What do you earn as a teacher? Salary & Earnings Difference

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For many people, teaching is an attractive and crisis-proof profession. At least teachers with civil servants are virtually non-terminable. In addition, the professional group is in demand as rarely before due to the shortage of teachers. A career as a teacher is also possible for many lateral entrants with a degree. But although many of the benefits of the profession, such as an above-average amount of vacation and civil service, sound tempting, what about the earnings? We took a closer look at what salary teachers earn.

Salary or salary – what’s the difference?

The different names for the income of teachers result from the different types of employment. A large proportion of the teachers are civil servants. Civil servants do not receive a salary, but a salary, since from a purely legal point of view they are not paid for their work but are paid for the performance of an office. In the parlance, however, the salary is often referred to as a salary. In this article, too, we use the term salary in some places when we talk about the income of civil servants.

What is the average salary of teachers?

The earnings of most teachers in Germany are between 33,100 and 42,020 euros* in the paycheck. As top earners, teachers can earn an annual gross salary of up to EUR 77,800*. According to users who work as teachers, the average salary for teachers in Germany across all earnings classes is 49,100 euros*.

These figures show that the number of earnings can vary greatly. It is influenced by a number of factors, which we elaborate on below:

In which federal state do teachers earn the most?

In Germany, education is a matter for the federal states and so is the remuneration of teachers. As in many other professions, there are federal states in which the average income is better than in others. For a long time, it was considered that you could only work as a teacher in the federal state in which you had completed your teaching degree. In the meantime, moving to other federal states is a little easier. In a resolution from 2001, the Conference of Ministers of Education defined the principles of the teacher exchange procedure, which is intended to make it easier for teachers to move to another federal state for personal reasons. Nevertheless, it makes sense to think carefully about the federal state in which you enroll for the teaching degree.

In these federal states you earn the most as a teacher:

More on this on our salary page for teachers in the salary check.

Does the salary of privately employed or civil servant teachers differ?

In Germany there were almost 800,000 teachers in the 2020/21 school year, about a quarter of whom are not civil servants but employed under private law. The number of civil servant teachers varies greatly from state to state. In the old Federal Republic, teachers were generally civil servants. That changed with reunification. In the GDR there was no official status for teachers. Especially in the new federal states, the number of civil servant teachers is therefore low, but many old federal states are also increasingly relying on privately employed teachers.

The employment status has a not inconsiderable effect on the level of payment: On average, civil servant teachers earn around 500 euros more per month than those who are not civil servants. Those who are civil servants not only have higher earnings, but also a job for life and fewer taxes. In addition, there are grants for marriage, children, and private health insurance. The salary increases automatically with age and professional experience. If you want to be a civil servant, you have to undergo an examination by a public health officer: Obesity, chronic illnesses, or being too old are considered exclusion criteria. The individual federal states set the requirements for civil servants themselves.

Tip: The civil service of teachers is a matter for the federal states. If you are speculating on a civil servant position, you should first find out which federal state has good chances of becoming a civil servant. Berlin, for example, only hires private teachers, while in Bavaria most teachers are civil servants.

What grade do I earn as a teacher: how much?

For civil servant teachers, the respective salary group determines the number of earnings. The level of payment within a salary group is defined by the respective federal states. In general, the following applies: the higher the salary group, the higher the salary (A 9 to A 13 belong to the higher service, A 13 to A 16 belong to the higher service and receive the highest salary level). You can find out which salary group teachers start in from the salary table for teachers:

The annual salaries given are average salaries across all federal states.

How much do teachers employed under private law earn?

Teachers who are not civil servants are paid according to the collective agreement of the federal states (TV-L). With the exception of Hesse, the level of salaries for privately employed teachers is specified in the collective agreement. However, there are sometimes different types of schools in the federal states, which is why there can be different classifications and therefore also salaries. In Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, and Hesse, the three old school types, Hauptschule, Realschule, and Gymnasium, are still run in parallel. In many other federal states, instead of Hauptschule and Realschule, there are comprehensive schools or district schools in which students from different branches are taught together. The collective agreement for the public service of teachers is negotiated about every two years.

Elementary school or high school – which teacher earns the most?

