Home Money Four Ways Teachers Can Make More Money

Four Ways Teachers Can Make More Money

by Bethany

For those of you do not know, HerFI (that’s me) is a teacher. I have had my ups and downs with teaching- as anyone in the profession does. It can be exhausting, emotionally draining and a downright soul suck SOME days. Yet, on other days it can be the MOST rewarding career choice filled with change and hope. There is one thing that rings true- often teachers need to make more money.

The only continuous and seemingly never changing downside of teaching is the fact that it is an underpaid and undervalued position in our society.  Who else will ask you to Tutor for minimum wage? You can read more about my thoughts on this here. There are, however, some ways to make more money than you do now.  So chin up and let’s put our noses to the grindstone.

 Option 1: Professional Development and Moving Up the Pay Scale

All districts have a pay scale and your pay is determined by two things: your number of years teaching and the level of education you have acquired. Moving up the pay scale by the years worked takes much longer than investing some time (and occasionally your own funds) into your professional development.

Many districts offer you a certain amount of PD funds to pay yourself every year for exactly that: Professional Development. If you have not been using this – start NOW. There are always summer course offerings and PD opportunities outside of school hours.

College is also an option and can be done as Continuing Education or for college credit. If you have a Masters degree like I do – I recommend taking the CE clock hours since this is often much less expensive and you can get a better return for your PD money given to you by the district. If you have a BA and are headed towards a Masters- take the college credit. Either way, if you provide the end transcripts it gets added to your file and your accumulation of clock hours. Thus moving you farther up the pay scale.

In addition to the Professional Development sessions, you could choose to focus on an additional teaching certificate, endorsement or become a Nationally Board Certified Teacher. All of these will lead to raises outside of the pay scale (for most districts).

To Summarize- use your PD funds provided by the district. Options include:

  • Courses offered in the district
  • Courses offered by your local ESD office
  • Courses offered by Colleges (even online ones) take for CE Clock Hours or College Credit
  • Certifications or Additional Endorsements
  • Become an NBCT
  • Conferences can occasionally count as clock hours
  • Internships if previously approved can count as clock hours

While it can be extra paperwork and time- if you want to move up that scale start educating yourself and do what we should be doing- stay a lifelong learner. Plus make more money as a teacher.

Option 2: Summer Gigs and Summer Camps

Ah. Summer. The days of sitting in the yard and casually sipping a cocktail. It can also be a time for a summer gig. If you are not diving head first into PD classes then perhaps this is an option for you. (Or do both if you are feeling extra ambitious).

Before trying to find separate employment, check with your district for summer camps or summer credit recovery programs. They typically post the summer positions in late April/Early May. Often the positions are only for a few weeks out of the summer months and offer adequate pay. I have done a summer art camp before and it was a blast. 3 hours every morning for one week making art. What could be better?

Not feeling like teaching to make more money? Here are some other options for the summer side hustle that typically pay a bit more than the minimum wage:

  • Work at daycare (they are typically always hiring- state ahead of time that it is a temp summer only position- pay is less than exciting- but more than minimum- so be warned)
  • Sign up to work at the local fair for the 4-H/FFA or even be a parking lot attendant (Our State pays well for this)
  • Summer Only Parks and Recreation Positions- Includes everything from lifeguarding to summer trail maintenance.
  • Summer paid internships- I have done this as well and it was so rewarding. It also killed two birds with one stone since it counted as clock hours as it was in my current teaching field.

Option 3: Passive Income Sources and Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT)

Passive income. That thing that always seems “so easy” but remains slightly allusive for most. I have tried a few different options and some worked for me while others did not. I started an Etsy store for downloadable artwork this was not in any way lucrative. I also created two Skillshare classes. While perfect in theory- most of the time we can learn those skills off YouTube for free. 

I am not in anyway kicking these passive income sources as they have worked so well for some people. They just did not work well for me and maybe I will take a mastermind course in the future to improve- but for now, I am just going to focus on the one incredible and easy passive income source that worked for me.

