Teacher Salary & Teacher Pay – What to Expect?

Teaching: It's a noble, rewarding profession that's long fallen short in terms of earning potential.

But in recent years, the outlook for the teaching profession looks quite different. Thanks, in part, to a nationalmovement pushing for increased school funding and teacher pay, salaries in education are stronger than ever.

In February 2018, West Virginia educators fought for-and earned-increased funding in their schools and better pay. The shuttering of all schools in the state caught the attention of teachers nationwide, inspiring many to fight for their profession, as well. The following spring saw educators striking in Oklahoma and Arizona, walking out of classrooms in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Colorado, and shutting down learning in some of our country's largest cities, including Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and Oakland.

While not all states saw the change they had hoped for, in states like Arizona, where a statewide strike forced the legislature to give teachers a 20% pay raise, history was made.

Some call it a revolution, but it's simply a response to something that has been long overdue. Although there's still a long way to go, today the teaching profession is stronger and more united and the prospects for becoming a teacher have never been brighter.

How Much Do Teachers Get Paid?

From elementary to middle to high school, you'll find salaries for teachers fairly consistent. As of May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the following average salaries for teachers, according to grade level:

  • Elementary school teachers: $65,420
  • Middle school teachers $64,990
  • High school teachers: $67,340

Early career educators with just a few years of experience can expect to earn salaries that reflect the profession's 25th percentile:

  • Elementary school: $48,350
  • Middle school: $48,870
  • High school: $49,990

Educators who have significant experience, a graduate-level teaching degree, and/or National Board Certification earn salaries that best reflect the profession's 90th percentile:

  • Elementary school: $100,480
  • Middle school: $98,840
  • High school: $102,130

You also won't find much discrepancy in earning potential when it comes to subjects taught and/or area of certification. In other words, regardless of whether you're teaching proper diet and nutrition as a middle school physical education teacher or American history to a class of high schoolers, chances are good that you'll earn a similar salary if you hold similar credentials.

That's because in the public educational system, states and/or school districts follow strict salary schedules that determine teacher salaries based on either experience alone or on a combination of experience and education. (Merit-based pay is largely unheard of in public K-12 education, with the exception of a few school districts like the Dallas Independent School District, which uses a merit-based system to determine salaries based on teacher performance.)

The only exception to this rule occurs when states or school districts offer salary incentives in an effort to fill specific teacher shortage areas (each state reports their teacher shortage areas to the U.S. Department of Education on an annual basis) and/or teaching positions in high-needs schools (defined as a certain percentage of the student population meeting specific federal poverty guidelines). However, because schools utilize pre-approved salary schedules, these salary incentives are often in the form of signing bonuses, annual stipends, or student loan repayment.

Most school districts utilize a step and lane system for their salary schedules that consists of different steps according to years of teaching experience and then lanes within each step that provide for higher salaries for those educators who have earned an education beyond a bachelor's degree.

While just three states- Connecticut, Maryland, and New York- require a graduate degree to maintain a teaching license, some states incentivize teachers to earn a master's degree or higher by offering an optional, advanced license which, of course, comes with a salary increase. The Education Commission of the States found that about one-third of all states have advanced licensure for educators.

A couple good examples of school districts that utilize a step and level salary schedule system for teachers include:

The Philadelphia School District recognizes steps for experience and then levels within each step to account for educators with bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, master's degrees +30, and doctorate degrees.

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Source: https://jobs.philasd.org/opportunities/teachers/salary-schedule/

While most states leave educator compensation up to the individual school districts, about 17 states have chosen to play a large role in teacher salaries by instituting statewide teacher salary schedules in an effort to ensure minimum salaries for teachers. Like school districts, most states choose a step and lane salary schedule that takes both education and experience into account.

North Carolina is one such state that publishes a statewide teacher salary schedule through its Department of Public Instruction. The Department recognizes advanced pay for teachers with master's degrees, educational specialist (sixth year) degrees, and doctorate degrees, along with additional pay bumps for educators with bachelor's degrees and above who have earned National Board Certification.

