $4,343 $1,002 $25.06
Hawaii $51,472 $4,289 $989 $24.75
Washington $50,724 $4,227 $975 $24.39
Nevada $49,778 $4,148 $957 $23.93
South Dakota $49,685 $4,140 $955 $23.89
Colorado $49,299 $4,108 $948 $23.70
Rhode Island $48,919 $4,076 $940 $23.52
Mississippi $47,737 $3,978 $918 $22.95
New York $47,209 $3,934 $907 $22.70
Delaware $46,389 $3,865 $892 $22.30
Vermont $46,082 $3,840 $886 $22.15
Virginia $45,736 $3,811 $879 $21.99
Illinois $45,640 $3,803 $877 $21.94
Maryland $44,930 $3,744 $864 $21.60
Kansas $44,913 $3,742 $863 $21.59
Nebraska $43,985 $3,665 $845 $21.15
California $43,746 $3,645 $841 $21.03
Missouri $43,676 $3,639 $839 $21.00
South Carolina $43,292 $3,607 $832 $20.81
Pennsylvania $43,247 $3,603 $831 $20.79
New Jersey $43,214 $3,601 $831 $20.78
Wisconsin $42,811 $3,567 $823 $20.58
Maine $42,741 $3,561 $821 $20.55
Oklahoma $42,596 $3,549 $819 $20.48
North Carolina $42,399 $3,533 $815 $20.38
New Hampshire $42,049 $3,504 $808 $20.22
Idaho $41,837 $3,486 $804 $20.11
Texas $41,544 $3,462 $798 $19.97
Wyoming $41,397 $3,449 $796 $19.90
Minnesota $41,366 $3,447 $795 $19.89
Kentucky $41,187 $3,432 $792 $19.80
New Mexico $41,116 $3,426 $790 $19.77
Indiana $40,861 $3,405 $785 $19.64
Michigan $40,815 $3,401 $784 $19.62
Ohio $40,205 $3,350 $773 $19.33
Arizona $40,016 $3,334 $769 $19.24
Connecticut $39,902 $3,325 $767 $19.18
Iowa $39,557 $3,296 $760 $19.02
Montana $39,413 $3,284 $757 $18.95
Arkansas $38,945 $3,245 $748 $18.72
Alabama $38,921 $3,243 $748 $18.71
Utah $38,419 $3,201 $738 $18.47
Tennessee $38,383 $3,198 $738 $18.45
Georgia $36,258 $3,021 $697 $17.43
Louisiana $36,117 $3,009 $694 $17.36
West Virginia $33,400 $2,783 $642 $16.06
Florida $32,088 $2,674 $617 $15.43

Source: ZipRecruiter

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Teacher Job Considerations for Pay & Benefits

How much a teacher earns and what type of benefits they qualify for can depend on if they choose to work as a full-time teacher or as a substitute teacher. If someone works as a substitute, they are generally paid a day rate only for the days they work and don’t qualify for benefits like health care or retirement plans.

However, working as a substitute teacher can be a great job for retirees looking to earn a bit of extra cash without committing to a consistent part-time work schedule. It might be good for someone who has a side hustle going or can fill in free days with work as, say, a rideshare driver or babysitter.

Full-time teachers generally qualify for those benefits and other traditional employee benefits like paid time off for sick and personal days. Some may even still qualify for pensions, which can be a real plus when it comes to retirement planning.

There’s also the fact that school is out in the summer. Some teachers may love this time off and want that family time. Others may choose to teach summer school or at a camp or otherwise bring in extra income. Still others may use that time for creative or entrepreneurial projects, but it’s important to note whether or not you will receive a paycheck during those months.

💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Pros and Cons of Teacher Salary

Still on the fence about becoming a teacher? These are some of the common pros and cons associated with the salary.

Pros Cons
Full-time salaries available May not receive pay during summer or holiday breaks
Compensation package often includes benefits

Recommended: How to Negotiate for Competitive Pay

The Takeaway

The average teacher salary in the US tops $66,000. If someone has a passion for teaching and likes working with young people, they will likely love their job. There are also valuable benefits that may be available, such as paid vacations and summers off.

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Can you make 100k a year as a teacher?

It is possible to make $100,000 a year as a teacher, which is a good salary. The 90th percentile of earners in this role nationwide brings home $102,800 annually. Teachers tend to see higher salaries as they gain years of work experience.

Do people like being a teacher?

Working as a teacher can be very hard work, but it is often very rewarding. Those who enjoy working with children and helping them learn will find they get a lot out of being a teacher. However, if they consider themselves to be antisocial, they may find this role very draining.

Is it hard to get hired as a teacher?

How challenging it is to get hired as a teacher can vary by location and year. It simply depends on what the current demand for teachers is. It is generally harder to find a role as a public school teacher as those jobs require having specific advanced degrees.

Photo credit: iStock/baona

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Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.


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