Private School Jobs

Updated |
Private School Jobs
Teaching in a private school is different from teaching in a public school. Find out more about the differences as well as duties, compensation and where to find jobs.
What is it really like to work in a private school?  Is it the same as teaching in a public school? We'll look at the advantages to working in private schools, different types of jobs in private schools, teaching in a private school versus in a public school, benefits to working at a private school, preparing for work in a private school, and finding employment in private schools.

Advantages to Working in a Private School


Flexible Curriculum
A private school teacher does not have to teach to the test. Public school teachers must focus on preparing their students to do well on state mandated testing as opposed to really teaching them.

Smaller Class Size
Private school class sizes are generally smaller than similar public school classes. You can truly teach a small class of students. Discipline issues are minimal.

Increased Teacher Safety
Teachers feel safer in most private schools because private schools can enforce their discipline codes with impunity. In addition most private schools have a much smaller student population than public schools. It is easier to supervise a smaller group of students.

 
 
Different Types of Jobs in Private Schools

Private schools employ administrators, support staff and teachers. The teachers are what give any private school its special, unique flavor. Most schools are very particular about the kinds of teaching style and qualifications they are looking for.

Educational Positions
 
What does a teacher do?

  • Teacher. The teacher is responsible for educating students in her class to set expectations.  Depending on the grade level, the teacher may be responsible for a multiple subjects or he may just focus on one subject.  In addition to their teaching duties, teaches may have extra roles in study hall, the cafeteria, sports, and other after school activities.  The National Educators Association shows an average starting salary for 2011-12 as $35,672 with the low salary of $26,734 and a high of $51,539. Teaching positions can specialize in special education, vocational training, and athletic training.
  • Teacher’s Assistant. The teacher’s assistant helps the teacher maintain the educational milieu of the class, prepares class materials, and works with students. Salary range will be less than what a teacher makes.

Administrative & Support  

Administrative and support positions include:  

  • Administrator
  • Office Staff
  • Guidance Counselor
  • School Social Worker
  • School Nurse
  • Librarian
  • Maintenance
  • Custodial
  • Food Service
  • Transportation

Average Annual Salaries
  

According to a Salaries and Tuition Survey published by the Independent School Association of the Central States, average educational salaries in the private schools are as follows: 

Position
Annual Salary
Head of School
$128,004
Director Level
$73,588
Faculty with 0-5 years experience
$30,707
Faculty with 6-10 years experience
$34,743
Faculty with 11-15 years experience
$38,384
Faculty with 16-20 years experience
$41,388
Faculty with 21+ years experience
$46,391
Librarians
$41,868

The NCES offers State Education Data Profiles which give you an idea of what conditions are like in various parts of the country.

Teaching in a Private School vs a Public School
 
Here are some of the more common attributes where public and private schools differ. These are often the reason why a particular private school was started in the first place. Parents or teachers, often both, decided that they could produce a better educational result by creating a school where they controlled the way the school was run and who attended.
 
Teacher Safety  Teacher safety is a non-issue in most private schools. When an incident occurs, the consequences are swift and appropriate. Private school students are governed by contract law. The terms of their being at the school are very clearly spelled out in that contract signed by parents and the school.
Class Size  Class size is small in most prep schools. Typically 12:1 is the ratio of students to faculty you will find. Most parochial schools have larger class sizes, generally in the range of 25-30 students. It is much easier to teach a small group of students than to teach a large class.
Supplies  Supplies such as books and equipment tend to be newer than those in public schools. In a private school students buy their books at the beginning of the school year. Facilities and equipment is generally state of the art in private schools as they have more funding options.
Curriculum  In private school, teachers often feel they have more impact on the curriculum than they would in a public school setting. This is because most public schools (charter schools being an exception) must follow a state set curriculum from which they cannot deviate. About 30 private schools follow the IB or International Baccalaureate curriculum which is a rigorous course of study leading to a diploma granted by an external examinations body.
AP Courses Private schools offer a wide variety of AP courses because they have the staff and resources to teach these college level courses effectively.
Administration Private schools tend to keep their administration fairly streamlined. They don't have the layers of bureaucracy with which public schools have to contend. This makes it easier to address issues and effect change as necessary.
Unions   Most public school teachers belong to a teachers union. Private school teachers do not belong to a union.