Source: https://www.dpi.nc.gov/media/8596/download

Teachers' Salary in Each State

Where you live remains one of the biggest indicators of how much you'll earn as a teacher. At the state level, there's a clear difference between average salaries among teachers based on geography alone, with cost of living remaining a major indicator.

As of May 2020, teachers earned the highest average salaries in the following states:

Elementary School Teachers

  • California: $85,110
  • Massachusetts: $84,810
  • New York: $84,380
  • Connecticut: $79,610
  • Washington D.C.: $78,840

Middle School Teachers

  • New York: $89,150
  • Massachusetts: $82,610
  • California: $81,940
  • Connecticut: $81,140
  • Alaska: $80,260

High School Teachers

  • New York: $88,890
  • California: $86,900
  • Massachusetts: $84,130
  • New Jersey: $78,900
  • Connecticut: $78,510

The following May 2020 BLS tables provide a glimpse into what teachers are earning at every level (25th percentile = early career, 90th percentile = experienced) in each state:

Elementary School Teacher Salaries by State

State Annual 25th Percentile Wage Annual Median Wage Annual 90th Percentile Wage
Alabama 44640 52150 63680
Alaska 61190 73920 102850
Arizona 39850 46280 64710
Arkansas 42080 48490 64240
California 65030 85970 122210
Colorado 44420 53250 80270
Connecticut 62540 79920 106060
Delaware 51950 65310 92740
District of Columbia 60830 76090 118360
Florida 43850 56540 82840
Georgia 49730 60840 82040
Hawaii 55090 64210 85310
Idaho 40810 49730 72270
Illinois 48550 62780 101720
Indiana 42090 50050 77330
Iowa 43850 54680 77180
Kansas 44660 51850 76480
Kentucky 44910 53250 67220
Louisiana 43930 48700 62200
Maine 41880 52000 77110
Maryland 58990 75820 112940
Massachusetts 64760 82520 123700
Michigan 49110 66260 100730
Minnesota 48040 60210 91190
Mississippi 36730 43470 57390
Missouri 37980 46730 81810
Montana 38980 48940 73940
Nebraska 50320 60300 86340
Nevada 46630 55080 79280
New Hampshire 48380 60060 81830
New Jersey 59790 70920 100760
New Mexico 47150 58060 92110
New York 59020 80040 131730
North Carolina 42030 49300 65340
North Dakota 44920 52530 77940
Ohio 50110 65210 91920
Oklahoma 38280 45810 71760
Oregon 52310 69580 110540
Pennsylvania 54780 67210 99930
Rhode Island 56980 74570 99920
South Carolina 41460 50920 76720
South Dakota 37950 44670 59500
Tennessee 44490 51530 73390
Texas 51800 57690 68760
Utah 43850 53940 92120
Vermont 49510 60310 87040
Virginia 49670 67830 117080
Washington 59040 73260 103720
West Virginia 41680 47330 62280
Wisconsin 46970 56970 79620
Wyoming 52180 59210 77010

Middle School Teacher Salaries by State

State Annual 25th Percentile Wage Annual Median Wage Annual 90th Percentile Wage
Alabama 46130 53880 64210
Alaska 65920 78580 108150
Arizona 39030 45310 62450
Arkansas 43280 50270 67600
California 64160 82810 111180
Colorado 44420 52730 80160
Connecticut 64150 82480 108130
Delaware 52150 64920 84830
District of Columbia 62230 78160 109560
Florida 46200 57280 84940
Georgia 48960 59980 83560
Guam 38660 47630 64570
Hawaii 54610 64150 86890
Idaho 43790 51370 74610
Illinois 48830 61830 99560
Indiana 43510 51590 78630
Iowa 45210 55650 80210
Kansas 46410 55130 82850
Kentucky 45570 53660 69520
Louisiana 44250 49490 62660
Maine 48140 59310 79000
Maryland 57750 75020 118230
Massachusetts 64840 80730 115230
Michigan 47410 63950 90600
Minnesota 47250 60640 96800
Mississippi 39670 46570 64510
Missouri 39870 49260 82330
Montana 39660 55230 80380
Nebraska 50580 60990 85930
Nevada 48970 59380 81840
New Hampshire 48980 60970 83470
New Jersey 60630 73160 101860
New Mexico 43040 51210 69600
New York 64250 85370 134170
North Carolina 43120 50450 66640
North Dakota 47840 57290 86970
Ohio 48360 64740 93680
Oklahoma 39140 46600 71140
Oregon 51870 66100 99380
Pennsylvania 53150 66480 108780
Puerto Rico 27920 32940 48080
Rhode Island 66090 78490 100670
South Carolina 43820 53150 74970
South Dakota 39070 45400 59990
Tennessee 44840 51780 72760
Texas 51710 57770 70620
Utah 49300 64480 98180
Vermont 48270 60690 90400
Virginia 50360 69360 118340
Washington 60730 75740 105410
West Virginia 42440 48230 63900
Wisconsin 48530 58240 81200
Wyoming 53480 60400 79020

