20 States Where Teachers Make More Than the Average American

Daria Uhlig

Despite the importance of their jobs, teachers often get the short end of the stick when it comes to pay. Although the average annual wage for teachers is $62,857 compared with the average annual wage of $51,960 for all other U.S. occupations, average teacher salaries have actually dropped 4.5% from 2009-10 to 2018-19, according to the National Education Association’s Ranking of the States 2018 and Estimates of School Statistics 2019 report. But the news isn’t all bad — in fact, teachers in some states earn significantly more than the average American.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, GOBankingRates compiled the average teacher salary in every state by analyzing the mean wages of elementary school, middle school and high school teachers. This salary was then pitted against the average wage for all other occupations in the state to determine where teachers are earning more than the average American.

 

Data is accurate as of July 20, 2019, and is subject to change.

20. Utah

  • Average teacher wage: $60,277
  • Average wage for all occupations in the state: $47,920

Of the states included in this survey, Utah’s teachers come closest to the national average, but they still earn over $8,000 a year more than the average for all occupations in the country. And, teachers in Utah do even better locally. Average wages are lower across the state at $47,920, which puts teachers ahead by $12,357 per year.

19. Hawaii

  • Average teacher wage: $60,983
  • Average wage for all occupations in the state: $52,900

If the tropical climate and spectacular scenery aren’t enough to attract teachers to Hawaii, the pay might just do it. With an average wage of $60,983, they outearn other U.S. workers by $9,023. Teachers in Hawaii also outearn the state average for workers in all occupations by $8,083. That extra money comes in handy, no doubt, considering that Hawaii is a state where residents are more likely to live paycheck to paycheck.

18. Ohio

  • Average teacher wage: $62,163
  • Average wage for all occupations in the state: $48,220

Ohio holds its 2018 spot as the No. 18 state for educators. Average teacher wages have increased from $60,203 to $62,163 since last year’s study. That wage keeps teachers well above the average for all occupations in the state and allows them to earn over $10,000 more than the U.S. median household income.

17. Vermont

  • Average teacher wage: $62,483
  • Average wage for all occupations in the state: $50,150

Vermont is one of several New England states to make GOBankingRates’ list. Slightly up from last year’s salary of $60,533, teachers in Vermont earn over $12,000 more than the average wage for all other occupations in the state.

16. Minnesota

  • Average teacher wage: $63,657
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $54,200

Minnesota teachers saw a drop in earnings from last year’s wage of $64,520. Although teachers in Minnesota undoubtedly want to see their earnings go up, not down, there might be some consolation in the fact that they still earn $9,456 more than the state average for all occupations.

15. Delaware

  • Average teacher wage: $63,820
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $53,320

All the mid-Atlantic states made the list in this study, starting with Delaware at the low end of the earnings scale. However, that doesn’t mean Delaware teachers are hurting for cash. With an average wage of $63,820, they earn $10,500 more than the average for all occupations in the state.

14. Michigan

  • Average teacher wage: $64,557
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $49,510

Teachers have plenty of reasons to move to Michigan, and the high salary is one of them. Michigan teachers earn $64,557, on average, which is $15,047 more than the state average wage for all occupations. Although money doesn’t buy happiness — especially in Michigan, where it takes less money to be happy than in nearly any other state in the country — it certainly does provide peace of mind.


13. Washington

  • Average teacher wage: $66,120
  • Average wage for all other occupation in the state: $59,410

Good news for Washington teachers: Salaries have increased by over $2,600 since last year’s survey. Many Washington households keep more than one-third of their earnings after paying their bills each month, so teachers here don’t have to worry too much about living paycheck to paycheck.

 

12. Illinois

  • Average teacher wage: $66,123
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $53,790

Illinois teachers earn $66,123, on average, which is $12,333 more than the state average for all other occupations. Their paychecks are also slightly above the median household income of $2,276.77 per paycheck, according to another GOBankingRates study. This allows Illinois residents to hold on to over 44% of their earnings after they’ve covered their living expenses.

11. Pennsylvania

  • Average teacher pay: $66,547
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $50,030

Pennsylvania has inched its way up by one spot on GOBankingRates’ list, thanks in part to a slight increase in teacher wages to $66,547. Although that’s $16,517 more than the average wage for all other occupations in the state, it falls far short of how much Pennsylvanians must earn to be happy: $106,260.

 

10. Virginia

  • Average teacher pay: $67,750
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $55,310

Average teacher wages in Virginia actually dropped by $957 since GOBankingRates’ 2018 study. But, even at that lower rate, teachers outearn Virginia’s average workers in all other occupations by $12,440, and they top the U.S. average for all other occupations by over $15,000.

9. Maryland

  • Average teacher pay: $71,127
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $58,770

Maryland’s teacher wages average $71,127, which is a significant increase over last year’s average salary of $67,173.  That’s not surprising, considering that five of the nation’s 10 largest school districts are located here, and four of those districts are also in the top 10 nationwide for per-pupil spending.

