Are you wondering “is teaching worth it anymore?” Are you wondering how to become rich as a teacher? It’s widely known that while teachers are integral in society, they don’t get paid the biggest salaries for their hard work. Most teachers don’t choose the occupation for the money. It’s important to do everything that you can in order to build a big enough nest egg to spend on what you want and for retirement. In this article, I’ll be going over the various benefits a teacher may get to earn extra money as well as go over a variety of side hustles that will help you become rich as a teacher.
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Average Teacher Salaries in the United States
The reality of any occupation is that not everyone is paid the same. In the teaching industry, higher grade teachers generally don’t make more than any lower grade teachers. The two factors that matter the most in your teachings salary are years of experience and education level or certifications.
Average teacher salaries vary from state to state and vary widely based on education level and experience. However, it’s good to have a general gauge of how much you’ll make in order to budget for living expenses. Here are all the average teacher salaries in the United States from 2019-2020.
403b Plans for Teachers
Teachers are public sector employees and are therefore offered 403b plans for retirement planning, which is considered as part of your total compensation package. 403b plans are tax-deferred retirement plans, commonly offer employer matches, and incur penalties upon early withdrawal.
403b Plan vs 401k
Teachers are public sector employees and are therefore offered 403b plans over 401k plans. 403b plans and 401k plans mainly differ based on the employer that offers them. 403b plans are offered by government or non-profit organizations while 401k plans are offered by private, for-profit companies. However, they’re both largely similar in the fact that they help build your nest egg for retirement.
With 403b plans, you can only invest in annuities or mutual funds while 401k plans allow you to invest in annuities, mutual funds, stocks, and bonds 401k plans offer more options because they are often more expensive for employers to implement.
403b plans also less commonly offer employer matches because the employer has to comply with the Employer Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) if they do.
457b Plans for Teachers
Public school districts may give you the option to contribute to a 457b plan. In a 457b plan, your money comes out of your paycheck prior to taxes and grows tax-deferred.
When you leave your teacher job, you can start taking withdrawals from your 457b plan without penalty.
457b, 403b plans, and 401k plans are all in the same bucket in that they count towards the same annual contribution limit towards your retirement. This limit is $22,500 in 2023 with an additional $6,500 if you are age 50 or older. If you are within three years of normal retirement age, you can contribute even more. This limit is, stated by the IRS, “the basic annual limit plus the amount of the basic limit not used in prior years (only allowed if not using age 50 or over catch-up contributions.”
457b Plan Employer Match
For a 457b plan, the employer match counts towards your annual contribution limit. This differs from 403b or 401k plans because those plans have employer matches that don’t count towards your annual contribution limit. Even fewer entities provide matching plans in the 457b plans.
Do Teachers Get Social Security?
It’s important to note that teachers in some states don’t get social security because they don’t contribute. A quick look at your paycheck will show you if you contribute to social security.
You may get social security if you worked for at least 10 years in the private sector at a different occupation, regardless of if you contribute to your social security currently as a teacher.
In Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, and Texas, teachers do NOT contribute to social security and therefore will not reap the benefits on retirement.
In Georgia, Kentucky, and Rhode Island, some school districts participate in social security and some do not.
11 Ways Teachers Can Earn Extra Money – Side Hustles for Teachers
1. Sell Printables
Selling your lesson plans and academic diagrams can be lucrative side hustle as a teacher. Many people are constantly looking for a way to study with nice visuals and diagrams. Consider selling your digital downloads on platforms such as Etsy, Sellfy, or Gumroad to make extra money and become rich as a teacher.
2. Tutoring Jobs for Teachers
Tutors can easily charge $30 per hour and some locations even allow you to charge $100 per hour depending on your expertise and subject area! Standardized test tutors such as ones for the SAT or ACT can charge even more.
Many teachers use their teaching credentials to leverage their marketability as a tutor. Knowing the local curriculum can put you at an advantage to other teachers in the area as well.
3. Summer Camps for Teachers to Work At
Summer camps are a great way to help become rich as a teacher as they’re usually a period when teachers are on vacation. Some school districts offer summer programs that you can teach summer classes at for the same school.
You can also teach summer camps intended as enrichment courses. Some popular summer camps that teachers may teach at are Camp America and iD Tech. Start looking early on in the beginning of the year to apply for summer positions at these camps.
4. Get Certifications
Getting extra certifications on top of your degree can help you raise your salary and become rich as a teacher. Each state has different requirements and will raise your salary in different ways. For example, teachers in New York City can earn college credits that increase their salaries by participating in the College Level Examination Program (CLEP).
5. Start a Blog
If you find your self restricted for time, starting a blog can be a great way to make some extra income as a teacher. A blog can be a great stream of passive income via affiliate marketing, ads, and partnerships. You can start a blog on any topic such as topics your students would search about, your hobbies outside of teaching, and more.
Before starting a blog, make sure you niche down and focus on a topic that will resonate with a specific audience. You don’t want to be posting articles that are all over the place in terms of topics.
You can learn how to start your own blog here!
6. Teach English to Overseas Students
Students overseas are always looking for fluent English speakers as conversation partners and language teachers. These lessons can be as structured or as casual as you like. Platforms such as Preply or Skooli will allow you to create your own profile and find students quickly.
Note: Find other unique side hustles to earn extra money here.
7. Teacher Awards and Grants
Another way to become rich as a teacher is by applying for teaching awards and grants. One of the most prominent awards is the Milken Educator Awards, which awards an unrestricted $25,000 to outstanding K-12 teachers.
8. Host a Homestay Student
If you have the availability in your home, you can consider hosting a homestay student. Usually, these students are studying abroad from another country for a year or two and looking for a family that can host them. Platforms such as StudentRoomStay match families with students with families for payment.
Of course, you can set your own requirements for the student such as gender, age, certain personality traits, etc. I personally lived with a couple homestay students when I was younger and it was a fun experience because it was like having an older sibling!
9. Leverage Being a Teacher to Get Free Stuff
Although teachers may not earn the highest salaries in the United States, they are highly respected and given a variety of benefits. Some common free things for teachers include decorations, books, magazines, calculators, and more! While this may not increase your salary directly, you can save a lot of money by making use of the benefits that being a teacher gets you. Do your due diligence to become rich as a teacher and make sure that you get as many free stuff as you can!
10. Become a Real Estate Agent
As a teacher with a free summer, becoming a real estate agent is perfect for earning extra money as a teacher. Being a part-time real estate agent can be a lucrative side hustle if you work hard. Getting your real estate salesperson license can be done in as short as three months!
Note: Start studying for your real estate salesperson license exam for as low as $90 here!
11. Take on Extra Duties at Your School
Some schools pay their staff extra for taking on duties such as after-school tutoring, being a club advisor, athletic coaching, and more. Inquire with your specific school or district to see if there are ways you can increase your salary and become rich as a teacher quicker.
Become Rich as a Teacher – Is Teaching Worth It?
The answer to this really depends on you! The gratitude you get as a teacher and the impact you’ll have on your students is irreplaceable but the financial side of things may make you reconsider. It all comes down to personal preferences. It’s not impossible to become rich as a teacher but may take some forethought. However, with careful planning, you can become rich as a teacher just like you can with any other occupation!
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Hello, I’m Chloe! I’m the primary author of Off Hour Hustle. Currently, I work as a software engineer, sell products through eBay, Etsy, and OfferUp, have 26+ credit cards, and am always working to diversify my income streams. In my spare time, I enjoy climbing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.