Elementary and middle school teachers average $56,420 per year and secondary (high school) teachers earn an average of $58,170. These figures place teachers comfortably above the national average of $46,440 reported by the BLS (link at the top of the list here).
If we compare these salaries to other professions, we find teachers earning a little more or a little less than plumbers and pipefitters ($53,820), chemical plant system operators ($54,690), real estate appraisers and assessors ($57,040), forensic science technicians ($57,340), police officers and sheriff’s deputies ($58,720), and electrical and electronics drafters ($60,350).
These comparisons do not make teacher pay look too bad. Plus, we should probably factor in something for the fact that teachers do not work year-round. There is some dispute about how many hours teachers work and what the adjustment should be for the roughly 38 week work-year. If we treat teachers as working three-quarters of the year (39 weeks), then those salaries in the range of $54-58,000 per year would translate to $72,000-$77,000 per year to make them equal on a per hour worked basis.