There should be more honesty about how much teachers can expect to earn if they join the profession, school leaders have said.
Recent Government advertising saying that good candidates can be earning high salaries within a few years has been "misleading", according to the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).
Very few teachers will be earning around £55,000 after teaching for four years, union leaders argued.
The union also suggested that higher starting wages may need to be on offer to encourage potential teachers to choose teaching rather than opt for a well-paid job in another industry.
Speaking as the ASCL's conference was due to start in Birmingham, interim general secretary Malcolm Trobe said: "We want people to come into teaching because they want to teach. Most teachers don't come into teaching for the pay, but we do want a reasonable salary level.
"The other thing we would not want to happen is for people to be misled. And being quite frank, some of the publicity that has been put out previously about salaries has actually been misleading about saying teachers can get a salary of £55,000 after being in teaching for four years. Well, the number of people who are going to reach anywhere near that level after four years, unless you are getting real accelerated promotion, probably in London, are very few. There needs to be an honesty about what is going into the adverts to recruit people."
Earlier this week, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested that school leaders' pay should be publicised to help attract good candidates into teaching.
Would-be teachers should know that they can be in senior positions, earning high salaries, within a few years of entering the classroom, he told the Commons Education Select Committee.
ASCL president Allan Foulds said: "I think Sir Michael made some interesting points about progression and the fact that if you move through to a leadership position and a relatively accelerated but proper rate, then you may well end up being fairly well remunerated, and I don't think there's any harm in that message. Why not?"
He added that there was a difficulty with the starting salaries of teachers compared with the starting wages of those of their peers who are similarly qualified and joining different professions.
The comments come as it was reported by Schools Week magazine that complaints about a Department for Education (DfE) advert which said teachers could earn up to £65,000 have been dismissed, with the Advertising Standards Authority ruling in favour of the department.