It Pays to Teach in 2022
Teaching is a career that requires a real commitment, but it comes with real rewards. Check out the compensation package that’s in store for you.
Competitive Salary that Supports Your Life
A career as a teacher will generally put you firmly in the middle or upper-middle class, provide you with a solid level of security, and allow you to thrive by giving you the chance to pursue your passions and life goals in and out of the classroom. That might be why the National Center for Education Statistics found that 9 in 10 teachers reported that they are satisfied in their jobs in a study from 2016.
Did you know that most people underestimate how much teachers take home? Take our quiz to test your knowledge.
In jobs across sectors—corporate, private, nonprofit and more—it's uncommon to know where you stand with regards to getting a raise. It can be frustrating to negotiate with management or be in the dark about your performance.
As a teacher, however, you have access to a cut-and-dry salary schedule that makes it obvious how much money you will make, given certain considerations:
- Years of experience
- Subject area
- Grade level(s)
It’s best to check with specific school districts you’re considering teaching in to learn more about how their salary schedules. Pro Tip: It doesn’t hurt to do an online search for the district name and the phrase “salary schedule” to get started.
Complete Compensation Package
The benefits you get on top of salary are part of your total compensation, and teachers tend to get a better benefit package than most other jobs. It starts with the standard medical, dental and vision insurance you expect as a professional, regardless of your years of experience.
In particular, teachers get compensated with generous vacation time: holidays and summers off, at most schools.
You’ll have nearly three months per year to travel, earn extra income, pursue hobbies or develop yourself. Some teachers are even paid to travel the world over the summer.
Every school district handles teacher retirement differently, but many offer a 403b (tax-sheltered annuity plan) and/or a pension. You can also participate in an IRA.
If you have a 403b (similar to a 401k in some respects), your contributions lower your taxable income for that year, are automatically deducted from your paycheck, might be matched by your employer, and when you're 59.5 (yes, fifty-nine-and-a-half), you can withdraw without penalty.
Saving money in an IRA allows you to save up to an additional $5,500 a year.
Teachers' pensions are a little-known boon of the profession: They ensure regular payments to a retired teacher and become more generous as teachers gain experience throughout their careers. Under a system with a 1.5 percent multiplier, a teacher retiring with a final average salary of $60,000 and 20 years of service would collect a pension of $18,000 annually.
Stepping into a classroom can mean stepping out of debt. If you have a student loan, you may be eligible for relief if you’re willing to commit to teaching for several years. Learn more about various programs that can qualify you for a reduction in monthly payments or even the forgiveness of the balance.
Grants, scholarships and fellowships for teachers number in the thousands. Depending on the opportunity, these funds can help with tuition, living expenses, professional development, projects and innovations to enrich your classroom, school supplies or field trips.
Check out the Financial Aid Explorer to learn more about specific opportunities for high school students, college students, graduate students, career switchers and classroom teachers.
Many people are eager to support classrooms. Whether it's funding a field trip, helping you outfit your classroom with new technology, or providing supplies such as books, paper and other materials, there are ways to connect with donors willing to help.
One popular method is to set up an account on Donors Choose which offers a free account to teachers. On the site you can specify your classroom needs and the site will match you with people looking to give.
As a teacher, you are eligible for assistance with a down payment, a reduced interest rate on your mortgage, or a 50% percent discount on a home if you meet the eligibility requirements of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Good Neighbor Next Door program.
Furthermore, your school district or state may also have their own housing assistance programs for teachers that can help with rent, home purchases or both.
Homes for Heroes
Homes for Heroes assists educators by making the home buying, selling or refinancing process easier (and saving teachers money in the process)! Learn more about Homes for Heroes.
The world’s best brands offer discounts to teachers. That means classroom materials are cheaper. Plane tickets take you farther. Cell phone bills and gym memberships are cheaper. And new technology to support your endeavors is closer in reach.
Discounts vary by district and state, but if you want an example, see what perks New York City teachers get access to.