Teachers Pay Teachers you guys. This is the best passive income source for educators. If you have not heard of it before- go check it out right now. They offer hundreds of free and paid for curriculum, planners, worksheets- you name it and they have it. I have certainly bought a few things from them when I was first teaching.

To open your store you need to set up a complete profile with your credentials. You must have at least one free resource available (although I keep two). My store is called Ready for Monday and I simply uploaded the quizzes and keys, power points etc that I had already created for my classes. I have so many more to add, but I will work on this over the summer.

Price them appropriately and you will sell some. They send you your earnings once a month through PayPal and you just get to sit back and watch it happen.  My current struggle here is getting some ratings, but I am working on it. 🙂

Option 4: The All Year Round Side Hustle 

Freelancing. This is the easiest side hustles to maintain because you decide when to pick up the extra work. It also does not cost too much upfront. If you have a skill make it work for you. (Not an easy side hustle if you need to make a regular income)

I have done freelance design and photography for years now as my side income. Offering only to friends, family and by word of mouth – this has been the perfect way for me to bring in a little extra cash and make more money as a teacher.

If you do not feel like you have a network to hire you right away try creating a profile on Fiverr or Behance and see if you can pick up a few gigs. Check out the Do You Even Blog Podcast on Freelancing for some tips. Are you great at WordPress or coding? People are looking for that too.

Educators and teachers, share your favorite side hustle or summer gig below in the comments? Any tips for PD and moving up the scale? Let’s make this a resource below.

For those looking to see more blogs by educators about all things, finance check out the ultimate list here.

Keep up the good work! You got this.


freddy smidlap May 16, 2018 - 6:08 am

oh, coaching a sport pays some bucks. it might take up a lot of time, though, so you better enjoy it.

Bethany May 17, 2018 - 6:16 am

True. It pays well depending on the sport and how may coaches are needed to make it happen. I coached dance for awhile and it was a fun experience, which was important since the pay did not compensate the hours spent. So, to echo what you said, you better enjoy it.

kevinnielsen1978 May 17, 2018 - 1:31 am

I am a teacher (high school) and a good gig (as long as you have the right experience) can be grading exam papers. Experienced AP teachers can become a reader (usually about $1700 plus flights and accommodation for a week in the summer) I teach in the International Baccalaureate and all of our grading is online. I make about $5000 per year. I know SAT needs people to grade the essay portion as well. The ultimate tip for teachers – go international! We did and won’t look back!

Bethany May 17, 2018 - 6:15 am

This is a fantastic idea! I may look into this with my previous English experience. Thank you so much for adding to the resource.

Half Life Theory May 17, 2018 - 4:04 am

The story of teachers in America is a down right shame, i followed the teachers strikes in Oklahoma very closely, and it is truly heartbreaking how under valued teachers are. We literally trust them to raise our kids for us, and expect them to help set our kids up for success in the future, but we don’t feel they are worth earning a fair salary.

If i was in their shoes, i would leave, and either go to a state that values teachers more or maybe switch careers. But from what i saw, these teachers care about the kids so much, and would rather stay, than leave for selfish reasons.

Definitely much better humans than me. Thank you for all you do Bethany!

Bethany May 17, 2018 - 6:19 am

I will agree, each state and each district can offer their teachers something a bit different, so looking around before choosing a position is important or being open to change when the fit is not right for you and your family.
Thank you for your continued support of teachers work.

Tawnya May 24, 2018 - 6:35 pm

Love it! I have a post that will come out eventually about taking advantage of the benefits of your contract, which moving up the pay scale is one. I have actually focused on moving up the pay scale because I’m reimbursed by the district for up to 6 credits a year. Most are sick of school, but it literally pays to take advantage of those benefits.

Bethany May 25, 2018 - 6:29 am

Thank you so much! I look forward to reading that post. I too have taken several classes for a third endorsement. I actually love school, so taking classes is typically fun. I know what a weirdo. Haha!
Thank you for taking the time to read.

Jill January 27, 2020 - 11:32 am

I’m a language teacher and offered Spanish enrichment classes at local preschools. In my best locations, I actually made almost $100 per contact hour.

Bethany January 27, 2020 - 12:09 pm

That is a great rate! Thank you for sharing.


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