Washington Teaching Salaries and Benefits

washington

Washington is home to nearly 53,000 teachers who dedicate themselves to the over one million students in the state.

This level of dedication requires a significant amount of support to maintain. To make sure its teachers are cared for, Washington offers an extensive benefits package that includes both retirement and health insurance perks.

As the costs of living and medical care increase, so does the need for reliable health insurance. Thanks to the employee benefits they receive, teachers in Washington are better-prepared for medical or retirement expenses, allowing them to tackle financial hiccups with more confidence.

Learn more about becoming a teacher. Contact schools offering teacher education/certification programs in Washington.

Access to Affordable Health Insurance

To guarantee the health and safety of teachers and their families, Washington State provides health benefits to over 100,000 public school teachers and administrators in 295 school districts.

There are a variety of plans available depending on your own individual needs. You can choose the amount of your monthly payment, deductible, out-of-network expenses, and prescription drug deductible. Typically, with a higher monthly payment, the lower your deductible.

All health plans will cover a host of medical expenses. The exact coverage will vary based on the plan, but will generally cover anywhere from 20 to 90 percent of your costs. Covered services include:

  • Office Visits
  • Specialized Care
  • Hospital Services
  • Ambulance
  • Diagnostic Testing

To further protect teachers, Washington also offers additional benefits that include dental insurance, life insurance, and long term disability. You must voluntarily sign up for these benefit programs.

If you want to learn more about insurance benefits for teachers in Washington, contact the Washington Health Care Authority.

Retiring in Washington

As a teacher for the state of Washington, you are automatically enrolled in the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). This program is designed to give you monthly pension payments after you retire from teaching.

TRS allows teachers to personalize their retirement benefits by offering two separate retirement plans.

Plan One
This plan has one part and is structured as a two percent defined benefit plan. Once you meet the age and service requirement, you will receive guaranteed monthly benefits for the remainder of your lifetime.

The benefit formula is based on years of service credit accrued and pay you’ve earned. You can discover your benefits with the following formula:

Service Credit Years
multiplied by
Average Final Compensation
multiplied by
2%

For example, if you worked for 35 years and earned a final average salary of $60,000, your yearly retirement pension would be $42,000.

As part of this plan, you and your employer will contribute a monthly percentage of your salary. Contribution rates vary year to year, and as of September 2011, the rates stood at 4.69%.

In order to be eligible for normal retirement with full benefits, you must be 65 years or older with at least 5 years of service.

Plan Two
This option offers two parts – a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan. You receive a guaranteed lifetime payment, plus an investment program that you select and contribute to.

Defined Benefit
The defined benefit plan is a percentage of your salary that is contributed by your employer. As soon as you meet the age and service requirements, you will receive that guaranteed monthly benefit for the rest of your life.

The formula for your benefit is based on your years of service credit and the pay you’ve earned. You can discover your potential benefits with the following formula:

Service Credit Years
multiplied by
Average Final Compensation
multiplied by
1%

For example, if you worked for 30 years and earned a final average salary of $55,000, your yearly retirement pension would be $16,500.

In order to be eligible for normal retirement with full benefits, you must be 65 years or older with at least 10 years of service.

Defined Contribution
This portion of the plan is funded by mandatory contributions that you pay from your monthly salary. You choose what rate you contribute and cannot change this rate unless you switch employers.

You choose how these contributions are invested in the fund. You can either join a self-directed investment program where you personally oversee your investments, or you can choose the Washington State Investment program, which will automatically manage your portfolio.

The contributions you make and your investment performance dictate how large of a monthly payment you will receive after retirement.

There is no age requirement for this part of your benefit. You may access your money at any time after you leave employment.

To learn more about the retirement options you can choose from, visit the Washington State Department of Retirement Systems website.

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Terminology and Specifics

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