Secondary School Teacher Salaries by State

State Annual 25th Percentile Wage Annual Median Wage Annual 90th Percentile Wage
Alabama 45690 53440 64910
Alaska 62960 75600 104160
Arizona 43440 50780 76200
Arkansas 43760 51310 70840
California 70650 88420 119990
Colorado 45480 55270 82510
Connecticut 60550 78240 106950
Delaware 56130 68360 89200
District of Columbia 48020 64020 101170
Florida 47790 60470 86270
Georgia 50090 61360 82470
Guam 40130 49830 70130
Hawaii 55490 64750 88840
Idaho 40970 50520 74070
Illinois 53100 70740 122320
Indiana 42600 50940 77610
Iowa 45960 57140 81550
Kansas 44570 53140 78840
Kentucky 46810 55540 74130
Louisiana 44910 50810 65440
Maine 45730 57020 78100
Maryland 59260 76840 112500
Massachusetts 66050 83680 118890
Michigan 48480 62210 88390
Minnesota 49930 62410 91080
Mississippi 37950 45400 63250
Missouri 37920 45290 67560
Montana 39800 50720 78590
Nebraska 51450 62090 81730
Nevada 47430 57090 80560
New Hampshire 50130 62170 82440
New Jersey 63420 77790 107200
New Mexico 45870 55740 80820
New York 65600 86230 133150
North Carolina 42750 50360 68070
North Dakota 45510 54200 78600
Ohio 51250 66420 93460
Oklahoma 41270 48370 68890
Oregon 54870 72370 108930
Pennsylvania 54590 67180 100240
Puerto Rico 27940 32700 48500
Rhode Island 63860 79010 101250
South Carolina 42580 53180 77040
South Dakota 38660 45320 61070
Tennessee 45250 52770 75630
Texas 52290 58400 74230
Utah 49670 61570 101030
Vermont 51810 63080 97750
Virgin Islands 42790 48670 64400
Washington 61970 76820 105300
West Virginia 42970 48780 64150
Wisconsin 48280 58630 80630
Wyoming 53920 61730 79540

Salary Comparison Tool

Although most educators do not enter the profession just for the salary, it is something we all consider. This tool will allow you to easily search and compare the average salaries of various careers in education throughout the United States. You can search by city and state. All salary data is sourced from BLS.gov.

Select Career Type

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Job Growth for Teachers

Average job growth for teachers is projected to mirror the national job growth rate of about 4% between 2018 and 2028. During this ten-year period leading to 2028, the nation will see an increase of about 3.5% among elementary, middle, high school, and special education teacher jobs.

However, demand for preschool teachers during this time is projected to increase by about 7%, largely due to an increase in state- and federally funded preschool programs. Special education preschool teacher jobs are also expected to outpace other PreK-12 teachers in the nation, with an increase of about 8% expected between 2018 and 2028.

Preschool Teacher Salary

Preschool teachers may work in a variety of settings, from public and private PreK-12 schools to private daycare centers, federally funded preschool programs, and church- and community-based preschool programs. Because of this, salaries for preschool teachers tend to vary widely.

