A teacher crosses her arms and smiles

Elementary School Teacher Salary

Elementary school teachers help children learn through a variety of lesson plans, projects, and activities. On a daily basis, elementary school teachers help children through a series of subjects and activities. Teachers have to constantly evaluate their students based on progress and academic performance, and they also have to build rapport and communicate effectively with parents. Elementary school teachers have to focus on group teaching and individual students’ needs, which makes their job pretty tough. If you’re thinking about becoming an elementary school teacher, consider these factors that can affect your estimated salary. 

Average Salary

Elementary school teachers make around $53,090 per year on average. This figure takes into account all elementary school teachers regardless of experience, education level, or school setting. Many teachers have annual increases based on a school district-mandated salary schedule.

Entry-Level Salary

Although teachers make around $53,090 on average, this figure is not representative of a starting teacher’s salary. An entry-level salary for a teacher could fall anywhere from around $30,000 to $40,000, depending on education level. The assumption for teacher salary is that your income will increase each year of experience you gain.

Private versus Public

Typically, private school teachers make more than public school teachers. Public schools are run by the government, so salary is typically set by the school district. Public school districts are awarded funds based on taxes. This means that when economic times are hard, school districts cut teachers rather than pay across the board. Private schools have more flexibility in paying teachers because their funds come from endowments and tuition.

Job Outlook

Elementary teaching jobs are estimated to grow by about 12% in the next 10 years. This is about the average rate of growth across other occupations. In 2012, there were around 1,500,000 jobs for elementary school teachers nationally.


Elementary school teachers with a master’s degree will typically be paid more than elementary school teachers with a bachelor’s degree. You are only required to a have a bachelor’s if you are an elementary school teacher, but your options for salary and potential for moving into higher level positions, like principal of a school, are higher and better with a master’s degree.


Education is a field where experience is highly valued. The more experience you have, the less likely you are to be let go during economic downturn, and the more money you are likely to earn per year. As mentioned previously, many schools increase teacher salaries based on an annual salary schedule that accounts for inflation, education level, and years of experience. 

Last Updated: April 15, 2015