Compensation for Prior Work Experience

2011 Retaining Effective Teachers Policy

2011 Goals for Compensation for Prior Work Experience

The state should encourage districts to provide compensation for related prior subject-area work experience.

Best practices

North Carolina compensates new teachers with relevant prior-work experience by awarding them one year of experience credit for every year of full-time work after earning a bachelor's degree that is related to their area of licensure and work assignment. One year of credit is awarded for every two years of work experience completed prior to earning a bachelor's degree.

Best practice 1

State

Meets goal 1

State

Nearly meets goal 0

States

Meets goal in part 4

States

Meets a small part of goal 0

States

Does not meet goal 45

States

Do states direct districts to make adjustments in starting salary for new teachers who have relevant work experience?

2011
Figure details

Yes: CA, DE, GA, NC, TX, WA

No: AK, AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

How we graded

Districts should be allowed to pay new teachers with relevant work experience more than other new teachers.

State and district salary structures frequently fail to recognize that new teacher hires are not necessarily new to the workforce. Some new teachers bring with them deep work experience that is directly related to the subject matter they will teach. For example, the hiring of a new high school chemistry teacher with 20 years? experience as a chemical engineer would most certainly be a great boon to any district. Yet most salary structures would place this individual at the same point on the pay schedule as a new teacher straight out of college. Compensating these teachers commensurate with their experience is an important retention (as well as recruitment) strategy, particularly when other, nonteaching opportunities in these fields are likely to be more financially lucrative.

As discussed in Goal 4-C, specifics of teacher pay should largely be left to local decision making. However, states should use policy mechanisms to inform districts that it is not only permissible but also necessary to compensate new teachers with related prior work experience appropriately.

Research rationale

Of particular concern for the teaching profession are the quality and number of teachers available in math, science and special education and of those serving high-poverty students. See the following:

Debra Hare, et al., "Teacher Shortages in the Midwest: Current Trends and Future Issues," Center for School Change, University of Minnesota, 2000; Paul Harrington, "Attracting New Teachers Requires Changing Old Rules," The College Board Review, 2001; 192: 6-11; Patrick M. Shields, et al., "The Status of the Teaching Profession 2001," The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning, 2001.

Much of the blame for the difficulty in hiring people with technical expertise falls on the single salary schedule that rewards only experience and degree level. See D. Goldhaber and Albert Yung-Hsu Liu, "Teacher Salary Structure and the Decision to Teach in Public Schools: An Analysis of Recent College Graduates," Center on Reinventing Public Education, 2005.

People with technical skills are in high demand in the non-teacher labor market. See Cathleen Stasz and Dominic J. Brewer, "Academic Skills at Work: Two Perspectives," Rand Corporation, 1999. See also Burton A. Weisbrod and Peter Karpoff, "Monetary Returns to College Education, Student Ability and College Quality," Review of Economics and Statistics, 1968; 50(4): 491-97.

It has also been shown that teachers who teach technical subject matters have higher rates of attrition. See M. Podgursky, et al., "The Academic Quality of Public School Teachers: An Analysis of Entry and Exit Behavior," Economics of Education Review, 2004; 23: 507-18.

In addition, research has shown that math and science teachers—both men and women—with high ACT scores are the first to leave the teaching profession. See Sheila N. Kirby, et al., "Staffing At-risk School Districts in Texas: Problems and Prospects," Rand, 1999.

See also Robin R. Henke and Lisa Zahn, "Attrition of New Teachers Among Recent College Graduates," Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Reports, U.S. Department of Education, 2001.

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