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Differences Between Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees for Teachers Salaries

Updated on November 7, 2012
Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

The minimum educational requirement for teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade is a bachelor’s degree, which takes a minimum of four years. However, some states require teachers to earn a master’s degree, which takes an additional two years, after receiving their teaching certification. In addition, the higher credential is acceptable for some postsecondary positions at community colleges, though a Ph.D. is required at colleges and universities. In any case, teachers with master’s degrees make more than those with bachelor’s diplomas.

Basics

About 44 percent of the over 3.5 million bachelor’s degree holders in education went on to receive a master’s degree for an earnings boost of 33 percent, according to the 2011 salary survey compiled by Georgetown University.

  • Median annual pay for bachelor’s degrees was $42,000, with the lowest-earning quarter making less than $32,000 and the highest earning quarter earning $55,000.
  • Calculating the increase from these amounts put the annual median of master’s degrees at $60.480, with the lowest quartile making under $46,080 and the highest quartile making over $79,200.


Degrees

The specific master’s degree in education with the highest annual pay was science and computers, which showed a 49 percent earnings boost from the undergraduate degree.

  • Bachelor’s degrees holders in the subject made a median annual $43,000, with a quartile range of less than $34,000 to over $58,000.
  • Master’s degree holders received a median yearly $64,070, with a quartile range of under $50,660 to over $86,420.

The lowest paid subject was early childhood education, which showed a 41 percent earnings boost for the higher degree.

  • Bachelor’s degree holders made a median annual $36,000, with a quartile range of less than $29,000 to over $45,000.
  • Master’s degrees granted a median $50,760 yearly, with a quartile range of less than $40,890 to over $63,450.


Gender

Though nearly 77 percent of graduates in education were female, males still showed the higher salaries.

  • For bachelor’s degrees, females earned a median annual $40,000, while males received $48,000. Taking into account the earnings boost puts the master’s degree salaries at $53,200 for females and $63,840 for males.
  • In science and computer education, 58 percent of the graduates were female and they earned a median $39,000 per year for a bachelor’s degree and $58,110 for a master’s. Males received the higher median of $50,000 for the lower degree and $74,500 for the higher one.


Outlook

From 2010 to 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics sees jobs for all teachers, including those with master’s degrees, growing at faster than the 14 percent average for all occupations.

  • Kindergarten and elementary school teachers are expected to see growth at 17 percent, and postsecondary teachers will enjoy 17 percent growth.
  • Only high school teachers will show lower than average increases of 7 percent.

Population growth and declining student-to-teacher ratios will be largely responsible for demand. Enrollment increases, however, will be slower in high school than in other grades.


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    • alocsin profile image
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      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks for enlightening us on the process, wabash annie. I'm always happy when a professional comments on an article related to her profession.

    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      You have such a variety of excellent hubs but I wanted to comment on this one in particular. When I taught with a BA I had the opportunity to take lots of inservices (for which I received credit), so I worked my way up the salary schedule quickly ... until I topped out. That is when I went for the MA so that I could again work my up that salary schedule. I found that many teachers did not want to take those Saturday (or other non-school times) inservices, giving up their personal time. It was quite a benefit to me. Your information explains why. Thanks much.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I found that having a Masters opened many doors for me when I was teaching. Good job explaining the difference between a Bachelors and Masters.

    • greeneryday profile image

      greeneryday 4 years ago from Some tropical country

      Wow Interesting, Never thought further studies on master degree would eventually gives you the opportunity to earn more in teacher's salaries. thanks and voted up for more...

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 4 years ago

      Interesting and useful hub for any graduate consider teaching as a career. I must agree with Bill that most teachers do not do it for the money but a love of the job.

      It never has paid big bucks and yet it attracts top notch people.

      When we consider the amount of time and effort that teachers put in, there is an argument for paying them much more. (you know I am a teacher too :)

      We are having a bulge here too with a rising birth rate.

      There is a high demand in the Primary school sector for more men to go into that field. It is dominated by women at the moment.

      Nice work Aurelio voted up, interesting and useful Sharing.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      Alocsin, you've become the professional informant on salaries. Many will find this one meaningful (of course, all your hubs are, but teaching is so popular. Voted Up and Useful.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It makes sense that earning a master's degree would earn more than a bachelor's degree. The difference between men and women doing the same work is not fair. Perhaps someday this will hopefully be remedied. Informative hub...especially reading all of the comments. Up votes and sharing!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I have many teachers in my family and they enjoy teaching and have never complained about their salary, so it's all good. Excellent hub for someone considering a teaching career.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Alocsin, another great article. It surprised me that there was such a big difference between salaries between the two degrees. Even with such salaries, teachers deserve to make so much more. Very well written Alocsin. Voted up and useful.

