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Catholic schools make up the world's largest non-governmental school system, according to the K12academics website. Teachers who work in these schools are able to focus on traditional academics, as well as on Christian principles and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. However, the opportunity to mix education comes at a financial price — Catholic schools have low salaries.
Teachers who are just starting out at a Catholic school make anywhere between $16,800 and $38,976 per year as of 2010, according to a survey by the National Association of Catholic School Teachers (ACST). The higher the teacher's degree level, the higher the starting salary is.
Catholic school teachers earn more if they obtain a graduate degree. ACST shows that the average salary for someone with a bachelor's degree is between $16,800 and $57,471 per year. With a master's, pay increases to between $18,144 and $69,449. Top pay goes to teachers with doctorates, who may earn up to $76,380.
Catholic schools do not receive funding from the government in the United States because of laws regarding separation of church and state. For this reason, much of the funding for teacher salaries in Catholic schools comes from the tuition students and their parents pay. The higher the tuition, the more the school may be able to pay its teachers.
Comparison to Public Schools
Pay for teachers in private Catholic schools traditionally is less than pay for teachers in the public school system. However, as reported by Rebecca D. Williams of the Knoxville News Sentinel, teachers in Catholic schools assert more satisfaction with their job. Academic performance in Catholic schools also tends to be better.
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- National Association of Catholic School Teachers: 2009-2010 Lay Teachers' Salaries
- My Short Pencil: Teachers' Pay: Adding Up the Impact of Raising Salaries
- M.knoxnews: Many Private Schools Score Higher But Have Less Diversity
- NY Daily News: Catholic Schools Fret Dark Fate
- K12academics: Catholic Schools
Wanda Thibodeaux is a freelance writer and editor based in Eagan, Minn. She has been published in both print and Web publications and has written on everything from fly fishing to parenting. She currently works through her business website, Takingdictation.com, which functions globally and welcomes new clients.