Typical Benefits for Private School Jobs  

The following benefits are fairly common at most private schools:  

  • Health insurance
  • Disability benefits
  • Leave programs (Sick, personal, holidays).  Because most teaching positions are only for nine months, teachers may not receive annual vacation time (in either private or public settings).
  • Retirement plans
  • Life Insurance
  • Savings plans (457 and 403b)
  • Professional development plans
  • Tuition reimbursement for continuing education
  • Long term care benefits
  • Employee assistance program (EAP) and mental health benefits
  • Meals
  • Reduced or free tuition for children
  • Housing (at boarding schools)

Career Paths to Private School Jobs  

The career path to a private school job differs from the public school sector in several ways. Private schools will often hire teachers who have not yet obtained a teacher's license or teacher’s certificates. The emphasis is on expertise in a subject area and other qualifications.
 
 
Degrees

Teaching in a private school setting requires a bachelor’s degree at a minimum. A master's degree or doctorate is preferable. Degrees in a subject area are preferred over an education degree particularly at the high school level.

Certification

It's a common belief that private schools do not require certification. Actually, it depends on the individual school. The US Department of Education keeps an updated list of state requirements for private schools. You should also check with private schools that you are interested in to find out what certifications they require. Besides state certification, a private school may require additional regional certification such as the NAPCIS Teacher Certification Program for Catholic educators.

Experience

Teachers can begin teaching as soon as they have graduated from college. Many private schools offer intern programs so that they can train the fledgling teacher according to the school's teaching practices. Many young private school teachers can enjoy their first class right out of college.
 
Where to Look for Private School Jobs

Agencies

Placement agencies know the market and have established clients looking for qualified staff.
  • CalWest Educators Placement specializes in placement of private school teachers and administrators on the west coast.
  • Carney, Sandoe & Associates specializes in placing faculty and administration in independent schools. The firm was established in 1977.  Register online to become a CS&A candidate.
  • The Education Group is another placement firm that focuses on placing teachers and administration into private school settings.
  • Search Associates focuses on placing teachers and administrators in private schools worldwide. 

School Web Sites

Be sure to check out private school web sites for job openings.  These will be posted under a heading such as employment or professional opportunities.

Association and Other Job Boards

  • Anthroposophy has an online listing of current job openings for Waldorf schools.
  • K-12 Jobs has a job bank for teaching and administrative positions but you’ll need to create an account first before you can access the site.
  • Montessori (AMI-USA) has a listing of job openings, both in the US and for International positions for the member schools of the Association Montessori Internationale. 
  • Montessori Schools (AMS) is the job bank site for the American Montessori Society which includes over 1,000 member schools.  Their job bank will let you narrow your search down by state.
  • National Association of Independent Schools has a nice job data bank with a sophisticated job search engine that lets you narrow your search by job level, category, and location.  NAIS has over 1,100 member schools (about ? of the total number of independent schools in the US ). 
  • WaldorfWorld has an online job bank for international positions in Waldorf schools.   You can  also post ads to seek employment.
  • The Independent School Educators' List (ISED-L) has job postings from time to time.
  • The Klingenstein Center has a comprehensive job bank.

Employment in Religious Schools
(ACSI) offers a job listing for job openings in Christian schools in North America .  Job seekers can also post their qualifications and contact information online. 
Friends Council on Education
FCE has an online job bank for member schools providing Quaker Education.  Search results can be narrowed by state.
National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools
NAPCIS offers a job placement list of available positions in member schools online.
National Association of Episcopal Schools
NAES offers a listing of career opportunities at member schools.  Their career announcements are categorized into administrative and teaching positions, further dividing teaching positions into early childhood, elementary and middle school, and secondary school teaching positions.
National Catholic Educational Association
NCEA's job bank is used by member schools.  Non-member schools can use it for a fee so even if you’re not interested in working in a school with an religious affiliation, this site may be worth a visit.
National Christian School Association
NCSA has both job listings and lets you post your resume.
Seventh-day Adventist Schools
 This site lists open positions at SDA schools.

Additional Resources [+]
The Safety Factor
The Safety Factor
How to Find a Private School Job
How to Find a Private School Job
comments powered by Disqus
Recent Articles
3 Tips for an Effective Private School Job Search
3 Tips for an Effective Private School Job Search
Use these tips to tweak your job search strategies as you seek employment in a private school.
5 Financial Aid DOs and DONTs
Part of the private school selection process is financial aid. We point out five issues about which you should be aware.
25 Things You Need to Know About Private Schools
Here are 25 factoids about private K-12 schools written to make you want to explore the private school world further and in depth.
Jobs in Private Schools

BASICS

Here youíll find valuable information on finding jobs within the private school sector. Get the basics on everything from job searches to salary and contract negotiations. Explore the dos and doníts of private school employment and learn your marketability quotient.