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Is being a teacher financially stable?

I always hear they make almost nothing and I'm worried that I might not make enough in the career.

Thank you comment icon If you want to teach, you should follow your passion, be passionate about it, otherwise, leave it and go to those areas from which you reap profits. abdullah Ahmed

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Fred’s Answer

That all depends on what you think of as financially stable, and what kind of lifestyle you want to live.

Public school teacher salaries are generally public. You should be able to look at a school district's website and find the salary schedule. So you can do a web search for "<your school district> teacher salary schedule", or something like that. Looking at one of my local districts, starting salary for a teacher with a B.A. is about $40,500. Another starts at about $45,000. Then salary goes up with years of experience and education (i.e. masters, phd).

Is that enough? again - that depends on how you live. I don't see someone with that salary buying a $2million mansion, or travelling the world.

Most teachers I know do it because it's a passion, not because they earn a ton of money.
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Victor’s Answer

I'm going to go against the grain, and say no. You see all those memes where a crying cat gets a tiny slice of pizza from the teacher's pizza party? It's a meme for a reason.

Jokes aside; growing up and seeing what my teachers went through; my opinion is that teachers are never truly paid for what they contribute to society. If you really want to teach and make a good living; you should become a professor and teach at a community college or university. By doing that, you'd probably need to take a professional career of your choosing and excel in that study. Then you would go teach that field. For example, being a professor near my local community college teaching accounting can earn roughly $150k. You can also be an adjunct professor where you work and teach at night.

You can do that OR become successful from another career and become financially independent. Then you can become a teacher!
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Brad’s Answer

Additionally if you enjoy teaching but want to find something with more financial stability you could look into corporate training. Companies pay good money to have professionals come and teach adults, who are usually excited and invested in learning (unlike a middle schooler who might be forced into a class)

But if the goal is to help educate and shape the minds of children and future generations, you're pay scale would be considerably different.
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Danielle’s Answer

Also, remember that "teaching" isn't limited to K-12 education. I've worked in corporate training, instructional design and now learning administration and they've all fulfilled my passion for teaching and brought a great salary.
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Ashley’s Answer

Hi Gabriel!

Great question. Another point to consider is that most teachers get summers off. So really these salaries are based off of a 9-month year instead of 12. In these three months, a teacher can find a "side-hustle" or fun summer job to increase their annual salary. My sister is a teacher and during her summers, she teaches swim lessons to kids which is both super fun and a good way to earn more annually.

Good luck!
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Eric’s Answer

Hi, This is a great question. The short answer is definitely yes, teaching is a great, stable profession.
The answer to your question is complicated. Beginning salary for public school teachers varies by geographic location. The good news is all the salary information is public! As you gain seniority, your salary goes up, and reflects the years you've worked in addition to things like graduate degrees you've earned, and responsibilities you've taken on in addition to teaching (ie: being a department head, or a coach, etc).
Take whatever salary you find and divide it by 180 days to find daily pay. Then divide that by five and that should be your approximate hourly wage. If that seems too small, then remember the days off, the collegial environment, etc.
My first job out of graduate school was in a private school, and if you want real money (for your future) get a job with a well to do private school. Nothing will match the retirement program. Plus you're young and taking on a job like dorm advisor comes with its own perks, like free dining each night.
Summary: No one enters teaching for the pay on day one. Many public school systems now pay six figures to senior teachers with btwn 25 and
30 years, but it's low six figures for sure. Yes, you have a union perhaps pushing for 2-3% annual raise, but you won't be going to Aspen on that. The other thing about teaching is that there is a huge shortage, and that plays into your hands. If you need the money for a graduate degree in your field, it's out there. My recommendation, start in a private school, put a large chunk of $$ in retirement while you live and eat on campus for free. Then apply for a graduate program and scour for the funding if you need it. Then go to work for a public school district.
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Kodi’s Answer

As a previous educator I found that though I didn't make much of a salary here state side what my teaching background did for me through most of my 20's was traveling. I lived in China and Japan working at international schools that paid very well compared to the cost of living. This actually allowed me to pay off my student debt faster and I was able to travel all over Asia and other parts of the world, experience new cultures, build a world wide network and more.

So besides looking at salary alone you can also look at the whole package of what you're getting out of it or what you want. Me making 50-60k in the Bay Area in California versus making that in Asia is a world of difference for quality of life. So when it comes to a teaching career you can think outside of k-12 like others have said but also expand to outside the U.S. if traveling is something you would be interested in. All come with their own challenges and benefits.
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Jim’s Answer

Teaching is MUCH better financially than when I first started out in 1975 (my first contract was for $8,100 a year!). The keys are graduate school, and longevity. In my Columbus Ohio area, starting pay is around $41,000... But get your Master Degree and 5-10 years experience... Then your income is exponentially so much better!
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Gloria’s Answer

Hi Gabriel,

I think that it depends on what you think "teaching" is. The idea that teaching is not lucrative is often associated with teachers in public education, K through 12 in the US. I would ask you to consider that there are teachers in other others, including in the corporate world. When you think about teaching, I would ask you to also consider job titles like "trainer" or "facilitator." Those roles are also teachers but they are outside of proper education and in education that is associated to a specific company. I work for a large company in Learning and Development. And these roles are well paying.

However, like many careers, the salary when you start a career is often more as you grow in your career. You also need to consider some of the benefits of being in public education. I have often been jealous of the people I know who are teachers, who have a lot of vacation - sometimes months at a time. A corporate job does not offer that much time off. And the teachers I know may do other jobs during the summer, including teaching at school. Benefits like time off can be a benefit you would not get in another career.

I do hope you choose teaching, whatever path you take. I have found learning and development very rewarding, a great positive way to change and improve lives.

Gloria
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Prajwal’s Answer

Definitely has good Work Life Balance.
Thank you comment icon Can you please elaborate? How is the work/life balance good? Gurpreet Lally, Admin
Thank you comment icon Teaching profession in my understanding is not very hectic Prajwal S
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Tracie’s Answer

Something to think about- is that some school districts offer the opportunity to pay off student loans if you work there for X amount of years. Some offer to pay for further education as well. I live near several teachers who also work other jobs (tutoring) to supplement their income. As a young adult, you may not be thinking about this- but my neighbor who has been in education for 30 years (she is in her 50's) gets to retire with a substantial amount of her pay- which is also a great benefit. Best of luck!
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the advice. Alliana
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Amanda’s Answer

Hi, I was a teacher in South Carolina. First, check out the districts salary schedule. You can google the school district you are interested in working at and the salary schedule. First year teachers, usually do not make enough in the Charleston/Greenville Metro area to live without a roommate. There are schools that will give you a bonus for teaching math/science and teaching at high needs school. Additionally, many teachers coach or sponsor a club to earn extra income. Many districts encourage you to get your M.Ed., this will increase your salary and you will step up with more years of experience. If you do not plan to stay in South Carolina, consider a district with a teacher union, being a union teacher ensures you work within contract hours and receive annual step ups. Protections, educators do not have in South Carolina.
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