Average Teacher Salary Nationwide


Overview and Basic Information


There are few things better than doing something that helps change people’s lives…and making money at it…and getting summers off! Everyone you know has been influenced by a teacher in some way. Teachers educate and prepare students for the world. They might start with teaching the basics of math, reading and science in elementary school. Or they can jump right in to teaching more difficult and specialized classes in middle school, high school and college.

Teachers create lesson plans and use them to instruct an entire class, individual students or small groups. They track students’ progress and share that information with parents (who doesn’t remember the often-dreaded parent-teacher conferences?). They also design tests, reinforce classroom rules and prep students for standardized tests.

A teacher can also choose to work with students who have learning disabilities, adult learners, English as a second language (ESL) and GED students.

Example teacher job description

We’re hiring a motivated and experienced third grade teacher to join our highly qualified team of elementary educators. As a teacher at our school, you’ll be responsible for developing and nurturing our students’ interests in education. Responsibilities will include creating and following lesson plans, grading assignments, evaluating students’ progress and planning other educational activities.

You should be professional and have in-depth knowledge of elementary-school-level teaching best practices. In addition to having excellent written and verbal communication skills, the ideal candidate will also demonstrate outstanding presentation and interpersonal abilities.

Typical duties include:

  • Developing and presenting educational content including assignments and tests

  • Grading assignments and tests

  • Supervising the classroom to help ensure all students are learning in a safe, productive environment

  • Organizing supplies and resources for class modules

  • Delivering personalized instruction to each student

  • Encouraging interactive learning

  • Planning and implementing educational activities and events

  • Preparing and distributing student progress reports and report cards

  • Organizing and attending parent-teacher meetings

  • Evaluating and documenting students’ progress


  • Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or relevant field

  • Minimum 2 years teaching experience

  • In-depth knowledge of teaching methods

  • Outstanding written and verbal communication skills

  • Well organized with excellent leadership abilities

  • Exceptional interpersonal and presentation skills

Common questions about teacher jobs

How much does a teacher make?

The average salary for teachers depends on your experience, location and level taught. For example:

  • Elementary school – $57,000

  • Middle school – $58,000

  • High school – $60,000

  • Special education – $59,000

  • Postsecondary (college) – $78,000

What are the education requirements?

Elementary through high school teachers are typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in education. Some states require teachers to have a degree in a specific area, such as English or math. Depending on the content level, a master’s degree might be required. In addition, teachers must be licensed by the state, which is also known as state certification. Teachers in private schools might not need state certification.

Postsecondary teachers at universities and community colleges have at least a master's degree, and many have a Ph.D. in their field. At vocational schools, experience in the field is more important than a degree.

 Career paths for teachers

To climb the teaching career ladder, you might need additional education and work experience. Elementary school teachers can get advanced degrees in specialized areas like math or chemistry. That will allow them to get jobs in middle school or high school. Teachers can also become school principals or move into administration with the school board.

The future of teachers

According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), job opportunities for all teachers are expected to grow 7–8% from 2016-26. Kids gotta learn, so job opportunities will always be available if you’ve got the right training. Keep in mind that working for a public school means you’re at the mercy of state or city budgets, which often change.

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