While many outsiders may think that teachers have an easy job, complete with long summer vacations and an early end to the workday, teachers are some of the hardest workers out there. From drafting lesson plans to meeting with parents and administrators, being a teacher takes way more time than standing in front of the class. As a teacher, it’s important to be compensated fairly for your work and to get paid what you deserve (and if you get paid more than you deserve, well, no one is complaining!)
We’ve pulled together these skills and tips on getting paid more and getting promoted as a teacher for you to make sure you’re maximizing your earning potential as a teacher in the field of education.
Teacher Skills That Will Boost Your Pay
Become proficient in a language
Some states are offering higher wages for teachers trained in a second language, as they can be of particular help in ESL classrooms. Teachers who speak a second language, such as Spanish, can be at a particular advantage in school districts where there are students lacking proficiency in English. In 2015, for example, the National Center for Education Statistics found in 2015 that the percentage of students needing additional instruction in learning English in California was 21 percent, followed by states such as Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado, where the number stood at 10 percent or more. According to one industry resource, bilingual teachers can earn $2000 to $5000 more yearly than their non-bilingual colleagues.
Coaching or leadership
Played soccer in college? Participated in community theater? Chances are that with some practice and refreshment, you can translate these skills into a coaching or leadership gig at the school you teach at. Positions like these can add sums to your yearly salary in the range of thousands. Positions, like leading a club, leading after-school tutoring, and serving as a chaperone for dances or other school events, can be similarly lucrative.
Teacher Career Path Choices that will Boost Pay
Check your location
The place where you start your career as a teacher matters. While some states lavish salary and benefits on their teachers, others lag behind. For example, the annual mean wage for secondary school teachers in the state of New York was $85,300, while for teachers in Texas the annual mean wage was $58,190, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While you may have to become re-licensed in the state you move to, if you have geographic flexibility, moving to a higher-paying state could be a good springboard for your salary.
Obtain another degree
Some states require a teaching-specific master’s degree in order to be certified as a teacher in the state. If the state you’re teaching in does not require a master’s degree, getting a master’s degree in a teaching-related field can give you a leg up for promotions and administrative positions. If you’ve already completed a master’s degree, these are still options – for example, if you wish to move into administration (where, generally, there is higher pay), a master’s degree in education administration might be right for you.
Move into administration
If your eyes are set on a higher salary, moving into the school’s administration is often your best way to go. Administrators work at the school level, in positions like assistant principal and principal, and at the district level, in positions like director, vice superintendent, and superintendent. While these positions may require advanced degrees, the long-term earning potential of an administrative position almost always outweighs the cost of degree.
How to Get a Raise as a Teacher
Get your student loans paid
While this isn’t exactly getting a raise, it will boost your income if you have fewer student loans to pay. Many federal programs are in place for teachers who need to pay off their loans. Make sure you’re taking full advantage of these programs so that if you have student debt, you can get help in paying it off. Here’s more information on how to qualify for teacher student loan forgiveness programs.
Teach summer school
Summer school can be a great way to get extra pay as a teacher – both as compensation for your work during the summer, and in some cases, a raise during the year as a token of appreciation for your extra effort. For example, this school district in Texas offered students not only attractive summer school salaries, they also offered bonuses of up to $10,000 for students who passed the state exam that the teachers were tasked with preparing their students for over the summer.
Take part in professional development programs
There are a variety of professional development options available to teachers. As mentioned before, a main one is obtaining a master’s degree: according to the National Council on Teacher Quality, master’s degrees earn teachers an additional $2,760 in their first year of teaching compared to a bachelor’s degree, which expands to an average of $7,358 per year by the time a teacher reaches the maximum point of the pay scale. Specific professional development opportunities that lead directly into higher salaries are available in a number of school districts across the country.
How to Get Promoted as a Teacher
There are different rungs you may climb as a teacher, and sometimes, the rungs you climb will require different duties. One of the first steps up as a teacher you’ll take is getting tenured. From there, you may advance to serving as the head of your department, and from there, enter administrative positions like assistant principal, principal, and – maybe, eventually ––superintendent.
To get promoted as a teacher, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re noticed by the higher-ups as a prime candidate for the job. First of all, is being consistently clear and communitive with your boss or supervisor that you are interested in advancing and taking on the responsibilities that entails. At the same time, you may choose to take on additional responsibilities in your role, such as hosting an extracurricular club, teaching summer school, chairing committees, and participating in staff events.
At the same time, you may want to consider a secondary degree, such as a degree in education administration, to boost your chances of getting promoted within your school. There are many masters in education administration programs that can be completed majority online, at the same time as you’re working as a teacher, such as can be found on this list.
How to Get a New, Higher-Paying Job
There are many related careers to teaching in the education field that are also higher-paying. Generally, they require added degrees and certifications, but in the long run, your hard work will pay off. Here we present a few jobs in the education field with higher pay brackets and the degrees required to get there. Keep in mind that the average compensation for education careers can vary greatly from state to state.
SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER
2017 Median Pay: $58,980
Degrees Required: Bachelor’s degree
ELEMENTARY, MIDDLE, AND HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
2017 Median Pay: $94,390
Degrees Required: Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree
2017 Median Pay: $63,750
Degrees Required: Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree
Amy Elisa Jackson