Foreign-language instructors introduce students to the mechanics, vocabulary and cultural elements of a foreign language, and with the advances in globalization, these teachers now find their skills in demand. These language professionals earn a comfortable living introducing their students to their language of choice, and their competitive hourly rates reflect this.
Factors Affecting Teachers' Pay
Several factors affect teachers' wages that may cause them to earn more or less than the average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where a person lives has a huge impact on how much money he makes as a language instructor. For example, those living in New York tend to earn far more than language professionals in places such as Michigan. Additional factors that affect salary can include skills, level of education and experience.
High School Teachers
Foreign-language teachers who teach on the high school level tend to make less than those working in other industries. According to the BLS, the average high school teacher earns about $53,000 a year. The hourly breakdown for these language professionals works out to about $27.60 per hour.
While some college and university language departments have done away with foreign-language teachers or even whole language departments, instructors at this level still make up the bulk of the professionals working in the field. The BLS states that just over 19,000 foreign-language instructors work at the university level; the number bumps up to over 27,000 when counting those working at the community college level. On the high end, these teachers make about $45 an hour. On the low end, they make about $39 hourly.
Foreign-language instructors working for government in agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency average about the same amount hourly as college-level instructors on the high end of the pay scale. These instructors earn approximately $44 per hour but have the opportunity to make more through bonuses, which can bump their salaries up by $5,000 to $10,000 a year. This works out to another $3 to $5 per hour, depending upon the bonus received.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: High School Teachers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Job Outlook -- High School Teachers
- Central Intelligence Agency: Foreign Language Instructor
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: 25-1124 Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary
- American Speech and Hearing Language Association: Factors Involved in Determining Salary
- Inside Higher Ed: Languages Without Language Faculty
Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.