As students head back to school, we see lots of stories about creative teachers who employ great tools and tricks to stimulate their students. We also articles about how teachers spend their own money to buy supplies for their classrooms.
Teachers are not paid as high as many other professions though it varies from state to state. The folks at Business.org wondered what the average salary was across the United States and summarized the findings in an interesting graphic:
- On average, entry-level teachers are paid 21.8% less than other workers in their states.
- Colorado has the largest pay gap–40% less than the average salary in the state. That’s especially bad when you consider that Louisiana (our top-ranked state) pays about $7,000 more per year—even though the cost of living in Louisiana is lower.
- Even though the District of Columbia had the highest starting salary for teachers, the area still ranked low on our list (#50) because of the higher-than-usual deficit between teachers’ salaries and the average salary for the area (37.2%).
(To be fair, though, the average salary in DC is abnormally high—probably due to the high concentration of highly paid politicians and lobbyists in the area.)
- Despite its low ranking, DC actually has one of the best starting teaching salaries in the nation after you adjust for the area’s cost of living. So DC may be one of the best places for teachers to live if you’re focused on maintaining the highest possible standard of living.
- The pay gap does not seem to correlate with student performance–Connecticut ranks #32 for teacher compensation but maintains #5 for student test scores. (But to be fair, shouldn’t the standard of living for teachers be just as important?)
Methodology: To develop its ranking we compared the average starting teacher salary to the average salary for all occupations in each state. The starting average teacher salaries were sourced from the National Education Association. The average state salary for ‘all occupations’ came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics Survey. For more information check out their report.2