Written by Jennifer Cheeseman Newburger and Julia Beckhusen United States Census Bureau
JULY 21, 2022 Although teachers are among the nation’s most educated workers, they earn far less on average than most other highly educated workers and their earnings have declined since 2010.
More than 95% of elementary, middle and high school teachers have a bachelor’s degree or more. In 2019, the average earnings of elementary and middle school teachers with a bachelor’s degree or more who work full-time, year-round was $53,800. For high school teachers, it was $57,840.
These earnings fall short of what their similarly educated peers earn:
- Biological scientists ($69,880).
- Urban and regional planners ($79,790).
- Physical therapists ($81,580).
- Statisticians ($96,320).
Just over one-half of elementary and middle school teachers and 58% of high school teachers also have a graduate degree. They still earn less ($61,130 and $64,340, respectively) than that of other equally educated workers.
For example, at least one-half of the workers in these occupations have a graduate degree, but they earn more than teachers:
- Judicial law clerks ($77,960).
- Biological scientists ($76,260).
- Geoscientists and hydrologists ($111,100).
In addition, teachers earn less than workers in some occupations with a much lower percentage of advanced degrees:
- Human resources workers (19.4% with a graduate degree; $77,430).
- Accountants and auditors (27.4% with a graduate degree; $84,050).
- Registered nurses (12.6% with a graduate degree; $82,210).
Age and Sex
Young teachers and older/middle-aged teachers have lower earnings than most of their similarly educated peers.
Median earnings for younger teachers (ages 25-34) with a bachelor’s degree or more are $46,310 for elementary and middle school teachers and $49,270 for high school teachers, much lower than that of other younger workers with similar education levels. For workers ages 55-64, the pattern is similar: