How much you will earn is always an important consideration when choosing a career. If you’re considering or already working toward becoming an educator in Texas, you may be wondering, “How much can I expect to earn as a teacher?”
According to the Texas Education Agency, the average teacher base pay for the 2019-2020 school year was $57,091.
However, several factors can influence a potential teaching salary, from the subject you teach to the size of the district, how much experience you have and the location of your teaching job.
Here are some considerations to keep in mind to help you determine what you should expect to earn when becoming a teacher in Texas.
Minimum Salary Schedule
While there are several factors that may influence your salary, there’s one item Texas teachers can count on in any circumstance … state minimum requirements.
In Texas, the state says you must earn a minimum annual salary (based on a 10-month contract) that is based on years of credited experience. Each year, the TEA updates its state minimum salary schedule for classroom teachers. These amounts also apply to full-time librarians, full-time counselors and full-time registered nurses who work in a school district.
The schedule ensures that no school district may pay less than the base salary listed in the Texas Administrative Code. For example, a new teacher with zero years of experience must earn at least $33,660 for a 10-month contract with the district. However, a teacher with 20 or more years of credited experience must earn at least $54,540.
Age Group You Teach
Once you know what you must earn, you can begin to look at other factors that may influence what you can expect to earn. One of these factors is the age group you teach.
On average, elementary teachers tend to earn less than secondary teachers, at least in base salary. For example, in 2019-2020, the average base pay for an elementary school teacher, grades K through 6, was $57,140. The lowest average salary belonged to early education teachers and pre-kindergarten teachers at $55,301 and $55,350, respectively.
Secondary teachers reported the highest salaries. For educators in grades 9 through 12, the average base pay was $58,110.
What Region You Teach In
Depending on where you teach, your salary may differ from one region to another. In Texas, the state is divided into 20 regions.
Regions with large metropolitan areas tend to have higher average base pays. For example, Region 4, which includes Houston, has an average base pay of $60,292. Region 10, which includes Dallas, has an average base pay of $58,336.
On the other hand, region 14, which includes Abilene and several other smaller communities, has an average base pay of $49,533.
The Specific School District
Even within one region, base salaries can vary tremendously. Specific school districts may offer higher average base salaries.
Barbers Hill ISD, located in Chambers County just east of Houston and along the Gulf Coast, has an average base salary for its educators of $72,572 for the 2019-2020 school year.
Barbers Hill ISD is located in Region 4, which has an average base salary of $60,292, according to the TEA. Because Region 4 consists of 48 school districts and 39 charter schools in seven counties, a specific school district’s average base salary may be significantly different from another district located just down the road.
If Your Job Is In Demand
If you have chosen to teach in any of these subject areas or specialties listed below, you may be offered a higher salary than the average teacher base pay:
Bilingual and English as a second language
Career Technical Education (CTE)
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
That’s because these are among the most in demand teaching jobs in Texas right now. There is a significant shortage of candidates in these disciplines and many school districts are seeking candidates to fill their open positions.
You may also be able to take advantage of loan forgiveness programs if you accept a position that falls under one of the approved 2020-2021 teacher shortage areas as outlined by the U.S. Department of Education and TEA.
Bilingual/English as a Second Language (elementary and secondary levels)
Special Education (elementary and secondary levels)
Career and Technical Education (secondary levels)
Technology Applications and Computer Science (elementary and secondary levels)
Mathematics (secondary levels)
It’s important to check these approved shortage areas each year, as they can change from school year to school year.
Although there are minimum salary protections put into place to ensure you earn at least $33,660, many school districts across Texas offer higher average base salaries. Many factors also come into play including your experience, where you work and whether your position is experiencing a higher demand.
If you’re considering taking the next step and pursuing your dream of becoming an educator, it’s important to reach out to an approved educator preparation program to learn what next steps you should take.
Alternative certification programs, in particular, offer a great way for you to earn certification if you already have a bachelor’s degree or experience in the field you wish to teach.
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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