Teachers choose their career for many reasons, but it’s fair to say a dream of big bucks is seldom one of them.
Education is famously a low-paid profession, although rewards come in other, less tangible ways. That “If you can read this, thank a teacher” bumper sticker may be a cliche, but it’s also true.
Elementary school teachers in the U.S. earned an average annual wage of $62,200 as of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Middle school teachers earned an average of $61,040 at that same time. High school teachers averaged $62,860 per year.
But teacher pay varies considerably by state. States also vary as to which level pays best. Often, elementary school teachers make less than their middle school and high school counterparts, but not always.
Following are the average annual wages for elementary, middle and high school teachers in each state. The states are ranked based on elementary-school pay.