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Outlook for Teaching Salaries Around the World

Reviewed by Jon Konen, District Superintendent

Find information below about current teaching salaries and outlook to help you make a decision. Then contact the teaching colleges listed on our site to learn more about how to become a teacher or expand your education in 2022. 

american teacher standing with foreign student

The US education system needs dedicated teachers and administrators to keep our schools alive and well, so if you are ready to enter the profession of teaching, the education system is ready for you! 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gives salary and employment data for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. This is the most up to date and accurate place to find US salary information on teaching.

If you teach elementary school, you can expect that your average salary will be around $54,550. If you teach middle school, you can expect to make $55,860 annually. High school teachers make an average wage of $57,200. All of this is according to 2015 median pay data.

The job outlook for teaching careers is expected to grow at a rate of 6% annually, which is as fast as the national average for all occupations.

Before we take a look at teacher salaries around the world, let’s take a look at the top 5 states for teachers and employment in the US, along with their salary levels and annual mean wage.  All figures were retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2017).

Best states for Elementary school teachers – Annual teaching salary below:

  • Texas – $52,810
  • California – $72,360
  • New York – $72,930
  • Florida – $47,630
  • Illinois – $59,680

Best states for Middle school teachers  – Annual teaching salary below:

  • Texas – $53,080
  • California – $69,020
  • New York – $77,130
  • Illinois – $66,480
  • Florida – $48,00

Best states for High School teachers – Annual teaching salary below:

  • Texas – $53,640
  • California – $74,770
  • New York – $79,720
  • Pennsylvania – $64,380
  • Illinois – $69,300

What is interesting is that the states that employ the most teachers listed above don’t always have the highest level of teaching salaries.

Take a look at California, which makes every list of employment levels. Notice how high school and elementary school teachers make around $3-5K more than middle school teachers? This is why it is so important to discuss salary with the schools you speak with. Especially if you aren’t committed to teaching one grade level vs. another. Perhaps you imagined yourself teaching middle school, but a job teaching 9th and 10th grade would pay significantly more. Would that make you re-consider your career path?

We know that you are driven by your passion for inspiring students to learn. But your financial obligations are non-negotiable in many ways. When you request information from online and campus programs, be sure to discuss their career resources, and the current salary data for your desired school district.

According to the Brookings Institute, a Washington DC based organization focused on public policy, American teachers are underpaid, even compared to a country like Finland, which has a moderate teacher salary level. By their estimates, the US would have to raise primary teacher wages 10%, increase salaries by 18% for secondary teachers and have a 28% increase in salaries for upper secondary school educators to compare.

Now, let’s compare teacher salary around the world by looking at data from other countries. This information was taken from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and from other research over recent years.

10 Different Teacher Salaries Around the World

If you are thinking about becoming a teacher and teaching internationally, you might be interested in teaching salaries globally. Requirements vary for how to teach outside the US, but getting your teaching degree is the first step. From there, you’ll want to learn more about the regulations of the specific country you want to teach in.

For now, let’s start off with the highest teaching salaries in the world. All of this data comes from the OECD, which you can look at in this handy .pdf. You will notice that this is the most recent data, retrieved in 2017, but they do not include exact figures for salary numbers, only a range, which we will share with you. All salaries are presented in USD equivalencies.

France Teaching Salaries

If you are a teacher in France, you can expect to earn a starting salary of around $35,000. At the top of the scale for teaching salaries, you can earn in the mid-to-upper $60K range. For students who want to teach in France, you will need to become Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certified first.

Ireland Teaching Salaries

Teachers in Ireland start out a little higher than in France – closer to the $40,000 a year range. At the top of their game, teachers can earn around the same as teachers in France; somewhere in the mid-60’s.

Korea Teaching Salaries

Let’s take a look at another country where teachers start off at the mid-to-upper 30K rage. But what’s different about Korea than other teacher salaries around the world is the upside. At their max, teachers in Korea can earn up to $80-85K. Not bad. So if you have been thinking about teaching English in South Korea, now might be a good time to check out international programs for this country. You can actually learn more about this option by visiting this website, which has information about teaching positions, different grade levels and subject matter.

