News Story

Even Compared to Workers With College Degrees, Teachers Are Well Paid

Average educator in Michigan makes $62,000

The new Dearborn school district superintendent Glenn Maleyko says he is worried about losing his best teachers.

Maleyko told the Dearborn Press and Guide there will be a teacher shortage, and the newspaper claims the teacher pay scale is lower than what many professionals earn with a bachelor’s degree.

But the U.S. Census data doesn’t back that claim up.

The median salary for a person with a bachelor’s degree is $50,450, according to the American Community Survey 2014 put out by the U.S. Census.

A teacher with a bachelor’s degree in the Dearborn school district and nine years of experience would earn $52,163. The average salary of a Dearborn schoolteacher was $62,266 in 2013-14; according to the Michigan Department of Education. (The average includes many teachers who get paid more because they have more than bachelor's degrees.)

University of Michigan economist Don Grimes said that American Community Survey includes all workers, including part-time workers.

“If you had full-time equivalent wages it would raise everyone's wage a bit, but would not change the story in a fundamental way,” Grimes said. “But, I think your basic question is, are wages for college grads really that low? And the answer to that is yes. One-half of the people with a bachelor's degree (but not a graduate or professional degree) earn less than $50,450 and one-half earn more in the U.S.”

“But it’s even worse in Ingham (median for a bachelor’s degree is $40,225) and Isabella (median for a bachelor’s degree is $41,027),” Grimes said. “There are a lot of people out there in the world making a relatively small salary, even relatively well educated people.”

In Ingham County, a teacher with a bachelor’s with four years of experience in the Lansing school district would earn $43,386 a year. In Isabella County, a Mt. Pleasant school district teacher with a bachelor’s and six years experience would earn $41,693 a year.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.