Teaching is a calling, but it’s also a career. And like any career, attaining more knowledge and experience leads to a better chance of advancement and earning a higher salary. But how can you increase teacher salary and still maintain a busy teaching schedule?
One answer is in the training and professional development offered through online advancement courses. By entering such courses, teachers can improve their teaching abilities while also positioning themselves to advance their career.
Elementary, middle school and high school teachers who commit to setting aside time for professional development can reap the benefits. In some cases, taking advancement courses may be a requirement for renewing a license or earning a certain certificate.
Why Should You Want to Take An Advancement Course?
For most educators, just the phrase “increase teacher salary” is reason enough to get them interested in professional development. While California offers some of the most competitive teacher salaries in the country, teachers often are paid less than what they deserve, especially considering the amount of extra time and high level of professionalism the job demands.
In many school districts, there is a sliding scale for teachers. Experience is on one axis and degrees and professional development units are on the other. In most cases, it’s a straightforward system:
- Teachers with a master’s degree get paid more than those with a bachelor’s degree, but
- Teacher’s with graduate course units beyond the bachelor’s degree will also get paid more than those with just a bachelor’s degree.
For most teachers, earning units through online courses is more doable than earning a master’s degree. So, teachers with a bachelor’s degree will try to earn as many units as they can beyond the degree to earn better pay.
Even those who earn a master’s degree still take professional development courses, because earning units beyond the master’s degree can also increase teacher salary.
In some districts, the pay increase is substantial, often in the tens of thousands of dollars per year. That’s why many teachers enter professional courses early in their career so they can earn more units and make a higher salary for a longer period of time.
An Example From Ohio
The Perrysburg School District in Ohio offers an example of how this works in the compensation plan section of the school district’s Master Agreement with the Perrysburg Education Association.
A teacher with 10 years of experience will make $60,520 with a bachelor’s degree. However, that teacher will make $62,667 if they have earned 15 units in professional development courses and $64,815 if they have 30.
Those with 10 years of experience and a master’s degree plus 10 units would make $69,110.
Courses You Can Take
Fresno Pacific University offers a vast number of advancement courses that can add significantly to an educator’s skill set and increase teacher salary.
For those unsure about what they want to study, the Independent Studies area offers about 35 courses that educators can search for and choose. To help teachers refine their search, the courses are broken down into subject areas. They include:
- Bible Education
- Early Childhood Education
- English/Language Arts
- Health Education
- Human Behavior Management
- Performing Arts
- Social Studies
There are also certificate programs on digital innovation in the classroom, coaching for excellence and STEM teaching. Another important area is restorative strategies, which teaches educators new ways to handle conflict in the classroom.
No matter what courses a teacher takes, they offer an opportunity to improve their skills and open the door to a higher salary. That’s why professional development courses are a smart choice for teachers in California and around the country.