8. Rhode Island

  • Average teacher pay: $71,870
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $54,810

Rhode Island is one of four New England states that made the top 20. A wage increase has inched the state two spots ahead of its 2018 ranking and should help alleviate some of the high tax burden imposed on Rhode Islanders — one of highest on the East Coast, second only to New York.

7. Oregon

  • Average teacher pay: $71,943
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $52,000

Oregon has held steady as the state with the nation’s seventh-highest teacher salary. At $71,943, the annual pay puts them more than $19,000 beyond both the state and national averages for all other occupations. Middle school teachers here have an edge over their counterparts in other states, as they’re among the relative few who earn more than elementary and high school teachers.

6. New Jersey

  • Average teacher pay: $73,113
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $58,210

In addition to having the sixth-highest teacher salaries in the country, New Jersey also has one of the highest per-pupil education expenditures — and that investment seems to be paying off. New Jersey earned a B-plus in Education Week Research Center’s 2018 Quality Counts report. That was the highest grade given, and only one state other than New Jersey earned it.

5. Alaska

  • Average teacher pay: $75,920
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $58,710

Alaska’s teachers earn very respectable salaries, but they’re taking home less money. In fact, their average earnings have dropped by $4,707 since the 2018 GOBankingRates study, knocking Alaska from second place to fifth. Still, teachers here earn almost $24,000 more than the national average for all other occupations and over $17,000 more than the state average for all other occupations.

4. Connecticut

  • Average teacher pay: $76,197
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $60,780

Connecticut was one of only five states to earn a B or B-plus in Education Week Research Center’s Quality Counts 2018 report, which suggests that the state is getting an excellent return on its investment in its teachers and its high per-pupil education spending in general. On the teachers’ side, they’re likely to live comfortably on an income that’s over $15,000 higher than Connecticut’s average for all other occupations.

3. California

  • Average teacher pay: $78,757
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $59,150

Teachers in the Golden State are paid the third highest in the country, with an average salary that’s almost $20,000 higher than the average for California workers in all other occupations. But, when you live in a state where income is heavily taxed — as is the case in California, where the income tax rate is 13.3% — every dollar counts.

2. Massachusetts

  • Average teacher pay: $80,550
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $63,910

Like their New England neighbors in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Vermont, Massachusetts’ teachers earn more than the average American. In this case, it’s $28,590 more. However, Massachusetts workers overall still earn significantly more than the national average.

1. New York

  • Average teacher pay: $83,933
  • Average wage for all other occupations in the state: $61,870

Once again, New York takes first place in teacher wages, with an average salary of $83,933. That’s a whopping $31,973 more than the national average for all occupations and $22,063 more than the state average for all occupations. It’s worth noting that New York also spends more per pupil than any other state and boasts a number of quality schools, including one of the 20 highest-rated high schools in the country: Townsend Harris High School in Flushing.

Average Elementary School Teacher Wages

Elementary school teachers earn slightly more than middle school teachers — $62,200 compared to $62,030, respectively. Although the difference in annual salaries amounts to only $170, a few large gaps exist across the country

In the District of Columbia, for example, elementary school teachers outearn middle and high school teachers by several thousand dollars. California is another notable exception, where elementary school teachers earn nearly $5,000 more than middle school teachers. On the flip side, elementary school teachers in Oregon earn over $7,000 less than their middle school counterparts.

 


Average Middle School Teacher Wages

The national average salary for middle school teachers — $62,030 — hovers just below the averages for elementary and high school teachers, and this trend holds true in a number of states. Middle school teachers in California earn significantly less than both elementary and high school teachers, as do middle school teachers in Vermont, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Maryland.

But there are also a few states — Nebraska and Idaho, for example — where middle school teachers have higher earnings than their elementary and high school counterparts. Middle school teachers earn average wages of $60,280 and $53,660, respectively, in these states.

Average High School Teacher Wages

You might assume that high school teachers make more than elementary and middle school teachers, if for no other reason than the complexity of the material that they teach. And you’d be mostly right. High school teachers in Illinois, for example, earn $72,370. Compare this to elementary and middle school teachers in the state, who earn $62,140 and $63,860, respectively.

However, this isn’t the case everywhere else. In two East Coast states — Pennsylvania and Rhode Island — high school teachers are actually the lowest paid.

20 States Where Teachers Make More Than the Average American

In many cases, the highest-earning teachers work in the states with the highest per-pupil spending on education. At a time when teacher salaries are under close scrutiny, solid wages could help encourage these valued professionals to continue shaping the minds of America’s youth.

More on From GOBankingRates


Methodology: GOBankingRates determined what teachers make in every state by analyzing the mean wages of elementary, middle and high school teachers and calculating the average of those three salaries. Data is sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, and National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. Median household incomes (state and national) were sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 20 States Where Teachers Make More Than the Average American