According to the BLS, preschool teachers earned an average salary of $36,550 as of May 2020. Early career preschool teaches earned about $26,220 (25th percentile), while experienced preschool teachers earn about $58,230 (90th percentile) during this time.

Preschool teachers working in elementary and secondary schools earned the highest average salary during this time, at $50,520, while those working outside of the public school setting earned significantly less:

  • Child daycare services: $32,190
  • Individual and family services (family social services, counseling, etc.): $36,860
  • Religious organizations: $39,770
  • Civic and social organizations (e.g., YMCA): $35,450
  • Social advocacy organizations (e.g., Head Start): $37,160

As of May 2020, preschool teachers earned the highest average salaries in the following states:

  • New Jersey: $47,190
  • Washington D.C.: $45,890
  • New York: $44,760
  • Massachusetts: $43,120
  • Maryland: $42,650

The following BLS table provides a closer look at what preschool teachers are earning at every level (25thpercentile = early career, 90th percentile = experienced) in each state, as of May 2020:

Preschool Teacher Salaries by State

State Annual 25th Percentile Wage Annual Median Wage Annual 90th Percentile Wage
Alabama 17840 20730 34180
Alaska 25850 33250 53660
Arizona 25730 29930 47470
Arkansas 23400 30390 49820
California 30510 36420 57400
Colorado 28280 33570 59550
Connecticut 29150 35080 66930
Delaware 24210 28230 39090
District of Columbia 36070 43210 64120
Florida 22160 25740 44670
Georgia 23420 29850 57020
Hawaii 32900 39170 61560
Idaho 21480 24490 35020
Illinois 26550 30960 52760
Indiana 22830 27580 39730
Iowa 23360 28720 46720
Kansas 23770 34840 63000
Kentucky 24320 35250 59440
Louisiana 23020 29250 44300
Maine 31080 36070 53410
Maryland 27750 34380 79080
Massachusetts 33010 38560 65760
Michigan 23790 30430 53210
Minnesota 33120 37900 56720
Mississippi 22910 29120 45130
Missouri 25530 32730 49990
Montana 23410 29660 50330
Nebraska 29280 37770 62080
Nevada 25140 28280 54270
New Hampshire 27350 30680 43180
New Jersey 28280 39440 81570
New Mexico 22480 31100 58830
New York 30700 39850 70900
North Carolina 23080 28260 46950
North Dakota 22760 26080 39430
Ohio 23570 28470 46920
Oklahoma 22590 29270 54550
Oregon 26560 31310 44770
Pennsylvania 24260 29340 45760
Rhode Island 25930 29800 59090
South Carolina 21260 25060 54820
South Dakota 26290 31180 44110
Tennessee 22570 30190 54970
Texas 26610 37050 64670
Utah 23100 27800 39190
Vermont 33140 37030 52630
Virginia 25120 34360 65060
Washington 29930 32450 47960
West Virginia 22680 30720 56990
Wisconsin 22980 27080 40190
Wyoming 22950 26320 52220

Learn more about how to become a preschool teacher.

How Will Education Affect a Preschool Teacher's Pay?

There's been a seismic shift in preschool education in recent years. No longer is the education of our youngest students viewed as optional or unimportant. Thanks to a number of studies (including this one from the Harvard Graduate School of Education) finding that quality early childhood education is vital for the long-term success of students, both state- and federally funded preschool programs are on the rise.

With a renewed importance placed on preschool education, more often than not, today's preschool teachers hold credentials that mirror their K-12 counterparts. According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), 78% of all state-funded public preschool programs, 56% of state-funded private preschool programs, and 75% of state-funded preschool programs that serve both public and private settings required teachers to hold at least a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and a teaching certification.

Master's degrees in early childhood education are also becoming more commonplace, particularly among educators in public school systems and those seeking to attain leadership positions.

How Will Experience Affect a Preschool Teacher's Annual Pay?

Experience nearly always plays a part in a preschool teacher's salary. In fact, it is quite common for preschool teachers in public school settings to be paid according to K-12 salary schedules which are, more often than not, structured to account for years of teaching experience.

