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You have a passion for teaching, but you know that teachers are notoriously underpaid and overworked. Aside from voting for government representatives who claim to prioritize education spending, what can you do to ensure that you are earning enough to support your lifestyle?
Fortunately, you can survive and thrive as a teacher, as long as you have planned your career appropriately. Here are a few strategies to increase your earnings as much as possible as you follow your passion and educate the next generation.
Specialize in a High-earning Field
Some subjects are much more difficult to teach than other subjects, and as a result, many teachers are not qualified or not interested in teaching them. For example, math and science tend to be highly technical and require a certain amount of mastery from instructors; teachers who cannot grasp these subjects will be less than effective at guiding students through the curriculum. Therefore, school districts tend to offer higher salaries to teachers who are properly equipped to teach math and science. If you have the opportunity, you might devote more of your academic experience to understanding technical fields like math and science, so you can capitalize on this knowledge during your teaching career.
Additionally, different levels of educators earn different salaries based on the complexity of the material they teach. Early childhood educators tend to earn less than secondary school educators, perhaps because elementary school students require less rigorous lesson plans and assignments than students in middle and high school. Regardless of the reason, you might aim your career at secondary school — or above — if you hope to earn the highest possible salary in teaching.
Find Work in a High-earning Area
Unfortunately, not all schools receive identical funding. In the United States, schools tend to derive their funding from the property taxes within their district. Thus, wealthier neighborhoods can pay for better resources for their schools — to include higher paid educators. You might research the income levels of different neighborhoods in your area to get a better idea of the relative salaries of teachers. Generally, rural and deeply urban areas tend to pay their teachers lower wages, while the suburbs have some of the highest teacher pay.
Another aspect that can impact educator salaries is the unionization of teachers in your area. In many places, teachers have unionized to gain collective bargaining power with their schools and school districts. Thanks to the influence of their union, these teachers tend to have more favorable pay than non-unionized peers in neighboring districts. What’s more, union contracts typically mandate a regular raise structure, so experienced teachers are guaranteed more money as their careers progress. If you have the opportunity, you should join the teacher’s union in your area to access these and other benefits.
Secure High-earning Credentials
Most teachers take advantage of their summer vacations to participate in professional development, which earns them valuable credentials they can use to improve their effectiveness in the classroom and qualify them for higher pay. Some credentials you should pursue throughout your career to increase your earning potential include:
A master’s degree. Typically, a master’s degree is the single most effective credential for boosting a teacher’s base salary. You can earn a Master’s in Education online, so you can fit your studies into your existing career.
Special education certification. Special educators are in high demand across the country, and students with disabilities are in desperate need of well-trained and devoted teachers.
GATE certification. Gifted and talented education is a field that helps students with learning proficiencies excel in the academic environment.
TEFL certification. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a useful certification for helping the roughly one-quarter of U.S. students who do not speak English at home. Plus, a TEFL certification can qualify you to teach English in foreign countries, which can make international travel exciting and easy.
Reading specialist certification. Reading specialists work with teachers and students to improve literacy rates in classrooms, helping those who most struggle with language concepts gain mastery. You do not have to be a starving teacher. By planning your career in advance, you can ensure that you qualify for the highest possible pay while providing the most good to the students who deserve your instruction.
Hope this article will help you.
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