The latest on teachers’ salaries

One of the most popular “Retired Educator” posts on Internet search engines is an article I published at the end of May this year about teachers’ salaries. As such, I decided to check out the latest statistics at “payscale.com” — something I would recommend people do if they are thinking of a career in education. The last update was done recently, on November 14th, 2009 and here is some of what the site reports:

Measuring the salary for teachers by province reveals that Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia are in a slightly higher position compared to the median salary for teachers in Ontario.

This might seem surprising given that Ontario is one of the largest provinces and is home to Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Keep in mind, though, that the salary for teachers in Ontario and other provinces will be influenced by a number of factors.

For example, comparing the Salary for Teachers in Ontario by City shows that the median salary for teachers in Ottawa is around C$50,000, while the chart above shows that the median salary for teachers in Ontario overall is around C$48,000.

The city chart also reveals that the median salary for teachers in Ottawa is higher than in Toronto by almost C$4,000. This variation in the salary for teachers in Ontario is one example of why thorough salary research is so important; the more information you have, the better decisions you can make about your teaching career.

Regardless of location, teachers can expect to earn a range of salaries depending on their level of experience, employment setting and specific job title. The median salary for teachers in Ontario may be close to C$50,000, but beginning teachers will probably earn much less.

Looking at the Salary for Teachers by Years Experience shows that the starting salary for teachers in Canada is less than C$40,000, increasing to over C$68,000 after 20 years of experience. 

Whether you’re researching the salary for teachers in Ontario, Quebec or another province, rest assured that teacher salaries can increase dramatically after just a few years of experience.”

So, while teachers are very well paid and have excellent health and pension benefits, most are not earning the huge salaries many think. However, are the wages better than average? Probably. Is the profession secure and inflation proof? Definitely.

Whatever the case, I am certain that prospective teachers will definitely find this “payscale.com” information useful.

20 thoughts on “The latest on teachers’ salaries

  1. I’ve followed teacher salaries here in Nova Scotia and, according to your figures, we’re doing pretty good compared to teachers elsewhere in
    Canada. In a phone conversation with the then deputy minister of Ed a few years back, I learned that the average teacher set the province back sixty three thousand bucks. Of course, that includes the perks and benefits which people tend to ignore, but which can be up to a third of a teacher’s renumeration package. It’s all in the fine print, the bankable sick days, the snow days, the PD days, the health and dental benefits and and subsidies towards further education. For a Mickey Mouse B-Ed, that not too shabby. Engineers are lucky to do so well.

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  2. Thank the unions for that. If they weren’t so petrified of objective performance measurements and merit bonus and the like teachers would likely have far more opportunity for additional pay. But that would mean rewarding the exceptional teachers and not rewarding the mediocre to lousy teachers and that would be completely counter to the “one size fits all” solution favored by the unions. Implement a balanced scorecard… give educators clear and objective means for them to be measured on… see what happens.

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  3. R Wallace — Mickey Mouse B-Ed? Remember, that’s after or concurrent with a B.A. or B.Sc., so it definitely is not shabby. Engineers tend to say this sort of thing when they haven’t done the B.Ed program themselves. It’s apples versus oranges, just different. I get the same reaction regarding my Ph.D in Education, compared to say, chemistry or math. Learning about learning (cognition and information processing) is just as important, just different!

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  4. Teachers are well paid in the grand scheme of things. How well, it seems, depends on the current economic situation in the province. In good times, people seem less inclined to become teachers since many feel the money isn’t very good. Right now however, teachers seem to be paid extraordinarily well.

    We could promote the US system that severely under pays its teachers. That system seems to be working great! Teaching may be one of the few careers that traditionally has seen the best and brightest from the US try to find jobs in Canada.

    The other option is to cut back on teachers’ salaries which might mean that teachers will cut back on the amount of money they spend on their own to supplement the short falls in education. Many things in classrooms have been purchased by teachers themselves, out of pocket.

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  5. Yes but teachers in Ontario can very quickly get to the top of the pay grid, which in the next three years will be close to the 100K mark.

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  6. Murasak — What you assume is only partially correct and is, in fact, a huge exaggeration.

    First of all, it depends on what you mean by quickly. It took my husband nearly 15 years to get to the top of the grid. Then, it depends on qualifications. Teachers who don’t upgrade and finish AQ courses and their master’s degrees never get anywhere near what you are claiming.

    Moreover, even my husband, who had two specialist certificates and a master’s degree, and at the top of the grid, even after 32 years, never came close to earning $100K. Principals and superintendents, perhaps, but not many teachers, that’s for sure.

    The fact that the general public tend to believe what you are assuming is actually most unfortunate because it simply is not true for the average teacher.

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  7. You act like teachers’ wages are high. Almost every objective look at this points out that teachers are underpaid compared to jobs in the private sector with similar education demands. VERY conservative Alberta pays the most due to suppy and demand. BC with its very strong unions is well back behind Ontario.

    Ontario has the lowest grant per K-12 student in Canada outside of Atlantic Canada. Ontario does not tax enough and its teachers wages are a cheap deal. Consider yourself lucky.

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  8. Doug — I’m not sure who your comment is directed at. I simply posted this as an information piece, although one commenter did try to suggest most teachers were making $100 K. Not likely!

    But, trying to say teachers are underpaid and compare their salaries to private sector jobs with simiular demands won’t cut it in my book. Why?

    Because my husband just finished teaching half-time for six years, post public school retirement, and can guarantee that private school teacher salaries are considerably lower than public.

    Yes, permanent teachers should indeed consider themselves lucky, particularly when you throw in pension, sick leave and major medical benefits — including dental. As retired teachers (at least for the Niagara board), we now have to pay nearly $200 a month for fewer benefits and no dental at all.

