One of the primary questions of individuals considering a teaching career is what kind of income they can expect when becoming a teacher in Texas.
The salary you receive as a teacher is determined by a number of factors, including the type of teacher you wish to become (secondary or elementary), how much experience you have, your degree level, and how difficult your position is to fill.
The good news for many individuals is that starting salaries for teachers around the state have been rising for the last several years, particularly in metro areas where starting salaries have eclipsed $50,000 annually. In addition, there are several high-need areas in districts across the state where bonuses and other financial incentives are being used to attract qualified candidates to fill open positions.
What Are The Minimum Starting Salaries?
Because there are so many variables that can impact the starting salary for a Texas teacher, it is best to begin the discussion by looking at the state-mandated minimum salary schedule to develop a bottom line frame of reference.
According to the Texas Education Agency, salaries begin at a minimum of $28,080 for a teacher with no experience, $32,440 for a teacher with five years of experience, $38,080 for a teacher with 10 years of experience, and a minimum of $45,510 for teachers with 20+ years of experience for the 2017-2018 school year.
While these figures may seem low, keep in mind that these are the bare minimums by law that teachers with varying levels of experience must be paid. Most school districts pay teachers in excess of these minimums, some considerably more.
So now that we know the minimums mandated by law, let’s take a look at the factors that determine actual salaries.
What Are the Key Factors That Determine Your Salary?
There are many factors that determine the starting salary for Texas teachers, but we want to focus our discussion on the few factors that have the most significant influence.
Location - Metro areas with strong commercial and residential tax bases pay the most throughout the state. Areas like the North Texas Metro area, Houston, Austin and San Antonio have some of the highest starting teacher salaries in the state. These increased salaries must be balanced against the challenges that come with living in metropolitan areas. Factors such as increased cost of living, crime and commute times should be weighed against pay scale differentials.
Your Background - A Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 is the basic requirement for people with a degree to become a teacher in Texas. While it is possible to find teaching jobs without a bachelor’s degree, there may be fewer jobs available that use work experience as a criteria for hiring.
Starting salaries may be lower for non-degreed candidates.
One exception to this is in high demand areas where there are current or impending teaching shortages like CTE (Career Technical Education) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
High Need Teaching Disciplines - One of the most important factors that can greatly impact starting salaries are candidates with special skill sets. There are several key areas that most if not all districts across the state are facing teacher shortfalls…….. Bilingual, CTE, STEM and Special Education.
The need is so severe in several of these areas that districts are using salary enhancers to fill high-need positions, including signing bonuses, increased stipends and educational loan forgiveness.
Let’s face it, most teachers don’t get into it strictly for the money. Most look at more than just dollar signs when considering a teaching career.
Other items to consider are health benefits, retirement plans and quality of life.
Health and fringe benefits will vary from district to district. Some districts entice candidates with better benefits and health care options as a means to control teacher salaries. With health care rising, it’s important to evaluate these important benefits closely.
Most districts, if not all participate in TRS - “The Teacher Retirement System of Texas.” You can download a retirement brochure that explains how the system works and the value of your retirement plan with different levels of teaching service. This pension benefit is administered by the state government, and your retirement benefit becomes more valuable with more years of service.
One word of caution for late career changers. Most district employees that pay into TRS do not pay into the Federal Social Security System.
If you have already qualified to receive Social Security benefits from previous employment, you should consult a financial professional to determine if paying into TRS will impact your previously earned retirement benefits.
This articlewill help you understand the challenges.
If you have the desire to become a teacher, and the salaries and benefits look appealing, the question becomes how do you can you take become a teacher in Texas?
The best way is to find a great alternative certification program.
Alternative certification programs (ACP’s) offer a non-traditional route to certification that allows you to teach while completing your requirements.
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.
Connect with ECAP
7166 Baker Blvd., Suite B · Richland Hills, Texas 76118 Phone 817-284-7731 | Fax 817-284-3396