Luxemburg Teaching Salaries

How about we talk about the place that stands out above the rest as far as starting pay and maximum teaching salaries potential. Ever want to travel to Luxemburg? You might want to now; especially if you have a chance to teach in this European country. To give you perspective, it’s nestled near Germany, Belgium and France. And the starting wage is the equivalent of $80,000 per year. Oh, and that’s just starting out. If you work an average of 15 years, and gain the maximum level of pay, you can earn up to $140,000+ per year. So, are you ready to book your tickets to this teacher-friendly country?

China Teaching Salaries

We like to look at China because we know this country has been growing rapidly, and you can see the rise of its influence on the World stage. What’s interesting, is this report from the Guardian about teachers that gain the most respect in their culture. Currently, teachers in China have more respect from the people in their country compared to others. As far as pay, we didn’t see them on the chart from the OECD library. But we have seen figures that show Chinese teachers earning between $300 and up to $1,000 per month.

Denmark Teaching Salaries

This is one of those countries on the chart of teacher salaries around the world that has a starting point and maximum potential that are so close together, it’s hard to differentiate the two. You can expect to earn around $42-43K your first year, with a potential of the upper $50,000 range. From our perspective, Denmark sits right around the middle of teacher pay that the OECD measured.

Hungary Teaching Salaries

Hungary came in at the lowest end of the spectrum, with teachers starting at around $15,000 per year, with potential that reaches just above $20,000. However, teaching in this country can offer TEFL teachers a beautiful, enriching experience. If you want to read a first-hand account of what it’s like to teach here, check out this website that’s dedicated to Budapest, and talks specifically about what it’s like to teach there.

Japan Teaching Salaries

Since the United States has close ties with Japan, there are many teaching opportunities for Americans in this country. As far as native teachers’ salaries go, they can expect to start around $20-23,000. They have a salary potential that goes into the low $60K range. If you are really serious about the prospects of teaching in this country, you should review the website for the JET Program USA. This program helps Americans work in rural and metropolitan areas of Japan. They hold your hand through the application process and through your tenure process abroad to help make it successful.

England Teaching Salaries

Want to know what our friends ‘across the pond’ pay for teaching salaries? If you are a teacher in England, you will probably start out earning just above $20,000. Your salary potential reaches the low-to-mid $40K range. For tips and information specific to teaching jobs for Americans in England, you can look at this article that contains some good info.

Mexico Teaching Salaries

Our neighbor to the South starts their teachers with an average salary of $20,000. They have a strong upside though that hits around $70,000 per year. So if you want to see what your opportunities are to teach in Mexico, we recommend taking a look at this page on the TEFL site, which has teaching abroad info for American students.

Lowest Ranking Countries for Teaching Around the World

The three countries that ranked in the bottom of the data were: Estonia, Slovak Republic, and Hungary. The starting salaries in these countries range from around $10-15K, and don’t reach much higher, unfortunately. You can expect to earn just above $20,000 per year at the peak of your career salary-wise.

Organizations That Help Teachers Pursue International Opportunities

World Teach

This organization is dedicated to helping teachers lend their skills to developing countries that have serious education and economic challenges. Over 7,000 volunteers have helped further their mission all over the world. World Teach estimates that nearly 1 in 6 kids in low and middle-income countries didn’t complete preschool in 2015. And over 250 million didn’t complete primary school in 2015.

Council on International Educational Exchange

This council has been in the international teaching business since 1947 – so they probably know what they’re doing. They help you out in ways that other agencies simply aren’t equipped for. The CIEE can help with visa assistance, help you pursue competitive paying teaching salaries, and give in-depth training and orientation classes before you leave. They also include a 24/7 support staff that is in the country you’re teaching in, plus the staff at their headquarters in Maine. They also include professional development opportunities that can impact your teaching career for the rest of your life.

U.S. Department of State

The U.S. Department of State has a keen interest in making sure travelers to other countries have the resources they need. They have information on their website that can help navigate this process as well. You can visit this page to see how they break down the helpful info, and who to contact for all the important topics related to teaching overseas.

Are you ready to learn more about teaching abroad – or are you still thinking about a teaching career in your state?

Whether you are now thinking about teaching overseas, or just want to know more about teacher salaries around the world and education degree programs in your state, we can help. If you do not have any education or training, your first step is contacting the schools in your state, as well as those that offer online programs that can help you qualify for licensure.

Just use the search box at the top of this page to get started. And be sure to share your success with us on social media when you start teaching!