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It's All About the Money. Or Is It?

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Recent graduates may find themselves a bit overwhelmed when navigating the teacher job market for the first time. While it is easy to be enticed by districts or schools that advertise high salaries, the wise job seeker will weigh numerous factors when considering competing employment offers. Many of these considerations revolve around the employer's benefits package:

  • What is my out-of-pocket cost for health insurance?
  • Is there an additional cost to cover my spouse or children?
  • Does the organization's benefits package include dental, vision, or prescription plans? Are they offered at an additional cost?
  • What are the co-pays and deductibles?
  • Will I have the opportunity to contribute to a retirement savings program (401K or 403b, for example), and does the employer match my contributions?
  • What percentage of my monthly salary will be deducted for retirement contributions?

Additional questions that discerning job seekers ask themselves about the financial implications of an employment offer include:

  •  Do I intend to (and can I afford to) live in the community where I work?
  •  How far am I willing to commute?
  •  How will the distance of my commute impact me financially?
  •  Does the organization offer tuition assistance or reimbursement options if I choose to pursue a master's or doctorate degree, or National Board Certification?
  •  Does the organization differentiate pay for advanced degrees or National Board Certification?
  •  Are there no-cost or low-cost opportunities for professional learning and development?
  •  Will there be opportunities to supplement my income by taking on extra duties such as coaching or sponsoring clubs?

Accepting a first teaching job is one of the most exciting decisions in an educator's professional life. With conscientious research, informed questioning, and careful reflection, this decision can also be one of the smartest choices of a new teacher's career- personally, professionally, and financially.

Sherri L. Morris

Director of Talent Acquisition and HR Programming

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (NC)

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