Teacher salaries–a regional commodity

Teacher salaries–a regional commodity

(Alaska) Teacher shortages in some parts of the nation are driving school districts to offer better than average starting salaries and signing bonus. Meanwhile, schools in in other parts of the country where the economic recovery has been spotty continue to struggle with basic classroom needs.

And even in otherwise prosperous communities, schools are challenged by the escalating costs of health care and pensions.

With some 2 million job openings in the nation’s public schools expected through 2024, teacher compensation varies dramatically based on geographic location as well as the type of credential held, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Teachers in Alaska, for instance, earn an average of nearly $78,000 a year while those in Mississippi receive just barely $42,000 annually.

There are also differences in pay based on the grades a teacher serves: elementary school teachers nationally had a median income of $54,890 in 2015–the most recent data available. Meanwhile, high school teachers had a median income of just over $57,000.

Specialized certificates are also highly prized: high school teachers qualified to teach students with disabilities had a median income of $58,500, while special education teachers in middle school received $57,280.

Although enrollment in many districts as well as in some states is dropping, government labor analysts expect employment in the nation’s K-12 schools to grow through 2024 by about 6 percent–with the biggest jump coming among pre-school educators.

Using the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a research team from GoBankRates.com, a personal finance and investment website, broke down educator jobs in all 50 states to help those coming into the profession get a better sense of where to apply.

The 10 states where teachers get paid the most:

  • Alaska: $77,843
  • New York: $76,593
  • Connecticut: $75,867
  • California: $72,050
  • Massachusetts: $71,587
  • New Jersey: $70,700
  • Rhode Island: $67,533
  • Maryland: $65,257
  •  Illinois: $65,153
  • Virginia: $63,493

The 10 states where teachers get paid the least:

  • Mississippi: $42,043
  • Oklahoma: $42,647
  • South Dakota: $43,200
  • North Carolina: $43,587
  • Arizona: $43,800
  • West Virginia: $45,477
  • Arkansas: $47,053
  • Idaho: $47,063
  • Kansas: $47,127
  • Louisiana: $48,587