Professional Practice

7 Ways to Get Paid More as an Art Teacher

We’ve all heard the same sob story time and time again. Teacher’s don’t get paid enough. While this is a personal opinion depending upon your teaching position and area, it’s something we’ve all thought about. Here are some ways you can increase your salary as an art educator to supplement the often ‘less than ideal’ salaries that many teachers are subject to. (but you have the WHOLE summer off, right?) – ha. we’ve all heard that before!


1. Get Another Degree

In most school systems, getting your Master’s, MFA or another higher degree instantly bumps you up on the pay scale. The earlier in your career you do this, the more your salary can work for you over time and can contribute to a nicer retirement nest egg, too. I started mine almost right away and have never regretted it.

2. Take on Extra Jobs

Becoming the department coordinator or PLC faciliator can *sometimes* allow you to earn an extra stipend.  These things are resume builders, and makes you a leader in your field. My facilitator position gave me extra time, but no extra money, which was also valuable. You know what they say – time is money!

3. Make Sell Your Own Art

The phrase “Those who can – Do. Those who can’t – teach”  is NOT TRUE! Art educators are artists first. You all have a craft and are pretty darn talented at it. So put that craft to good use by finally getting back into your artwork. Who knows, someone else might appreciate it and you could have a side business doing what you are passionate about.

4. Move up on the Salary Schedule by Earning Credits

Did you know in most school systems, the simple act of continuing your education can help you move up on the pay scale? You school might have salary steps like BA+15 or MA+30 and again, the sooner you reach these milestones the sooner you can move up. Most of the teachers who take AOE online graduate level courses are doing just this- moving up on the pay-scale or renewing their license.

5. Coach a Sport or Sponsor a Club

There is always a need – and you just might have a little fun doing it, too.

6. Teach an Art Camp or Art Club or Give Private Lessons

Certainly your students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from your art expertise. I am sure community ed programs are always looking for art teachers and I know flourishing art students are also looking for private teachers. Some of my colleagues have also started their own camps, rented out a school room or community center, and reaped the benefits. This could be you!

7. Utilize your Summer Wisely

Laying on the beach all summer long? Not for most art teachers. I know many teachers take on a summer job to supplement their pay or take our online classes from home. Why not take advantage of the extra time? I think it’s smart. I’ve done a wide variety of jobs during my summers, including a nanny job and even working with special needs kids and completed most of my Master’s in the summer months as well.

Although it would be nice if we could be compensated more for simply doing our job well, there are definitely other ways to make a buck or two in this shaky economy.

Is anyone out there happy or maybe unhappy with their teaching salary?

What are your summer plans? Do you use summer to work another job or continue your education?

What other ways have you stretched your paycheck or added to it?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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