How Much Money Does a Teacher Get Paid Hourly?

by Rick Suttle; Updated September 26, 2017
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Teachers work in kindergartens, elementary, middle and secondary or high schools. They primarily instruct students on a variety of subjects including art, science, math, reading, social studies and English. Elementary school teachers are more likely to teach multiple subjects while middle and secondary school teachers specialize in specific subject areas. Teachers spend most of their time away from the classroom preparing lesson plans, grading papers and homework assignments. Many teachers are required to have master's degrees. They usually earn annual salaries based on the school's pay scale.

Annual Median Salary

Kindergarten teachers earned median salaries of $48,800 per year, according to May 2010 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or approximately $23.46 per hour, based on 40-hour workweeks. Those teaching elementary school earned annual median salaries of $51,660 or $24.84 per hour. Middle school teachers earned median salaries of $51,960 annually or $24.98 per hour. And secondary or high school teachers earned $53,230 per year or approximately $25.59 per hour.

Average Salary by State

Kindergarten teachers earned their highest average salaries in New York at $70,180 per year, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $33.74 per hour, based on 40-hour workweeks. They earned considerably lower salaries in Louisiana and Arkansas at $46,690 and $43,220 annually or $22.45 and $20.78 per hour, respectively. Elementary school teachers earned their highest salaries in Alaska at $69,130 per year or $33.24 per hour. They earned significantly lower salaries in Hawaii and North Dakota at $49,030 and $43,110 annually or $23.57 and $20.73, respectively. Middle school teachers earned their highest average salaries in New York at $70,670 per year or $33.98 per hour. They earned their lowest salaries, among those listed, in Mississippi at $40,700 or $19.57 per hour. And high school teachers also earned the highest annual salaries in New York at $70,400 or $33.85 per hour. They earned their lowest salaries, among those listed, in Montana at $40,290 per year or $19.37 per hour.

Average Salary by Metropolitan Area

Kindergarten teachers earned their highest annual salaries in the Nassau-Suffolk, New York metropolitan area at $82,580, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $39.70 per hour, based on 40-hour workweeks. They earned their lowest salaries, among those listed, in Prescott, Arizona area at $42,410 per year or $20.39 per hour. Elementary school teachers also earned their highest salaries in the Nassau-Suffolk, New York area at $86,440 per year or $41.56 per hour. They earned their lowest salary in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, Texas area at $47,140 annually or $22.66 per hour. Middle school teachers earned their top two highest average salaries in the Nassau-Suffolk, New York and Waterbury, Connecticut metropolitan areas at $83,700 and $79,250 or $40.24 and $38.10 per hour, respectively. They earned their lowest salaries in the Morristown, Tennessee and Pascagoula, Mississippi areas at $43,080 and $41,030 or $20.71 and $19.73, respectively. And high school teachers earned their two highest salaries in the Nassau-Suffolk, New York and New York-White Plains-Way, New York-New Jersey areas at $85,780 and $74,560 per year or $41.24 and $35.85 per hour, respectively. They earned their lowest average salaries in the Kankakee-Bradley, Illinois and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona areas at $46,070 and $44,620 annually or $22.15 and $21.45 per hour, respectively.

Job Outlook

Job outlook can also affect a teacher's salary and hourly wages. Jobs for teachers are expected to increase by 13 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is about average for all occupations. Demand for teacher's jobs will be highest in the South and West, which can positively impact salaries in those regions. Jobs in the northeast are expected to decline, which may negatively affect teacher's salaries in those states.

Photo Credits

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