The Average Salary for a School Teacher


Becoming a school teacher requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in education or a specialized field, as well as certification that varies from state to state. The average salary of school teachers depends on the grade level and type of school at which they teach, as well as their location and experience.


  • Most teachers choose to teach on either the elementary or secondary level. Of these levels, high school teachers earn the highest salary at an average of $43,393, or $44,214 for secondary special education teachers. Middle school or junior high teachers earn just under this average at $42,491 or $42,374 for special education, and elementary teachers follow with a salary average of $40,471 or $41,124 for special education, according to PayScale, December 2010.


  • As with nearly any career, the number of years experience a teacher has will have an effect on her salary. PayScale states that a beginning teacher earns an average salary of $34,641, while five to nine years of teaching experience sees an average salary of $42,834. A teacher with 20 years or more of experience earns an average salary of $57,700.


  • Particularly in secondary education, teachers often focus on one subject in which they are an expert, such as a foreign language, math or science. According to PayScale, an English teacher earns an average salary of $40,910, while Spanish and French teachers earn higher at $42,548 and $49,809 respectively. A math teacher earns an average of $44,529 a year, while a science teacher earns an average of $43,377.


  • From state to state, the average salaries for school teachers vary widely. According to PayScale, the highest-paying state for teachers as of December 2010 is California at an average of $50,478, closely followed by New York at $49,213. Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas and New Jersey are also high-paying states for teachers, with a salary range of $41,891 to $48,418.

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