Teaching is often considered one of the most important vocations to the success of a society. Education shapes the skills and ideals of students that will one day lead the country. Many people feel there is a disconnect between the importance of teaching and the educational requirements of becoming a teacher and the pay they receive.
Grade School Teachers
Grade school teachers are those who teach kindergarten, elementary school, middle school or high school. Becoming a grade school teacher typically requires a four-year degree and student teaching experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "median annual wages of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranged from $47,100 to $51,180 in May 2008." In addition, the BLS states that the bottom 10 percent of teachers earned $30,970 to $34,280 while the top 10 percent earned $75,190 to $80,970.
Career and Technical Education Teachers
Career and Technical Education, CTE, teachers or vocational teachers teach students practical skills that apply directly toward a certain field of employment. Examples of subject matter taught by vocational teachers include family science, technology, business and marketing. According to the BLS, "median annual wages of vocational education teachers in middle schools in May 2008 were $47,870" while CTEs working in secondary schools -- high school -- eared a median salary of $51,580.
Preschool teachers are teachers that oversee programs for children that are too young to enter grade school. Preschool often involves allowing children to play cooperatively and fostering good social behavior. According to the BLS, "median annual wages of preschool teachers were $23,870 in May 2008." The difference between preschool teacher wages and that of grades school teachers can be partially attributed to the fact that many preschool teaching jobs do not require a college degree.
Postsecondary or professors are teachers at institutions of higher learning beyond high school such as colleges and universities. Becoming a professor typically requires a four-year degree as well as work experience in a particular field or additional education such as a Ph.D. According to the BLS, "median annual earnings of all postsecondary teachers in May 2008 were $58,830." Professors in the top 10 percent earned more than $120,000 in the same year.