It's no secret that the reward in a teaching career is typically not measured in dollar signs, but in the difference educators can make on the lives of their students.
While you won't challenge Elon Musk on the next Forbe's list as a teacher, you also aren't signing up for pro bono work. After all, teachers still have to pay their bills and save up for that next family vacation.
The good news is that with a rising enrollment across the Lone Star State, school districts are staying competitive with their salaries, so there is a way for teachers to have both a rewarding career and a paycheck that brings a smile.
Factors That Influence Salaries
Your teaching salary is a combination of several factorswith the Texas Education Agency (TEA) setting a minimum of $28,080 for teachers with no experience. That minimum rises to $32,440 for teachers with 5+ years experience; to $38,080 for 10+ years and $45,510 with 20+ experience.
The three main salary factors are:
Location: Like any good real estate agent knows, it's always "location, location, location". You will make, on average, a higher salary at larger school districts in metropolitan areas in Texas in cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas-Fort Worth. Of course, these areas need to offer a higher salary to teachers as the cost of living is higher than in other areas of the state.
Background: The more experience you have as a teacher the higher your salary will be. Teachers will also increase their salary in most districts with advanced degrees. For career changers, a background with prized experience may translate into a better salary.
High Need Disciplines: This is a basic "supply and demand" issue. If you are a teacher in a high-need area such as special education, bilingual or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) then you may be offered a higher salary.
When looking for the highest paying teaching jobs in Texas don't forget to factor in any other benefits offered by school districts such as health care options and retirement packages.
TEA reports average base pay for teachers in every school district in Texas and we took a look to see where the highest paying jobs are by age group, region, district and alternative schools.
Highest paying Jobs by Age Group
The average base pay for teachers in Texas for 2017-18 was $53,334.
The highest paid group were elementary school teachers at schools with grades 1-6 who had an average base pay of $54,445. That figure was slightly more than secondary teachers (grades 9-12) who had an average base of $54,236 and middle school teachers (grades 6-8) with an average of $53,518.
Kindergarten teachers came in at an average base pay of $52,621.
Taking a closer look at the elementary and middle school age groups, grade 5 teachers were at the top of the pay ladder with an average base pay of $53,077. The other grades:
Grade 2 - $52,953
Grade 6 - $52,899
Grade 4 - $52,793
Grade 1 - $52,762
Grade 3 - $52,750
Grade 8 - $52,732
Grade 7 - $52,344
Highest paying Jobs by Region
Out of the 20 education regions in Texas, those with large metropolitan areas have the highest average base pay with Region 4 (Houston) coming in tops at $57,076 followed by Region 11 (Forth Worth) at $56,144;Region 10 (Dallas) at $54,793; and then Region 20 (San Antonio) at $54,547.
Other Regions with average base pay over $50,000 included:
Edinburg (Brownsville) $53,102
El Paso $52,594
Corpus Christi $51,006
Highest paying Jobs by District
Region 4, with the highest average base salary, has the most school districts offering an average base salary of $58,000+ including 15 different districts in the greater Houston area.
The honor of the highest paying salary for traditional Independent School Districts is Barbers Hill ISD in Chambers County with its 377 full-time teachers earning an average of $68,072. Borden County ISD, with just 20 full-time teachers, has a base average salary of $64,904.
Other school districts paying an average of $60,000+ include:
San Vicente ISD $61,946
Grady ISD $61,449
Lackland ISD $61,092
Deer Park ISD $60,750
Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD $60,691
Mansfield ISD $60,350
Crosby ISD $60,203
Crowley ISD $60,073
Highest paying jobs at Alternative Schools
For those teachers that want to channel their inner Jerry Maguire's ("Show me the money!) they need to look at the alternative school across the state such as the open enrollment charter Academy for Academic Excellence in Dallas that has an eye-popping average teacher base pay of $87,449.
The Houston area has the Draw Academy ($66,177) and A+ Unlimited Potential ($66,005) open enrollment charter schools that will put teachers at the top of the pay scale.
Micah is the Director of Curriculum & Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in British Literature, from the University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Teaching, from Louisiana College. In his previous career, Micah served for 14 years as a banker and bank manager. For the majority of this period, Micah managed the Downtown Fort Worth location of Frost Bank.
In 2005, Micah finally surrendered to his true calling to be an educator. After a brief, but fulfilling term teaching high school English at Flower Mound High School in Lewisville ISD, Micah went to work for the family business, training teachers.
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