How to Make More Money as a Teacher for Better Financial Security
Teachers help shape future generations, but this responsibility comes with surprisingly low salaries. Here is how to earn more as a teacher.
Contributing Writer at Tally
September 30, 2022
Teaching generally requires at least a bachelor’s degree, which can come with expensive student loans. The average student loan balance for all educators is $58,700, and 14.2% of educators owe more than $105,000. The average teacher spends about $750 per year on classroom supplies.
The average first-year teacher’s salary sits at $41,770. Many teachers need to find a way to make extra income. Read on to learn how to make more money to foot the student loan payments and classroom supplies and have enough cash to manage monthly expenses.
Here’s how to make more money as a teacher
As a teacher, you have many options to earn more money in your spare time with a side gig or through full-time employment. Below are some ways teachers can earn extra money.
Earning a master’s degree or doctorate
One way to boost your salary in nearly any field, including teaching, is to increase your education level. Many teachers get a bachelor’s degree and jump into their teaching careers. However, you can get a post-baccalaureate degree, such as a doctorate or master’s degree, and increase your income.
For example, the median weekly teaching salary is $1,305 with a bachelor’s degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But the median teacher salary with a master’s degree is $1,545 weekly. That’s an 18.4% pay increase. With a doctorate, the median weekly salary grows to $1,885 — another 22% increase over a master’s degree. However, an additional degree can mean taking on more student loan debt.
Becoming a school administrator
If you’re getting a higher level of education, as mentioned above, this also opens up career advancement into school administration, such as a vice principal or principal. According to the BLS, the median annual salary of all principals — vice principals included — is $98,420.
You can also progress to superintendent or leadership positions with a higher potential salary.
Selling lesson plans and worksheets online
If you create lesson plans and worksheets for your students, you may be able to sell them online for extra cash. Before doing so, you’ll need to verify the lesson plan and worksheet copyrights with the administration. If your contract says you 100% own the copyrights, you’re likely allowed to sell them. But some contracts may transfer ownership to the district or the individual school.
Also, if your contract doesn’t mention the copyrights, you’re out of luck. The Copyright Act of 1976 automatically transfers any works completed within the scope of your daily work to the property of the school or school district unless otherwise expressed.
If you’re legally allowed to sell lesson plans and worksheets, you have plenty of options, including teacher marketplaces, such as Teachers Pay Teachers, Tes or TeacherSherpa. These sites typically charge a monthly membership fee but pay you royalties in return.
For example, Teachers Pay Teachers has a free account where you earn a 55% payout on all sales minus a 30-cent transaction fee per resource. However, the Premium account runs $59.95 per year, charges a 15-cent fee per resource, and pays out 80% per sale.
You can also turn to digital marketplaces to sell your lessons and worksheets, such as Amazon Ignite, Etsy or Sellfy.
Teaching English as a second language (ESL) online
Learning English is a priority for many folks living in non-English-speaking countries, as it can open doors to higher-paying jobs or help them secure a job in the U.S. Many companies offer these courses online, such as VIPKid. Teaching English online allows you to utilize your teaching skills and earn extra cash in your spare time.
The amount you can earn with a part-time job teaching English online depends on your qualifications and other variables. But on average, you can expect to make $10 to $25 per hour, depending on the company.
So, if you put in an extra 20 hours a week on an ESL teaching job, you can add $200 to $500 per week or $10,400 to $26,000 per year to your earning potential.
Plus, you can increase your hours outside the school year, such as during summer or winter break and earn even more extra income in your free time.
Taking on additional work at your school
Many moving parts make up a school, so there are often plenty of jobs to earn more cash. You could become a coach for one of the sports teams at the school, run a club or help develop the yearbook. These are typically good for a few extra thousand dollars per year added to your salary.
Becoming a test proctor
Many standardized tests, such as the SATs, ACTs and statewide testing, require proctors to:
Protect test documents
Monitor students during exams to prevent cheating
Maintain exam room orderliness
The median hourly rate for a test proctor is $20.15.
Teaching summer school
Teaching summer school can help you earn more without shifting your skill set. When students struggle with classes during the year and fail too many courses to advance to the next grade, they can take summer school to avoid being held back. It’s the summer school teacher’s job to help these students pass.
The average summer school teacher earns $25.40 per hour, but the wage can vary by years of experience, education and specialty.
Becoming an online tutor
If you specialize in one topic, such as chemistry, anatomy or math, you can become an online tutor and earn cash on the side. Depending on your subject, you’ll help kids and adults of all ages and education levels.
Online tutors generally earn $10 to $38.90 per hour, and there’s a wide range of online companies you can join and offer your tutoring services through.
How to make more money as a teacher without actually teaching
Consider a side hustle if you need a break from teaching but still want extra cash during school breaks. These jobs have nothing to do with teaching but offer you access to cash without the commitment of a traditional summertime job.
On-demand delivery services like DoorDash, InstaCart, Uber Eats, Shipt and others offer off-duty teachers flexible side jobs they can do when they please.
Some examples of hourly earnings with these services are as follows:
Uber Eats: $19.20
Amazon Flex: $19
Many delivery drivers work for more than one company because the demand varies. For example, Instacart pays the most but has minimal demand.
In comparison, DoorDash and Grubhub will pay less but have spikes at certain times of the day. So, drivers may toggle between apps to find the one with the highest immediate demand and work until demand fades, then switch to the next with surging order numbers.
Freelancing is another option, depending on your background and skill set. For example, a computer science teacher with a programming degree could be a freelance computer programmer. An English literature teacher with a creative writing degree could become a freelance writer or blogger.
While these side gigs offer more freedom than a traditional second job, they have less flexibility than delivery services because side gigs like freelance writing or programming may include hard-set deadlines.
Teachers have many opportunities to earn extra cash
Teacher salaries may not be great relative to the amount of schooling and student loans they incur. Fortunately, you can earn extra cash during your downtime. For example, you can seek a postgraduate degree, move into school administration, teach summer school, offer online tutoring and much more.
Those looking to take a break from teaching during their downtime can choose from on-demand delivery services and freelancing to get extra cash.
Want more personal finance tips and news delivered to your inbox? Sign up for the Tally† newsletter.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 to $300.