Elementary School Teacher Salary

Elementary/primary school teachers are those that typically teach grades kindergarten through five, though some schools may also include sixth grade or preschool programs. These teachers are responsible for teaching every subject area each day to a single class of students.

Learn more about how to become an elementary school teacher.

Average Teachers Salary for Elementary School

As of May 2020, elementary school teachers earned an average salary of $65,420.

In public schools, elementary school teachers earned an average salary of $65,470, while in in religious-based private schools, they earned significantly less, at just $51,270. Elementary school teachers working outside of the classroom in educational support services earned an average salary of $56,620 during this time.

How Will Education Affect an Elementary School Teacher's Pay?

Elementary school teachers working in the public K-12 system must hold a bachelor's degree that's part of a state-approved teacher preparation program to earn state licensure to teach. The vast majority of private schools also require elementary school teachers to hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree to teach.

However, a master's degree or higher has become a standard pursuit among elementary school teachers who want to increase their earning potential and qualify for more career opportunities.

How Will Experience Affect an Elementary Teacher Salary?

Experience continues to play a major role in what you can expect to earn as an elementary school teacher. Nearly all schools/school districts pay educators according to the number of years of relevant teaching experience.

Middle School Teacher Salary

Middle school teachers, who usually teach children grades 5-8, teach a single subject to multiple classes a day. Middle school teachers are certified to teach subjects like English, science, social studies, math, foreign languages, music, and physical education.

Learn more about how to become a middle school teacher.

Average Salary for a Middle School Teacher

According to the BLS, middle school teachers earned an average salary of $64,990 as of May 2020.

The average salary for middle school teachers in the public school setting was $64,970 during this time, while those in religious-based (private) schools earned slightly less, at $62,920. Middle school teachers providing instruction outside of the traditional classroom setting earned the following average salaries during this time:

  • Individual and family services (social services, counseling): $76,280
  • Educational support services: $56,280
  • Other Schools and Instruction: $50,950
  • Residential care facilities: $42,850

How Will Education Affect a Middle School Teacher's Pay?

To teach at the middle school level in the public school system, you'll need a minimum of a bachelor's degree within an approved teacher preparation program to earn state licensure. In private school settings, residential care settings, and in other settings outside of the public school system, a bachelor's degree remains the minimum educational requirement for middle school teachers.

However, a master's degree or above often results in a higher salary and more professional opportunities. Most school districts recognize middle school teachers with graduate degrees by offering them higher salaries or other financial incentives like annual stipends or bonuses.

How Will Experience Affect a Middle School Teacher Salary?

In nearly all cases, salaries for middle school teachers increase along with years of experience. Seasoned middle school teachers with years of experience on their resume will always earn more than mid-career professionals, and mid-career professionals will always earn more than their early-career colleagues.

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High School Teacher Salary

High school teachers most often teach a single subject to multiple classes throughout the day. These classes may be of one grade level or of different grade levels, depending on the school or district.

Learn more about how to become a high school teacher.

Average Salary for a High School Teacher

As of May 2020, the BLS reported an average salary of $67,340 for high school (secondary) teachers.

High school teachers working in the public K-12 system earned an average salary of $67,360 during this time, while those in religious (private) schools earned an average salary of $70,580.

Outside of the traditional classroom setting, the BLS reports the following average salaries for high school teachers, as of May 2020:

  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals: $61,790
  • State government: $83,010
  • Other residential care facilities: $50,220
  • Educational support services: $60,000

How Will Education Affect a High School Teacher's Annual Income?

While a bachelor's degree in secondary education remains the minimum educational requirement to become a high school teacher, it's become quite commonplace for high school teachers to pursue a graduate degree in education. In most school districts, a master's degree or higher results in a salary increase or annual stipend or bonus.

How Will Experience Affect a High School Teacher's Yearly Income?

Experience remains the biggest indicator of what you'll earn as a high school teacher. In fact, you'll find that the vast majority of all salary schedules are based on steps according to years of relevant experience. In many school districts, the difference between an early-career educator and an experienced one can be as much as $30,000-$40,000 more annually.