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Unfortunate to hear that, Marcy. As if women didn't have families to support as well. I'm wondering if this gender disparity will every disappear.

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Patty Inglish, I believe the requirements here in California are quite rigorous as well.

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I didn't know that TimeTraveler2. Can you name a couple of examples -- might make for a good hub.

    • alocsin profile image
      Author

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thanks for that info, My Minds Eye53.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      This is really interesting - I have read that each degree - from high school, college, masters there is a boost of about $20,000. This bears that out, but I think I should be looking at percentages instead of flat numbers.

      It is sad that even in a field dominated by women, that men have higher salaries. On one hand, I could say well, that is because the field needs more men, but then again that would mean that in fields dominated by men, women's salaries should be higher. Voted up.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Its still sad seeing the gender differences in salary. Over here in England there are approximately 10 times more women teachers than men, whether the pay is different I am not sure, but trying to get men to become teachers seems to be getting harder and harder. Great information as always, nell

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Your information is spot on, Alocsin. I am a retired teacher and in Ohio salaries fall right smack in the median you discuss. In Ohio and in Florida, you also must have your master's degree to teach. As in NY, you can start out teaching with a bachelor's degree, but within fivee years you must have obtained your master's degree or you are not issued the next licensure to continue teaching. This is very informative and interesting and I have enjoyed your whole series of articles in this vein. These are great for anyone considering a profession!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      In NY you must have your Masters to teach. You can start teaching with your Bachelors but have to get your Masters to continue. All teacher contracts are for specific wages at specific levels...male or female. For example, it is stated the average teacher salary at the Rondout Valley Central School District is $60,000...years of teaching in the district, extra credits earned and the 'level' a teacher is hired at all effect their salary. No discrimination.

      Elementary school teachers are having difficulty finding jobs in NYS because there are so many of them. Math, Science and Technology teachers top the list for positions schools are hiring.

      Great hub Aurelio. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Interesting stats, Aurelio. Wonder why a degree in childhood education gets lesser pay. Also, why do female teachers get paid lower?

      Voted up/interesting/shared.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Great statistics. I really admire teachers and it is a shame they don't make more with the liability they have and the education they must obtain. For some reason it doesn't surprise me that men make so much more than women. Excellent resource!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Even with a Master's degree, it's still pretty amazing that in other fields with a similar level of education, teachers make so much less. I didn't realize there were income disparities - I thought states based their pay for teachers on state scales...but I wonder if it's because more men tend to coach after school sports, which also boosts their incomes. Good food for thought! Up and tweeted.

    • healthylife2 profile image

      Healthy Life 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      It definitely is worth it for teachers to get a masters degree. I think it's unfair that men get higher salaries for the same job but I guess progress takes time when it comes to equality. Voted up!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      Oh yes...even in some of the larger towns where school boards are suffering from teacher shortages and money problems, they are more than happy to let any warm body come into the classroom. Mostly, though, you see it in smaller, rural areas...but it's been happening for many years nationwide. I know this because I taught all over the country for 26 years and have seen it myself.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 4 years ago from Planet Earth

      I'm sad to see we still have gender disparity. Perhaps the gap is from the number of years of experience, since women often suspend their careers for a time while rearing children. I'm not in public education, but the data here reminded me of the gaps I witnessed in other career settings.

      I once had a senior manager say that a male employee was given a higher salary because, "I figured he needed it, since he has a family to support." The male employee did less work, and of lower quality, than his female counterparts, many of whom also had 'families to support.'

      As always, great info here!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from North America

      Only a HS Diploma - I did not know that.

      In Ohio, teachers have 10 years post-bachelors degree to earn a masters in education, or they lose their jobs. Our substitutes need a 4-year degree in any subject, though, and some have taught for decades.

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      In many states you can substitute teach with only a high school diploma!!

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      My Minds Eye53 4 years ago from Tennessee

      In Missouri and Nebraska you can substitute teach with only a 2 year degree.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      Up and awesome. That has really encouraged me to get on and complete my MAT/MA.ed ... as a paused at the postgraduate diploma stage. Those increases make it worth doing as early as you can! However, I was surprised to see such a salary difference between the sexes.

      Shared, pinned and tweeted.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

      I didn't realize that there were still places a teacher could teach with only a bachelor's degree. Your stats here have also reinforced the fact that I need to find a new job, as I work in one of the lowest paid districts in the region. Sigh.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      The Master's degree really does widen the gap. Too bad about the discrimination against women. Voted up!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Good to hear the forecast for future growth in salary is upward. I can attest that having my master's has allowed me to enter at a higher rate, but the work is still as demanding. Still, I wouldn't have it any other way. Well done and defined... Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This profession I know very well. I never went back for my Masters....why? I just didn't care about the extra pay. I know how strange that sounds, but it's the truth.

      Nice job of detailing info that every teacher needs to know so they can make a wise decision.