Teacher salaries in Iowa vary by school district. The state average teacher salary is $52,000 a year, but the highest-paid school districts pay their teachers more than twice that amount and the lowest-paid districts pay their teachers less than $40,000 a year.
Scholarshub Contents Table
Teaching: A rewarding career
The best way to tell if a career is really for you is to get in the trenches and experience a day in the life of a teacher. Teachers do way more behind the scenes work than most people realize. Often, during student teaching, prospective teachers get a taste for how much work teachers actually do on a daily basis. Until you get to that point, here are a few more things to consider if you’re on the fence about becoming a teacher.
Teaching doesn’t end when the final bell rings and you walk out of the building. Many teachers take on extra duties such as coaching, advising clubs, or chaperoning activities. Even if you don’t have an official commitment after the school day has ended, most teachers also take home work they couldn’t get done during the school day such as grading or lesson planning.
And if you’ve managed to go home without anything to do? More often than not, your students will still be on your mind long after you’ve gone home for the day. If they’re not on your mind, you’ll likely find them at the grocery store, at the park while you’re walking your dog, or working the drive thru when you get your coffee. Teachers truly are ingrained in the community and the lives of their students.
As a teacher, you’re constantly in the public eye and teaching is a job that is difficult to truly escape. Especially if you teach in a small town, students and parents will notice your personal life. This can be taxing if you prefer to keep a low key existence.
A teacher’s job is not boring, which is usually good, but it can also make for a very stressful workday. You can plan your lessons for the day and think you have an idea of how the day will go, but when you throw children into the mix, you never know what is going to happen. It can be frustrating to realize you wasted time preparing a lesson that didn’t work or to have to rush to gather a week’s worth of materials for a student who just informed you he’s leaving for vacation tomorrow. You definitely learn to expect the unexpected when you’re a teacher.
Although you should choose passion over money if you want to be truly happy with your job, it is important to note that teachers are notoriously underpaid. On average, teachers make about 20% less than those with the same degree in a different field. What you can make as a teacher depends largely on your location, your education, and your years of experience. Teachers can also make more by adding on extra duties such as coaching or tutoring, but if you’re looking to make the big bucks, teaching isn’t the job for you.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Teacher
It typically takes at least four years to become a teacher as that is the amount of time it takes most people to earn a bachelor’s degree. With student teaching included in most teacher preparation programs, you won’t need to complete any additional coursework, training, or internships to begin teaching once you earn your degree and certification.
However, due to the rigors and requirements of teacher education, many prospective teachers are not able to earn their degree in just eight undergraduate semesters. Many take courses during the summers, load up their course schedule, so they’re taking more than 15 credits per semester, or spend an extra semester at school in order to complete their degree.
Another reason it might take longer than four years to become a teacher is if you earn your degree in a field other than education. We’ll explain more on this below, but this would require you to take some extra coursework and earn your teaching certificate separately from your bachelor’s degree, which would take longer than four years.
Requirements to Become a Teacher
Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few requirements you’ll need to meet in order to be trusted with teaching children. Requirements vary by state, but at the bare minimum, teachers need to have a bachelor’s degree, have experience teaching (usually accomplished through student teaching), and hold a valid teaching certificate in their state (more on how to become certified below).
Surprisingly, you don’t have to major in education to become a teacher. Most prospective teachers do major in either early childhood education, elementary education, or secondary education, but that isn’t the only path you can take.
Many teachers major in other disciplines and earn their teaching certificate separately. This is a great path to follow if you’re not completely sure you want to be a teacher. Earning your degree in a field related to the one you want to teach can also be beneficial to help you become an expert and really gain a deep understanding of the field.
Of those who choose to major in a field other than education, some earn their teaching certificate immediately after finishing their bachelor’s degree while others return to a certification program after they’ve worked for a few years in a different field. Many colleges offer teacher certification programs.
One important caveat to keep in mind is that private schools and preschools may have different requirements for teachers than public schools. While some have less strict requirements, many private schools have higher standards and a set of very specific requirements teachers must meet. Typically, degree and certification programs prepare students to meet all the requirements to become a teacher in their state, but if you are planning on teaching in a different state or in a private school, be sure to research the requirements early on in your education journey.
Regardless of the route you take to earn your degree and certificate, as part of your degree or certification program, you’ll need to complete an internship or field experience, commonly known as student teaching. To prepare for student teaching, you’ll likely have earlier field experiences that mostly involve observing. Many education programs also require early hands on experiences, such as tutoring or volunteering.
Average Teacher Salary
What grade are you teaching? What school are you working in? These are the biggest initial factors in determining the average salary of a teacher will look like.
When the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) updates its occupational employment statistics, it breaks up schoolteachers into categories. The three broadest categories they use are elementary school teachers, middle school teachers and secondary school teachers, which we more colloquially refer to as high school teachers. It can’t provide hourly wages, as the role of a teacher isn’t technically a year-round position, but annual wages are reported.