Several factors combine to determine the average salary of a biology teacher, including qualifications, experience, position and location. For instance, salary compared to living costs in a given location can give some insight into how these factors play out.
Biology teacher salaries range from £19,500 to £91,000. The average yearly wage is £39,000 to £52,000. The average hourly wage is about £22 an hour based on 2,080 annual hours, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most biology teachers enjoy nonwage benefits such as vacation time, sick leave, medical insurance and retirement plans. Those working on a temporary basis are typically paid 10 per cent more to account for the absence of these benefits.
The single most significant factor affecting salary variability is location. In Iowa, for example, the average salary is around £32,500 -- accounting for all grade levels, including college -- as compared with Texas, where the average is around £72,800. The five best-paying states from highest to lowest are Texas, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California and Alaska, whose average salaries range from £72,800 to £56,550. The five best-paying metropolitan areas from highest to lowest are Mobile, Alabama; San Antonio, Texas; El Paso, Texas; Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts; and San Francisco, California, ranging from £91,650 to £70,200.
The starting salary for biology teachers with a bachelor's degree is around £22,750. A master's degree can add about £3,250 to £6,500. Each year of experience can add a few thousand dollars such that the average at 10 years of experience is around £39,000. A teaching position with a research component can add several thousand dollars yearly, but there are fewer job opportunities that include research. Also, a shorter workday and summer vacation leaves time for earning supplemental income from tutoring or summer jobs.
An important consideration regarding biology teacher salaries is how pay compares to the cost of living in a state. For example, Hawaii's teaching salary may not look much different than the average compared with other states, but it is rated as the lowest on a salary-comfort index because of the high cost of living in Hawaii. It is likely best, therefore, to teach in a state that pays its biology teachers enough relative to living costs. Overall, most biology teachers say their job satisfaction outweighs their lower average salaries as compared with other jobs.
Jobs for biology teachers are likely to continue to be available since most people with a science degree can find better-paying jobs in the private or government sectors. Population growth and a need to replace retiring biology teachers should also contribute to steady demand, which is highest in rural areas and low-income communities.