Work in Education? Things Add Up a Little Differently!

So, you work for a school as a nine-month teacher or employee. Did you know your ASRS service is calculated differently than your 12-month counterparts in public service? As an educational employee, you earn .111 years of service credit per month instead of the .083 years non-educational employees accrue. That means you are earning a full year of service in nine months.

Before you run off to pick up another ASRS gig during the summer to earn even more service credit, be aware that members cannot earn more than one year of service in a fiscal year (A.R.S. § 38-739), so you actually won’t be able to accrue any additional service during that 2-3 month period where you’re not working at the school.

Speaking of summer break: if you log into your myASRS account on your summer break & it says you’re “inactive,” don’t panic! This is completely normal! If the ASRS has not received contributions for 30 days, our system will default the member’s status to “inactive,” but will automatically return the status to “active” once contributions resume. 

What About Teaching Summer School?

While teaching summer school will increase your Average Monthly Compensation (AMC), which may increase your future retirement benefit calculation, it will not increase your years of service calculation. So, while teaching summer school may not allow you to retire any sooner, it could be a way to increase the pension you’ll receive when you retire.

What If I Switch to Another School?

As long as the school is an ASRS employer, your pension and all your accrued service go with you! Even if you decide to stop teaching, you can continue contributing towards your pension at a different ASRS employer. The ASRS has over 700 employers representing all levels of education, counties, and State service: if you leave one ASRS employer to work for another ASRS employer, your ASRS account picks up exactly where it left off. You don’t lose your current service credit or funds accrued. Having a portable pension allows you to make career decisions that benefit you without worrying about giving up your future retirement.

One thing to note if you do switch ASRS employers: make sure to re-enroll your myASRS account! Your new employer will give you an enrollment code – re-enrolling helps ensure your contributions with your new employer are properly associated with you and eliminates potential hiccups in your future retirement. 

Working As a Third-Party Contractor

If you are working for a third-party employer, such as Smart Schools or Educational Services Inc. (ESI), or any other non-ASRS employer, you do not need to notify the ASRS. The rules regarding ASRS membership do not apply when working for a third-party vendor.

Educational Employees Make a Difference <3

Arizona has long recognized the important work of teachers and educational employees, paying its first teacher pension in 1912. Thank you for your dedication to Arizona students! When you’re ready to retire, the ASRS will be here for you. 

Keep an eye on our Futures publication for additional articles specific to our education employers.

by Pamela Foust, Strategic Communications

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