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How Much Does Professional Learning for Teachers Cost? (w/ Sample Budget)

How Much Does Professional Learning for Teachers Cost? (w/ Sample Budget)

“A good teacher isn’t someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed.” ~ Justin Trudeau

Professional learning for teachers isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Not only are there state and district requirements to meet, there’s plenty of evidence to support the idea that professional development plays an essential role in reducing teacher burnout and turnover. Your school district budget must support teachers in order to support students. Ultimately, your budget is a reflection of your district’s priorities and goals and of the promises you make to everyone in the district, including teachers, parents, and students.

At Alludo, we provide an affordable platform for teacher professional development. We understand that your professional learning budget might not be as big as it should be, so we’ve made it a priority to keep our prices low.  In this post, we’ll explain how much professional learning for teachers cost, why every school district should invest in professional learning, and provide a sample professional learning budget for you to use.

Table of Contents

  1. How Much Does Professional Development for Teachers Cost?
  2. Why Invest in Professional Development for Teachers and Staff?
  3. How Can School Districts Budget for Professional Development?
    1. Gather Data and Assess Your Existing Budget
    2. Identify School and District Goals
    3. Pick a Provider Like Alludo
    4. Update Your Professional Development with Technology
  4. Sample Professional Development Budget
  5. Alludo's Take
  6. Make Room for Professional Development in Your School District Budget

How Much Does Professional Development for Teachers Cost?

If you want to incorporate professional development for teachers into your school district budget, you’ll need to start with an idea of how much it can cost to provide professional development for teachers and staff—and what your options are to reduce those costs.

According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, school districts spend an average of $18,000 per teacher per year on in-person, synchronous professional development. By that, we mean professional learning that teachers must attend in person and on a fixed schedule. These costs include the cost of hiring an instructor and paying for teachers to attend in-person classes. 

If a district chooses to hire an instructor, or several, to provide professional development, they must pay that person appropriately for their work. Depending on state and district requirements, they may also need to pay someone to develop courses and create curricula. On top of that, there are expenses related to materials and equipment that may be used in teaching the course.

When you total these expenses, it’s easy to see why some school districts have struggled to make room for teacher professional development in their budgets. We should note here that the cost to use Madagascar, the Alludo Learning professional development platform, is significantly lower, starting at just $8 per adult learner per month.

See Why Districts Trust Alludo With A Free Trial >

Why Invest in Professional Development for Teachers and Staff?

Professional development can have a dramatic impact in any school district. While teachers are often the focus of conversations about professional learning, the truth is that every single employee in your school district can benefit from professional development. That includes teacher aides, paraeducators, administrators, and office staff, all of whom play a role in supporting teachers and students.

The National Education Association (NEA) has identified some of the reasons that professional development is necessary for teachers and other school district professionals. Here are the benefits that illustrate why it’s essential to invest in professional development:

  • It sets teachers up for success. Teachers are most likely to thrive in the classroom if they receive proper onboarding and training when they start their jobs and on an ongoing basis.
  • It boosts teacher and staff confidence. We all like to feel confident in our jobs. With proper professional development, every person who comes into contact with students can do so knowing that they’re armed with the right tools and training to build connections and help students learn.
  • It encourages collaboration. Teachers and staff are all working with students’ best interests in mind, and using an online professional development system can encourage everyone in the school district to share experiences and ideas.
  • It increases knowledge and skills. The world of education is constantly evolving, with new ideas and teaching methods to understand. When teachers and everyone in their support system have the information they need, students will receive the best possible education.
  • It improves student outcomes. The goal of every school district is to educate students. Proper professional development for teachers, aides, and staff increases the likelihood of positive student outcomes by providing everybody with the learning they need to engage and inspire learners.
  • It improves teacher retention. Teacher turnover is a serious problem across the United States thanks to the ongoing teacher shortage. Professional development, particularly when it gives teachers a voice and a choice in what they learn and how they learn it, can do a great deal to increase teacher satisfaction, decrease burnout, and inspire more teachers to stay in the classroom doing what they do best.

These benefits clearly illustrate why teacher and staff professional development should be a priority in every school district.

How Can School Districts Budget for Professional Development?

