Want to “Do” Tech or Teach Tech?

The press release for a new book called “200 Best Jobs for College Graduates” included some IT salary information. I was a bit surprised by the low starting salaries. My in-college daughter wants to be a teacher, and the starting salary for a brand new college graduate in the district that employs my wife is $45,000. That beats all but one of the “best” jobs in the press release.

For examples, the book says “Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts” get an average starting salary of $40,100. Compare that to “Computer Support Specialists” who get an average starting salary of just under $26k. That $45k for a teacher doesn't look so bad all of a sudden, does it? And remember the best hook for many teachers: 12 plus weeks of paid vacation.

In fairness, let me remind you of the bad part of teaching: students. You'll see bunches of them every day, and all, by definition, are ignorant. It's your job to make them less ignorant in spite of their best efforts to ensure your failure, and theirs.

But even teachers who don't really like kids agree that even worse than students are school administrators. I have to say, after seeing our local administration up close and personal over the past few years in my work with the PTA council, school executives win the prize for Least Enlightened Management in every such contest.

That said, the starting salary is the starting salary. My wife has taught for a dozen years and loves it. You can find out if you like teaching and get paid at the same time by substituting. Rates per day in our area range from $60 to $100 depending on the district and your number of days subbing, and you generally only need about 60 hours of college credit to qualify to be a sub. School districts usually offer tuition reimbursement for further school work. One fellow teacher of my wife's is getting her student loans forgiven by teaching in a lower income school.

You won't find many public school teaching positions in technology, unfortunately. But if you minored in math or science and pass the qualifying test, schools will roll out their red carpet. They'll even be happy if you want to teach English or History.

The highest paying job listed in the book press release? Actuaries, starting at $48,750. Unfortunately, they only list 3,245 annual openings. School districts are scrambling to find qualified teachers, and there are tens of thousands of openings per year.

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