Do Private Schools Pay Teachers More?

Teachers play a vital role in shaping young minds. With the rising cost of living, teacher pay has become a hot topic of debate. If you’re wondering whether private schools offer higher salaries for teachers, read on for a detailed look at the facts.

The short answer is yes, private schools generally pay teachers more than public schools. However, the differences in pay vary depending on factors like grade level, location, school type, and more. Keep reading as we dive into the details.

Average Salaries for Public vs. Private School Teachers

When considering a career in teaching, many factors come into play, including salary. One common question that arises is whether private schools pay their teachers more than public schools. Let’s take a closer look at the average salaries for public and private school teachers.

Public School Teacher Salaries

Public school teacher salaries vary depending on factors such as years of experience, level of education, and location. According to the National Education Association, the average salary for public school teachers in the United States was $61,730 for the 2019-2020 school year.

However, it’s important to note that this average can vary significantly from state to state and even within different districts.

For example, states like New York, California, and Massachusetts tend to have higher average salaries for public school teachers, while states like Mississippi, South Dakota, and Oklahoma tend to have lower average salaries.

It’s also worth mentioning that public school teacher salaries often include benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans.

Private School Teacher Salaries

Private school teacher salaries can vary greatly depending on the school’s location, size, and funding. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for private school teachers in the United States was $42,110 in 2020.

However, it’s important to note that this average can also vary significantly depending on factors such as the school’s reputation and the teacher’s level of education and experience.

Unlike public school teachers, private school teachers may not receive the same level of benefits, such as retirement plans or health insurance. However, private schools often offer other perks, such as smaller class sizes and a more specialized curriculum, which can be appealing to teachers seeking a different teaching environment.

Key Differences in Pay

While private school teacher salaries may, on average, be lower than those of their public school counterparts, it’s important to consider the overall compensation package and other factors that may come into play.

Public school teachers often have access to benefits such as retirement plans and health insurance, which can add value to their overall compensation. Private school teachers, on the other hand, may be attracted to the smaller class sizes and specialized curriculum offered by private schools.

It’s also worth noting that private schools may have different funding sources than public schools. Some private schools rely on tuition fees and donations from parents and alumni, which can impact their ability to offer higher salaries.

Public schools, on the other hand, receive funding from taxes and other government sources.

Factors That Influence Teacher Pay

When it comes to determining teacher salaries, several factors come into play. These factors vary from school to school and can significantly impact how much a teacher is paid. Let’s explore some of the key factors that influence teacher pay.

School Location

The location of the school plays a critical role in determining teacher salaries. In general, schools located in urban areas tend to offer higher salaries compared to schools in rural or remote areas. This is due to several factors, including the cost of living, availability of resources, and the demand for qualified teachers.

For example, teachers in big cities like New York or Los Angeles may earn higher salaries than their counterparts in smaller towns.

School Type

The type of school also affects teacher pay. Private schools, for instance, are often known for offering higher salaries compared to public schools. This is because private schools typically have more financial resources and can allocate a larger portion of their budget to teacher salaries.

However, it’s important to note that not all private schools pay higher salaries, as it depends on the specific school’s funding and financial situation.

Teacher Credentials and Experience

The qualifications and experience of teachers play a significant role in determining their pay. Teachers with advanced degrees, such as a master’s or a doctorate, may receive higher salaries compared to those with only a bachelor’s degree.

Additionally, years of teaching experience can also impact salary levels. Teachers with more experience are often rewarded with higher pay to reflect their expertise and contributions to the field of education.

Subject Area and Grade Level

The subject area and grade level that a teacher specializes in can also influence their pay. In some cases, teachers who specialize in high-demand subjects, such as math, science, or special education, may receive higher salaries due to the shortage of qualified teachers in these areas.

Similarly, teachers who work with higher grade levels, such as high school or advanced placement classes, may receive higher pay compared to those teaching in elementary schools.

