So How Much Does a Teacher REALLY Make?

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I posted this over a year ago and found it really helped a lot of readers understand their teacher’s commitment a little bit better! I’ve changed it up a bit, but feel free to chime in your thoughts and comments below!



That is a very loaded question! There are a lot of things that determine a teacher’s salary including where they live, how many years they’ve been teaching, whether or not they have a masters or doctorates degree, what grade levels they are teaching, public/private, cost of living, etc.

This article is just to make you aware that you should not lump all teachers into the “overpaid” category!! This article will NOT tell you how much every teacher in America makes, how much every teacher in America should make, or even any school district names.

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Aren’t teachers OVERPAID? To be honest, some teachers are extremely overpaid in my opinion. Some professors, veteran teachers, administrators, etc. in some areas make 6 figures! And that’s not necessarily specialty staff – that’s high school teachers too! That’s not even talking the $100 an hour they get paid to tutor or several thousand extra PER sports team to coach! Some educational staff are making a half a million! BUT there are also many teachers that truly do not make much! In fact most teachers do not fall into the “overpaid” category. 

Our district teachers who have taught for 5 years are currently getting paid approximately $35,000. AFTER taxes and the cheapest district insurance (for a family of 4) that whopping $35,000 cuts down to UNDER $22,000 take home a year! If you went simply on take home pay that is almost at the Federal Poverty Level (105%)- for a FIVE year teacher!

So what happens when you have a family living on a single teacher income when the take home pay is at or almost at the national poverty level? You get people leaving the teaching profession, more teaching families that are in need of welfare and government assistance, and frustrated teachers. So why the HUGE pay difference for teachers with the same experience level & same degree levels?

school bus stock

Good question! I don’t know how to answer that. Yes, there is a cost of living adjustment, but I have live in highly overpriced areas and one of the poorest areas in the country and I can tell you that the difference in salaries does NOT equally match the difference in cost of living.

This is just my little ranting. Funny enough my postal man is a nice fellow and he mentioned that my “Surviving a Teachers Salary” doesn’t ring very effectively when you have teachers making 6 figures- with which I readily agreed with him! I would not be writing this blog if we made 6 figures!!

And I’m sure you wouldn’t be scouring online looking for ways to save money if you made that much! I wanted others to be aware that there are some extremely dedicated teachers who make less money than some of the people on welfare!

school hallway stock

I really wrote this article because SO many times people have come right out and told us that we must be living the high life in regards to salary because my husband is a teacher. Or they start on a long rant at how teachers are overpaid. It doesn’t take me very long to set that fact straight!! I know teachers that have made as low as $20,000 and teachers that have made 6 figures – many times in similar positions!!

So will you please think twice next time someone says “OH Teachers are SO overpaid”, because some of us truly are not!

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  1. SpecialEdTeacher says:

    It really shocks me when people claim that teachers are overpaid. Most dedicated teachers are working much more than eight hours a day when planning time is included. I know that it is not unusual for me to work ten to twelve hours a day, not to mention weekends. In addition, teachers tend to put a lot of money back into their classroom, whether for books, supplies, or incentives. Finally, I know of few other careers which require the amount of continued education that teaching does. I am still paying off student loans from my bachelor's degree, while attending graduate classes. So a good portion of my salary is going toward the cost of the education necessary for my job. Although, this education is required, Indiana, where I teach, just passed laws capping the amount that a teacher's salary can be raised during their career. Based on my current salary, regardless of continued education or experience, the most I will ever be able to earn is $55,000 before taxes/insurance.

  2. Adelina Priddis says:

    I don't think I've ever heard anyone say teachers are overpaid, and I'm shocked to hear that some really are!! As the child of teachers and now wife to a teacher, I can agree with all you've written. Surviving a teachers salary is difficult, though possible. Hubs is a second year teacher, and we make less then your figure in here. But we're hoping to move up a pay step next year.

  3. luckeyfrog says:

    Most people around here think teachers make a low salary, and they're right. A 20-year veteran I know just found out that her daughter, an accounting major, just landed a job where her STARTING (just out of college) salary will be more than her mom's.

    The people who seem to think we're overpaid are the ones who seem to think we don't work enough hours. I always explain to them that I only get paid for my contracted hours. In the summer, I only receive a paycheck because I opted to have my yearly pay split into 24 pay cycles. I don't actually earn any pay for summer break (or any other break) even though I am usually doing lots of things for the classroom. When people realize that, they're a little less likely to jump down my throat, but even so, there are people out there who think we deserve a low salary because we get 3 months off a year and leave every day at 3 in the afternoon. And unfortunately, unless those people spend a year in my shoes, I don't think they will have their mind changed.

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