Jamie Goodwin

10 States that Pay Teachers the Most

10 states pay teachers most

Most people that go into teaching don’t do it for the money. They know that teachers are underpaid, especially based on their education and preparation. However, the average salary for teachers varies based on the state in which one works. In some states, teachers can make a great salary, especially based on the cost of living in that state. Based on recent findings from the National Education Association, here are the 10 states that pay teachers the most.


Alaska is one of the top 3 highest paying states for teachers. The average teacher salary is $69,130 for elementary school teachers and $67,790 for secondary school teachers. One of the possible reasons for the higher pay could stem from the fact that Alaska often experiences teacher shortages, especially for math, science, and special education.


In California, the average teacher salary is $72,842. The amount varies throughout the state with Los Angeles offering as much as 32% higher than the average. Although the salary is higher, California also has a higher cost of living. This should be considered when considering the high pay in the state.


The average teacher salary in the state of Connecticut is $72,013. Although the state offers competitive salary rates, it also has a high cost of living. As a bonus, however, classroom sizes tend to be smaller. In fact, the state a 13:1 student-teacher ratio.


Maryland has an average teacher salary of $66,482 per year. Class sizes tend to be smaller with a 14.89:1 student-teacher ratio. The state also provides an average of $14,249 of public spending on their students. This amount is higher than the national average, allowing schools to purchase new materials for their students.


Massachusetts has one of the highest average teacher salaries at $76,981. It also has a much lower turnover rate, especially since teachers are more likely to remain in the teaching profession throughout their careers.

New Jersey

In New Jersey, the average teacher salary is $69,330. The state also has a high cost of living, but the class sizes stay small. In fact, the average student-teacher ratio in New Jersey is 11.8:1.

New York

A few years back, New York made headlines with a charter school that paid their teachers as much as $125,000 per year. The state continues to have a higher average salary of $77,957. Of course, New York comes with a high cost of living. In fact, the cost of living is 18% higher than the national average.


The average teacher salary in Pennsylvania is $66,197. Although this isn’t the highest amount, it’s one of the best salaries across the nation. Why? Because when you adjust the salary for the cost of living in the state, the average is $63,386. With the adjusted salary, the average salary for teachers in Pennsylvania is one of the highest in the United States.

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, the average teacher salary is $66,197. Like other Northeast states, the cost of living is high. However, class sizes are smaller with 13.81:1 student-teacher ratios.


Wyoming has one of the lowest costs of living in the country. With an average annual salary of $61,661, teachers end up making a great salary in Wyoming. They also have smaller student-teacher ratios and an average of $16,127 of public spending for each student.

When looking for the right place to teach, salary is one factor that should be considered. Make sure to research the cost of living in the area, the starting salary for teachers with a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, and the involvement of the local teacher union.


  • Jamie Goodwin

    Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!

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