State by State: Where Teachers Get the Worst — and Best — Deal

Monkey Business Images /

Maybe the famed three R’s of education — reading, writing and arithmetic — need to add a fourth R, raises. Teachers in districts across the country have made the news over the past year as they held rallies and, in some cities, went on strike to improve pay and school funding.

And for good reason: Research gathered this year by Governing Magazine shows that many of the very states where teachers are protesting are places where the difference between teachers’ pay and that of similarly educated private-sector workers is the greatest.

While the private-sector economy has gained momentum in recent years, teacher salaries haven’t kept up with inflation, according to this research, which compared average salary estimates for elementary and secondary school teachers in 2016 compiled by the National Education Association with U.S. Census data on the average salary nationally for full-time private-sector workers.

Few teachers go into education for the monetary rewards, but, as the study shows, choosing a teaching career is much more rewarding in some states than in others. Here’s a look at how teacher pay compares with the private sector in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Note: The slides start at the state where teachers make the smallest percentage of private sector pay (No. 51) and move to the state with the largest percentage (No. 1).

Popular Articles

6 Tips to Age-Proof Your Resume
6 Tips to Age-Proof Your Resume

Finding a job isn’t easy — and it sometimes feels like too much experience actually counts against you. These tips will help.

How All 50 States Tax Your Retirement Income
How All 50 States Tax Your Retirement Income

Find out which states are friendly, and not-so friendly, with the money you’ll need in your later years.

7 Reasons You Should Rent a Home in Retirement
7 Reasons You Should Rent a Home in Retirement

Renting is a better fit than owning for many retirees. Here’s how it can pay off during your golden years.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started


904 Active Deals

More Deals