How Private School Teacher Salary Ranges Compare to Public Schools

Brandi Glass
4 min read
How Private School Teacher Salary Ranges Compare to Public Schools

You’re passionate about teaching, and that’s admirable. But still, it’s reasonable to be concerned about the salary you’ll be making in your future. You need to be able to afford your lifestyle, and with inflation and increasing prices, salary matters more than ever.

When entering the teaching field, you have two options: private or public school. Which pays better? Keep reading to learn which path is more prosperous. We’ll dive into the difference between the average private school teacher salary versus the average public school teacher salary.

Factors that Affect Teacher Salaries

Throughout this article, we’re going to be focusing on the difference between private versus public school salaries. But first, let’s take a look at other factors that affect teacher salaries:

  • Level of education: Many professionals get paid more if they have a higher level of education, and teachers are no different. Higher levels of education mean teachers can teach more in-depth topics and older students.
  • Years of experience: A seasoned teacher with years of experience is more likely to earn more than a teacher who just entered the field. Teacher salaries tend to increase every few years.
  • Location: Your salary will depend on where you live, the cost of living, and the budget your school district has.
  • Teacher versus professor: Teachers that teach grades kindergarten through twelfth grade typically make less than college professors.

Now that you understand more of what influences teacher salaries, let’s look at the difference between the average private school teacher salary versus the average public school teacher salary.

The Difference Between Private and Public Salaries: K - 12

When you think about the average private school teacher salary versus public school teacher salaries, you might assume private school teachers get paid more. It makes sense, right? Because in K - 12, private schools cost money for the students to attend, while public schools rely on tax money.

But the truth is, private school teachers typically get paid lower salaries than public school teachers in comparable positions. Based on the most recent information from the National Center for Education Statistics, private school teachers earn an average of $10,000 – $12,000 less than their public school counterparts.

Why do private school teachers typically get paid less? Here are some factors that influence the pay gap between private school teachers and public school teachers:

  • Licensure requirements: Public schools require that teachers have a license to teach in their state. Private school teachers have more lenient licensure qualifications. Because of this, public school teachers have to take an extra step in their education, and there are fewer state-licensed teachers available. Due to the scarcity of teachers with in-state licenses, public schools pay more.
  • Employment demands: There are many more public schools than private schools in the United States. Plus, public schools usually have many more students than private schools. Because of this, public school teachers often have to work in overcrowded environments, tailoring their education to more students. Private schools have fewer students, and less urgency to offer high wages to teachers.
  • Job benefits: While public school teachers are typically offered benefits (such as retirement plans and paid time off), the less than ideal conditions they deal with in public school classrooms may cause them to overlook these benefits. That means public schools typically have to offer higher wages to earn and retain talented teachers. In contrast, private school teachers work in better classroom environments and are typically willing to accept lower pay for that reason.

So there you have it. If you’re after a higher salary, focus on public schools throughout your application process. But if you would rather have a more ideal work environment with less pay, focus on private schools while you apply.

The Difference Between Private and Public Salaries: College

Now that you know all about private versus public school teacher salaries in kindergarten through twelfth grade, let’s focus on college now. Is the salary trend the same? How and why does it differ?

Similar to the difference between private and public schools, the difference between private and public colleges is that at private colleges, students are typically a lot more in tuition. Public colleges accept lower tuition because they are government-funded.

Firstly, let’s clarify that college professors get paid more than teachers in K - 12. Compared to teachers, professors typically make roughly $20,000 more, on average. That’s because professors typically need to have more education than teachers.

For college professors, the salary trend is different than what we saw for K - 12 teacher salaries. Private school professors get paid more than public school teachers on average. The American Association of University Professors found that at baccalaureate institutions, full professors make an average of $125,420 at private universities. That’s more than $99,616 at public baccalaureate universities. Professors at private schools get paid 23% more on average than professors at public schools.

Here’s a table to help you see the differences in salaries for employees at private universities versus employees at public universities.

To Land Your Dream Job, Your Resume is Key

Now that you understand the gaps in salary when it comes to teachers and professors, you have a better understanding of which type of school and position would be the best fit for you. Now, you can move forward in your educational and application journeys with confidence.

As you’re applying, don’t forget the importance of your resume. You have great skills, experience, and knowledge that will make you an excellent teacher…and your resume needs to showcase that effectively. Contrastingly, if you have any gaps in your education or experience, a great resume crafted by experts can help you overcome those.

Success landing a teacher or professor role starts with a curated resume curated for the field.

Ready to create a resume that lands you in teacher and professor positions? We can help with our resumes specifically tailored for teaching careers!