How to Earn More With Your Teaching Degree

Educators are consistently underpaid, making it challenging to make ends meet as a teacher. How do you earn more money with your teaching degree? A simple Google search of how to earn more money as a teacher will offer you a list of ideas for a second job to supplement your income. Instead of taking on another job, invest in yourself. Moving over on your district salary schedule is a more fulfilling way to earn more. Increasing your education level will increase your salary substantially. Use professional development courses to increase your income and gain knowledge in a career you love.

Understand Your District Salary Schedule

The first step to earning more as a teacher is developing a strong understanding of your salary schedule. Each school district has a unique salary schedule. The salary schedule shows how much money you make for years of experience, education, and professional development. It is typically a grid shown with steps down and lanes across. When looking at your salary schedule, you can see your earning potential if you stay with your current education level and what it can be if you earn the maximum educational credit your district allows. The quicker you can move lanes to the right of your salary schedule, the more you will earn throughout your career in teaching. When looking at your salary schedule, consider how educational credits are measured. Are they measured in semester hours, quarter hours, or contact hours? What increments are there in moving lanes? Does your district require you to have a master’s to continue moving lanes, or can you continue moving with a bachelor’s degree? All these things are important to look at when making your plan.

Look at Your District Contract and Ask Questions

Information about continuing education and moving on your district’s salary schedule is detailed in your employment contract. Details vary from district to district, so it is critical that you understand your contract. Some of these contracts can be difficult to understand. If you have questions about your contract, don’t hesitate to ask your human resources department for clarification. They are usually very knowledgeable and helpful in understanding the process for salary advancement.

Not sure what to ask? Here is an example of an email you can send to your district human resource department.

Dear (Human Resource Personnel),
My Name is*******. I am a teacher at ******. I would like to move over on the district salary schedule, and I have some questions.

Do the classes I take need to be pre-approved? If so, what is the process for

How and when do I submit my classes? Do I need to submit classes as I complete them, or should I wait until I have enough credits to move on the salary schedule?

Is there a limit to how many lanes I can move per school year?

Do the classes I take have to be graduate-level?

Does the university have to be accredited? If so, what accreditation(s) do you accept?

Does the district or union offer financial assistance toward advanced degrees or professional development?

Are there any rules or recommendations for moving over on the pay scale?

Thank you for your time,
Sign your name

Things to Consider

After you have done the research and learned more about how the salary schedule in your school district works, there are other things to consider before making your plan.

  • Does your educational plan include getting a master’s degree? If you want a master’s degree, what do you want to get a degree in, and how much will it cost? Choose a degree relevant to your career goals in an area you are passionate about and research your options.
  • Some other considerations when looking into a master’s degree are…
  • When moving from BA or MA to + hours (for example, +15, +30, +45 or +20, +40…), consider taking post-graduate classes and certificate programs. These are significantly cheaper than degree programs. Many of these courses offer graduate-level transcripts. They also allow you the flexibility to choose the classes you want to take (as opposed to a degree program that dictates required courses). You can have the freedom to decide on continuing education courses that will help you meet your career goals.

Investing in yourself Now Can Return Thousands in Your Career

As a teacher, you invest so much time and energy into your students. Now is the time to invest in yourself and your future. You decided to enter the world of education because you have a passion for teaching and making a difference. Deciding to continue your education with teacher professional development courses is investing in yourself! The sooner you get started, the more impact it will have on your income throughout your career. Make a plan today!

  • Determine how many credits you need to move over a step/ column/ lane. How quickly would you like to move over? Set an attainable goal for yourself.
  • Determine how you are going to fund the classes. What is the least expensive way to fund your advancement? If you plan to move over quickly, consider an 18-month interest-free credit card. Submit the classes to your district as soon as you complete them and commit to paying the credit card off as soon as your pay goes up before the interest-free period ends. If you are going for a longer degree program, get the best-priced loan.
  • Do you have a coworker or a teacher friend who is also interested in working towards salary advancement? Having a colleague to share the experience with can help with encouragement and keep you motivated.
Time is money! The longer you wait, the less return on your investment in your education career. Check out our calculator to see the difference gaining educational credits can make in your lifetime earnings.

Why You Should Take Our Classes for
Salary Advancement

When you are looking at moving over on you district salary schedule, where you take your courses matters. Happy Teacher offers classes that allow you to gain credits quickly. Classes are self-paced within the month you register. All Happy Teacher courses are graduate-level and accredited. You have the option to get an Adams State University transcript. You will receive your transcript within two weeks of completing a course. Time matters when you are working towards increasing your salary. Happy Teacher understands this and won’t leave you waiting. With more than 35 project-based courses, you will find the classes that interest you and will be meaningful in your teaching.

How Do I Know These Professional Development
Classes Are Right For Me?

Do Take Our Classes If…


  • I love that the assignments are meaningful- there is no busy work!
  • Happy Teacher is the BEST professional development I have ever taken!
  • Happy Teacher has changed my life. I have lost 13 pounds, I have more energy, more time- and I'm learning to save!

Over 1000 Lessons and 35 Classes Choose From:

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Happy Teacher Professional Development is affiliated with Adams State University. ASU is accredited with The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC).

Yes, all Happy Teacher Professional Development classes are graduate-level.

Happy Teacher Professional Development classes run monthly. The last day to join a current session is the 21st of that month.

Yes, Happy Teacher Professional Development classes are self-paced within the month you register.

Happy Teacher sends certificates and grades to ASU on the 1st and 15th of every month. This allows you to submit your courses immediately, instead of waiting for an entire semester to end.

Email  and someone will contact you within one business day.

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