From the salary table, it can already be seen that the type of school also plays a fundamental role in the amount of a teacher’s salary. As a primary school teacher, you are in salary group A12, while high school teachers are in salary group A13. According to this, the salary of a primary school teacher is lower than the salary of teachers at a high school. Despite completing their studies, legal clerkship, and second state exam, primary school teachers receive lower pay than teachers in salary bracket A13. Civil servants in salary group A12 receive an average of 4,847 euros gross per month. In salary group A13 it is around 500 euros more.

The salary brackets and the associated differences in income relate to civil servant teachers, but also give an indication of teachers who are paid according to the collective agreement.

Does work experience & career level affect a teacher’s salary?

As in many other professions, the income of teachers increases with increasing professional experience, regardless of whether you are a civil servant or not. According to the salary check, the starting salaries for teachers in Germany with less than three years of professional experience are between 33,100 and 42,020 euros*. Top earners with a monthly gross salary of up to 77,700 euros* usually have more than ten years of professional experience.

The salary prospects as senior director of studies or headmaster: in a comprehensive school or a grammar school are particularly good. They belong to salary group A16 and are the top earners in the occupational group with approx. 7,347 euros gross per month.

Teacher salary: FAQs

Would you like to know more about your earnings as a teacher? We answer the most frequently asked questions.

Gross-net comparison: what is left of the salary as a teacher?

How much of your gross income is left to you as a teacher depends primarily on whether you are a civil servant or not. In general, it can be said that civil servants receive more net than teachers in the public sector. Special payments such as family allowances and job allowances increase the basic salary of civil servants. The tax deductions are also calculated differently.

deductions Civil servant teacher Teachers in the public service
Health insurance No deductions (as a civil servant, however, you must take out private health insurance) deductions
care insurance No deductions (As a civil servant, however, you must take out private long-term care insurance.) deductions
pension insurance No deductions (civil servants are not required to have pension insurance.) deductions
unemployment insurance No deductions (Unemployment insurance is not compulsory for civil servants.) deductions
wage and income tax Deductions (However, wage and income tax deductions are calculated differently for civil servants than for employees.) deductions
Church tax Deductions (If you belong to a denomination) Deductions (If you belong to a denomination)

Does the subject make a difference in teacher salaries?

No, at least if the teacher teaches in a public school. The amount of payment depends on the factors described above. It doesn’t matter which subjects a teacher teaches. The salary of a German teacher is, therefore, the same as that of a math, music, or physical education teacher.

How much does a career changer earn in the teaching profession?

The exact requirements for lateral entry as a teacher are determined by the federal states. Most federal states accept teachers without a teaching degree, as the demand for teachers is very high. In addition, lateral entrants can enrich school life and the education of the students with their experience. A completed degree is required. In addition, lateral entrants must complete a two-year legal clerkship and complete it with an exam.

Financially, a lateral entry as a teacher makes sense, especially if you have prospects of becoming a civil servant. When it comes to salary as a civil servant teacher, age and professional experience are also taken into account. As career changers without civil servant status, teachers are in many cases paid less than teachers with a completed teaching degree.

What is the salary of trainee teachers?

Every prospective teacher has to complete a legal clerkship before they can really start their professional life. The legal clerkship is often referred to as the “second phase” or “preparatory service”. In most federal states it lasts 18 months, under certain conditions shorter periods are possible. Trainee teachers teach independently at schools and also attend seminars as part of their training. The traineeship ends with a written and a practical exam, the second state exam. Since the traineeship is part of the training, the salary is quite low. It varies depending on the type of school (primary school, junior high school, middle school, grammar school, etc.) and federal state and is around EUR 1,100 to 1,300 gross per month.

How much do part-time teachers earn?

That depends on how many hours are worked part-time. In general, part-time pay is reduced in proportion to pay. For example, if you reduce your working hours from 100 percent to 50 percent, your salary will also be halved accordingly.

When it comes to part-time work, there are differences between civil servant teachers and those who are paid according to the collective agreement. Salaried employees can generally apply for any number of hours part-time, civil servants are subject to stricter restrictions here. If you want to work part-time as a teacher, you have to apply for it.

Attention: The pension entitlements are also reduced accordingly. Service time spent part-time is counted only in relation to regular working hours and thereby reduces the pensionable service time. The result is lower pension entitlements.

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