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Learning about employment and wages of elementary and secondary school employees

August 31, 2023

Though schools in some areas begin the school year before the end of August, Labor Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday in September, traditionally marks the end of summer vacation for students and the 8.4 million employees in U.S. elementary and secondary schools. In the spirit of learning, here are some facts about jobs in those schools.

There were about 2.0 million elementary and middle school teachers and 1.1 million secondary school teachers employed in U.S. schools in May 2022. Average annual wages for these jobs were $67,980 and $69,400, respectively. Special education teachers accounted for 468,580 jobs in these schools and earned an average of $69,930. There were 192,650 preschool and kindergarten teachers, with average wages of $60,770. Almost 1.1 million teaching assistants, with annual mean wages of $34,230, provided help to teachers. School libraries had 62,480 librarians and related workers, who earned an average wage of $61,970 per year, ready to provide guidance to young readers.

Employment and wages in elementary and secondary schools, selected occupations, May 2022
Occupation Employment Annual mean wage
(U.S. dollars)

Total, all occupations

8,396,680 58,720

Elementary and middle school teachers

2,009,570 67,980

Secondary school teachers

1,118,190 69,400

Teaching assistants

1,065,790 34,230

Special education teachers

468,580 69,930

Building cleaning workers

313,220 36,650

Education and childcare administrators

293,900 106,180

Secretaries and administrative assistants

249,000 44,700

Passenger vehicle drivers

195,730 40,400

Preschool and kindergarten teachers

192,650 60,770

Counselors

172,910 71,490

Cooks

141,830 31,310

Protective service occupations

128,510 37,470

Therapists

91,820 81,180

Registered nurses

62,760 65,020

Librarians, curators, and archivists

62,480 61,970

Social workers

53,600 67,600

Psychologists

53,490 87,330

Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers

47,050 51,570

Computer support specialists

44,740 56,490

Grounds maintenance workers

15,200 42,900

Human resources workers

14,240 66,290

Buyers and purchasing agents

3,220 64,140

Note: Total includes occupations not shown separately. Some of the categories shown are broad occupations that are broken down into detailed occupations elsewhere.

While teachers, teaching assistants, and other educational instruction and library occupations accounted for about two-thirds of total employment in elementary and secondary schools, workers in many other occupations are needed to keep schools open. More than 313,000 building cleaning workers were employed in these schools in the United States, earning average wages of $36,650, in May 2022. There were 249,000 secretaries and administrative assistants, with annual mean wages of $44,700 and 293,900 education and childcare administrators, earning an average wage of over $106,000.

Other occupations with at least 100,000 employees in elementary and secondary schools include passenger vehicle drivers (annual mean wages $40,400), counselors ($71,490), cooks ($31,310), and protective service occupations ($37,470).

These data are from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program. To learn more about school employment, see the elementary and secondary school employment and wage estimates. These data include both schools owned by both private organizations and those owned by local and state governments. The elementary and secondary schools industry is made up of establishments that provide academic courses and associated course work for a basic kindergarten through 12th grade education. More information about education, training, and library occupations and other occupations can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Learning about employment and wages of elementary and secondary school employees at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2023/learning-about-employment-and-wages-in-elementary-and-secondary-schools.htm (visited May 29, 2024).

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