Teaching Salaries USA vs. World

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made the news when he announced a 40% increase in school teacher salaries (reported by plenglish.com) for the Latin American country. Teachers will reportedly see that salary boost in November of 2007.  Chavez was quoted as saying, "...we will do everything possible to continue rising standard of living, not only with the basic salary but also with social security and housing plans."

While Chavez's true long-term agenda is questionable, there is no denying that U.S. educators would welcome a raise in school teacher salaries. In fact, how does the U.S. compare to the rest of the world?  According to a report of global school teacher salaries by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), the U.S. is lagging behind. To find out why, read more.

How does your salary compare to the average school teacher salaries?  Find out with the PayScale Salary Calculator.   

Teacher Salaries Listed Online

According to the OECD report, the average salary for a U.S. primary teacher (with 15 years of experience) is just over $40K, putting the U.S. in 12th place among the 29 countries surveyed.   In contrast, teachers in Luxembourg have an average salary of $88K (converted in U.S. dollars). On the very low end is Hungary, where school teacher salaries average $16K.

Salary for a Beginner High School Teacher in Florida vs. Global Pay

After Luxembourg at $88K, Switzerland comes in at $60K (who wouldn't want to teach the Von Trapp kids?). Germany and Korea tie at close to $50K. Scotland and Japan both rank in the $47K range. Down the line near $45K are Ireland, the Netherlands, Australia, England, Spain... then the U.S. at $40K. To be fair though, the cost of living in some of these countries is much higher than the U.S.

School Teacher Salaries States

The next part of the report won't surprise teachers in the U.S. According to the study, United States teachers spend more hours at work than their counterparts in 29 other countries. The OECD says that U.S. primary-level teachers teach an average of 1,080 hours yearly, far above the average of 803 hours for all countries surveyed; that means less pay for more American work.

Beyond Teaching Salary Comparison

The U. S. ranked 10th in controlling class sizes, with 23.1 students per classroom at the primary level; that was higher than higher than the OECD average of 21.5. The spending on U.S. pre-kindergarten students was among the highest of all the countries, but the U. S. has one of the lowest participation rates for children younger than 5: 50 percent, compared to the OECD average of 68.5 percent.

Teaching Jobs High Salary: In Venezuela?

When it came to high school graduation, 87% of the U.S. population, between 25-34, has their diploma.  That shines brightly compared to Mexico where only 24% of that population (in that age group) has completed high school. And what about Venezuela?  Well it wasn't part of the OECD survey. But Bolivian teachers, near Venezuela, make a reported $4 an hour.

How does your salary compare to average teaching salaries by state? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale's full salary survey.


Dr. Al Lee


  1. Please prove to us that you're not a robot:

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

Comp Managers: Start Here »