Salary Earnings

Median annual earnings of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranged from $39,810 to $44,340 in 2002; the lowest 10 percent earned $24,960 to $29,850; the top 10 percent earned $62,890 to $68,530. Median earnings for preschool teachers were $19,270.

According to the American Federation of Teachers, beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $30,719 in the 2001–02 school year. The estimated average salary of all public elementary and secondary school teachers in the 2001–02 school year was $44,367. Private school teachers generally earn less than public school teachers.

In 2002, more than half of all elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers belonged to unions—mainly the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association—that bargain with school System over wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment. Fewer preschool and kindergarten teachers were union members—about 15 percent in 2002.

Teachers can boost their salary in a number of ways. In some schools, teachers receive extra pay for coaching sports and working with students in extracurricular activities. Getting a master’s degree or national certification often results in a raise in pay, as does acting as a mentor. Some teachers earn extra income during the summer by teaching summer school or performing other jobs in the school

*Information derived from US Department of Labor*