Arkansas Teacher Retirement

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Ben

Arkansas Teacher Retirement

The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System (ARTRS) is a retirement system that was created for teachers in the state of Arkansas. If you are a teacher in Arkansas and have been with ARTRS since July 1, 1994, or earlier, then you are allowed to receive benefits from this program. In order to be eligible for these benefits, employees must have at least 20 years of service as an educator working for one of the participating school districts.

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Retiring in Arkansas

Teachers in Arkansas have to be a part of the Teacher Retirement System. Teachers at Arkansas schools and universities have to be in this system. The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System is a plan for teachers. It pays them for the rest of their lives. It was created in 1937 and had been supporting teachers ever since.
In Arkansas, if you are old enough and have worked long enough, then you can retire.

  • 28 or for a long time of service at any lifetime
  • If you have been with the company for 25 to 27 years (reduced benefits)
  • Five to 24 years of service at a lifetime of 60

Through the State Retirement System in Arkansas, teachers can choose to contribute money from their salary to the fund. If they do, they are building a contribution. But if they don’t want to make a contribution, then it is not necessary for them to make one. Their employers match this company, but the percentage does not gain interest.

The company may give you money. The company will put it in a group of stocks and other important things for retirement if they do. When you retire, the company gives you a lifetime annuity.

Under the non-contributory plan, teachers will not pay any money to the retirement fund. But they will get less money when they retire. The annuity with a contributory fund may be better because it is calculated differently. Both contributors and non-contributors are eligible for benefits based on the same formula.

Years of Service Credit

multiplied by

Final Average Salary (Three highest years)

multiplied by

Multiplier (1.39% Non-contributory) (2.15% Contributory)

If you worked for 25 years and had an average salary of $40,000, then at your retirement, your monthly salary would be $1,866.67. If you want to see how your monthly salary gets adjusted by different factors, you can use the ATRS calculator.

The ATRS does not manage health insurance for retirees. The Arkansas Employee Benefits Division manages retirement benefits for retirees. This insurance plan is called ARBenefits Retiree. It coordinates coverage with Medicare A and B. More information about the details of these benefits can be found on the Employee Benefits Division website.

Retirement Options

There are three different ways to retire under the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System. You can get a straight life annuity, or you can choose A, B, or C. The three options differ in how much of an annuity they pay and what happens to your benefits if you die.

Option 1 (Straight Life Annuity)

With this option, you receive a fixed annual payment for the rest of your life. You can also take out as much or little money at any time during that same period without penalty!

Out of all four options, Option 1 provides the most money each month. This option means that no monthly payments will be given to your beneficiary after you die. After you die, all monthly benefits stop. If you have a spouse who is your beneficiary, then the money will go to them and not to other people. You can designate someone to get money when you die. If you do not have any money left, only the person who gets money from your life insurance will get that too.

Option A (100% Survivor Annuity)

Under this option, you will obtain a reduced benefit payment from Social Security. The payment is based on the formula developed by actuaries. If you die, 100% of your monthly Option A benefit will go to the person you name as an option beneficiary for the rest of his or her life. The option beneficiary can only be one of these people:

  1. You must be married for at least one year before you can get these benefits.
  2. A dependent child is someone who cannot legally take care of themselves and needs your guidance. This can mean that they’ve been ruled mentally incapacitated by a court, or physically unable to do so for whatever reason (elderly parents). A 100% survivor annuity is money that you will get if the child dies.

When your spouse dies, or if you get divorced, or if you have a marriage dissolution, at your written request (talk to ATRS), any plan that was chosen when you retired will be canceled. You will then just have the single-life option again, which is the straight-life annuity. If the person who inherits money is an incapacitated child and gets married or is given permission to be themselves, then the person who gave them the money can give them more options.

