Why do we need a TA Pay Rate Calculator?

We hope the calculator will act as a catalyst for the field. If we understand what a teaching artist ought to be paid, we can begin, as a field, to work towards a livable wage, stabilizing and strengthening the work teaching artists do in arts education, creative youth development, and arts in community, across the United States.

We at TAG are well aware that these rates may be currently inaccessible to arts nonprofits, however we believe that all teaching artists should have a living wage.

Learn more about why we created this calculator (and how it works) in our blog post, here.

The purpose of this tool is:

How much should you be making?

Enter in your location and your level of experience. You can also add dependents to the calculation. The calculator will show you our suggested rate based on your unique situation.


Calculate Your Hourly Rate

Beta Version 2.1.0     Last Updated: 7/21/21







What is a living wage?

A Living Wage is a wage that is high enough to maintain a normal, sustainable standard of living. It differs from a minimum, or subsistence, wage, which is set by federal, state, and municipal governments and which may place working individuals below the poverty line. With a living wage, for example, no more than 30% of an earner’s income should go to housing costs, and an earner should not need to rely on government aid. This is the first set of data that we use to calculate your suggested teaching artist pay rate.

How it works:

Our calculations are based on national data on living wage for families and individuals, provided through our partnership with the Economic Policy Institute. In our research we looked at data and surveys on teaching artist wages from various locations across the US to understand the landscape of wages that are actually offered, in combination with consultations with national arts education specialists on a wage range based on level of expertise and the size of the hiring organization, compared across sectors to other related professions.

We created a calculation based on several factors including your previous experience and education. For more information on this process, check out our blog here.

Note that this tool is a guide: for you as an individual to ascertain what a livable wage looks like in your region as you plan for your employment, fitting and balancing the pieces of your work as an artist, teaching artist, and any other work you may do. We hope it will give you a strong leg to stand on as you establish a wage for yourself.

It is also for organizations who hire teaching artists, and funders, to begin to calculate what they should be able to pay teaching artists to maintain and build a field of professionals, whose valuable work we can count on to bring the arts to all. We at TAG are well aware that these rates may be currently inaccessible to many small (and even larger) organizations.

We hope the calculator will act as a catalyst for the field. If we understand what a teaching artist ought to be paid, we can begin, as a field, to work towards a livable wage, stabilizing and strengthening the work teaching artists do in arts education, creative youth development, and arts in community, across the United States.

Questions to keep in mind as you calculate your wage:

There are many variables which will affect your rate or wage. As you negotiate, consider:

Is it hourly, or salaried?
How many hours in a row are you teaching?
How many days a week?
How much prep time do you need?
Are supplies provided?
Is curriculum provided?
How far will you be commuting?
Are you working as an independent contractor, or an employee?
Are there other services or benefits the hiring organization is able to offer? Examples include health insurance, PTO, other insurance, TAG membership, free or paid professional development opportunities, etc.

Frequently asked questions:

For Youth Artists, TAG believes in the importance of youth teaching artist consider their experience, generally this means utilizing the “beginner” level of experience.

A tremendous THANK YOU to our partners at the Economic Policy Institute, and to our tremendous working group: Kenny Allen, Lara Davis, Kai Fierle-Hedrick, Lindsey Buller Maliekel, Jacob Winterstein, Ami Mollinelli. Also to the New York City Arts Education RoundTable, New Victory Theater, Lincoln Center Education, and the National Guild for Community Arts Education. Special thanks to Kevin Nerio and the development team at Springwave Studios.

Why should I input dependents?

Including dependents is based upon the Economic Policy Institutes Family Budget Calculator for a Living Wage. Dependent care (seniors, children, person with disabilities etc) is one of the largest monthly expenses in households, so it must be considered in living wage calculations. The US is the only industrial country with no paid family leave. If you would like to live in a world in which the number of dependents does not need to be considered in living wage calculations, here are a few places you can go to advocate for social change: paidleave.us/

Am I an Employee or an Independent Contractor?

For the purposes of this calculator, you are considered an employee if the hiring organization withholds taxes for you and issues you a W2 form at the end of the year.

If you receive a 1099 form at the end of the year, you are considered an Independent Contractor. You are responsible for paying your own self-employment taxes on top of your normal income tax.

Employees: This calculator assumes that that you are a part-time employee with the organization. As an employee, we expect that for every 3 hours of teaching, you receive 1 paid hour for administrative work and professional development. Therefore, as an employee our calculator operates with a 165 work-day year. However, as a part-time employee, it assumes you are NOT being paid for vacations, holidays and sick days.

Independent Contractors: This calculator assumes you are responsible for your own self-employment taxes, and so adds 15.3% to your rate to cover this. It also assumes you are not being compensated for administrative and professional development time, or for vacations, holidays and sick days off. The calculations are then based on a 145 work-day year. (220 normal work days, minus 25 for vacation/sick/holidays, minus 25% from the remaining days for admin and professional
development.)

What level of experience do I have?

We have outlined 4 main levels of experience: Beginner, Emerging, Professional, and Master, with what we consider to be adequate experience and training/proficiency for each level. For these purposes, we assume you are already a practicing artist; the experience referred to here is how many years of teaching experience. Informal or formal professional development refers to a degree/certification, workshops, apprenticeship, and/or mentorship in your arts discipline and/or pedagogy/teaching.

Individual teaching artists: Choose where you think you best fit based on your experience and training. This is meant to be a general guide; you may not fit precisely in one category.

Organizations: What level of experience are you looking for in a teaching artist for your particular program? What level of experience will best serve the needs of the population you serve? Are you able to pair teaching artists of various backgrounds to both meet your needs and help develop an individual’s expertise?

Beginner:
Yrs of teaching experience: 0-2
Yrs of informal or formal professional development: 0-2
Your resume indicates some professional development, or recent mentorship. You may be currently involved in a mentorship or training program.

Emerging:
Yrs of teaching experience: 2-4
Yrs of informal or formal professional development: 1-4
Your resume indicates some professional development or mentorship, demonstrating reflection and a desire to develop your craft.

Professional:
Yrs of teaching experience: 5-10
Yrs of informal or formal professional development: Your resume indicates significant and ongoing professional development, demonstrating continued reflection.

Master:
Yrs of teaching experience: 10+
Yrs of informal or formal professional development: Your resume indicates significant and ongoing professional development, demonstrating continued reflection.

Location Troubleshooting

At this moment in time, our calculator works with 620 pre-defined metro regions, so if the calculator isn’t working for you, it’s likely because you haven’t selected an existing region from our list.

Try typing in the name of the nearest metro area.