Early Childhood Education

Here’s How Much Kindergarten Teachers Can Expect to Earn

Here’s How Much Kindergarten Teachers Can Expect to Earn
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Francesca Friday February 14, 2019

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Want a rewarding career fostering young minds? Kindergarten teachers in the United States make $57,627 on average, but that figure can vary by state, education level, and even the type of school. Here’s how to earn a teacher’s salary that motivates paying it forward!

Working as a Kindergarten Teacher

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for kindergarten and elementary school teachers was $57,230 in 2017. During that time, the lowest-earning 10 percent of kindergarten teachers made less than $37,340, and the top 10 percent of earners made over $92,770.

BLS also found that kindergarten teachers in public schools made a median wage of $56,370 in 2017, whereas private school teachers made a significantly lower median wage of $44,660.

The job market for kindergarten teachers is predicted to grow by eight percent over the next 10 years, so this is a solid time to get your foot in the door for long-lasting job security.

Public schools require that teachers hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum, as well as a license to teach in a given state. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, it might still be valuable to further your education. Some states will even require teachers to earn a master’s degree after a set period of time. In New York, for example, licensed teachers must earn a master’s in order to continue teaching past the five year mark.

No matter your degree, the benefits that come along with teaching Kindergarten are a positive addition to any salary. Depending on the type of school — public, private, or charter — teachers have access to varying retirement plans and medical insurance policies, and have their summers off to relax or pursue a side-hustle of their choosing.


“I'm Interested in Teacher Education!”

Graduate degrees for teachers fall into two categories: the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and the Master of Education (MEd). Many resources indicate that the MAT is the best master’s degree for teachers, while MEd programs are primarily for aspiring educational administrators, policymakers, and other current education professionals who aspire to work outside the classroom. In reality, it’s not quite that simple.

Both MAT and MEd programs tend to be concentration-based, and while there are more part-time and full-time Master of Arts in Teaching programs focused on advanced pedagogic theories and skills, there are also plenty of Master of Education programs with grade-level, subject-area, and student-population concentrations.

In some areas of the US, a teacher with a master’s degree at the top of the salary schedule can earn close to $40,000 more than a teacher with a bachelor’s degree. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that going to graduate school will lead to a substantially bigger paycheck. The only way to know how much you’ll earn after graduating with a master’s in teaching or master’s in education is to look at the salary schedule in your district. You should be able to see at a glance how your education and experience will translate into dollars. (source)

University and Program Name Learn More

Kindergarten Teacher Salaries By State

Thinking of relocating? Kindergarten teacher salaries vary greatly by state due to variances in the job market and cost of living.

__Here are the 10 highest-paying states for kindergarten teachers, and the average annual salary for each:__

  • Connecticut: $73,470
  • Alaska: $73,190
  • New York: $72,510
  • Massachusetts: $60,050
  • Washington, DC: $67,500
  • New Jersey: $65,830
  • Virginia: $64,450
  • Oregon: $63,850
  • California: $63,590
  • Maryland: $58,930

Because your teaching license may be tied to the state in which you earn your degree, you should consider where you would like to work before enrolling in a degree program. It’s most beneficial to earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree in the state in which you hope to work; each state sets its own requirements for prospective teachers, and your professors will be able to help you prepare for your particular state’s teacher certification process.

For more experienced kindergarten teachers who wish to go above and beyond state requirements — and potentially above and beyond their current salaries! — it may be smart to pursue an additional certification with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). Should you go this route, national certification will solidify your role as a dedicated, accomplished teacher and will show your commitment to bettering your community as well as your career.

Works Cited
Kindergarten teacher salary by state
National Board Certification
Average income for kindergarten and elementary school teachers

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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