• Teacher pay: Which states pay teachers the most?

    By: Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    The average public school teacher salary for 2017-2018 was $60,477, according to the National Education Association, the largest teacher’s union in the United States. That number was up from $59,660 in 2016-17. The NEA estimated that the average salary for this school year (2017-18) will be $61,730.

    In the report, average teacher salaries ranged from a high in New York ($84,227), California ($80,680), and Massachusetts ($80,357), to a low in Mississippi ($44,926), West Virginia ($45,642) and Oklahoma ($46,300). 

    The study showed that while salaries for classroom teachers went up an average of 11.5 percent from school year 2008-2009 to the estimated salaries for school year 2017-2018, when adjusted for inflation, overall teacher salaries decreased by 4.5 percent during that time period.

    One-fifth of new public school educators leave the profession by the end of their first year of teaching, according to the NEA. Nearly half will leave within five years. 

    Low starting wages and pay increases that fail to match others in jobs that require similar education and experience is often cited as a reason for leaving the job. 

    In no state are teachers paid more than comparable college graduates, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The EPI reports that, on average, teachers make 77 percent of what other college graduates make.

    While several organizations track teacher salaries by state, the numbers can be a bit different depending on the criteria used to gather the information. Some organizations include private schools in the calculation and some do not, for instance.

    Here is a list of teacher salaries for 2017-2018 from the NEA:

    1. Alabama: $52,285
    2. Alaska: $74,977
    3. Arizona: $48,723
    4. Arkansas: $51,791
    5. California: $80,680
    6. Colorado: $56,010
    7. Connecticut: $74,517
    8. Delaware: $65,125
    9. District of Columbia: $76,486
    10. Florida: $48,526
    11. Georgia: $59,185
    12. Hawaii: $57,866
    13. Idaho: $51,475
    14. Illinois: $65,721
    15. Indiana: $61,082
    16. Iowa: $59,505
    17. Kansas: $50,925
    18. Kentucky: $55,610
    19. Louisiana: $52,876
    20. Maine: $54,071
    21. Maryland: $73,572
    22. Massachusetts: $80,357
    23. Michigan: $61,911
    24. Minnesota: $69,461
    25. Mississippi: $45,497
    26. Missouri: $51,647
    27. Montana: $57,338
    28. Nebraska: $54,377
    29. Nevada: $57,761
    30. New Hampshire: $57,883
    31. New Jersey: $74,457
    32. New Mexico: $49,634
    33. New York: $84,384
    34. North Carolina: $51,231
    35. North Dakota: $55,242
    36. Ohio: $61,167
    37. Oklahoma: $48,431
    38. Oregon: $66,552
    39. Pennsylvania: $69,303
    40. Rhode Island: $76,887
    41. South Carolina: $53,094
    42. South Dakota: $49,277
    43. Tennessee: $53,295
    44. Texas: $56,736
    45. Utah: $57,854
    46. Vermont: $61,294
    47. Virginia: $54,122
    48. Washington: $60,005
    49. West Virginia: $47,390
    50. Wisconsin: $55,726
    51. Wyoming: $60,485

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