Teachers and Second Jobs: The Rising Need for Supplemental Income

According to recent analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education, 1 in 5 teachers across America hold a second job during the school year in order to make ends meet.

Based on a 2012 study, and depicted in this infographic on working hours of teachers, teachers are bending over backwards just to keep up with their first full-time job. How, then, are they finding the time and energy to hold these second jobs? And why?

To answer the question of how teachers are finding the energy to work second jobs, we must first examine the why that is making it a necessity in the first place. Simply put, teachers are taking up second jobs because their salaries are not providing them a sufficient wage to support the rising cost of living and having a family in the modern age. According to a study conducted in 2015, the weekly wages of public school teachers in the U.S. earned 17% less than comparable college-educated professionals and their overall compensation (wages plus benefits) was 11.1% less than their non-teaching counterparts.

This, in turn, provides an easy answer to how teachers are managing to work multiple jobs: because they have no other choice.

Individuals may assume that teachers will be more likely hold a second job only during the summer months; however, this is not true. Teachers compared to other professionals are more likely to hold a second job year round, with more teachers acquiring a second job in January and February.

Data collected through the National Center for Educational Statistics’ 2015-16 National Principal and Teacher Survey (NTPS), showed that 44.5% of participating teachers earned supplemental income through extracurricular or additional activities in the same school district that they work in, with the average amount earned being only $2,600. However, teachers who worked a second job outside of the school district (17.9%), earned an additional $5,100 on average on top of their teacher salary.

Now the questions is “what types of jobs are these teachers getting to help boost their annual income?”

One venture that teachers are finding success in is Airbnb. The company disseminates an annual voluntary Community Compact Survey, which collects information regarding hosts and their employment industry. The results from this survey found that 1 in 10 hosts are educators, which equates to more than 45,000 teacher/educator hosts. Due to this astonishing statistic, in August of this year, Airbnb released a full US Teachers Report, titled “Celebrating Our Community of Teacher Hosts.” This report focuses on teacher hosts in 15 cities and the positive outcomes hosting has had on teachers in those communities. Just to provide you with some numbers, in 2017 teacher hosts earned $160 million collectively with the typical teacher host earning $6,500 on Airbnb alone.

A second popular form of supplemental income for teachers is becoming a driver for ridesharing apps, such as Uber or Lyft. With the flexibility that ridesharing offers, it allows for teachers to create their own schedules based on their availability. Similarly to Airbnb, Uber noticed the rise in teachers becoming drivers, so they developed their own teacher/driver initiative. In 2014, Uber coined their campaign “Teachers: Driving Our Future,” which was followed by the company offering sign on bonuses, alerting the passenger that their driver is a teacher and that 3% of the rider’s fare goes back to the driver’s classroom, and even a $5,000 bonus to the school with the most active drivers. However, those benefits are only available in certain states.

If you like the idea of making up your own schedule based on your availability, but don’t know if becoming an Airbnb host or Uber driver is for you, there are still plenty of options available. The third-party app, Task Rabbit, allows you to complete odd jobs, such as assembling furniture, painting a bedroom, and other general housework chores. Apps, such as DoorDash and PostMates, allows you to become a delivery driver using your own car at the click of a button. And if you have had enough human interaction, you can become a dog-walker and dog-sitter during your free time.Third-party apps, like Wag and Rover, make this an easy and fun option!

Some additional ways teachers are adding more to their bank account include traditional routes as well. Some of these options include tutoring, babysitting, house-sitting, being a lifeguard or providing swim lessons, and even turning their hobbies into income by opening their own shops on Etsy.com.

Since 1 in 5 public school teachers hold a second job during the school year, the above jobs are great, viable options and can help bring in additional cash flow for teachers who need the flexibility. However, if you plan on getting a second job to help pay for professional development or classroom supplies, since 94% of public school teachers reported paying on average $480 of their own money, you may want to look into grants for teachers. We have a gathered a list of different types of grants made available to teachers ranging from professional development grants all the way to grants for field trip. If interested in learning more about the grants, check out our guide to grants for teachers!