Humanities Indicators
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K-12 Education  >  Primary- and Secondary-School Faculty
Humanities Teachers' Earnings

The salaries of primary and secondary school teachers in the humanities are one indicator of the value placed on humanities education. Because precollegiate teaching salaries are closely tied to seniority, earnings data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) are presented here by the career stage of respondents. The earnings of new teachers are compared with those of both midcareer teachers and educators with three decades or more of classroom experience.

For assistance interpreting the earnings data presented below, please click the “About the Data” button below the graph.

Findings and Trends

  • For the 2007–2008 academic year, the median earnings of precollegiate humanities teachers (base salary, as well as payment for extracurricular activities and other services to their school system) were approximately $48,000 (Indicator I-11). In comparison, the national median earnings of year-round full-time workers age 25 and holding at least a bachelor’s degree were $72,220 for men and $51,410 for women in 2008.
  • For those teachers who were new to the profession (0–5 years of service), median earnings were approximately $40,000. Among the most seasoned teachers, those with 30 or more years of service, the median was just under $60,000.
  • More experienced teachers enjoyed a higher range of earnings. The difference between the 25th percentile and 75th percentile earnings of middle- and late-career teachers was approximately twice as large as that for new personnel. An analysis by Humanities Indicators staff suggests that this difference is attributable, at least in part, to the higher proportion of experienced teachers holding master’s and other advanced degrees.
I-11a: Primary and Secondary School Humanities Teacher Earnings, by Years of Teaching Service, 2007–2008*

* Regular full-time teachers in public, private, and Bureau of Indian Education schools. Earnings include base salary, as well as payment for extracurricular activities and other services provided to the school or larger school system (the latter includes merit pay bonuses, state supplements, etc.).

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, 2007–2008 Schools and Staffing Survey (restricted-use data files).

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