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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.

tfleuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 10 years experience.

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.

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

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.

Moss1222

Specializes in Education. Has 30 years experience.

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.

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

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 ****)

thesmurfette

Specializes in Emergency. Has 2 years experience.

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.

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).

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).

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 11 years experience.

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

It's really interesting to me that nursing is the only field I can think of where additional education is deemed as superfluous and, indeed, that lower levels of education are actually deemed better by many folks (as evidenced by how many people seem to view an ADN program as much better than a 2nd BSN or, gasp, DEMSN).

Spacklehead, MSN, NP

Specializes in Emergency, Cardiac, PAT/SPU, Urgent Care. Has 24 years experience.

I think it all truly depends on where you live. In my district, teachers are paid VERY well and have great benefits; plus, their incomes increase at least 5-7% per year no matter what - sometimes even more. As far as their daily schedules, in my district they typically get 2 free periods/day plus their lunch break - not a bad deal. I can't recall the last time I got more than a cost of living raise or had a lunch break while working 12 straight hours. I guess unions really can help make a difference.

Then again, there is another district about 10 miles from here that doesn't even come close to paying its teachers what ours does - it's ridiculous.

Gentleman_nurse, MSN

Specializes in Behavioral health.

i taught high school for several years, now i'm changing careers to nursing. wanted to dispel the misconceptions of you post.

"that may be true, but teachers have far better benefits than nurses do, have pensions that they can actually live/retire, on"

depends on the local school district. some offer good retirement plan, some don't.

"control over their class sizes"

class sizes are mandated based on state and local laws. teacher have absolutely no control over this. unfortunately similar to nursing, the pressure is to increase not decrease sizes.

"a union that actually sticks up for them with adminstration."

again depends on the state, and local chapters. i've been told unions have little to no power in the south.

"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."

the school board and parents have much influence, especially in small school districts.

"nurses wish we had what teachers have."

you can get certification to teach high school nursing. but be careful what you wish for!

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 11 years experience.

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.
That's a gross overgeneralization, Linda.

We have our medical benefits through my wife's job as a public school teacher and they are quite poor, especially compared to those of the nurses working at our local UNIONIZED HMO. In our case, the district pays only for employees, not for families. Even at that, the deductibles and copays are huge... we just had an MRI on my child and are now hit with out-of-pocket payments over $1,000.

The nurses at the local UNIONIZED HMO have a defined-benefit pension that pays 1.5% of the average of the highest 3 years beginning at 20 years and age 55. The nurses at the UNIONIZED university medical centers get a 2% defined-benefit pension along with lifetime health insurance for themselves and their spouses.

Some nurses in UNIONIZED hospitals around here are doing quite well, and in many cases, better than the teachers at some of the smaller districts.

After 10 years of service and >30 postbaccalaureate units, my wife earns $26.13 per hour as an EXEMPT employee (salaried, no OT). By contrast, the nurses at the university medical centers start at $34 per hour and those lucky enough to get in with the monster HMO start at $43 per hour.

It's different in every school district and with every hospital but the reality is that many teachers are not doing nearly as well as many nurses.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

Certainly it does depend on the particulars of the school system, area of the country, etc. But comparing my sister with a Master's in early childhood education and me with a graduate degree in nursing ...

I have always made more cash ... but my sister has always had much, much better benefits. After 30 years of working for the same public school system, she was able to "retire" at the age of 52 with a state pension guaranteeing 60% of her highest salary years for the rest of her life, adjusted annually for inflation. She does a little substitute teaching for extra cash ... essentially making about 90% of her old salary for only working 1 or 2 days per week. She will also qualify for Social Security when she reaches 62 so she won't have to substitute teach any more -- and will still make almost her full salary without working at all.

The taxpayer also paid 100% for her graduate education and her health insurance. With always having her summers off ... she usually earned a little extra money teaching a summer school class in the mornings, leaving the afternoons free for fun. She became the local country club's ladies golf champion. Isn't that nice? Now in her mid-50's, she and her husband (also retired from the public school system) spend a couple of months in a gaited golf community in Florida every winter.

So ... as a nurse, my salary has always been higher. But I have no pension and paid for most of my graduate education myself. I also have a noticable deduction from my paychecks to pay a portion of my health insurance. I will need to work full time until I am at least 62.

So ... while my salary has always been higher than my sister's ... who do you think got the better overall compensation?

But certainly ... it does depend on the particulars. Some nurses earn a lot more than others ... and some teachers earn a lot more than others.

Edited by llg

Teachers are often required to have a Master's degree within a certain time after hire. Some school disctricts require it before hire. And they have to deal with a lot of crap about being unable to fail a student whether the kid can pass a test or not. It's not any more cushy than nursing other than they get most a holidays and weekends off.

thesmurfette

Specializes in Emergency. Has 2 years experience.

She will also qualify for Social Security when she reaches 62 so she won't have to substitute teach any more -- and will still make almost her full salary without working at all.

Unfortunately, the SS loophole no longer exists. Many teachers used to only work 1 day in a position that paid SS and would be able to receive SS benefits upon retirement. That loophole no longer exists. Were I to remain a teacher, I would not be able to receive the full SS survivor benefit my husband will have earned upon retirement. It would dollar for dollar be reduced by my teacher retirement. I alone would not qualify for SS because I wouldn't have enough work credits.

i taught high school for several years, now i'm changing careers to nursing. wanted to dispel the misconceptions of you post.

"that may be true, but teachers have far better benefits than nurses do, have pensions that they can actually live/retire, on"

depends on the local school district. some offer good retirement plan, some don't.

"control over their class sizes"

class sizes are mandated based on state and local laws. teacher have absolutely no control over this. unfortunately similar to nursing, the pressure is to increase not decrease sizes.

"a union that actually sticks up for them with adminstration."

again depends on the state, and local chapters. i've been told unions have little to no power in the south.

"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."

the school board and parents have much influence, especially in small school districts.

"nurses wish we had what teachers have."

you can get certification to teach high school nursing. but be careful what you wish for!

in washington state, class sizes are 26 children to class. if the child has a disability, such as adhd, the child is counted twice, leaving the teacher with a class count of 25 children. and teachers do uphold the class size and have the right to refuse additional children in their classes.

in this environment, even in the best of locales, such as california, try upholdng staffing ratios, with a resistant management and/or administration.

and like other areas, up front, it may seem that teachers are paid less than nurses, but at the end of the day, who really has the better compensation? and lets not talk about union resprestation. it is rare for nurse to have a union who has done anything, to improve working conditions, pay, benefits, etc, except the california nurses association and the nnoc.

it boggles the mind that nurse still have the mindset that "unions are bad" , and "i wouldn't work for a union hospital for all the tea in china", all the while almost falling down from overwork, low pay, no respect, or control over the work place. teachers unionized years ago, to allow them the academic freedom to teach, without interferance from the administration, or school boards.

nurses have yet to figure out the obvious- refusing to unionize has led nursing to where we are now. and teacher have the better pension, benefits, working conditions because they were able to figure out that they would be up you know where without a paddle, it they did not unionize and left their career up to greedy school boards. and parents cannot stay in a classroom all day and pester the teacher or interfere with the class, like they do to nurses in a hospital.

i cannot imagine why nursing has not been smart enough to figure out that yet. jmho and my ny $ 0.02.

lindarn, rn, bsn, ccrn

spokane, washington

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