Option B (50% Survivor Annuity)

Under this option, you will get less money from the government. It is called a Straight Life Annuity. It will be given to you during your whole life. The benefit payment is reduced by a predetermined formula that was created by ATRS actuaries. When you die, 100% of your monthly benefit will be paid to the person you have chosen. The person must be one of the following:

  1. The person you got married to at least one year before you want to get divorced.
  2. A dependent child who has been considered incompetent by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The death of the person who was your designated beneficiary, divorce, or other marriage dissolution following retirement means that any option plan you elected at retirement to provide you with continuing lifetime benefits will be canceled. You will go back to a straight life annuity for the remainder of your lifetime. If the designated beneficiary is an incapacitated child, and they get out of being so through any court order or death. In that case, the retiree may choose to go back to having a straight life annuity.

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Plan Features

Member Contributions and Accumulated Interest

If you are a part of the contributory plan, then you can contribute to the ATRS plan. You will give 6.75% of your salary to ATRS as an employer contribution that is pre-tax. The interest charge that your money earns is set by the ATRS board.

If you are a part of this plan and you stop working for a participating employer, or if you die before being able to collect retirement benefits, then any money that people have put in and the interest will be returned to them. And then they can’t get any more benefits from this plan. Any work-related contributions will also be canceled.

Employer Contributions

The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, which ATRS stands for, employs an employer match of 14.5%. This amount paid from the employer is never refunded.

Retirement Eligibility

If you work for ATRS and you have worked here for five years, then you’re eligible to register for an Age and Service retirement annuity. You only need to meet the eligibility requirements.

Annuity Benefits

When you reach the age when you can retire from ATRS, they will give you a monthly paycheck that is based on what option you choose.

Members can choose one of four options for their ATRS retirement annuity. These are straight life, option A, option B, or option C.

Disability Benefits

If someone is disabled and they work for an ATRS participating company, they may be able to get disability benefits. To do this, they need five years of service and a disability.

Survivor Benefits

You may be eligible for survivor benefits if you are an active member.

Lump-Sum Death Benefits

This is what you can do if someone dies. If you are retired or active, you may be eligible for a Lump Sum Death Benefit.


The Teacher Deferred Retirement Option Plan gives members with 28-30 years of service credit an incentive to continue to work in the public schools. Members can build a savings account for when they are ready to leave the workforce.

How Much Does a Retired Teacher Make in Arkansas?

As of Aug 9, 2021, the average annual pay for Retired Teacher jobs in Arkansas is $35,709 a year. That means that, on average, someone who takes this job would make $17.17 an hour. This is the equivalent of $687/week or $2,976/month. There are salaries that are low at $14,100 and as high as $62,567. But most people make around $45,824. The top earners make around $59,923/year in Arkansas.

The average retirement pay for a retired teacher ranges greatly (as much as $23,794), which proposes there may be many opportunities for advancement and improvement pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience. Based on recent job posting activity on ZipRecruiter, Arkansas’s Retired Teacher job market is not very active. Few companies are hiring Retired Teachers now.

Arkansas ranks number 35 out of 50 states nationwide for Retired Teacher salaries. ZipRecruiter has a list of millions of jobs. They are looking for Retired Teacher jobs. They put the best jobs on their list and then update it every day.

What are the Top 10 Highest Paying Cities for Retired Teacher Jobs in Arkansas

We found three cities where the average salary for a retired teacher is higher than the average salary in Arkansas. Bentonville was number one, with Conway and Rogers close behind. Rogers, AR beats the state average by 6%, and Bentonville is even higher with another $2,305 (6.5%) more than the Arkansas average of $35,709.

Significantly, Bentonville has a lot of jobs for retired teachers. There are several employers currently looking for these types of workers. The opportunities in this job category are very limited, but it may be easier to live here because the cost of living might be lower.

Finally, you should think about the average salary for these top 10 cities. There is only a 17% difference between Bentonville and Fort Smith for salary. This means that there is not much chance to get a higher wage. A retired teacher should consider the lower cost of living when deciding on a location and salary.

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Thanks to a comprehensive support system that provides Arkansas educators with numerous benefits, teachers are better prepared to tackle issues that arise with health and retirement. By offering teachers, a number of options regarding the directions of their health care and retirement, the state of Arkansas ensure their workforce remains strong. The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System is one such option available for those who want more control over how they manage these aspects in their lives.

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