How much is a teacher worth?

Do we pay our public school teachers enough? See our map to find out the average teacher salary in your state. 

Public school teachers are struggling to make ends meet. State budget cuts for education costs lead to lower salaries for teachers and less money allocated for classroom supplies. Some teachers even dip into their own pockets to supply their classrooms with the minimum equipment needed for teaching lessons. Recently, Teresa Danks, an Oklahoma teacher with Tulsa Public Schools, took to the streets to beg for money to provide her classroom with supplies. In the past, Danks reached into her salary of just $35,000 (the average salary for Oklahoma teachers is $40,722) to purchase basic items for her lessons.

Our map compares the average salary for a teacher in each state. Click on the state to find the average salary for a teacher from elementary through high school.

How does the average teacher salary in your state affect you?

With lower salaries, teaching is a less attractive profession. Potential teachers may choose to teach at private schools, where full training is not required, or to not teach at all. Each state also has its own requirements for public school teaching credentials. Bachelor’s degrees are the baseline; teaching credentials and advanced degrees may also be required. With lower potential salaries and the likelihood of purchasing supplies out-of-pocket, the time and schooling required to become a teacher may steer even more prospects away. With higher student-to-teacher ratios, students receive less one-on-one time with their teachers. California claims the highest ratio, with 23 students for every teacher in the state.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, teachers in the United States make nearly half of what other workers with college degrees make. This places the US in the same league as the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

States with the highest average teaching salary are New York, Alaska, and Connecticut. States with the lowest include Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

States with the highest teacher salaries

  1. Alaska
  2. New York
  3. Connecticut

States with the lowest teacher salaries

  1. Oklahoma
  2. Mississippi
  3. South Dakota

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