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Old 08-26-2012, 06:03 PM
 
4 posts, read 17,067 times
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I am currently a senior in high school and looking to major in education. However, I hear is that teachers are underpaid and I also hear that teachers get paid too much in NJ. So, my question is, can a teacher live a comfortable life in Southern NJ on a teacher's salary? I'm not interested in having a lavish car, "comfortable" in a sense that i can afford rent, insurance, a car payment and maybe still eat out 2-3 times a week and have a little left over.

Thanks for any info!
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Old 08-26-2012, 07:07 PM
 
Location: South Jersey
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I can tell you YES you can.. Not easy finding a teaching job in NJ though...
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Old 08-27-2012, 08:58 AM
Status: "The Union forever! Down with the traitors." (set 18 days ago)
 
13,669 posts, read 17,522,791 times
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How much is enough all depends on your personal lifestyle and what you are looking for. The cost of your education also needs to factor into the equation as well as student loan debt, if you have it, will be a major drag on your purchasing power for sometime. Overall, assuming you have loans and land a teaching job in an average district, you will be making decent money, but might need to live at home while you pay down the loans and get established.

Starting teachers average around $38k a year in NJ, but how much you actually earn is dependent on the subject you teach, the grade level, your personal qualifications (folks with masters earn more), etc. Here are some salary levels by grade level:

Level.............Lowest 10%.........State Average
Preschool.......$19,670...............$33,770
Kindergarten...$40,330...............$59,210
Elementary.....$43,130...............$60,860
Middle School..$43,590..............$62,060
High School.....$44,710..............$65,420

The preschool number is so low because it includes tons of private sector preschools that pay their teachers less. A public school preschool teacher earns an amount closer to a Kindergarten teacher. On top of that you also need to figure that you will pay union dues, a portion of your health insurance and a pension contribution. In return you will get generally good to excellent health benefits and a guaranteed defined pension that can be very lucrative. Anything else you will pay is the same as anyone in the private sector; income taxes, social security taxes, medicare, etc.

So, figure starting out you would earn around $38k. If you are in an average district and get tenure, you would be earning a salary more inline with the "State Average" column after sometime. If you are in a poorer district, expect to earn a salary closer to that "Lowest 10%" number.

Overall, I would say the pay is rather average. It's quite good for folks who have say an English degree as that isn't very transferable to the private sector. However, it's probably on the low end for someone with a degree in hard sciences. When you factor in the job security, benefits and pension the pay becomes even better, you just need to realize that all of that security now in the job and in the future with the retirement package costs you a little bit now.

The last thing I would mention is that, as frank said, teaching jobs are not easy to come by these days. You really need to make yourself stand out. You are looking for a general education degree, so you would most likley be teaching elementary level. It will be hard to make yourself standout in that case. You may want to pursue a masters while you're young as it makes you more marketable. If you had the skills for it, math and science teachers, particularly at the high school level are the ones most in demand. You have a much better shot at getting a job and salaries are generally much higher.
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Old 08-27-2012, 09:47 AM
 
Location: NJ
7,728 posts, read 4,351,427 times
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As a potential educator you need to keep a critical perspective as to what you hear and read regarding teachers' salaries in NJ.


Learn the difference between 'median' and 'average'.


Learn about the use of job market data that applies to specific job descriptions and defined responsibilities for determining pay. Such as being in the 25th or 50th or 90th percentile.


Consider that many activities such as coaching and other extra-curricular activities provide additional cash on top of your salary.


Consider that the NJEA considers you as a cog in the widget factory whose worth depends entirely on 'time on the job'. Your performance is not a consideration. you are as replaceable as a paper plate.


If you have to ask if a Nj teacher's salary can support you, you need to do a lot more research and take everything you hear with a grain of salt.

Ask instead how you can make what you consider a comfortable living if you work as a teacher. you are the responsible party and becoming a teacher does not automatically provide you a living wage and desired lifestyle. That is the attitude pervasive of less than enthusiastic 'workers' who take a job based on salary and settle back rarely making a contribution until retirement. NJ can't afford those kind of teachers.

consider the current NJ attitude that there is an infinite linear relationship bewtween quality education and money spent. Taxpayers are waking up from socio-political propaganda that uses our children as shields to sway the guilt plagued public. NJ citizens hand off their responsibility via endless cash payments in exchange for archaic edu strategies and to feed NJEA political supporters


Attached sites note differences in salaries within Nj and make the recitation of 'the average NJ teachers salary' absolutely useless information.






