Oh teachers, where would we be without you? In a profession centered around molding the youth of today into the leaders of tomorrow, it is often said teachers are not paid enough for all the work they do. With most of my close friends working in the educational field, I often hear that they are overworked and underpaid. Out of curiosity, I decided to see where teachers are making the most money, and how much they are making.
The National Education Association took some time to crunch the numbers and came out with state by state average salaries for public school teachers.
The average annual salary for teachers working in public schools throughout 2009 to 2010 was $55,202. When you look at the top ranking states, the higher salaries make sense considering they are in states that house the biggest cities in the United States.
State Avg. Public School Salary
New York $71,633
New Jersey $65,130
District of Columbia $64,548
Although Massachusetts is notorious for having some of the nation’s best schools, New York’s spot as #1 is undoubtedly connected to the high cost of living. When comparing housing in major metropolitan areas, New York City is 19% more expensive than Massachusetts and roughly 59% higher than the rest of the country; yet the difference in salaries is only 3.3 percent.
The bottom five are surprising, considering none of those states have the lowest cost of living in the country. Currently, the states at the bottom of the cost of living list are: Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Utah (ordered from lowest to highest).
State Avg. Public School Salary State Avg. Public School Salary
New York $71,633 Montana $45,759
Massachusetts $69,273 California $68,203 Mississippi $45,644
New Jersey $65,130 Missouri $45,317
District of Columbia $64,548 North Dakota $42,946
South Dakota $38,837
Poor M-states, they totally got the shaft. In order to gauge what this low-ranking really means, we wanted to compare cost of living between New York and South Dakota, the highest and lowest states on the list. According to a simple cost of living calculator, teachers’ pay in New York would equate to about $40,200 in South Dakota. Considering the average in S.D. salary is at $38,837, it appears teachers are being swindled out of a couple thousand dollars.
To see where your state ranks check out table C-11 on page 19 of Ranking & Estimates Statistics from the National Education Association.