If you’re considering jumping into the field of education and taking a closer look at your earnings potential, it’s important to keep in mind that there are many factors that influence how much you can make as a teacher.
New teachers are more likely to make less than teachers with more years of experience, for example, whilein demand teaching jobs may yield a higher salary.
To get a better idea of how much you may earn as a teacher, we’ll break down some of the items that impact salary right away and over the course of your career.
Base Salary Schedule
The state minimum salary schedule ensures that all Texas teachers must earn a designated annual salary that is based on years of credited experience. The salary, which is based on a 10-month contract, ensures that classroom teachers earn a specified base salary no matter where or what they teach.
Each year, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) updates its minimum salary schedule, which also applies to full-time librarians, full-time counselors and full-time registered nurses who work in a school district.
The minimum salary schedule ensures that no school district may pay less than the base salary listed in the table above, which is reflected in the Texas Administrative Code. For example, for the 2021-2022 school year, new teachers with no credited experience must earn at least $33,660. Those with significant experience, 20 years or more, must earn at least $54,540.
3 Factors That Can Impact Salary
While base pay can be helpful to know, there are far more factors that influence how much you will get paid as a teacher.
1. The Grade Level You Teach
In general, the average pay for those who teach at the secondary or high school level tends to be higher than for those who teach at the elementary level.
According to a salary report databasemaintained by the TEA, the average base pay for public school teachers who taught in grades 9-12 during the 2020-2021 school year was $58,670. Individuals who taught kindergarten through 6th grade earned a slightly less average of $57,531.
2. Where You Teach
The state of Texas is divided into 20 regions. A teacher’s salary can differ from one region to another. Often, regions with larger metropolitan areas tend to report higher average salaries.
For example, Region 4, which includes Houston, reported an average base pay of $60,798 for the 2020-2021 school year. Region 10, which includes Dallas, had an average base pay of $59,707. Both of these are above the average teaching salary in Texas.
Smaller communities, on the other hand, report lower average teaching salaries. For example, Region 8 has an average teacher salary of $50,683. This region includes the smaller rural communities of Paris and De Kalb, located about two hours northeast of Dallas.
3. Whether Your Subject Area Is In Demand
Each year, the state of Texas releases its list of teacher shortage areas. This list highlights which subjects face the greatest need for teachers to fill open positions.
The benefits of teaching one of these subjects can be two-fold. Teachers with certain types of student loans may qualify for partial loan forgiveness, deferment or cancellation benefits, according to the TEA. Secondly, because these areas have greater demand, you may have more bargaining power when it comes to your salary.
The 2021-2022 teacher shortage areas are:
Bilingual/English as a Second Language (ESL) - elementary and secondary levels
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) teaching jobs, which include some of the areas listed above, are expected to continue to be in demand as well.
According to the TEA, Texas is expected to have the second-highest percentage of the nation’s future STEM job opportunities. In response, the TEA has developed a STEM Framework for districts to use in order to establish more STEM programming.
Other Factors To Consider When Calculating Salary
Sometimes the highest paying jobs in Texas incorporate additional benefits that add value. Benefits packages, for example, can be an important consideration when determining your true salary. School districts that cover a high percentage of an employee’s premium can increase a teacher’s take-home pay.
Considering that healthcare costs are skyrocketing - average family premiums rose 4% to $21,342 in 2020, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation - it’s important to consider this part of your benefits package when looking at potential pay. Other aspects of your benefits package to consider include pensions and paid time off, including sick leave.
Keep in mind that a teacher’s salary is based on 10 months of work. During the summer months, school districts may offer opportunities for teaching summer school, which can add to your annual salary.
Finally, if you choose to oversee extracurricular activities like sports or clubs, you may qualify for an additional stipend that can bump up your salary.
A Path Forward
While the current average teaching salary in Texas is just under $58,000, this number is just one component to consider when calculating your potential earnings as an educator. Experience, location and what you are certified to teach will all impact your salary, even though the state’s minimum salary schedule provides some idea of the minimum you can expect.
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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