A teacher said in a viral TikTok that she will receive only a $3,000 salary increase following the completion of a master’s degree, igniting discussion among commenters about fair wages.
In a TikTok posted on July 25, Ms. Zak (@ms.zak) said her salary is expected to go from $53,000 to $56,000 per year after she finished a master’s degree in education.
“My friend, who only has a bachelor’s degree, makes about $30,000 more than me (while working less hours),” Zak wrote in a text overlay.
@ms.zak COOL COOL COOL COOL COOL 😬 #slay #slayallday #teacher #teacherlife #master #education #payteacherslikeproffessionals Inspo: @ ♬ original sound – John DeJesus
The video, which was viewed more than 300,000 times by Monday, led to a debate among commenters about fair wages.
Many viewers shared similar experiences.
”[My salary] will go from 46,000 to 50,000 with my Masters after 7 YEARS in the profession,” one person said.
“This is why i’m not getting my masters,” another wrote. “Bachelors of education will have to be enough.”
Several people criticized Zak’s video.
“Surely you knew this ahead of time?” one viewer commented.
“Your choice. Live with the consequences. You could’ve chosen to do something else. ALSO you get a nice pension, insurance, summers off. Not a bad deal,” another wrote.
In response, Zak said in a follow-up video that while she chose to go into the profession, she should be “allowed to advocate for better working conditions and better wages.”
“When you factor in all the other work that teachers are doing outside their contract hours, unpaid, just to be able to stay on top of things, and having professional level degrees, you realize it does not all add up,” Zak said.
She also noted that although she gets the summer off, she is not paid during that time, and she takes on another job to cover extra expenses.
“Yes I did choose this,” Zak said. “I am also choosing to continue to advocate for better pay for teachers.”
Based on 2019 research from the National Council on Teacher Quality, public school teachers with a master’s degree make about $5,000 more per year than their colleagues with only bachelor’s degrees. This is $7,000 less per year than the 2015 national average across all professions, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Zak is not the only teacher on TikTok pointing out the lack of advanced degree salary raises in the field. In June, user @teacheswithcurls shared a video saying her mind was “blown” after finding out how little her master’s degree would impact her pay.
“All of that time and stress for, like, nothing,” the user said.
The Daily Dot reached out to Zak via TikTok comment.
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*First Published: Aug 1, 2022, 4:10 pm CDT
Melina Khan is a New England-based journalist and editorial intern at the Daily Dot. Her work has previously appeared in The Day, The Quinnipiac Chronicle, and more than 30 NBC station affiliates nationwide.