The Cost of Becoming a Teacher

The Debt

Sarah spent big money to become a teacher. Just the bare bones cost of her tuition would support a middle class Bombay household for years. Despite living frugally, she’s tens of thousands of dollars in debt as she starts her career.

She’s a thrifty young woman, went to state college and followed up her four-year degree with her teaching credential. She lived frugally in an apartment with roommates and worked while she went to school. The money she spent was on the lower end of cost for an American teacher’s education.

The Damage

  1. Undergraduate Tuition, California State University–$20,000.
  2. Post baccalaureate Teacher Preparation Tuition–$5,000.
  3. Books and other supplies–$5,000

More than thirty thousand dollars in debt she launched her career. She was lucky to land a job, which started at $39,586 a year. However, saddled with this monster debt, she’ll be in her late 20s before she pays it off.

As time goes on Sarah will be offered yearly raises on a salary schedule, but she will not make significant salary gains unless she continues her education. The average unit of continuing education costs $100, and that doesn’t include books and materials.

If Sarah decides to train for administration, it could cost between $6,000 and $10,000.

Good Luck Tough Luck

I am an extremely lucky person. My parents helped me pay for my education. And my free, public school education at Sacramento High School was of a good quality.

But what about bright, young people who don’t start out with the advantages I had–foster kids, poverty level students, children of immigrants, children of the working poor, and these days the children of the hard working middle class? This is a pool of promise we don’t want to ignore. These are the shapers and leaders of tomorrow. It is wrong to burden our future with debt from education.

Solution Offered

We must consider free state university education for students who can meet a tough academic criterion. Those who don’t make it right out of high school can improve and qualify through the community college system.

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3 Responses to The Cost of Becoming a Teacher

  1. susan says:

    I couldn’t agree more Ellen. Thank you for putting this in print.

  2. John626 says:

    Very nice site!

  3. Judith says:

    Recently I have been giving serious thought into becoming a teacher. Is this career choice as rewarding as it seems?

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