Special Education Teacher Salary

A special education teacher works with students who have exceptionalities in various areas related to education. These teachers may work with students with physical, emotional, behavioral, or mental limitations. Special education teachers may even work with students who are highly gifted and talented.

According to the BLS, special education teachers earned the following average salaries as of May 2020:

  • Preschool: $68,110
  • Elementary School: $64,790
  • Middle School: $66,300
  • High School: $66,490

Special education teachers outside of the traditional classroom earned the following average salaries during this time:

Preschool

  • Child daycare services: $83,070
  • Individual and family services: $72,670
  • Offices of other health practitioners: $53,760
  • Educational support services: $65,420
  • Other residential care facilities: $62,490

Elementary School

  • Educational support services: $80,670
  • Residential intellectual and Developmental disability, mental health, and substance abuse facilities: $52,340
  • Other residential care facilities: $59,100
  • Individual and family services: $84,510
  • Offices of other healthcare practitioners: $65,890

Middle School

  • Educational support services: $67,800
  • Residential intellectual and developmental disability, mental health, and substance abuse facilities: $56,860
  • Other residential care facilities: $62,260

High School

  • Educational support services: $52,360
  • Residential intellectual and developmental disability, mental health, and substance abuse facilities: $50,910
  • Other residential care facilities: $63,810
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals: $62,290

The following May 2020 BLS tables provides more insight into what special education teachers are earning at every level (25th percentile = early career, 90th percentile = experienced) and at every grade level, by state:

Salaries by State - Special Education Teachers, Preschool

State Annual 25th Percentile Wage Annual Median Wage Annual 90th Percentile Wage
Alabama 38370 46780 62380
Alaska 59950 72570 93120
Arizona 42620 48630 66640
Arkansas 33330 46550 63600
California 42110 50200 99720
Colorado 47520 57600 83070
Connecticut 53100 63270 99310
District of Columbia 52920 65020 104310
Florida 44380 60630 97980
Georgia 25020 43820 75060
Hawaii 47980 60200 81800
Illinois 42490 54200 89380
Indiana 35570 44430 68060
Iowa 43110 48800 76780
Kansas 47180 57240 82450
Kentucky 53550 59330 77600
Maine 27690 31550 39900
Maryland 29590 66360 107820
Massachusetts 43920 60920 109590
Michigan 52590 66690 81780
Minnesota 49300 60970 93420
Mississippi 36440 42690 66810
Missouri 39010 46090 73550
Montana 58860 70960 99470
Nebraska 42670 55030 76430
Nevada 48520 56080 64530
New Hampshire 50660 59470 72130
New Jersey 59910 70580 96590
New Mexico 40670 47300 66010
New York 58330 81000 154420
North Carolina 43240 54060 76810
North Dakota 49960 61930 80090
Ohio 46180 64100 103180
Oklahoma 33910 37880 51770
Oregon 63860 84740 132600
Pennsylvania 34970 47210 86280
Rhode Island 27800 30390 75990
South Carolina 27700 51970 84110
Tennessee 41520 50480 75850
Texas 45390 55960 70500
Utah 29260 37380 62440
Vermont 39470 56080 82090
Washington 56380 69470 101030
Wisconsin 44450 52290 67570
Wyoming 37890 53570 77870

 

