What does a secondary or grammar school teacher in Germany earn?
As in the case of primary school teachers, the majority of teachers in secondary schools are also classified in salary group A12. Teachers in secondary schools are often confronted with challenging teaching situations. Their opportunities for advancement are also limited, as there are fewer management and coordination positions at secondary schools. The situation is different for vocational school teachers: They are usually in the salary group A13 and tend to have more opportunities to take a senior position and thus earn more money. Associations and trade unions are therefore working to bring together the salaries of teachers at all types of school in A13. In Schleswig-Holstein, they have already made some initial progress: If a secondary school teacher applies to work in North Rhine-Westphalia, they will be classified in salary group A12. However in Schleswig-Holstein, they would be in the salary group A13. A teacher entering the profession at a state secondary school in Kiel earns €3,806 per month, while in Duesseldorf they would earn €3,459. The classification and therefore the earnings of primary and secondary school teachers differs in each federal state.
What does a grammar school teacher in Germany earn?
One of the few similar features of the salary structures in each of the federal states is the classification of secondary school teachers in A13. Grammar school teachers are the best earners among state school teachers. Their career ladder also offers more options for promotion than other types of schools, as grammar schools usually need more staff for coordination and organisational duties. On average, the starting salary in Grade A13 is €3,861 and, after twenty years of employment, this rises to €4,658. The following table shows how much grammar school teachers earn in each federal state, categorised into earnings at the start of their career and after approximately 20 years in the profession:
What are the salary differences for teachers in the German federal states?
The Ministries of Education in each federal state are largely free to arbitrarily set the number of working hours and salary for teachers, which has resulted in real competition between the federal states. Hamburg leads the race for teachers' salaries. In 2015, the gross salary for full-time teachers in Hamburg was 8.7% above the national average. Saxony-Anhalt followed closely at +8.2%. The worst performers were Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate, where salaries were respectively 3.8% and 4.0% lower than the national average. In Hamburg, a primary school teacher earned €3,478 gross in the first year of employment, while they earned €3,116 in Rhineland-Palatinate. The number of compulsory hours should also be taken into consideration for a more meaningful comparison: In Saxony-Anhalt, a full-time primary school teacher has 27 lessons per week and earns €3,204 during their first year. 28.5 hours are required in Saarland, with lower earnings of €3,156.
What effects does working at a state school have on teachers' salaries in Germany?
Apart from Berlin and Saxony, all federal states employ a large proportion of teachers as civil servants. Teachers who fulfil health and professional requirements and who have not yet reached the maximum age, ranging from 40 to 50 depending on the federal state, are approved to work as civil servants. The civil servant status is desirable due to the benefits of lower tax rates, job security and supplements for teachers' own children. As a rule, civil servants' gross salary is similar to that of salaried employees. However, they do not pay any pension, long-term care or unemployment insurance, so their deductions are lower. As calculated by the education portal lehrerfreund.de, a 35-year-old full-time grammar school teacher with civil servant status with no children who has been in the profession for eight years will take home €2,820 of their gross salary of €4,030. Without civil servant status, they would receive a net salary of €2,430 per month.
What do teachers earn after being promoted in Germany?
In the case of people who enjoy teaching young people but do not want to take on any organisational responsibilities, salary increases stop at the highest experience level. If a teacher wishes to further their career, this step is only possible by reducing their time spent in the classroom. Applying for a higher salary or pay band also extends their area of responsibility. Teachers should therefore think carefully about how their desire to earn more goes hand in hand with the taking on a role involving more coordination and organisation. For example, if a secondary school teacher in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) wants to climb up the career ladder, they will need to consider the following salary prospects and exemplary tasks:
Factors that are generally relevant in applications also count in the education system: Professionally experience, motivation, strengths and contacts. Teachers employed by the state are usually left empty-handed when selections are made for promotions, as functional and management positions are usually reserved for civil servants, apart from in Berlin and Saxony, where junior teachers are no longer appointed as civil servants.