Salary and Benefits

August 15, 2008

High-school teacher

The Job: These teachers help students delve more deeply into subjects introduced in elementary school and expose them to more information about the world. Teachers specialize in a specific subject.

Pay: The median annual wage of the 7,040 high-school teachers in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area in May 2007 was $55,310, with the middle 50 percent earning between $45,880 and $65,840, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than half of all secondary-school teachers belong to unions.

Demand: Employment is projected to grow about as fast as average, with particularly good prospects for teachers in high-demand fields such as math, science, and bilingual education, or in less-desirable urban or rural school districts.

Work environment: Seeing students learn can very rewarding. However, teaching may be frustrating when dealing with unmotivated or disrespectful students. Accountability standards and standardized testing also may increase stress levels. Including duties outside the classroom, many teachers work more than 40 hours a week during the 10-month school year.

Training: All states require public schoolteachers to be licensed. Licensure is not required for teachers in most private schools.

Teachers usually must have at least a bachelor's degree and must have completed an approved teacher-training program, as well as supervised practice teaching. There are also state-approved alternative pathway teacher-preparation programs. More on state certification at www.k12.wa.us/certification.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: www.stats.bls.gov/oco

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