Why Do Teachers Get Paid So Little? (11 Reasons Why)

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Jean Richardson

Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

Teachers are one of the most valuable members of society. They are in charge of educating children and preparing them for jobs, careers, and other paths they might take in the future.

There is little doubt that teachers are one of the most critical instructors in society. If this is the case, you might wonder – why do teachers get paid so little compared to other jobs today?

Why Do Teachers Get Paid So Little?

1. They Are Public Employees

Teachers are public employees, though they operate under the state government instead of the federal government. The state is responsible for most of the income teachers receive.

This factor can impact the way teachers receive pay. If the state cuts the budget, all teachers face the consequences. There often is not enough funding for a teacher today.

If the state focuses more on education, teachers can receive better. Unfortunately, as public employees, teachers do not receive ample compensation for their work in the classroom.

2. Pay Varies By State

Teachers are not paid much on average but receive pay more in some states than others. In California, you will find an average pay higher than those who work in Alabama.

If you have your license in one state, you may make less income than in another spot. This fact can be frustrating to those who work in the same career in a different location in the country.

It’s critical to note that there is no state where pay is enough to compensate for the job that teachers must undergo. The money a teacher ends up with varies drastically by state.

3. Teachers Are Not Valued Everywhere

Plain and simple – teachers are not valued everywhere. There are some locations where teaching is dismissed as a job anyone can do, and the pay reflects that for teachers.

The value of something, including jobs, is determined by the society around it. In the United States of America, teachers are not as valued as some jobs such as engineering in the country.

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Hopefully, the future will bring a generation that respects teachers and the fury they have undertaken. With this respect will come a higher pay margin for those who teach for a living.

4. Some Are Not Highly Trained

Some teachers get more training than others. Those who have achieved higher levels of education will get paid more than those with less training in the world of higher education.

Most educators need at least a bachelor’s degree to get a job. Some go above and beyond to achieve a master’s and even a doctorate before a teaching position at a school system.

Of course, there’s an issue. Many schools will not hire teachers with higher education because they do not want to pay them as much. They can pay lower degrees less money than peers.

5. Value Is Perceived As Less

The act of teaching isn’t seen as a valuable endeavor by everyone. Some see educators as less than when it comes to jobs that are vital to the structure of the United States of America.

The value of a position determines the payment in a society. Unfortunately, the current perception has resulted in pay being less than ideal for most people in the world.

Teachers have an impact on society. It will be interesting to see how the value of educators changes in the years to come as education becomes more and more vital.

6. Gender Pay Gap

Gender Pay Gap

There are more female teachers in the country than there are males. There is a pay gap between males and females, which applies to teaching, too. It’s less for women than men.

The pay gap might only be a matter of a few dollars, but that can make a difference in the long term. The gender pay gap impacts what many teachers receive for their paycheck.

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The gender pay gap is starting to close. The hope is that it will close to a point where teachers, particularly female ones, are paid enough for what they do in life.

7. Cost of Other Education Factors

There are other educational factors to consider when examining the educational budget of a state. Teachers have to receive compensation, but there are also buildings, field trips, and more to consider.

If a state or area prioritizes items like bus drivers and lunches over teachers, the pay is divided differently than in other states. Some pay teachers more, while others pay elsewhere.

You can note states where teachers are paid less due to value and locations where teachers are paid less due to expenditures on other factors. These are different cases.

8. Multitude of Teachers

There are many teachers, and still, there isn’t enough to comfortably educate all children. Still, it’s too many for some locations to provide a solid income to everyone.

The more teachers there are, the more it makes sense to compensate teachers. Unfortunately, society doesn’t work like that quite yet. It could in the future.

As more children come into the world, there’s a higher need for teachers. However, the lower the pay, the fewer people will want to be teachers. It’s a dilemma that needs solving.

9. Lack of Respect

It’s no secret that our society has a certain lack of respect for teachers. They work hard, and yet this profession is not seen as equal to jobs such as engineering. Both matter.

A lack of respect can greatly change the amount of money that teachers are paid. Minimal respect means that the income for educators is lower than it should be.

To improve pay for teachers, respect needs to go up for teachers in society. When that happens the payment number will shift for educators in the country today.

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10. Less to Care For

Some teachers are single, while others have a family to support. Teachers who only have themselves to work for may receive pay less than those with a family to help.

Unfortunately, this pay difference can negatively impact some teachers. Those receiving less in states like California might not be able to afford rent or groceries for the month.

Teachers should receive a standard amount that can help everybody survive without a doubt. Even teachers with less to care for should receive pay that permits life.

11. Not Much Money Available

Sometimes, there isn’t much money available. A state may not put enough money aside to cover all the teachers that operate in the educational system of an area.

Unfortunately, not a lot of money is set aside for teachers in a system. This lack of income impacts what the average teacher receives for their work.

The priority of teachers is not one of the highest in the country. More money has to be funneled to the education community for teachers to receive compensation for their job.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why teachers hate Wikipedia, why teachers hate gum, and why college is so hard.


Teachers are valuable assets to society. They shape children and send them into the future with knowledge, but teachers are not paid enough for the work they do.

Lack of respect, too many teachers, pay gaps, and other factors have led to the minimal payments of teachers. Hopefully, the future will change that for educators everywhere.


  • Jean Richardson

    Jean Richardson is a lover of knowledge, in all forms. He has spent over 15 years as a high school teacher, instructing students in history, geography, mathematics, and more.

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