It’s important to note that while these factors can influence teacher pay, they are not the only ones at play. Each school and district may have its own unique factors and policies that determine teacher salaries.

Additionally, local and state regulations, union contracts, and budgetary constraints can also impact how much teachers are paid. Therefore, it’s essential to consider these factors holistically when examining teacher salaries.

To learn more about teacher pay and its various factors, you can visit reputable educational websites such as or

Reasons for Pay Disparities

When it comes to pay disparities between public and private schools, several factors come into play. These factors contribute to the differences in compensation received by teachers in each sector. Let’s explore some of the main reasons for these pay disparities:

Source of Funding

One of the key factors influencing pay disparities between public and private schools is the source of funding. Public schools are primarily funded by government sources, such as state and local taxes. On the other hand, private schools rely on tuition fees, donations, and endowments.

This difference in funding sources often leads to variations in the financial resources available to private schools, which can impact teacher salaries.

According to a study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), public school teachers earn a median salary of $60,477, while private school teachers earn a median salary of $45,940. This disparity can be attributed, in part, to the difference in funding sources.

Smaller Class Sizes

Private schools are known for their smaller class sizes compared to public schools. This smaller student-to-teacher ratio allows private school teachers to provide more individualized attention to their students.

However, it also means that private school teachers may have a smaller number of students to teach, resulting in lower salaries.

Despite the potential for smaller class sizes, public school teachers often have to manage larger classrooms due to limited resources and increasing student populations. This can result in higher workloads but may also provide opportunities for public school teachers to negotiate higher salaries based on their increased responsibilities.

Flexible Pay Structures

Private schools often have more flexibility in their pay structures compared to public schools. While public school teachers typically follow a standardized salary schedule based on years of experience and education level, private schools have the freedom to set their own pay scales.

This flexibility allows private schools to reward teachers based on performance, specialized skills, or subject areas in demand. As a result, some private school teachers may earn higher salaries if they possess unique qualifications or are highly sought after in their field.

Greater Resources

Private schools generally have access to greater resources than public schools. These resources can include state-of-the-art facilities, advanced technology, and specialized educational programs. The availability of these resources can attract highly qualified teachers to private schools, leading to increased competition and potentially higher salaries.

Additionally, private schools often have smaller administrative staff, allowing them to allocate a larger portion of their budget towards teacher salaries. This prioritization of teacher compensation can contribute to higher pay for private school teachers compared to their counterparts in public schools.

Other Benefits Besides Salary

While it is true that private schools often offer higher salaries to their teachers compared to public schools, there are also many other benefits that come along with working in a private school. These benefits can make a significant difference in a teacher’s overall job satisfaction and quality of life.

Better Facilities

Private schools generally have more resources to invest in their facilities. This means that teachers often have access to state-of-the-art classrooms, technology, and equipment. Having access to better facilities can create a more conducive learning environment and enhance the overall teaching experience.

Smaller Classes

One of the main advantages of private schools is the smaller class sizes. With fewer students to manage, teachers are able to provide more individualized attention and support to each student. This can lead to better academic outcomes and a more fulfilling teaching experience.

More Planning Time

Private schools often allocate more time for teachers to plan their lessons and collaborate with colleagues. This extra planning time allows teachers to design engaging and innovative lessons that cater to the specific needs of their students.

It also provides opportunities for professional growth and development.

Professional Development Opportunities

Private schools typically prioritize professional development for their teachers. They offer a variety of workshops, conferences, and training programs to enhance teachers’ skills and knowledge. This commitment to ongoing professional growth not only benefits the teachers themselves but also translates into better educational experiences for the students.


While pay varies, the overall trend shows that private school teachers tend to earn higher salaries than public school teachers. Key factors like school type, location, grade level, and experience impact earnings.

Private schools also attract teachers by offering better facilities, resources, and working conditions. For teachers, weighing salary along with other benefits can help determine the best school environment.

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