Are Today's Teachers Underpaid?

By Allison Landa

Aristotle called teaching “the highest form of understanding.” These days, it’s also one of the country’s largest career fields. While rewarding in many ways, teaching is sometimes considered an underpaid profession. Salary range depends on a variety of factors, but the often underfunded and overcrowded inner-city and remote rural schools tend to offer relatively low salaries, which is less attractive to many highly qualified teachers.

However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that salaries for qualified teachers in urban schools is on the rise. In addition to a large increase in education funding at the federal level (in particular for teachers in lower-income urban areas), some states have started programs to improve early childhood education. This funding boost is expected to increase applicant interest in teaching jobs in impacted locations.

And more initiatives to boost education funding continue to bloom. In The Governors Speak 2006, at least 37 U.S. governors said their education budgets were projected to either be in balance or have a surplus. Teacher quality and compensation are the most common goals, according to the report, with 58 percent of governors adding that they also sought to improve their state’s high schools.

Becoming a Highly Qualified Teacher

Although change is on the way, most people would agree that teachers aren’t always compensated for the long hours, weekend work and true caring that goes into their jobs. One of the best ways to ensure fair payment and possibly higher income is to become a highly qualified and valued teacher.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, being deemed highly qualified means three things: having a bachelor’s degree, having full state certification or licensure, and proving knowledge of each subject taught. These qualifications help to produce competent, professional educators.

Teachers eager to earn more might consider continuing their education either online or at a traditional campus school. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees granted in education has spiked steadily.

Some of the best-paying places for teachers include the state Nevada, the city of Greenwich, Conn., and the Washington D.C./Northern Virginia area.

Whether you’re looking to change lives in the classroom as a K-12 teacher or work in administration as a principal, now is the time to earn your online master’s degree in education to advance your career possibilities.

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