Teachers of America (and the world), we celebrate you! To commemorate World Teachers’ Day on October 5, I want to share some data about today’s teachers and reflect back on how my own teachers influenced me on my path to become the Acting Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We’ll also include quotes from some amazing teachers on what inspires them to teach.
I always enjoyed math class, although college-level calculus proved to be a challenge. One of my favorite teachers taught me both geometry and calculus at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, Connecticut. (Home of the Governors!) What I mostly remember was how patient she was with everyone in the class. She wanted everyone to succeed and went out of her way to make everyone feel special. Hers was the last class of the day, and we’d often stay late just to soak up a little more calculus. I guess geek-dom starts early.
I’m not sure I’d ever heard of economics or statistics back in high school, and I certainly had never heard of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But I had a good foundation in math, which I put to use every day. I even got pretty good at using a slide rule (kids, you can search for it on the Internet). But that’s a story for another day.
Oh, economics. I guess I stumbled onto that in college, and was fortunate to have great professors and interesting topics like labor economics, urban economics, economic history, and even Soviet economics. But the one I remember most fondly was “Economics of the Arts,” which explored movies, theater, music, museums, and more. No wonder I came to work in a city brimming with the arts.
Enough of me reminiscing. Now let’s get to the facts. I’m happy to report BLS has lots of data about teachers. Table 1 shows employment, wages, and projected growth for a few teacher categories. Links go to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which provides career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations, including, of course, teachers!
|Table 1: Employment, projected outlook, and wages for teachers|
|Occupation||Employment, 2016||Employment growth, projected 2016–26 (percent)||Employment change, projected 2016–26||Median annual wage, May 2017|
|Preschool teachers||478,500||10% (Faster than average)||50,100||$28,990|
|Kindergarten and elementary school teachers||1,565,300||7% (As fast as average)||116,300||$56,900|
|Middle school teachers||630,300||8% (As fast as average)||47,300||$57,720|
|High school teachers||1,018,700||8% (As fast as average)||76,800||$59,170|
|Special education teachers||439,300||8% (As fast as average)||33,300||$58,980|
|Career and technical education teachers||219,400||4% (Slower than average)||7,700||$55,240|
|Postsecondary teachers||1,314,400||15% (Much faster than average)||197,800||$76,000|
|Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program and Occupational Employment Statistics survey.|
I’ve saved the best for last! Time to drill down and look at some local data. Using data from our Occupational Employment Statistics program, let’s look at the Secondary School Teachers page as an example. Scroll down the page and you will see six maps and charts, which include state and metropolitan area data for employment, concentration of jobs and average wages of secondary school teachers. To highlight some of the data:
- Where is high school teacher employment?
- Texas has the highest employment of secondary school teachers (113,120) with California coming in second (107,680).
- Wyoming is the state with the lowest number of high school teachers (1,860) and Vermont has the second lowest number (2,120).
- New York-Jersey City-White Plains, New York-New Jersey, Metropolitan area has the most employment (42,350).
- How do wages differ?
- Average annual wages of secondary school teachers ranged from the lowest in Oklahoma ($41,880) and South Dakota ($41,980) to the highest in Alaska ($85,420) and New York ($83,360).
- The highest paid area for secondary school teachers is Nassau County-Suffolk County, New York, Metropolitan Division with an average annual wage of $101,110. The lowest paid area for secondary school teachers is Sierra Vista-Douglas, Arizona, at $39,590.
- Where are the highest and lowest concentrations of secondary school teacher jobs?
- If you look at the employment per thousand jobs, the state of Missouri has the highest number (9.9 teacher jobs for every 1,000 jobs), with Maine (9.6), Texas (9.5) and Ohio (9.4) close behind.
- On the low end of the scale are Nevada (4.4 teacher jobs for every 1,000 jobs), Washington (4.5) and the District of Columbia (4.6).
To learn more about teacher data available from the Occupational Employment Statistics program, see Education, Training, and Library Occupation Profiles. For a list of all industries and occupations, see the Create Customized Tables function.
Want more information?
- Several articles on teachers are available on our website:
- Job requirements for teachers in 2017 (September 2018)
- A look at elementary and secondary school employment (September 2018)
- A look at teacher pay across the United States in 2017 (May 2018)
- Teaching for a living (June 2016)
- Careers for music lovers (February 2015)
- Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook Frequently Asked Questions.
- Contact my great BLS staff by email or phone (202) 691-5700 to ask questions.
Whatever you do in life, you may have a teacher (or two!) to thank for guiding you on your path. So join with me and say, “Thank you teachers for all you do!”