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The Montessori method of education covers preschool through secondary school. This diversity is reflected in compensation levels, along with years of experience and educational background. For instance, a bachelor’s degree in education or early childhood development can translate into higher-than-average salaries. Generally, salaries and employee benefits in private Montessori schools are less than in comparable positions in the public school system, although many teachers in private schools report greater job satisfaction.
Some Montessori schools may consider the program where you received your Montessori diploma when considering you for employment. A program that has been accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Commission for Teacher Education (MACTE), which is recognized by the United States Department of Education, is considered basic to program quality. The MACTE recognizes two Montessori certifications. The Association Montessori International (AMI) certification is the most prestigious, is accepted worldwide and can usually command a higher salary. The American Montessori Society (AMS) degree is widely accepted throughout the United States.
AMI vs. AMS
On AMI-USA's job board in August 2011, a first-year salary for an AMI teacher in New Jersey is listed at about $35,000. According to Glassdoor's salary analysis during that same time period, the average salary of AMI-certified teacher in California is $34,000 but can go as high as $41,000. It is common to see beginning salaries for private Montessori schoolteachers who are AMS-certified in the United States expressed in terms of hourly compensation. When schools pay by the hour, it generally means that teachers are not paid through school breaks or during the summer. Also in August 2011, on GetMontessoriJobs.com, hourly wages for AMS-certified teachers generally started between $13 and $15 per hour for full-time positions. However, many schools hire both AMI- and AMS-certified teachers and do not make a salary distinction between the two.
According to Glassoor in August 2011, the average salary of a Montessori certified teacher in the state of New York is $38,000, topping out at about $42,000 per year. It also indicates that a bilingual Spanish-speaking Montessori teacher in North Carolina typically makes between $23,000 and $26,000 per year while in California, the average is from $22,000 to $25,000 annually. GetMontessoriJobs.com during the same time period shows that the salary of a lead teacher for 3- to 6-year-olds in Texas is between $30,000 to $34,000 per year.
Montessori schools in the United States frequently require their teachers to be fluent in multiple languages. French and Spanish are the languages most often requested. Teachers with these qualifications can typically command higher salaries.
Private schools generally do not require their teachers to have a state-certified teaching credential, but this is not always the case. When state teaching credentials are required in addition to Montessori certification, especially since Montessori-certified teachers with state credentials are so rare, salaries can be higher than average. Many states have alternative teaching credential programs that allow those with a bachelor’s degree in any field who are teaching in a private or public school to take a teacher certification exam for the grade level they want to teach.
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Lisa Dorward was a corporate financial executive and business consultant for more than 15 years before becoming a writer in 2003. She has B.A. degrees in both history and creative writing and earned her M.F.A. in creative writing in 2008, specializing in novel-length historical fiction.