Preliminary teacher pay data show NC teacher salaries fall short of $50,000

Despite the claims of Governor McCrory and North Carolina General Assembly leaders, initial salary data from the Department of Public Instruction indicate that average North Carolina teacher salaries remain below $50,000, even when accounting for local supplements.  Preliminary data from the third pay period indicates that average teacher salaries – including local supplements – are approximately $49,744.

The preliminary figure of $49,744 is almost certainly a ceiling on where the final figure will land when calculated during the sixth pay period (the calculations from the sixth pay period are the figures that have historically been used for budgeting and making comparisons to other states). The average salary figure is likely to decrease by the sixth pay period for two reasons:

  1. Teacher turnover: Throughout the year, teachers retire, move, or get jobs in other professions. On average, these teachers tend to be replaced by less-experienced, and therefore less expensive, teachers, bringing down the average salary.
  2. Incomplete licensure data: 1,484 teachers in the third pay period have not had their licensure details finalized. These teachers’ salaries are not included in the average salary data. Historically, these tend to be newer teachers with below-average salaries. Including these salaries in the average salary data will reduce the statewide average.

The tables below demonstrate how the data from DPI were used to calculate the average salary of $49,744. The first step is to calculate the weighted average base salary of teachers paid from position allotments and those paid from categorical dollar allotments. This figure is the base salary for North Carolina teachers.


To determine the total salary, additional pay components are added to the base salary. The largest of the additional pay components is the local supplement. Most school districts in North Carolina provide their teachers with additional local supplemental pay. In some districts, the local supplement is a flat dollar amount. In other districts, the local supplement is calculated as a percent increase over base pay. For the purposes of this analysis, it is assumed that the local supplement will be the same percent of base pay as in FY 15-16 (8.87%).  For all other components, this analysis assumes the same dollar figure as in FY 15-16.


The debate over whether or not average teacher salaries in FY 16-17 would exceed $50,000 has been a centerpiece in statewide elections this year. NC Policy Watch has previously explained that average teacher salaries were likely to be $49,751 or below. The data today confirm the previous analysis and puts to rest claims that average teacher salaries exceed $50,000.


  1. Elliott

    November 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    It is important to note that under the present salary schedule the average is artificially inflated by those of us that have salaries grandfathered in in excess of 50k. As time passes veteran teachers with master’s degrees and / or national board certification that make 60-65k will be retiring. The result will be a steady decrease in average pay from one year to the next.

  2. Jim Daugherty

    November 2, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Interesting article, poor headline. Add “by one-half of one per cent” for full disclosure. $256 isn’t news. Pandering.

  3. Marsha Anderson

    November 2, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    I am glad the data supports what almost any teacher would tell you about their salaries. When we talk about those ads at school, teachers laugh, but not because we are amused.

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