For many people, the teaching profession is an attractive and crisis-proof job. At least teachers with civil servant status are virtually non-terminable. In addition, the professional group is in demand as rarely before due to the shortage of teachers in Germany. We took a closer look at what salary earn.

The different names for the income of teachers result from the different types of employment. A large proportion of the teachers are civil servants. Civil servants do not receive a salary, but a salary, since from a purely legal point of view they are not paid for their work, but are paid for the performance of an office. In parlance, however, the salary is often referred to as a salary. Also in this article we use the term salary in some places when we talk about the income of civil servant teachers.

The earnings of most teachers in Germany are between 41,980 and 50,960 euros* in the kununu paycheck. As top earners, teachers can achieve an annual gross salary of up to EUR 77,900*. According to kununu users who work as teachers, the average salary for teachers in Germany across all earnings classes is 49,200 euros*.

These figures show that the amount of earnings can vary greatly. It is influenced by a number of factors, which we elaborate on below:

In Germany, education is a matter for the federal states and so is the remuneration of teachers. As in many other professions, there are federal states in which the average income is better than in others. For a long time it was considered that you could only work as a teacher in the federal state in which you had completed your teaching degree.

In the meantime, moving to other federal states is a little easier. In a resolution from 2001, the Conference of Ministers of Education defined the principles of the teacher exchange procedure, which is intended to make it easier for teachers to move to another federal state for personal reasons. Nevertheless, it makes sense to think carefully about the federal state in which you enroll for the teaching degree.

In these federal states you earn the most as a teacher:

More on this on our salary page for teachers in the kununu salary check.

In Germany there were almost 800,000 teachers in the 2020/21 school year, around a quarter of whom are not civil servants but employed under private law. The number of civil servant teachers varies greatly from state to state.

In the old Federal Republic, teachers were generally civil servants. That changed with reunification. In the GDR there was no official status for teachers. Especially in the new federal states, the number of civil servant teachers is therefore low, but many old federal states are also increasingly relying on privately employed teachers.

The employment status has a not inconsiderable effect on the level of payment: On average, civil servant teachers earn around 500 euros more per month than those who are not civil servants. Those who are civil servants not only have higher earnings, but also a job for life and fewer taxes. In addition, there are grants for marriage, for children and for private health insurance.

The salary increases automatically with age and professional experience. If you want to be a civil servant, you have to undergo an examination by the public health officer: Obesity, chronic illnesses or too old are considered exclusion criteria. The individual federal states set the requirements for civil servants themselves.

For civil servant teachers, the respective salary bracket determines the amount of earnings. The level of payment within a salary group is defined by the respective federal states. In general, the following applies: the higher the salary group, the higher the salary (A 9 to A 13 belong to the higher service, A 13 to A 16 belong to the higher service and receive the highest salary level). You can find out which salary group which teachers start in from the salary table for teachers:

The annual salaries given are average salaries across all federal states.

Teachers who are not civil servants are paid according to the collective agreement of the federal states (TV-L). With the exception of Hesse, the level of salaries for privately employed teachers is specified in the collective agreement. However, there are sometimes different types of school in the federal states, which is why there can be different classifications and therefore also salaries.

In Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse, the three old school types, Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium, are still run in parallel. In many other federal states, instead of Hauptschule and Realschule, there are comprehensive schools or district schools where students from different branches are taught together. The collective agreement for teachers in the public service is negotiated approximately every two years.

The salary table already shows that the type of school also plays a fundamental role in the amount of a teacher’s salary. As a primary school teacher, you are in salary group A12, while high school teachers are in salary group A13.

According to this, the salary of a primary school teacher is lower than the salary of teachers at a high school. Despite having completed their studies, traineeship and second state examination, primary school teachers are paid less than teachers in salary bracket A13. Civil servants in salary group A12 receive an average of 4,847 euros gross per month. In salary group A13 it is around 500 euros more.

Although the salary brackets and the associated income differences relate to civil servant teachers, they also give an indication of teachers who are paid under collective agreements.

As in many other professions, teachers’ income increases with increasing professional experience, regardless of whether they are civil servants or not. According to kununu salary check, the starting salaries for teachers in Germany with less than three years of professional experience are between 41,980 and 50,960 euros*. Top earners with a monthly gross salary of up to 77,900 euros* usually have more than ten years of professional experience.

The salary prospects are particularly good as a director of studies or headmaster of a comprehensive school or a grammar school. They belong to salary group A16 and are the top earners in the occupational group with around 7,347 euros gross per month.

How much of your gross income is left to you as a teacher depends primarily on whether you are a civil servant or not. In general it can be said that civil servants receive more net than teachers in the public sector. Special payments such as family allowances and job allowances increase the basic salary of civil servants. The tax deductions are also calculated differently.

No, at least if the teacher teaches in a public school. The amount of payment depends on the factors described above. It doesn’t matter which subjects a teacher teaches. The salary of a German teacher is therefore the same as that of a math, music or physical education teacher.

The exact requirements for lateral entry as a teacher are determined by the federal states. Most federal states accept teachers without a teaching degree, as the demand for teachers is very high. In addition, lateral entrants can enrich school life and the education of the students with their experience. A completed degree is required. In addition, lateral entrants must complete a two-year legal clerkship and conclude with an examination.

Financially, a lateral entry as a teacher makes sense above all if you have prospects of becoming a civil servant. When it comes to salary as a civil servant teacher, age and professional experience are also taken into account. As career changers without civil servant status, teachers are in many cases paid less than teachers who have completed their teaching degree.

Every prospective teacher has to complete a legal clerkship before they can really start their professional life. The legal clerkship is often referred to as the “second phase” or “preparatory service”. In most federal states it lasts 18 months, under certain conditions shorter periods are possible.

Trainee teachers teach independently at schools and also attend seminars as part of their training. The traineeship ends with a written and a practical exam, the second state exam. Since the traineeship is part of the training, the salary is quite low. It varies depending on the type of school (primary school, junior high school, middle school, grammar school, etc.) and federal state and is around 1,100 to 1,300 euros gross per month.

That depends on how many hours are worked part-time. In general, part-time pay is reduced in proportion to pay. For example, if you reduce your working hours from 100 percent to 50 percent, your salary will also be halved accordingly.

When it comes to part-time work, there are differences between civil servant teachers and those who are paid according to collective agreements. Salaried employees can generally apply for any number of hours part-time, while civil servants are subject to stricter restrictions. If you want to work part-time as a teacher, you have to apply.

* All information as of December 20, 2022. We update the article regularly with the latest data, but there may be deviations from the data on the linked salary pages. The salary bands of the kununu salary check are continuously updated. They therefore always provide up-to-date information on teacher salaries.

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The original for this article “In which federal states do teachers earn the most” comes from kununu.