For many students, earning a scholarship is the only way they can get to college. As the price of a college education increases, the need for good scholarships becomes more important than ever before. Students who plan on studying education to become an elementary, middle, or high school teacher will not make much money in their careers; because of the low salary, many college tuition and fees are not the investment that they used to be. So, it is vital for education majors to be able to find a good scholarship to help make their tuition prices more in line with the income that future teachers will make.
Teacher Salaries vs. College Tuition
People who are not in the world of education do not realize that teacher salaries are not in line with careers that require the same amount of education. Teachers must have a major, minor, and certification in order to find a position in a school. In many other career paths, graduates only need a major. For many teacher candidates, they find that they need to spend five years to earn their undergraduate degree and certification due to the number of classes they are required to take.
Cost of Becoming an Educator
Brand new teachers will have starting salaries somewhere between $20,000 and $32,000 depending on where work. Many colleges charge that much for a year of tuition. In many states, teacher salaries top out in the $50,000-$60,000 range, which is for teachers with over 20 years of experience and at least a Master’s degree. This is not comparable to other careers that require regular continuing education credits. The unfortunate part of teacher salaries is that they are actually going down all over the country. The “grandfathered” teachers who have been teaching for many years are often allowed to stay in their salary schedules, but in the last five years or so, school districts have created new teacher salary schedules that are significantly lower than the previous schedules.
Difficulty Recouping Tuition Price
So, when a college student spends $50,000 to $100,000+ on their education to become a teacher, they will be disappointed to find that they will not recoup their investment very quickly. If they have student loans, they could be paying those back for ten to twenty years. Then, they have to take more classes and earn a graduate degree which will require spending thousands of dollars more!
Start with High School Counselors
High school students who know they want to become teachers should begin looking for scholarships the moment they enter high school. There are some colleges that will give scholarships for future teachers when they are in their first year of high school. It is important to talk to high school counselors about scholarships for high school students that want to become teachers. High school counselors are the best resources for any type of scholarship at local colleges, because they often give the best scholarships based on the relationships they have with nearby high schools.
Many scholarships for future teachers are designed for candidates who fall into a minority category. In the United States, school districts want to hire teachers who are minorities and/or bilingual and because the education industry does pay well, many bilingual and minority graduates go into more lucrative fields. This is why many education scholarships are designed just for candidates who are less likely to go into education majors, but that are needed. Minority teachers have any easier time connecting to minority students.
The hunt for a good scholarship is worth it, especially when choosing a major that does not promise to pay as well as other majors pay.