Here’s How Much Teachers Are Paid in Every State

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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 $60,830 as of 2017, the latest year for which federal data is available. 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. For example, elementary school teachers in New York earn twice as much as those in Oklahoma.

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.

For example, in California, elementary and high school teachers each earn an average of more than $77,000, while middle school pay averages a few thousand dollars less. In Idaho, by comparison, it’s middle school teachers who earn the most — by roughly $5,000.

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.

50. Oklahoma

sevenMaps / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $40,530

Middle school teachers: $42,040

High school teachers: $41,880

49. South Dakota

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $41,570

Middle school teachers: $42,520

High school teachers: $41,980

48. Arizona

Asia Images Group / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $44,220

Middle school teachers: $43,670

High school teachers: $48,050

47. Mississippi

Peek Creative Collective / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $44,230

Middle school teachers: $45,320

High school teachers: $46,370

46. West Virginia

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $45,530

Middle school teachers: $45,000

High school teachers: $46,560

45. North Carolina

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $45,690

Middle school teachers: $45,690

High school teachers: $46,370

44. Idaho

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $47,630

Middle school teachers: $53,060

High school teachers: $48,540

43. Arkansas

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $48,110

Middle school teachers: $49,130

High school teachers: $50,990

42. Louisiana

DGLImages / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $48,310

Middle school teachers: $49,250

High school teachers: $50,700

41. Florida

JoHo / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $48,340

Middle school teachers: $49,780

High school teachers: $51,800

40. Alabama

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $49,040

Middle school teachers: $49,630

High school teachers: $49,790

39. Kansas

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $50,200

Middle school teachers: $50,640

High school teachers: $50,470

38. Indiana

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $50,310

Middle school teachers: $51,410

High school teachers: $52,670

37. Tennessee

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $50,320

Middle school teachers: $50,060

High school teachers: $51,390

36. South Carolina

DGLImages / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $50,510

Middle school teachers: $52,400

High school teachers: $53,960

35. North Dakota

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $51,090

Middle school teachers: $55,880

High school teachers: $51,400

34. Colorado

Asian woman teacher checking homework at her desk.Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $52,390

Middle school teachers: $52,780

High school teachers: $54,460

33. Montana

DGLImages / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $52,610

Middle school teachers: $53,910

High school teachers: $51,290

32. Missouri

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $52,700

Middle school teachers: $52,620

High school teachers: $51,720

31. Kentucky

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $53,140

Middle school teachers: $53,800

High school teachers: $55,300

30. Maine

racorn / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $53,190

Middle school teachers: $53,080

High school teachers: $52,940

29. Iowa

iofoto / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $53,710

Middle school teachers: $55,560

High school teachers: $54,490

28. Utah

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $54,750

Middle school teachers: $56,090

High school teachers: $55,540

27. Georgia

Oksana Kuzmina / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $54,870

Middle school teachers: $56,590

High school teachers: $56,850

26. Nevada

michaeljung / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $55,700

Middle school teachers: $57,500

High school teachers: $57,210

25. Nebraska

Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $56,070

Middle school teachers: $59,370

High school teachers: $55,870

24. Texas

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $56,760

Middle school teachers: $56,670

High school teachers: $57,830

23. Wisconsin

GagliardiImages / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $56,940

Middle school teachers: $58,560

High school teachers: $57,320

22. New Hampshire

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $57,470

Middle school teachers: $59,680

High school teachers: $60,070

21. Wyoming

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $58,420

Middle school teachers: $59,960

High school teachers: $59,780

20. New Mexico

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $59,060

Middle school teachers: $54,720

High school teachers: $56,060

19. Hawaii

Poznyakov / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $59,790

Middle school teachers: $59,480

High school teachers: $59,250

18. Ohio

spass / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $59,950

Middle school teachers: $59,850

High school teachers: $60,810

17. Delaware

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $60,600

Middle school teachers: $62,540

High school teachers: $63,640

16. Vermont

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $61,090

Middle school teachers: $58,920

High school teachers: $61,590

15. Washington

Kids working with robotics.Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $62,580

Middle school teachers: $63,090

High school teachers: $64,760

14. Illinois

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $62,620

Middle school teachers: $66,630

High school teachers: $68,380

13. Michigan

l i g h t p o e t / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $62,720

Middle school teachers: $64,620

High school teachers: $62,910

12. Minnesota

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $63,490

Middle school teachers: $64,780

High school teachers: $65,290

11. Pennsylvania

Hurst Photo / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $65,370

Middle school teachers: $65,270

High school teachers: $66,020

10. Oregon

Hurst Photo / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $65,640

Middle school teachers: $73,630

High school teachers: $69,660

9. Maryland

Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $67,340

Middle school teachers: $65,110

High school teachers: $69,070

8. Rhode Island

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $67,990

Middle school teachers: $65,540

High school teachers: $67,620

7. Virginia

racorn / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $68,460

Middle school teachers: $67,770

High school teachers: $69,890

6. New Jersey

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $69,500

Middle school teachers: $71,450

High school teachers: $76,430

5. Massachusetts

racorn / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $76,590

Middle school teachers: $74,400

High school teachers: $76,170

4. Alaska

Schoolboy with backpack in snow.Romrodphoto / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $77,030

Middle school teachers: $79,430

High school teachers: $85,420

3. Connecticut

ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $77,900

Middle school teachers: $78,990

High school teachers: $78,810

2. California

African American woman with grade school students wearing red caps.Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $77,990

Middle school teachers: $74,190

High school teachers: $77,390

1. New York

iofoto / Shutterstock.com

Average annual wage for elementary school teachers: $80,540

Middle school teachers: $80,940

High school teachers: $83,360

Where does your state rank for teachers’ pay? Is it a living wage in your area? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Krystal Steinmetz and Kari Huus contributed to this report.

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