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Salary differentials

Purple hexagon showing a plus sign and dollar sign

Salary differentials are pay increases granted to teachers for credits earned beyond a bachelor's degree, including through CLEP exams. Other pedagogues or administrative titles may also receive differentials and should refer to their contracts for details. Each differential can add thousands of dollars to your annual earnings — permanently — and cumulative differentials can make a big difference in your earning power.

You must apply in order to receive differentials. To ensure that you receive pay retroactively from the date you earned the additional credits, you must apply within six months of earning the credit.

Qualifying for differentials

Differentials are included in the Teachers' Salary Schedule. Here is a brief summary of the differentials:


This is the basic salary for those who have only a bachelor's degree.


This column applies only to teachers hired before 1970.


This is called the first differential. It requires 30 credits beyond the bachelor's degree requirement. These may be all excess undergraduate credits, all graduate credits, or a combination of both.


This column, the intermediate differential (ID), applies to people who have earned their first differential and in addition have 60 credits beyond the bachelor's.


This is called the promotional differential or PD. It requires 36 credits in an approved subject matter area; those 36 credits may be undergraduate, graduate, or a combination. Generally speaking, you qualify when you get your master's degree.


This is for people who have met the requirements for the first differential, the intermediate differential and the promotional differential.


This the second differential. It can be achieved in several ways:

  • With a master's degree plus another 30 credits that were taken after the date of your bachelor's but not as part of your master's credits. The credits can be from undergraduate or graduate courses.
  • If you are a teacher hired on or after Sept. 1, 2017, you must obtain a minimum number of A+ credits in order to earn your salary differential. Read more »
  • With professional development courses and/or activities approved by the chancellor.
  • By getting National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification.

PLEASE NOTE: Career and technical education (CTE) teachers follow a different path for obtaining differentials. Learn more about the salary differential eligibility requirements for CTE teachers.

Applying for differentials

Differentials are not automatically awarded. You must apply for them in order to receive a salary raise. To ensure you receive your differential from the date you earn the additional credits, you must apply within six months of earning the credit.

  • Differentials are paid as of Feb. 1, July 1 and Sept. 1, respectively, for work you’ve completed in the previous fall, spring and summer semesters.
  • For example, if you complete your coursework by Jan. 31 and file by July 31, the DOE will pay your differential in the fall semester with arrears back to Feb. 1.

The DOE’s differential application process

The DOE’s Office of Salary Services (OSS), uses an online salary differential application process.

You must have a DOE email address to access the online application.

Members will electronically receive a Certificate of Salary Status when the differential is processed.

With this new online process, you may upload scanned transcripts. You will no longer need to resubmit your transcript each time you apply for another differential.

Get help applying

The UFT provides assistance to members in completing salary differential applications. As a first step, you should speak with your school’s chapter leader. If you still have questions after you speak with your chapter leader, call the UFT at 212-331-6311.