With the Covid-19 pandemic calming down due to vaccination, some US teachers will return to in-person schooling. School districts have started the school year, and the US expects most things to go back to normal come September.
With things coming back to normal, there are more and more new job openings for teachers in the US. But which states pay the most? Can you teach with the same credentials in different states? Average annual teacher salaries vary throughout the country. Some teachers elect to go to a different state and try to find a job there.
Using salary data, we can see which states pay the most for teachers. Bear in mind, these numbers come from before the Covid-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, many things changed, but the government expects things to go back to normal soon.
Teachers in these highest paying states for educational workers earn more than the average salary in that state. So, which are the highest paying states for teachers?
Let’s take a look.
Teachers Median Salary
Teachers are the driving force in any educational system. They prepare children for higher education, get them ready to enter the workforce, and prepare them for life in general. In the US, the teaching position ranks among the most important and valuable jobs. Services of teachers contribute to the betterment of society.
But despite their high value, many teachers earn less than college-educated workers. Yes, states on this list pay teachers more than the average salary in the state. But things should and could get better.
And strikes in states like Arizona and Oklahoma show that some states pay very little to teachers. In the US, the median annual salary for teachers is close to $58,000. That is about $3,000 below the median annual salary of all workers with a BA degree. To put it even more in perspective, it is nearly $15,000 less than the median annual salary of workers with a master’s degree.
And to think that more than half of the teachers in the country have a master’s degree. Yet, they earn less than their counterparts with a master’s. Here are the states that pay the most to their teachers.
Median average salary for school teachers – $78,000
New York is the highest paying state for teachers in the US. But you have to take other things into consideration. New York is also one of the most expensive places for living. The cost of living in New York is 15% higher than the national average. That makes life harder and challenging even for teachers with a higher salary.
The good news is that teachers in New York City public schools also receive a competitive benefits package. The requirements for teaching in the state include proof of BA, a complete approved teacher-preparation program, a passing grade on required exams, background clearance, teaching certification, and more.
The good news for teachers aspiring to work in New York is that the state estimates they will need more than 180,000 new teachers in the next decade. The application process is competitive, but there are many opportunities available.
Subjects that report shortage to include science, math, languages, and specialties in geographic areas.
Median average salary for teachers – $76,000
The median average salary for teachers in Connecticut is around $30,000 higher than the average median salary in the state.
Similar to New York, Connecticut poses a challenge because of the high costs of living. They are 8% higher than the national average.
In the state, you can work as a teacher if you have a BA degree and complete a teacher preparation program at an accredited school. The highest level of certification is the Professional Educator Certificate. You can obtain one by completing graduate coursework appropriate to the endorsements held.
Median average salary for teachers – $75,000
California offers a slightly lower salary for teachers than New York, but the cost of living is almost the same. Similar to New York, California has a 13% higher cost of living than the national average.
To work as a school teacher, you need to earn a college degree and complete a teacher preparation program.
According to the latest news, the state plans to get rid of the CSET. Legislators currently work on a proposal, eliminating the California Basic Educational Skills Test from the requirements list.
Median average salary for teachers – $73,000
Alaska is a state with a shortage of teachers. They are in dire need of teachers of math, science, social studies, and special education teachers. The high salary is great, considering it is more than $30,000 higher than that for all workers in the state. Alaska has the highest difference between average median salary and salary for teachers.
But the country has to offer higher salaries. Alaska mostly imports teachers and tries to accommodate the very high cost of living for them. That includes food and travel.
Median average salary for teachers – $72,000
Massachusetts is one of the highest paying states for teachers. Same as with other high-paying states for teaching jobs, Massachusetts experiences a shortage of teachers.
Teachers in the state have to have a BA degree and pass the Massachusetts tests for educator licensure. After five years of experience, teachers also must seek professional licensure. And that will require them to have a master’s degree.
Median average salary for teachers – $69,000
The country is very close to the cost of living on the national average. That makes living in Rhode Island and working as a teacher a desirable option.
Candidates must have at least a BA degree and complete the approved teacher preparation program. Their education completed must include at least 60 hours of field experience and 12 weeks of student teaching.
The problem with living in Rhode Island is housing. It is somewhat more expensive than the average price of housing in the US.
Median average salary for teachers – $68,000
New Jersey has challenges attracting teachers. They offer lower pay than New York, with similar costs of living. Same as New York, the cost of living in New Jersey is 13% higher than the national average.
That is why we see a decline in recent years. New teachers do not enter the workforce in New Jersey as they did several years ago. Some experts suggest the country should consider hiring teachers who live out of state for remote positions.
Median average salary for teachers – $67,000
Oregon has the same cost of living as the national average. And the country does need teachers. Subject shortages include special education, English as a second language, Spanish, school nurses, science, and math.
The best part about teaching in Oregon is that the state accepts accredited teacher preparation programs from other states.
Median average salary for teachers – $65,000
Maryland is another state with high costs of living. They are almost 10% higher than the national average. The state does pay a higher salary for teaching, but it also requires more.
Teachers in Maryland must have at least a BA and a teaching license. They also require additional coursework in reading.
The good news is that the teacher shortage in Maryland is real. The Covid-19 pandemic impacted the profession, and now they need more teachers.
Median average salary for teachers – $65,000
The state has specific shortages in math and science. The state recently introduced pay hikes for teachers.
Washington public school teachers must have at least a BA and complete an approved Washington teacher preparation program. They also need to pass the required content exams.
The state uses a tiered system for teacher certification.