"But according to an analysis by the Star-Ledger, the median salary for a teacher in New Jersey is $57,467, hardly a sum that makes living in high-price New Jersey a walk in the park."

http://www.freeby50.com/2010/07/teacher-pay-vs-median-incomes-by-state.html

http://www.teachersalaryinfo.com/new-jersey/teacher-salary-in-hillsborough-township/

http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/ib_05.htm

http://www.salarylist.com/jobs/Glassboro-NJ/Postsecondary-Education-Teachers-Salary.htm
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:29 AM
 
488 posts, read 644,328 times
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You can check out teacher's salaries on app.com for both NJ and PA. It seems to me as if it is school district dependent. Each school system has their own salary schedule. The reported average and median salary guides tend to be misleading. I looked up my son's former kindergarten teacher in CH and she makes about $96 K after 33 years in the system. I have a friend who just retired from Moorestown who was at the top of the education scale and who had in excess of 30 years. He made about $98K.

I know folks who work in council rock school district in Bucks County PA and they are making higher than $110K per year after about 15 years into the system. My sister works way up in Duchess county NY and makes about $120K after about 20 years in the system. NY, CT and parts of Bucks County, PA seem to pay better than NJ.

Having worked a stint in public education and then switching to a finance related field making three times the amount of money for half the stress, I would posit that teachers are well under paid and under appreciated.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:12 PM
 
1,985 posts, read 4,863,364 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rawlife View Post
I am currently a senior in high school and looking to major in education. However, I hear is that teachers are underpaid and I also hear that teachers get paid too much in NJ. So, my question is, can a teacher live a comfortable life in Southern NJ on a teacher's salary? I'm not interested in having a lavish car, "comfortable" in a sense that i can afford rent, insurance, a car payment and maybe still eat out 2-3 times a week and have a little left over.

Thanks for any info!
One of the financial pubs recently published the 10 worst majors with the least payoff for the rising cost of college. Education was among the Top 10 worst. Hard to get a public school job, especially in NJ, overworked, little pay unless you have 10-15 years in then pay scale might be average. If it's a secondary income like two working spouses then fine outside of that you're probably better off majoring in business or some medical field like nursing. Keep in mind if you don't land a public school job, you'll be stuck in a parochial school which pays nothing, maybe $18K-20K to start. At that point you'd be better off subbing in a public school with no benefits or temping full time until you land a suitable job.
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:00 PM
 
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For the record, I'd be teaching French and am also thinking of getting a Special Ed specialization as well.
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Old 08-27-2012, 04:03 PM
Status: "The Union forever! Down with the traitors." (set 18 days ago)
 
13,669 posts, read 17,522,791 times
Reputation: 11856
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawlife View Post
For the record, I'd be teaching French and am also thinking of getting a Special Ed specialization as well.
For the record, you will have a VERY hard time getting a job if the plan is to teach French. Special Ed may be a better choice employment wise, but that's not an easy job. Just be realistic. If you want to teach, realize it's a passion and like most jobs that people get into because they are passionate about them, they tend to not pay well.

My ultimate advice, have a fallback.
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Burl. County, NJ
81 posts, read 161,627 times
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I am a high school teacher in Burlington county and the starting salary at my school is $50k. Throw on top of that all the extracurricular opportunities (coaching, clubs, detention, etc) you can make an extra $2k-$10k easy. My school even offers 100% tuition reimbursement (cost instate college, 100% for an A in the course) and a Masters will bump you over on the salary scale as well.

I think the pay and hours are great, especially with just having a bachelors degree. Special Ed is always in need, but I'd be afraid to pigeon hole myself. If your passion is French but you also get a spec ed cert you could be an inclusion teacher in an English class for the rest of your career. It would make you more marketable but it could be a risky gamble.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:47 PM
 
1 posts, read 7,168 times
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If you would like comparative New Jersey teacher salaries, go to [url=http://www.jerseysalary.com]New Jersey Teacher Salaries[/url]. You can find an aggregate assessment of what teachers are making and look up your salary potential. Email the site administrator if you'd like any custom analysis of the state educator salary database.
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