A Teacher's Average Starting Salary in Illinois

Illinois teachers enjoy some of the highest starting and overall average salaries in the U.S.
Illinois teachers enjoy some of the highest starting and overall average salaries in the U.S. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Illinois public-school teachers across all grade levels and subjects enjoy the third-highest salary in the United States at $58,686, according to TeachingPortal.com. Starting salaries for Illinois teachers also are the fourth highest in the country at $37,500. Based on those salary figures, as well as other criteria like cost of living expenses, Illinois is ranked No. 1 in the TeacherPortal Salary Comfort Score and is considered the website’s most teacher-friendly state.

National Averages

The average salary for public elementary-school teachers is $53,150, compared to $58,510 for Illinois elementary teachers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national median salary for middle-school teachers is $50,770, and the median salary for high-school teachers is $52,200. Kindergarten teachers earn median wages of $47,830 a year.

Illinois Salaries

The state of Illinois mandates minimum salary levels for public-school teachers, but the requirements are so low as to be virtually meaningless. For example, the minimum salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree and no experience is $10,000, and the rate is $11,000 for master’s-degree holders with no experience. This is according to the 2007-2008 Illinois Teacher Salary Study. Experienced teachers — at five years, eight years and 13 years of service — are required to be paid more than each school district’s minimum salary levels. The lowest reported beginning salary in 2007-2008 for a teacher with a bachelor's degree was $22,079 and the highest starting salary was $48,200. The median beginning salary was $32,640. The median starting salary for master’s-degree teachers was $ 36,191. The Illinois Education Association, a chapter of the National Education Association, reports that the average starting salary for an Illinois teacher is $33,962 and the overall average teacher salary $61,344.

Chicago Public Schools

Effective July 1, 2011, the starting salary for a Chicago Public Schools teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $50,577. For a teacher with a master’s degree, the figure is $54,080. These figures represent salary and total compensation based on a school year of 40 weeks, working 6.25 hours per day, and for teachers holding Illinois state teaching certificates. New teachers are placed on career paths involving “lanes” and “steps” that provide new-teacher salary ranges from $50,577 to $66,560 depending on education and experience.

Other Cities

You can access Illinois teacher salary data, including starting wages, through several resources. Teacher Salary Info lists salary data by school district, city and other criteria. For example, Peoria School District 150 provides an average kindergarten salary of $26,345 with a bottom 10th percentile average salary of $17,240 and a 90th percentile figure of $41,446. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a similar search capability through its Occupational Employment Statistics data. By simply selecting a city or area, such as Champaign-Urbana, and then clicking on the “Education, Training, and Library Occupations” option, you can view wage information for teachers in all subject areas and compare data to local, state and national statistics.

Job Postings

A review of Illinois teacher job listings on April 15, 2011, showed numerous job openings, including a vacancy for a full-time math teacher at Carbondale Community High School. No experience is necessary, although a bachelor’s degree and licensing is required. The pay rate is $40,464 a year.

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