Corps members are full-time teachers employed by a school or district and, as such, receive a full salary and benefits. Learn more about corps member finances.
As a corps member, you’ll receive a salary and benefits from the school district, charter school, or pre-K center where will you work as a full-time teacher. You are not an employee of Teach for America, nor are you paid by TFA.
You’ll be paid the same as other beginning teachers working for the same employer. Salaries typically range from $33,000 to $58,000, depending on where you teach.
You can compare regional salaries with our Compare Regions tool. Select regions on the map that interest you, and view expected first- and second-year salary ranges in the chart below the map. You can also compare other costs, like certification and living expenses, side-by-side.
While urban areas tend to offer higher salaries, the cost of living is also higher. Salaries in rural areas tend to be lower, but you’ll likely spend less for rent and other expenses.
In additional to a full salary, many corps members are eligible for AmeriCorps benefits including federal funding to help pay off student loans and cover some of the costs incurred while earning your teaching certification.
When You Can Expect Your First Paycheck
Depending on where you teach and when the school year begins there, you can expect your first paycheck between late August and late September during your first year. This means it can take from 3-6 weeks after the start of the school year to receive your first paycheck.
There are several financial aid programs available to ease your transition into the classroom and help with moving expenses and certification costs. Learn more about financial aid, including transitional funding packages.
Teach For America will cover housing, food, and daily transportation costs during your summer training.
As a full-time teacher, you are entitled to medical benefits through your specific employer. Plans and costs vary, depending on where you teach.
Most employers offer:
- Medical, dental, and vision care
- Referral-free access to doctors
- Routine preventative care
- Flexible spending accounts
- Employee assistance and wellness programs
- Family-planning services
- Vaccinations (e.g., flu shots)
- Life insurance
- Retirement benefits, typically employer-supported pension plans or 403(b) investment accounts
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Costs to Expect
As with any new job, you should prepare for expenses that might arise before your first paycheck. You should anticipate expenses specific to becoming a teacher, as well as those related to moving to your region and initial living expenses. If you receive a need-based funding package from TFA, you can use it towards these costs. Learn more about financial aid.
Corps members will incur teaching-specific expenses, including testing, background checks, and more. You should plan to pay for these expenses out-of-pocket. View cost ranges with the Compare Regions tool, or by visiting each region’s page.
To learn more about the certification process, visit Licensing and Employment.
Living Costs and Housing
Including the cost of certification, you should anticipate general living costs before and after summer training. This can include rent, travel to and from your region, car expenses, moving expenses, and more.
Upon your acceptance to the corps, you will be able to talk with your regional team for guidance on housing. Corps members can choose to live where ever they would like during their corps experience. During summer training, corps members have a great opportunity to connect and find housing together.
Salary, Benefits & Aid FAQs
Because corps members are paid directly by the schools and districts for whom they work their benefits are determined by the school and can vary. In general, corps members can expect to receive medical, dental, and vision benefits, as well as life insurance options and retirement benefits.
Most corps members receive their first paycheck between late August and late September depending on regional assignment. In an effort to ensure that qualified candidates from all economic situations are able to join the corps, we offer a few financial aid options to help you make it to your first paycheck.
Funding is awarded at the beginning of training. It can be used for:
- Reimbursement for travel costs to training including regional orientation
- Personal and moving expenses (e.g., deposits on apartments)
- Required coursework, testing, and district-processing fees
No. Corps members are employed directly by the schools and districts in which they are hired.
TFA offers need-based transitional grants and no-interest loans to help corps members make it to their first paychecks. Packages are based on an applicant's demonstrated need and the cost of living in the assigned region.
Funding is awarded at the beginning of summer training and may be used as reimbursement for travel costs to summer training and regional orientations. Applicants can also use their need-based transitional funding to pay for personal and moving expenses (e.g., deposits on apartments) and necessary coursework, testing, and district-processing fees. TFA covers most major expenses during summer training, including room and board, which is also covered for one to two weeks during regional orientation.
TFA doesn’t specifically offer loan cancellation or forgiveness to corps members. As a nonprofit organization with limited funds, we simply don’t have the resources to forgive the student loans of all of our corps members. However, some school districts and programs offer loan cancellation to teachers who serve a number of years in a school district.
TFA is also a member of AmeriCorps, the national service network. Through this relationship, our corps members are AmeriCorps members and are eligible to receive forbearance and interest payment on qualified student loans during their two years of service. Additionally, those who have not previously received AmeriCorps awards may receive an education award of around $5,815 at the end of each year of service, which may be used towards future educational expenses or to repay qualified student loans. However, given the uncertainty around AmeriCorps funding and the nature of the AmeriCorps competitive grant process, we cannot guarantee these benefits to all corps members.
Learn more about loan forgiveness programs available to corps members.