Nurse Salary vs. Teacher Salary?

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    I was talking to a friend this morning and she is just finishing Nursing school and said that she could have become a Teacher with better hours and the same pay? Is this true? I know as a RN we start at $20 an hour. Is this the case for Teachers. I have always been told RN's are paid so well and Teachers not so well. Was I always misinformed? I googled this very question and I didn't get any clear answers. I would love to teach and also get my RN degree and possibly be a RN part time if thats the case.
  2. 66 Comments so far...

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    Interesting, I've always heard the same thing. I've been told that the reason teacher's salaries are lower is b/c they do not work year round and have the summer off. Many pick up summer time jobs or teach summer school b/c they can't afford to take that time off so its not like they are getting a vacation either. Be interesting to hear what others (in the know) say.
    Angela.RN2B and lindarn like this.
  4. 6
    Quote from tfleuter
    Interesting, I've always heard the same thing. I've been told that the reason teacher's salaries are lower is b/c they do not work year round and have the summer off. Many pick up summer time jobs or teach summer school b/c they can't afford to take that time off so its not like they are getting a vacation either. Be interesting to hear what others (in the know) say.
    That may be true, but teachers have far better benefits than nurses do, have pensions that they can actually live/retire, on, have control over their class sizes, and have a union that actually sticks up for them with adminstration. You don't see teachers having to deal with parents insisting on staying in their child's classroom for the entire school day, and trying to control/interfere in the classroom dynamics on a daily basis. I am not saying that parents cannot be PIA's it is just that teachers have the conrol to prevent this from becoming out of control the way it has in hospitals. Nurses wish we had what teachers have. JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
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    At least in my neck of the woods, a newly graduated teacher with a bachelors makes about $32,000- $36,000 a year and a new grad nurse with an ADN makes anywhere from $19-$23 an hour (so, $35,000 to $43,000 a year, assuming a 36 hours work week) and BSN's generally make a dollar an hour more.

    As for teaching and working as a nurse part time, it would really only be doable over breaks. I taught high school Spanish for two years and while the 7:15A-3:00P hours look good on paper they are hardly realistic. Most teachers end up spending at least an hour each day outside of the contract hours prepping lessons, grading, completing paperwork, contacting parents and attending meetings. Even more time is required if you teach multiple courses, as each class will require a separate prep. I know I regularly worked 50-60 hour weeks when I was teaching 3 separate courses and supervising the required senior projects.

    Summers aren't as free as they look either. In my former district we had lots of summer inservices and team meetings right after school let out and a couple of weeks before school began as well. In the little "vacation time" we did have left we were expected to complete our continuing education if needed. But such is the life of a salaried employee.
    Crux1024, Angela.RN2B, and lindarn like this.
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    The school system in my county has a scale posted on their website with the pay scales for their teachers. The pay scale is different depending on a teacher's qualifications (ie BA, MA, PHD, etc). Then, with more years teaching, their pay grows DRAMATICLY. Cetainly, a teacher with fewer degrees has less option for advancement. So, you may have a teacher making $23,000 and one in the next classroom making $86,000.
    lindarn and Angela.RN2B like this.
  7. 11
    Quote from Moss1222
    The school system in my county has a scale posted on their website with the pay scales for their teachers. The pay scale is different depending on a teacher's qualifications (ie BA, MA, PHD, etc). Then, with more years teaching, their pay grows DRAMATICLY. Cetainly, a teacher with fewer degrees has less option for advancement. So, you may have a teacher making $23,000 and one in the next classroom making $86,000.
    That is the reason the a nurse with a BSN should make more than a nurse with an Associates Degree or a Diploma. It boggles the mind that nurses are stupid enough to go along with the hospital propaganda of, "WEEELLL, you all do the same job, so why should the nurse with the BSN make more money"? It is the same game, divide and conquer. It still works.
    JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    Daniel Floyd, TnRN43, VanLpn, and 8 others like this.
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    Quote from lindarn
    That may be true, but teachers have far better benefits than nurses do, have pensions that they can actually live/retire, on, have control over their class sizes, and have a union that actually sticks up for them with adminstration. You don't see teachers having to deal with parents insisting on staying in their child's classroom for the entire school day, and trying to control/interfere in the classroom dynamics on a daily basis. I am not saying that parents cannot be PIA's it is just that teachers have the conrol to prevent this from becoming out of control the way it has in hospitals. Nurses wish we had what teachers have. JMHO and my NY $0.02.

    Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    Respectfully, I have to disagree with you on almost every point. At least here in Ohio, our unions tend to be very weak and administrator friendly. Class sizes in low income districts are horrible and as a teacher no one ever gave a hoot that we regularly had 30-35 high schoolers per class.

    And parents are the entire reason I left teaching. I couldn't take another year of parents calling the principal or the administration every time they or their student didn't get exactly what they wanted. The principals/administration always backed the students and parents and left the teachers virtually powerless. IMO, the parents at the schools are feel every bit as entitled as the patients I now see at the hospital (as a social work trainee)

    Honestly both careers have their ups and their downs, but as they are so different I don't think it is even possible to guess at who has it better. ( but I do I know that many of the teachers I taught with have gone on to become nurses In their words, better pay, fewer hours, same old ****)
    Ryba, Aneroo, jpRN84, and 1 other like this.
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    I have to agree with the previous poster. I taught at the high school level for 3 years. While it may seem like the ideal work environment, it is far from that. I was required to be at the school from 7:45-3:45 but most days I was there until 4:30 or 5 trying to get ready for the next day. But your day was not over then--you still had to grade homework and tests that needed to be returned. While the parents may not be there every day, all day, they can make your life a pain very easily. Also, your success is not dependent on you alone, your success is dependent on how well a student wants to do on state testing. And you are also at work for many more days that the students are. At least 2 weeks before school starts, many days that the students are out, you are still working.

    As far as pay, my first year (05-06) I was paid right at $30k (South Texas). The next year I was bumped to 35k but that was because the district adjusted their salary scale. Many school districts will top you out at 50-60k with 25-30 years. If you get a masters, then the pay will be slightly higher but not that much. You also are salaried so you don't get overtime. The pay is tied to cost of living so teachers in California will be paid at higher levels than say rural Texas.

    One of the reasons I'm considering nursing is because you can work 3 12-hour shifts and you're done. You don't bring your work home with you.
    jpRN84 likes this.
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    My mom is a special ed teacher in Louisiana and makes about $60k w/ a Masters degree & 30+ years teaching experience. Nurses' salaries vary here but according to salary.com I think the median is about $56k for a staff nurse. I know a teacher who left healthcare to become a teacher and I know nurses who are trying to get out of their field as well. I don't think either of those professions are "cush" jobs. My mom is the only special ed teacher in her school and is inundated with many different grade level children w/ a variety of problems. She is counting down the hours til her summer "break" where she will have to attend clinics, meetings, etc. She is also counting down the years to retirement. I will say that she came back to Louisiana to be with family after hurricane Katrina. She was previously in Alpharetta, GA, teaching at a private special ed school where she was making about $60k but LOVED her job. I guess happiness depends as much on the work environment as it does on the actual job. Salaries for teacher depend on education+years of exp (here in Louisiana).
    jpRN84 likes this.
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    no one yet has mentioned the huge pay increase getting a master in nursing. it appears yo get around $60-70k as a masters lvl teacher. a NP or CRNA will be in the $90-180k range and can be attained within 3-4 years of starting out once you get your RN. advantage nursing! also i have a friend working float pool making just over $80k with only his RN (has benefits through his wife).
    Daniel Floyd, Angela.RN2B, jpRN84, and 1 other like this.


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