Salaries by State - Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School

State Annual 25th Percentile Wage Annual Median Wage Annual 90th Percentile Wage
Alabama 43570 51230 63960
Alaska 63710 75200 103180
Arizona 40530 47300 65890
Arkansas 43030 49390 64850
California 54300 75950 122200
Colorado 45370 53870 80350
Connecticut 61390 78720 105080
Delaware 50410 61070 86630
District of Columbia 58990 74960 119190
Florida 49670 65400 86850
Georgia 50520 61860 86440
Hawaii 53650 60670 80010
Idaho 40680 51430 75540
Illinois 51520 63530 102590
Indiana 38130 48100 81340
Iowa 44490 54820 79120
Kansas 47680 58080 84090
Kentucky 44980 52890 65640
Louisiana 44040 49070 62210
Maine 44110 52640 76530
Maryland 51480 73180 110130
Massachusetts 57440 74770 112700
Michigan 49830 63140 91810
Minnesota 46050 56880 82290
Mississippi 40930 46940 63700
Missouri 43630 54070 97120
Montana 40850 48720 70400
Nebraska 45270 56990 81320
Nevada 46860 55040 78950
New Hampshire 48470 59290 82030
New Jersey 59190 69130 101080
New Mexico 45170 55550 92810
New York 56690 74530 124540
North Carolina 43080 50250 68130
North Dakota 49650 59730 88870
Ohio 45570 58910 84540
Oklahoma 41010 48990 77320
Oregon 63870 77200 113950
Pennsylvania 52640 63650 91730
Rhode Island 60390 78080 100960
South Carolina 41950 51450 75680
South Dakota 38410 44990 60510
Tennessee 45870 52980 75670
Texas 52840 58090 69330
Utah 35530 49510 81230
Vermont 49280 59370 81570
Virginia 48720 63880 107660
Washington 58180 70070 100680
West Virginia 35440 45380 63060
Wisconsin 45410 53440 77330
Wyoming 52910 60130 77950

 

Salaries by State - Special Education Teachers, Middle School

State Annual 25th Percentile Wage Annual Median Wage Annual 90th Percentile Wage
Alabama 38370 46780 62380
Alaska 59950 72570 93120
Arizona 42620 48630 66640
Arkansas 33330 46550 63600
California 42110 50200 99720
Colorado 47520 57600 83070
Connecticut 53100 63270 99310
District of Columbia 52920 65020 104310
Florida 44380 60630 97980
Georgia 25020 43820 75060
Hawaii 47980 60200 81800
Illinois 42490 54200 89380
Indiana 35570 44430 68060
Iowa 43110 48800 76780
Kansas 47180 57240 82450
Kentucky 53550 59330 77600
Maine 27690 31550 39900
Maryland 29590 66360 107820
Massachusetts 43920 60920 109590
Michigan 52590 66690 81780
Minnesota 49300 60970 93420
Mississippi 36440 42690 66810
Missouri 39010 46090 73550
Montana 58860 70960 99470
Nebraska 42670 55030 76430
Nevada 48520 56080 64530
New Hampshire 50660 59470 72130
New Jersey 59910 70580 96590
New Mexico 40670 47300 66010
New York 58330 81000 154420
North Carolina 43240 54060 76810
North Dakota 49960 61930 80090
Ohio 46180 64100 103180
Oklahoma 33910 37880 51770
Oregon 63860 84740 132600
Pennsylvania 34970 47210 86280
Rhode Island 27800 30390 75990
South Carolina 27700 51970 84110
Tennessee 41520 50480 75850
Texas 45390 55960 70500
Utah 29260 37380 62440
Vermont 39470 56080 82090
Washington 56380 69470 101030
Wisconsin 44450 52290 67570
Wyoming 37890 53570 77870

 

Salaries by State - Special Education Teachers, Secondary School

State Annual 25th Percentile Wage Annual Median Wage Annual 90th Percentile Wage
Alabama 46880 54950 64730
Alaska 62800 76250 105280
Arizona 43620 50420 72300
Arkansas 43230 49920 66040
California 65460 84340 116800
Colorado 46350 56200 81790
Connecticut 58830 78050 110260
Delaware 56000 68150 96840
District of Columbia 62140 78390 121500
Florida 46960 57950 97150
Georgia 51940 59750 80730
Idaho 47100 53960 65440
Illinois 52150 66150 110210
Indiana 37910 48750 77680
Iowa 50740 59360 80470
Kansas 48750 59220 84000
Kentucky 46480 54860 66930
Louisiana 45720 51890 64190
Maine 40350 50680 76830
Maryland 65590 82710 112130
Massachusetts 61130 77190 111850
Michigan 51300 65890 82270
Minnesota 46870 61510 98650
Mississippi 42150 48150 66230
Missouri 38840 45940 64110
Montana 48270 59850 80250
Nebraska 53370 61210 83110
Nevada 46760 55210 79330
New Hampshire 50930 61120 81220
New Jersey 63400 76600 105530
New Mexico 44170 54990 81480
New York 63930 80270 126570
North Carolina 44090 52680 68990
North Dakota 52370 60050 79890
Ohio 43260 56550 84380
Oklahoma 41420 48890 74930
Oregon 61800 81220 124090
Pennsylvania 54140 66710 97590
Rhode Island 70270 83630 101810
South Carolina 33110 40140 63180
South Dakota 39430 46320 61870
Tennessee 46530 54540 77300
Texas 52660 58400 73000
Utah 21860 47570 74460
Vermont 54180 64930 82190
Virginia
Washington 61920 75580 104130
West Virginia 39050 51450 71950
Wisconsin 46040 54990 79220
Wyoming 54990 61770 80150

