Without fail, in surveys across basically every demographic, the number one most important aspect of a job for most people is the salary — how much do teachers get paid where I live?
And while there are many things that go into how much you can expect to make, there’s really good data for average salaries for teachers by state across America broken down by seniority level. So while your city may be slightly different than the state average, these averages give you a rough sense of what to expect for your salary.
So to better understand how teacher salaries change across America, we decided to take a look at the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on average pay for teachers by state.
Additionally, we wanted to adjust the salary based on the cost of living in a state — because your salary goes further in North Carolina than it does in California.
The state with the best salary for teachers after this adjustment? That would be Alaska. Here’s a quick snapshot of the top ten states for teacher salaries:
Let’s take a look at how we got here and a full ranking of all the states.
As we mentioned earlier, we took the average annual salary data for teachers from the 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics — specifically their “Occupational Employment Statistics”.
To make the comparison of salaries apples to apples across states, we also took into account the living wage in each state as defined by MIT.
We then created an index by dividing the average wage for a state by the living wage in that state. As an example, the living wage in California is $57,315 and the average teacher pay is $72,360, so our index value would be:
$72,360 / $57,315 = 1.26
We then ranked every state on this criteria with the state with the highest salary index ranking as highest average salary for teachers.
Here’s a look at the full ranking for all states.