How Much Do Substitute Teachers Make?

by Michael on Sep 11, 2012 · 8 comments

Photo of an Apple on a Teacher's Desk

Over the past year, my wife has started substitute teaching. Now that our youngest is well on his way in elementary school, she has time to spare.

Not only that, but she’s been spending a lot of time volunteering at the school so she might as well get paid for her time. Right?

So… How much do substitute teachers earn? Well, let’s just say that she’s not doing it for the money… In our area, substitute teachers earn $50/day. I have no idea if this is anywhere near the standard, but there’s no shortage of substitute teachers around so no real need to increase the pay rate.

Given that she’s expected at the school by 7:30AM and that the school day ends at 2:30PM, that works out to $7.14/hour — $0.11 less than the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. And that ignores that subs have to see the kids out to the bus at the end of the day, extending the workday by 10-15 minutes.

Honestly, I’m not sure how they get away with this. She’s a W-2 employee, not a 1099 contractor, so I’m guessing that they’re calculating the workday from the opening bell to the closing bell, and ignoring the fact that subs are expected to be there a bit early and stay a bit late.

Assuming that to be the case, the workday technically spans 6.75 hours, resulting in a pay rate of $7.41/hour — slightly more than minimum wage. Regardless, it’s a pretty sad state of affairs when a substitute teacher gets paid so little.

Oh well, she’s been enjoying herself, she likes the flexibility, and we’re not really dependent on the extra income, so it works for us. Plus, it gives her a chance to try out a line of work (teaching) that she might like to pursue as our kids grow up.

1 Lena September 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

WOW! I didn’t realize they made so little. You would think substitutes could make more, considering how important they are. I pay my babysitters more than that!

2 Michael September 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Lena: Yeah, we were both surprised. But there’s no shortage of substitute teachers around here, so I guess that’s what the market will bear.

3 Edward Antrobus September 17, 2012 at 7:37 am

Wow. I’m lucky that when I was subbing, the rate was $80/day!

It would make sense that they wouldn’t consider the time before the day starts and after the day ends in the pay,even if you are supposed to be there. A lot of industries are like that. In construction, you have to be ready for work 15 minutes before your shift starts so you can attend a daily safety meeting… on your own time.

4 Michael September 17, 2012 at 7:42 am

Edward: Interesting. What grade level were you subbing for? The numbers above are for elementary. It’s possible that middle school or high school earn more in our district — not sure about that, but would be interesting to find out.

5 Edward Antrobus September 17, 2012 at 7:44 am

The rate was district-wide. I spent most of my time in the middle school, but did work in the high school and the elementary school occasionally.

6 Stacey September 18, 2012 at 7:42 am

I sub in my local school district and make $80 per day. $50 seems really low… That school board should be ashamed!

7 Zapric September 22, 2012 at 6:44 am

I wouldn’t mind being a substitute payed that rate. In my country, Sri Lanka ageverage teacher salaries are Sri Lankan Rupees 10,000 to 25,000 a month! It may look like lot but 1 US dollars is 131 Sri Lankan rupees. That means a Sri Lankan teacher earns about $75 to $200 US dollars per whole month!

8 realone October 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm

$50/day seems low. That doesn’t leave much when SS, Medicare, taxes, and perhaps a pension system contribution are factored in.

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