 

Learn more about how to become a special education teacher.

How Will Education Affect a Special Education Teacher's Pay?

Special education teachers, like their general education colleagues, must earn, at a minimum, a bachelor's degree within an approved teacher preparation program to teach in the public or private school setting.

However, many special education teachers pursue a master's degree or higher to earn a higher salary, earn another endorsement to their teaching certificate, and gain advanced skills in a specific area of special education, such as:

  • Blind/visually impaired
  • Deaf/hard of hearing
  • Speech/language or communication
  • Autism
  • Adaptive special education
  • Emotional disabilities
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Orthopedic/physical disabilities

How Will Experience Affect a Special Education Teacher's Annual Income?

Like their general education counterparts, special education teachers earn salaries that are directly related to their experience level. While some school districts recognize advanced degrees, all follow a salary schedule that is based on the number of years of relevant teaching experience.

Salary for Teacher Assistants

Teacher assistants work alongside teachers in public, private, and religious schools, and in other settings like child daycare centers to provide additional instructional support and personal attention to students. Many times, teacher assistants work with special education students who learn in mainstream classrooms.

As of May 2020, the BLS reported an average salary of $30,630 for teacher assistants.

As of May 2020, early career teacher assistants earned about $23,830, which reflects the 25th percentile, while the most experienced earned about $44,290, which reflects the 90th percentile.

These educational support professionals earned the following average salaries according to setting:

  • Elementary and secondary schools: $30,970
  • Child daycare services: $26,600
  • Educational support services: $30,750
  • Religious organizations: $30,580
  • Outpatient care centers: $36,080
  • Psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals: $35,570

Learn more about how to become a teaching assistant.

How Will Experience Affect a Teacher Assistant's Pay?

Experience always plays a role in the earning power of a teacher assistant. They are often paid according to a school district's salary schedule for support professionals which, like the general teacher salary schedule, includes salary increments based on years of experience.

Public School Pay vs. Private School Pay

Teachers in public schools earn salaries that are supported by federal, state, and local funds, while teachers in private schools earn salaries that are supported solely by student tuition and private contributions. Therefore, you won't often find private school teachers earning salaries that are comparable to their public school colleagues.

However, teachers in private school settings often find the atmosphere of a private school, which usually includes smaller class sizes and less oversight (public schools must adhere to strict school district and state guidelines regarding curriculum, course design, and more), to be well worth the smaller salaries.

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Benefits Associated with a Teacher's Annual Income

Teacher unions have long provided educators with the right to engage in collective bargaining that allows them to negotiate both their salaries and benefits. Today, collective bargaining is legal for teachers in 34 states and optional in another ten states.

Most teachers enjoy generous benefits packages that include health insurance, pension benefits, paid time off, life insurance, and local credit union benefits. Many school districts also offer student loan repayment to qualified educators, and many states offer grants and loan repayment to aspiring teachers earning their first degree or practicing teachers furthering their education.

Let us help you decide if becoming a teacher is right for you.

 

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, secondary school teachers, preschool teachers, teaching assistants, special education preschool teachers, special education elementary school teachers, special education middle school teachers, and special education secondary teachers.

National and state job growth projections for preschool teachers, elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, special education preschool teachers, special education elementary school teachers, special education middle school teachers, and special education secondary teachers sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor-sponsored O*Net database (2018-2028).

Figures represent state and national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed June 2021.

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