Teachers Salaries in Your State: Too Much or Too Little?

teacher's salariesHow do you feel about how much your kids' teachers get paid? The average annual salary for teachers in the U.S. is $56,383. But when you look at teachers' salaries state-by-state, you'll see some states pay a lot less -- and others pay a lot more.

Here are the states with the top five highest-paid teachers and the states with the bottom lowest average teacher's salaries. (Including Washington, D.C.) What do you think -- are we getting our money's worth? Do you think your state's teachers are overpaid? Or are they underpaid? Do you think students learn better when their teachers are paid better, or do you think the two are unrelated?

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LeeshaE LeeshaE

It appears the states with higher wages have higher costs of living...go figure

nonmember avatar Alexandra

The author forgets to include cost of living. I now live in the midwest but had lived on the east coast. If I had my same job in NY, I would make more. It's so cheap to live out here and salaries reflect cost of living in many (not all) cases. I would think teachers' salaries would be one of them.

bella... bellacazzate

No surprise that one of the highest wages is in Massachusetts… where the best standards of education are in the entire country. If each state were treated like a country, Massachusetts would be among the top educational platforms in the world. 

Liane... Lianetherider

I live in Washington State and will be a teacher in about a year and a half (hopefully, lol). I'm happy to see that we have a wage here that is about in the middle, although my district is MUCH lower (starting at 33k with a Bachelor's degree).

Tracys2 Tracys2

It would be nice to see a map indexed against cost of living.

We in NC are having issues retaining teachers. All that experience goes away when pay is too low, and when teachers are given 1-4 year contracts, so many don't know year-to-year they'll have a job. It's a profession as well as a calling, and it's not treated like one-- not only in pay terms, but respect. That's a shame, because while beginning teachers have a lot of energy, they don't have the experience of what works and what doesn't, the storehouse of great ideas and activities, that teachers get after 2-5 years. In NC, most of them (>50%) are gone by 5 years in.

Not to mention, the people who would love to teach and don't even start.

Sure, you can get a body in the room to replace most teachers, but are they the person you want forming the future of the country?

miche... micheledo

It's hard to view them as underpaid when we (a family of 8) could live on the same salary.  

On the other hand, I know how hard, how many hours many teachers put in.  I know teachers who love their work and their students.  How do you put a price tag on that?

For a teacher who loves what they do - I don't think the salary amount makes a difference.  When you love your job you do it because you want to.

nonmember avatar okteach

As a second year teacher in a low income school in Oklahoma, I think it's important to note that these are median salaries for each state... it would take me quite a few years on the pay scale to get even close to the 44,000 number. I'm around 30,000 this year.

That said, it's no surprise to teachers these days that the money doesn't reflect how much work we put into the day. I get paid in my students' victories. I don't think teachers get paid nearly enough, but the best teachers aren't doing it for that anyways.

vanes... vanessa5470

@micheledo.... Love doesn't pay the bills.

mellynnf mellynnf

How did they come up with this data? They list Idaho at 49,000 but I just started teaching and I make 29,500. The only teachers I know of in Idaho are the ones that are just about to retire and they hold an advanced degree.

littl... littlemama3098

Yeah, but they still make at least $10-15,000 more per year than cops...

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