While high school teachers have the advantage of a couple of solid months off during the summer and frequent vacations around holidays, they often work more than 40 hours per week during the school year. Outside of the school day, high school teachers must plan for lessons, correct papers and consult with parents. Many coach sports or are involved in other activities at their schools. High school teachers are usually required to hold at least a bachelor's degree, and must have a teaching license issued by their state.
National Pay Scale:
As of 2011, high school teachers reported an average salary of $56,330 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although many teachers have summers off, they have the option to take all of their pay during the school year or split it up into equal paychecks throughout the calendar year. Half of general education high school teachers in the United States reported annual salaries ranging from $43,540 to $68,150.
As of 2011, different states reported very different average teacher salaries to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The very highest average pay for high school teachers was found in New York, where the mean yearly income for this occupation was $71,820. Rhode Island was second with an average salary of $70,430 per year, followed by Alaska at $69,730, New Jersey at $68,650 and Connecticut at $66,870. South Dakota reported the lowest average salary for high school teachers, $39,680.
Pay for Specialized High School Teachers:
Teachers who specialize in vocational and technical education at high schools reported a slightly lower average salary -- $56,330 -- to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2011 than did general education teachers. Special education teachers, on the other hand, reported somewhat higher earnings, averaging $59,080 per year. The very highest-paying state for special education teachers in 2011 was New York, with an average salary of $74,790, while vocational and technical teachers in Rhode Island reported the highest average salary for their profession, $77,250 per year.
Although employment of high school teachers is expected to grow at a relatively slow rate of 7 percent between 2010 and 2020, different regions of the country will experience different rates of job growth. Because student populations in the South and the West are growing, these regions will have more jobs available for teachers. Employment prospects in the Northeast are expected to be the worst, because this region is actually experiencing a decline in student enrollment. Special education teachers and those trained to teach science and math are highest in demand and should be able to find work, whereas English and history teachers may face strong competition for jobs.