    However, we definitely are very appreciative of our pensions — albeit mine is small because I went to teach on sessional contracts with two different universities (you know, the kind of contracts that provide no benefits or pension plan).

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  9. Doug — I missed your comment: “Ontario does not tax enough and its teachers wages are a cheap deal.” You can’t be serious, especially with the HST coming down the pipe. We just got notice that our retirement health benefits would be going up nearly $40.00 a month to accomodate the insurance companies costs due to the HST. Then, there will be the extra tax on heating and hydro plus………

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  10. I am deadly serious. Tax policy cannot be based on low = good high=bad. There is a cost benefit ratio involved. It all depends what you get for the money.

    Northern Europe taxes more but gets better education for it. Finland pays the highest grants in the world and the OECD says they have the best education system in the world. Everything related to human happiness in a society is directly related to the quality of their education system. As an advisor to former cabinet ministers and education critics I have repeatedly told them to package their policies as “Towards the World’s Best Education System.” This must be our goal. We need to position Ontario where we have the best results on every single measure of education. This takes money as well as clever spending. Take ECL. This new initiative will have a Return on Investment of $5-$1. It is better than free, it actually returns money to the public at a better rate than the LCBO!

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  11. Doug — I too have government experience having been the EA to the Parliamentary Assistant to the Ed Minister. My problem is that with the McGuinty gov’t so-called student “success” policy — also referred to as no-fail — Ontario is far from being in the “world’s best education systems” by the measure of pushing kids through the system to increase graduation rates just doesn’t cut it. Mind you, I haven’t seen any evidence that the Hudak Tories would do any better.

    But, that said, I honestly wouldn’t mind paying more education taxes if I thought it would do as you say. And, I do agree that we need ways to “measure” results — over and above the EQAO school-wide statistics.

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  12. My web site http://www.thelittleeducationreport.com would be considered left of centre or what I call “progressive” but non-partisan. I have condemned the Fullan-Levin make it easy route. Tories stupidly make HS too difficult because they want “rigor” Guy Giarno’s favourite word. The Libs make HS too easy for equity purposes. Both are stupid. The big magic trick in education is to set the bar at an appropriate level and graduate more kids every year at the same time. To do this we must spend more to create smaller classes, spend more on teacher training and upgrading, reduce and eventually eliminate streaming, end standardized testing, offer free tuition and other reforms.

    Critics like to say this is pie-in-the-sky Doug. I say this is exactly why Finland has the best system in the world. This is what we MUST do.

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  13. Doug — Actually, when it comes to educational practices, I too am left of centre, which causes a lot of debate around here. Like how can a conservative think that way? Well, that’s because I am a red Tory for some things (fiscal responsibility) but probably more socially liberal when it comes to special needs, etc.

    Anyway, having taught teacher education and had my own private practice for students with learning disabilities (who weren’t being taught the strategies in the school system that they need to succeed because of the extent of their special needs) — I know that eliminating streaming is simply not possible.

    When community colleges came on stream to accommodate all students, regardless of their learning needs, back in the early 90’s, I was a consultant for many special needs offices. Even when students were diagnosed with learning difficulties affecting processing and cognitive and the ability to think abstractly, they were “expected” to get a college diploma. It resulted in a lot of what some people call “dumbing down the curriculum.” There is a reason for streaming. I don’t know how Finland does it, but my guess is they also have ways of streaming — perhaps just not called that.

    So, for a left of centre kind of guy, how can you abandon those with special learning needs by eliminating streaming? It may be politically correct but not possible in real life. As the saying goes: been there and done that!

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  14. Doug,

    I just added your link to my sidebar blogroll. If you have an RSS feed, please leave the URL here (as I couldn’t find it on your site) and I’ll add it too. I find your articles interesting and no doubt my regular readers will too.

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  15. Many teachers believe that destreaming is not possible but by de-streaming I would still allow some special ed. Destreaming would eliminate Applied programs (9-10) and College/Workplace streams or “official streaming” in HS. It is impossible except for the fact that many jurisdictions function on a de-streamed (de-tracking in the USA) model. In those jurisdictions, a higher % of students go further in school. The work of John Goodlad and Jeanie Oakes confirms that and Radwanski studied it for his rather conservative report. After he looked at all the evidence on streaming he called streaming “a theoretical error, a practical failure and a social injustice.” Pretty convincing.

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  16. Doug,

    Even when I went to high school — and that was a VERY long time ago — we had junior and senior matriculation programs (Grade 12 and 13) plus an Intermediate diploma (for those who only went as far as Grade 10 but were going into an apprenticeship program). Also, for those who couldn’t cut the academic stream (where everyone had to take all the subjects including Latin and French), we had “commercial” for girls and “vocational” for boys — which at least shows we have improved at least as far as sexism goes! LOL

    Anyway, call it what you like, streaming involves more than special education. Not all kids are academic in orientation for any number of reasons. But, destreaming is in right now, so I am likely whistling in the wind.

    Why? Because we are teaching teachers to make allowance for individual differences, while simultaneously telling them to teach to the whole group. It’s philosophical and ideological. Equity. Inclusion. IMO, teacher’s can’t do it all.

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  17. Stream is the most severe form of discrimination against working class and minority students. The plain fact is more kids go further in school in de-streamed systems. Radwanski understood that the placement of students into lower streams, just like standardized testing, drives up the dropout rate. If you put student in lower academic streams, they drop out earlier.

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  18. Re streaming, we’ll simply have to agree to disagree. I also believe there is plenty of evidence that kids who are in programs that are too difficult drop out as well. It works both ways.

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