How Teacher’s Salaries Can Be the Litmus Test for Where to Job Search

When determining where to search for a new job, there are several elements that must be studied in terms of an area’s overall economy, its future outlook, the housing market prediction, and the salaries of its local teachers.

While the first three categories may seem to be self explanatory in terms of the growth of various geographic areas, some may wonder why exactly the pay of a location’s teachers should make a difference.

What Are Teachers Being Paid?

Across the board, in June 2012, the average salary for teaching jobs is approximately $48,000 per year. However, such pay rates can vary a great deal depending on the educational institution, geographic location, and industry, as well as the individual teacher’s experience. In addition, even the type of school can have a major impact on the actual pay of its instructors.

When taking into consideration the average salary that is paid for all positions with the term “teaching” included in the job description itself, there can be a wide range of figures. For example, below is a list of various teaching related jobs and their corresponding average salaries.

  • Teacher – $36,000
  • Instructor – $37,000
  • Assistant Professor – $44,000
  • Training Instructor – $45,000
  • Special Education Teacher – $35,000

Why Use the Salaries of Teachers – No Matter What Type of Job You Are Seeking?

Certainly, one of the ways that teachers in a number of demographic locations have their pay determined is via the success of student test scores within a particular district. This has oftentimes even been expanded to use the concept of teachers’ merit pay being linked to state testing results.

However, as it is related to jobs in other industries or fields, what exactly can the salary of a local teacher really say? First, it is important to note that although teaching has traditionally been seen as a job that will not pay high wages, the opposite may actually be true.

For instance, such individuals are typically making a good living along with doing something that they love. On top of their regular salary, those who teach are oftentimes paid for the hours that they spend in training for professional development, as well as for performing side jobs such as tutoring or coaching. In addition, once the insurance and retirement benefits have been added in, teaching should actually be viewed as a secure career that also promises a secure retirement.

The truth is that there are a number of various private sector jobs that pay similar wages as the teaching profession. In fact, as compared to other professions’ average salaries, teachers make a very competitive wage. Some “average” comparable professionals’ pay includes:

  • Nurse (RN) – $26.17 per hour
  • Police Officer – $26.82 per hour
  • Accountant – $30.56 per hour
  • Nuclear Power Reactor Operator – $38.94 per hour

Location can also make a big difference in both what teachers are paid as well as the pay in other related and unrelated professions. For example, those who teach in New York City will likely be paid more than teachers in smaller towns in order to compensate for the drastically higher cost of living.

In addition, particular school districts that may be in desperate need of teachers may also offer incentives such as relocation assistance, home purchasing assistance, or even a signing bonus upon acceptance of the job.

In many instances, however, the pay that is offered to teachers in a particular geographic location can be a big indicator of how that specific area is faring overall economically. With this in mind, locations where teachers are being paid a lower than average wage can be an indication that families – and companies – are leaving that area. This is not a good sign for anyone who is pursuing a job in any particular field – at least in the specific location in question.

The Bottom Line on Job Search

When searching for that “dream job,” it is a good idea to get a feel for what teachers are making in the area that you desire – even if it is in your current home town. Such pay can be a potential predictor of the future economic performance of that location – and it can even go so far as to be a look into the future in terms of how long the company you are seeking employment with will continue its operations in that area. Therefore, before applying for open positions, do some research on the local schools as well as the current pay of those institutions’ teaching professionals.

George Gallagher works with recent graduates to plan their future. He helps them figure out choices conerning career, family, and student loans with an emphasis on student loan consolidation. When not working he loves to write about his findings during his day-to-day work.

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