Not only does it take a lot of time to become a teacher, but it can also be quite expensive. College itself is a costly enterprise for most individuals, but when adding in expenses for student teaching, buying classroom supplies, as well as certification and teacher proficiency tests, many prospective educators must make major sacrifices.
There has been a debate for years, which will likely continue for many more, about teacher compensation, but that usually does not include the costs to start a teaching career. It costs more to go to college today, but according to the NEA, the average salary for teachers has decreased by more than 4% in the last ten years. In 2018, the average national teacher salary was $39,249. During the same period, the College Board stated that in-state students across the country spent almost $21,000 on tuition, room, and board.
A prospective teacher’s second year in college is often when the decision is made to stick with the program or not. When learning about the money they must spend to achieve their reality; sometimes, students opt not to continue with the teaching program. The cost can be prohibitive for many individuals.
Expenses for teacher candidates include background checks before entering the classroom for observations and student teaching, insurance, entrance assessments, and certification, and content mastery exams. Also, because of the demands of the classroom during student teaching, most people are unable to maintain another job to help pay for these fees.
While tuition and related costs to become a teacher are still rising, there are programs available in some locations to assist future educators in meeting financial demands. It may be possible to apply for TEACH or Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, which have requirements for taking particular classes and jobs to meet grant specifications. In Georgia, some programs have grants and guarantees for jobs within certain districts to ease worries about getting a job after graduation.
These types of programs can not only ease anxiety about meeting financial obligations to become a teacher but also provides welcome support for those who will teach the children who are our future.