Not all paychecks are equal — and that’s especially true when it comes to teacher salaries in America. In fact, many educators have been demanding higher wages for their work by protesting and walking out.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2016 national median household income was $57,617. So, how does this compare to the average teacher’s salary today? Using the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, GOBankingRates compiled the average teacher salary in every state by analyzing the mean wages of elementary, middle school and high school teachers. You might be surprised to find that teachers make more than most Americans in some states.
Average teacher pay: $59,387
Although teachers in Wyoming don’t make the highest pay in the U.S., they still make $2,000 more than the national median income. This makes Wyoming one of the 20 best states for teachers, who can do what they love while reaping the financial benefits from it.
Average teacher pay: $59,50
The Aloha State provides teachers with a comfortable income at just under $60,000 a year. Although Hawaii is notoriously one of the most expensive states in America, teachers are given a fighting chance to afford living in this tropical, vacation destination.
Average teacher pay: $60,203
This Midwestern state provides teachers with an average salary of about $60,200, making it the 18th-best state for educators. Ohio’s average teacher salary surpasses the income needed to live comfortably in Columbus, one of the biggest cities in America.
Average teacher pay: $60,533
Like most states in the New England region, Vermont provides teachers with a higher average salary than the national average income. Given that the cost of living in this state is on the higher end, teachers can discover ways to make more money in order to keep up with Vermont’s expensive lifestyle.
Average teacher pay: $62,260
Teachers in Delaware can live a comfortable life with the salary they earn in this state. However, despite their considerable income, educators might not make more than the highest-paying entry-level jobs.
Average teacher pay: $63,417
Middle school teachers make more than elementary and high school teachers in the Great Lakes State, but the overall average salary is still higher than the national average income.
Average teacher pay: $63,477
Washington is just one of the states in the Pacific Northwest that is best for teachers to carry out their education skills. If teachers in this state wish to boost their career success, they can consider moving to Seattle — the best city in this state for a successful 2018.
Average teacher pay: $64,520
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, teachers make much more than $10,000. The average teacher salary is more than $64,500. If you are unemployed, Minnesota happens to be one of the 10 best states to live in if you want a job.
Average teacher pay: $65,553
The Keystone State has an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, but employed teachers in Pennsylvania are making over $65,500. Teachers in the state have the 12th-highest average teaching salaries out of all 50 states, much of which goes toward the high cost of living in Pennsylvania cities.
Average teacher pay: $65,877
When it comes to the highest paid teachers, Illinois places 11th. Teachers living in Chicago are not burdened by high costs of living, since Illinois was one of the cities with the biggest cost-of-living decrease between 2016 and 2017.
10. Rhode Island
Average teacher pay: $67,050
Rhode Island is among the top 10 best states for teachers, with an average salary of about $67,000. Teachers in the smallest state in the U.S. earn a big paycheck, which is necessary because the state’s sales and property tax rates fall on the higher end. In fact, Rhode Island has one of the highest tax bills in America.
Average teacher pay: $67,173
Teachers in Maryland can earn a comfortable living by educating students in this state. Those teaching at public schools in Howard County happen to work in one of the wealthiest school districts in the state.
Average teacher pay: $68,707
Teachers in Virginia make $11,000 more than the national average income, making it the eighth-best state for teachers to live in. In addition to the teacher salary, the cost of living in Virginia is 2.2 percent higher than the national average.
Average teacher pay: $69,643
Teachers in Oregon have the seventh-highest average salaries in the country. Middle school teachers in Oregon are paid the most, followed by high school teachers and finally the state’s elementary school teachers.
6. New Jersey
Average teacher pay: $72,460
Everything is more expensive in New Jersey, including the cost of teaching students. Ranked as the sixth state where teachers make more than most Americans, New Jersey’s highly rated public school system is a major factor that makes it one of the best states for families to live a richer life.
Average teacher pay: $75,720
Massachusetts has the best public schools in the U.S., which requires top-performing teachers. It’s no secret that this helps the state rank as the fifth-best for teachers, as they earn the highest salaries in the field of academia.
Average teacher pay: $76,523
California is the only West Coast state to make the top five highest-paying states for teachers. Because the cost of living in California is among the highest of all states, teachers are able to manage these costs with their padded salaries.
Still exploring your career options? Find out how much police officers make in California. Hint: It’s in the six figures.
Average teacher pay: $78,567
Connecticut takes third place when it comes to teacher salary. The average teacher salary in the New England state is more than $78,000 a year, significantly higher than the average national income. Although Connecticut is one of the most expensive states to live, teachers are able to make-do given their large paychecks.
Average teacher pay: $80,627
Ranking second on this list is Alaska. You might be surprised, but if you want to earn more money, Alaska might be just the place. High school positions are the highest paying, but teachers in this state make the second most in the country on average. Alaska is one of the states where a teacher salary is enough to afford a home, found a separate GOBankingRates study.
1. New York
Average teacher pay: $81,613
New York is notoriously one of the most expensive places to live, which makes it a good thing that teachers make the most — more than a whopping $80,000 — compared to any other state.
Click through to see how much nurses make in every state.
More on Making Money at Your Job
- How Do You Stack Up to the Average Income in Your State?
- Here’s the Highest-Paid Job in Your State
- States Where You’re Most and Least Likely to Live Paycheck to Paycheck
- Watch: The Key to Negotiating a Higher Salary at Your New Job
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Methodology: GOBankingRates determined how much teachers make in every state by analyzing the mean wages of elementary, middle and secondary teachers and calculating the average of those three salaries. Data was sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2017 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates.