Average Teaching Salary With a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate Degree

Teacher SalaryIf you want to be a teacher, you can get started with just a bachelor’s degree or you can go on to get your master’s degree…or even a doctorate in the field. But is getting one of these advanced degrees worth it? Let’s take a look at the salary you may make with each type of teaching degree.

Bachelor’s Degree

Most teachers get started working with a bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years to complete. The mean annual wage of an elementary school teacher is $55,270, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported in May 2011. This estimate does not include special education teachers. You might find that salaries vary according to age group and subject matter.

A bachelor’s degree provides the training and skills necessary to secure employment as an educator in most states; however, if you want to teach at a private school, a graduate degree might be required. It all depends on the school. Public or private – you’ll most likely need the proper certification before you enter the classroom or even get an interview.

At the bachelor level, many schools offer four areas of specialization:

  • Early Childhood
  • Elementary Education
  • Special Education
  • Secondary Education

Each area of specialization has its own curriculum and content standards. Make sure the program you choose covers all the topics necessary to become a teacher at the designated grade.

Master’s Degree

You can potentially earn more if you’re willing to put in the time to get your master’s degree. This takes an additional one to two years after you get your bachelor’s degree and even longer if you go to school part time. Some teachers opt to earn their master’s degree online in order to continue working in the classroom. Distance learning provides the flexibility many adults need to balance work, school, and a personal life.

A master’s degree in education is designed to provide additional training in your specific field of study. For teachers, these programs offer highly specialized training in elementary, secondary, or special education. Administrators can also earn a master’s degree, with a specific focus on management and leadership. In order to earn an advanced degree, you might be required to complete a fieldwork component that requires students to spend a set number of hours at school. Once you’ve completed all the required courses, including fieldwork, you likely qualify for higher salaries. The additional training you receive as a graduate student will serve you well on the job, and employers often look for candidates with advanced experience and knowledge.

Doctorate Degree

Some teachers who earn a doctorate degree go on to take a leadership role in the teaching field doing educational research, curriculum development, and more. You can also lead a school as an administrator. For example, an elementary or secondary education administrator earned a reported mean annual wage of $90,200 in May 2011, according to the BLS. Postsecondary education administrators earned a mean annual wage of $97,170 in May 2011.

What Affects Salary

For teachers, it’s not just degree that affects salary. Other factors that play a role include your location, the kind of school where you work, what subject you teach, the size of the school where you teach, your performance as a teacher, and more. So if you want to earn a higher salary, getting an advanced degree is just part of the equation! Do your research to find out how to best increase your salary while continuing to work in the industry you love. And if earning a master’s degree is the way to go, don’t forget to research online programs that offer a high-quality education in a flexible environment.

Online Education Degrees and Schools

Grand Canyon University — Grand Canyon University offers a full complement of education degrees, including a BS in Special Ed, BS in Secondary Ed Business, BS in Secondary Ed English, and a BS in Secondary Ed Math. Programs are regionally accredited and approved in Arizona.
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Liberty University — Liberty University's School of Education offers an Associate degree and Doctor of Education, with all programs focusing on providing quality Christian education. Graduates are prepared to strengthen students mentally and spiritually, whether teaching in Christian or public schools.
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University of Southern California — The University of Southern California offers a MA in various disciplines including general study, Secondary Science, Secondary Mathematics, Special Education, and many more. All programs focus on a holistic development of students.
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Kaplan University — Kaplan University's Master of Science in Education K-12 trains educators in curriculum design, classroom management, and instructional technology. The MA in grades 5-12 degree is a more specialized program that goes into depth on subjects covered in those grades. The MSHE in Education Assessment trains educators to create and evaluate tests.
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Northcentral University — North Central University's Ed. D. in Educational Leadership offers fourteen specializations, including E-Learning, Global Training and Development, Instructional Leadership, Organizational Leadership, and Adult Learning and Workforce Education. The Educational Leadership Specialization prepares students for both the daily demands of leading schools and gives a base of historical and contemporary theories.
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