Humanities Indicators
Facebook Twitter YouTube
K-12 Education  >  Primary- and Secondary-School Faculty
Humanities Teachers' Earnings
(Updated July 2017)

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 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 2011–2012 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 $51,000 (in current dollars; 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 $73,850 in 2011.[1]
  • For those teachers who were new to the profession (0–5 years of service), median earnings were $40,700. Among the most seasoned teachers, those with 30 or more years of service, median earnings were $63,100.
  • More experienced teachers had a greater range of earnings. The difference between the 25th percentile and 75th percentile earnings of middle- and late-career teachers was almost 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-11: Primary and Secondary School Humanities Teacher Earnings, by Years of Teaching Service, 2011–2012*

* Public and private schools (excluding Bureau of Indian Education schools, for which data were unavailable). Includes regular full- and part-time teachers, itinerant teachers, and long-term substitutes. 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, National Center for Education Statistics, Schools and Staffing Survey, “Public and Private School Teacher Data Files,” 2011–2012. Data analyzed by National Center for Education Statistics staff. Data presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (

About this DataRelated Indicators
../cmsData/xls/indI-11_supp table.xls../cmsData/ppt/indI-11.ppt../cmsData/pdf/indI-11.pdf


[1] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, “Table 502.20. Median annual earnings, number, and percentage of full-time year-round workers 25 years old and over, by highest level of educational attainment and sex: 1990 through 2014,”