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Private School Teacher Salaries

What Do Private School Teachers Make?

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Teacher Helping Students with a Science Experiment
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Background

Historically, private school teachers salaries have been less than those in the public school sector. Years ago teachers would accept a position in a private school for less money simply because they felt that the teaching environment was friendlier. Or perhaps they considered it a mission or calling. That is generally not the case anymore. Private schools have had to compete for a smaller pool of well-qualified teachers. Public school teachers' pay has risen markedly. The same is true of private teachers' pay. Private schools now pay very close to what public schools pay.

As you might expect, there are disparities in private school teacher salaries. On the low end of the compensation spectrum are parochial schools. The calling overtones still exist in religious schools. At the other end of the scale are the well-established independent schools. Why is this? They have been in business for many decades, have enormous endowments and a loyal alumni base on which to draw for support. When you peruse these wealthy schools' Forms 990, you begin to understand why they can and do attract the brightest and best in the teaching profession.

Boarding schools typically require faculty to live on campus in school-provided housing. Since housing is generally about 25 to 30% of an individual's living expenses, this often is a substantial perk, especially in a high cost of housing part of the country such as the northeast or southwest.

Private school pensions now rival those offered in the public sector, making that aspect of private school employment quite competitive.

Data

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers data from 2004 showing a range from $26,000 to $71,000 for public school teachers. Assuming a 5% annual inflation rate, the adjusted figures in 2007 would range from $27,300 to $74,550.

Obtaining accurate private school teacher salary information is as murky a science as discovering the whereabouts of a certain infamous terrorist leader. It's almost impossible because the NAIS keeps that information well-guarded from public view. If your school is a member of NAIS, you will have access to the annual compensation surveys. To give you an idea of what things were like a few years ago in the central states, take a look at ISACS Salaries and Tuition: 2002-2003.

Need more detail and authoritative data sources? The following resources will get you started:

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