Why Teach In A Private School

When looking to pursue a career in education, there are hundreds of questions you need to find answers to. What kind of certifications will you need? What age do you want to teach? And a question that can potentially affect your entire career: do you want to work in a private or public school? Both choices come with their ups and downs; however, it is important to know the details about each so you can make the best decision for your future.

Why should you teach in a private school?

So why teach in private school? Teaching in a private school really is the ideal environment for educators. As a teacher in private school, you will enjoy smaller class sizes, a smaller school, and a more concise management structure.

Smaller classes and a smaller school come with the territory of an independent institution. Instead of educating all of the kids living in a certain area like public school, private schools work on an application basis. The school can choose how many students they want for each grade in order to keep classes at a manageable size. This means less papers to grade and more one-on-one time with students.

Additionally, private schools have a far smaller management structure. Since public schools are run by the state, there is a long line with administrators making sure each school is meeting the standards of the district. However, private schools are independent and set their own educational standards. That means there is not a long list of administrators keeping an eye on you, and you are likely to have some creative license in how you teach your students.

Can I teach in a private school without certification?

Like most positions, the requirement for a certification varies from school to school. However, most private schools are far more interested in the degrees you have, your work experience, your knowledge, and your ability to teach. Most schools will require proof of your bachelor’s degree and run a background check before allowing you to start teaching. And, as usual, advanced degrees, like a master’s of PHD, are big pluses when applying to private school teaching jobs.

What is the difference between teaching in private vs public schools?

Apart from smaller schools and class sizes, the difference comes down to the control you have in the classroom. When a student signs a contract to attend a private school, they are given a list of rules and expectations to abide by. And they know ahead of time that they will be disciplined if they do not follow the rules. In public school settings, disciplining a student is far more complicated. The students have certain entitlements that make discipline a convoluted and often lengthy process. Once students catch on to the fact that you as a teacher cannot do anything when they act out, your classroom can easily get out of control.

Because of the strict nature of private schools, you can expect to get a lot more done. Your lessons will run smoothly with minimal interruptions. And since classes are much smaller, you will have a chance to give individual attention to your students and ensure they are all receiving the help they need to succeed.

What is the average private school teacher salary vs a public school teacher salary?

Here’s where things get a little tricky. Salaries vary by school and location, but on average, public school teachers make more per year than private school teachers. According to The Atlantic, private school teachers make an average of $36,000 a year while public school teachers make $50,000 a year on average. That means public school educators make $14,000 more on average than teachers in private schools.

This wage gap primarily comes from the fact the there is a much higher need for public school teachers, and they are not in high supply. Public school administrators are having to offer a more attractive salary to get teachers in the classroom. While this may seem discouraging if you aspire to teach in private schools, don't look at it that way. Just consider it as an incentive to really weigh your pros and cons when decided where to apply for teaching jobs.

Thinking about becoming a teacher? What criteria you should prioritize in your masters’ in teaching search.

School & program reputation

With all of the options out there, it is important to make sure your program is legit. Be sure to do some research and make sure the program you choose has the proper accreditation to provide an master’s degree in teaching and administration. NASPAA accreditation is the global standard for master’s degrees in public service. Be positive the school you choose is NASPAA accredited.

The reputation of the school is another thing you should consider as you search for the perfect school. Reputation is important if you are looking to teach in a private school or are seeking to receive a doctorate. If your goal is to work in a public school, reputation is not always as important. So reputation really is about the path you want to take after you graduate and get into the workforce. Of course, a school’s reputation can also be an indicator of the quality of education you will receive, so be sure to consider all factors when making your choice.


Location is always key when searching for schools. Especially in the teaching field, networking is key. Therefore, if you can find a great school in the area you are hoping to teach in, you will have the chance to make valuable connections to advance your career while you are still in school.

Another option to consider is pursuing your masters degree online. Online schools are a great way to further your education while maintaining your busy schedule. You can schedule your schooling around your work and life; not the other way around.

Curriculum and teaching opportunities while enrolled

Before choosing a school, it is important to familiarize yourself with what the curriculum looks like. Especially as a teacher, you will want to know what kind of teaching opportunities will be available to you while you are in school. How many student teacher hours are required? Will you be compensated for this time? These are integral things to consider when making your choice.

Alumni network

Networking plays a huge role in any career field, and whether your degree is online or in class, you do not want to miss out on important connections in your field. Look into what sort of alumni services your potential program offers to its grads. A good connection can be the key to landing your dream job.

Percentage of alumni who work in private school setting

Finding out what percentage of alumni are now teachers in private schools can tell you a lot about how well a school’s program can prepare you for your career. Check out the school’s alumni page or even do a Facebook search to see what the grads from your potential grad school are up to now.

Top areas for private school teachers

Due to a variety of factors, the best places to be a private school teacher are New York City, California, Florida, Texas, and the Boston area. Here is a quick rundown on what you can expect from these areas if you teach in a private school.

Teaching Private School in New York City

According to Chalkbeat.org, New York City private school teachers are in for a big pay raise this year. Thanks to the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), New York City private school teachers will receive an 18% raise in 2018. That means their starting salaries are shooting up from $45,530 to $54,411. Additionally, the maximum salary for their private school teachers is bumping up from around $100,000 to $119,000. Even before the pay raise, private school teaching salaries in New York were $9,000 dollars over the national average per year, and now it has doubled that gap, reaching $18,000. It is definitely a great time to be a private school teacher in the Big Apple.

Teaching Private School in California

Along with New York, California is on the list of the top 5 highest paying states for teachers, according to an article on CNBC. Glassdoor states that the average salary for a California private school teacher is $47,471. However, the wage can expand exponentially when factoring in experience and education.

Teaching Private School in Florida

Another great place to be a teacher is the sunshine state of Florida. According to Payscale.com, the median salary for a private school teacher is around $42,000 a year.

Teaching Private School in Texas

Considering teaching in the Lonestar State? The state of Texas also offers a higher wage for private school teachers than most. In Texas, private school teachers make an average of $47,000 according to Glassdoor

Teaching Private School in the Boston area

The Boston area is known for its prestigious private schools that prepare students for Ivy League universities, and their educators salaries reflect their standard for excellence. At a Boston area private school, you can expect your starting salary to be between $45,000 and $62,000 according to Glassdoor

Choosing how you want to advance your career can be a challenging task. However, it is a great time to pursue a career in private school education.

Works cited:

Private school teacher salaries, retrieved January 28, 2018. https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/massachusetts-private-school-teacher-jobs-SRCH_IL.0,13_IS3399_KO14,36.htm

Prive school teacher salaries in Texas, retrieved January 28, 2018. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=High_School_Teacher/Salary/e88426a4/Florida-FL

Private school teaching in California, retrieved January 28, 2018. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/14/the-5-highest-and-lowest-paying-states-for-teachers-in-the-us.html

New York City private school teaching, retrieved January 28, 2018.

Private school teacher salaries, retrieved January 28, 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/10/why-are-private-school-teachers-paid-less-than-public-school-teachers/280829/

Nedda Gilbert

Ms. Gilbert is a certified social worker and 30 year educational consultant with an interest in helping college-bound and graduate school students manage the process and stress of admissions effectively. She is one of the senior founding managers of the Princeton Review Test Preparation Company, and the author of The Princeton Review Guide to the Best Business Schools and another book, Business School Essays that Made a Difference (Random House). She is a guest contributor to Forbes Magazine on college and college life. Ms. Gilbert is also certified as a collaborative family law professional in New Jersey. She received her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MS from Columbia University.