By Kate Halstead
While everyone would agree that the best perk of becoming a teacher is the opportunity to help children become self-aware individuals and instill them with a life-long love of learning, you don't hear much about the other perks and benefits of being a teacher. Check out this list of the top ten benefits of being a teacher:
Ten Reasons to Pursue a Teaching Career
10. You'll Earn A Solid Paycheck as a Teacher
While teaching is not a get-rich-quick profession, starting salaries are in line with other graduate professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, public teachers are actually paid about 11 percent more than the average professional worker. Teaching careers also offer opportunities for advancement and increased pay over time. And teacher salaries are actually higher than you'd think.
9. More than Just an Apple a Day
Important benefits, such as health insurance and pension plans, are becoming scarce commodities in many professions, but you can count on both in a teaching career. When's the last time you heard of someone getting a pension after retirement? Most teachers have their premiums fully paid by their school districts and their health, dental and vision benefits are among the best when compared with other industries. Teaching also offers additional benefits such as sick days and tuition reimbursement, so you'll find that teaching actually pays a lot more than you think.
8. Love Your Education Career
Joseph Campbell's recommendation to "follow your bliss" is universally echoed by career counselors. If you are happy at work, you'll be more motivated, energetic, successful and confident—and the other people in your life will benefit from your outlook. If the idea of teaching invigorates you, that's a great reason to pursue a teaching career.
7. Nix the Nanny
With a work calendar synched to your kids' school calendar, an education career allows you to eliminate most childcare expenses. Even though you're earning a paycheck, you'll have the flexibility to be home with your kids before and after school.
6. Become an Expert...as a Teacher
There's an old adage that it takes three years of teaching to master a subject. The best way to learn a topic is to teach it: students' questions make you dig deeper and learn more until you know the subject inside and out.
5. Teachers Have Reasonable Hours
With students in school just six hours a day, teachers often spend much less time on the job than their corporate counterparts. With the 8-hour workday rapidly becoming the 10 to 12 hour day in other occupations, you'll find a teaching career leaves you with more time for family, friends and other interests. Sure, you'll have some long days—plan on time for parent-teacher conferences, grading homework and attending (or leading) after-school activities—but overall, a teaching career will leave you with a life outside of your job. A teaching career truly lets you achieve a work/life balance.
4. Share your Passions in the Classroom
Did you have a teacher that got you so excited about a subject you started putting in extra time and work? That's what happens when you share your excitement and enthusiasm. Sharing your love of the subject matter with students is one of the best benefits of being a teacher.
3. Can't Beat the Job Security as a Teacher
While requirements may differ from state to state, once you've established yourself as a good teacher, you'll find there are always jobs available. And, unlike many industries, layoffs and downsizing are rare occurrences in education. For information on the most high-demand subjects and areas, see our teacher shortage article.
2. Teachers Have Serious Vacation Time
If the idea of having more than two weeks of vacation a year appeals to you, you should definitely consider becoming a teacher. With a couple weeks off for winter holidays, another couple weeks for winter and spring breaks, and almost three months off in the summer, you have the opportunity to invest in other interests:
- Pursue your obsessions – You'll have chunks of time to trek around South America, visit exotic Southeast Asia, join an expedition to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, spend a month eating your way through Europe, or take a series of music or yoga classes.
- Summer moonlighting – With summers off, it's easy to develop a fun, seasonal career. For example, you'll often find teachers working as docents in our national parks each summer, a classic case of having your vacation and getting paid for it too!
- Doctor in the house – Teachers often spend their vacation time furthering their own education and investing in professional development. If adding PhD to your name is part of your life plan, but not your budget, teaching can help you find the time and the money to make it happen.
And, the number one perk of a teaching career?