If your district has a limited budget, as most districts do, then you might be wondering what you can do to make room in your professional learning budget. Here are some of the things we recommend.

Gather Data and Assess Your Existing Budget

The first step is to gather data from schools in your district, including things like student test scores, teacher turnover, graduation and dropout rates, and college acceptance rates. These things can all provide an overview of what’s being achieved with your existing budget and help you make strategic decisions about your budget going forward.

At this stage, you’re only looking for information that allows you to identify areas for improvement. Since the goal of every district is to deliver positive student outcomes, it makes sense to focus on student achievement at this stage.

Identify School and District Goals

Next, you’ll need to identify school and district goals, paying special attention to those that relate to teacher and staff professional development. Make sure each goal is a SMART goal, meaning that it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Here are some examples of SMART goals:

  • Have all teachers complete training on new technology in the first quarter of the school year.
  • Develop a new math curriculum for first graders in two months, focusing on collaboration among teachers and staff.
  • Get 80% of teachers in your district to participate in online professional development during the school year.

Keeping your goals specific and tied to student outcomes is important because teachers are most likely to be excited about professional development when it’s relevant to their time in the classroom.

Pick a Provider Like Alludo

Next, you’ll need to choose a professional development provider. Considering how high costs can be, your focus should be on selecting a provider that can make access to professional development easy and affordable.

Alludo’s professional development platform provides online asynchronous professional development that drives teacher engagement. Teachers can participate from anywhere they choose and we’ve designed a platform that gives teachers the opportunity to fulfill district and state requirements and choose areas of study that interest and excite them to round out their professional learning.

Update Your Professional Development with Technology

The old model of professional development required teachers to make time to attend in-person classes and seminars, often traveling to do so. For obvious reasons, teachers prefer to limit the time they spend traveling since their schedules are already busy.

In our age of technology, there’s no need to make professional development inconvenient for teachers and staff. Using an online asynchronous platform like Alludo means that teachers can access professional learning from anywhere with an internet connection. It also means they can participate when it’s convenient for them to do so, something that drives high engagement and enthusiasm for professional learning.

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Sample Professional Development Budget

As you develop your professional learning budget, keep in mind that very few school districts have a dedicated bucket in their budget for professional development. However, funds may be found in any of the following areas:

  • Curriculum
  • Teacher onboarding
  • Teacher retention
  • Instructional coaching and mentoring
  • Social emotional learning (SEL)
  • Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS)
  • Multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS)
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Teacher and staff effectiveness
  • Innovation in learning
  • Feedback & recognition

You’ll need to identify your most important school district priorities to determine proper allocation of funds. Here’s a sample professional learning budget template that you can use to make room for teacher professional development. We’ve used Alludo’s pricing, which starts at just $8 per adult learner per month. We’ve assumed a district-wide goal of attaining 80% teacher engagement during the school year.




Unit Cost


Alludo enrollment

Online, asynchronous learning environment




Teacher buy-in

Communication to drive teacher buy-in and engagement




Training supplies

Necessary equipment and materials to help teachers learn





Encouraging teacher collaboration and cooperation





We have included blank spaces for you to add additional line items that might apply to your school district and its goals. You can also view our free Budgeting Webinar for a deeper dive into budgeting to build K-12 professional development capacity.

Alludo’s Take

At Alludo, we believe that professional development should be affordable for school districts of every size, whether they employ 100 teachers or 1,000. Affordability is directly linked to accessibility because accessibility ties to teacher buy-in to professional development. It’s for this reason that we’ve curated thousands of learning activities for our professional development catalog.

Our professional development platform, Madagascar, provides teachers with a huge array of paths and learning activities that they can use to improve their teaching skills and deliver the best possible student outcomes. We do all of this at prices starting at just $8 per month per adult learner, making our platform one of the most affordable ways to provide professional development to teachers and staff in your district.

Make Room for Professional Development in Your School District Budget

Including teacher and staff professional development in your school district budget can help you achieve your most important goals, including improved student outcomes and reduced teacher turnover. You can use the information here to identify funds to use for professional development and create a professional learning budget that you can afford.

Are you seeking an affordable professional learning platform for your district’s teachers and staff? Alludo has the solution! Click here to get your free trial of Madagascar, our online asynchronous professional development system.

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