Many teachers are underpaid in the U.S. While the national average K-12 teacher salary is $64,524, this varies significantly by state. Unfortunately, many teachers are underpaid for taking on one of the most important tasks for a new generation: educating our youth.
Some of the best states for teachers are Washington, Utah, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. Of these states, Washington, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are among the ten highest-paying states for teachers.
In this post, we're going to look at the pay for new teachers by state. Like any other profession, the average salaries of teachers vary from state to state. This isn't just a small difference either. Average teacher salaries in the U.S. range from $45,574 in Mississippi to $85,889 in New York. Additionally, these salaries can be as much as 28% lower than the average salary of a full-time, year-round employee.
The highest pay in the nation for new teachers is in New York, where the average teacher salary is $85,889. New York's average teacher salary is about 11.5% higher than the average earnings of a full-time, year-round employee. California and Massachusetts follow, with $82,282 and $82,042, respectively.
Mississippi has the lowest average teacher salary of $45,574, followed by West Virginia with $47,826. The other states with average teacher salaries under $50,000 a year are New Mexico, Florida, South Dakota, Kansas, and Arizona.
It's crucial to note that these are overall average teacher salaries. Starting teacher salaries are much lower and are often far below the livable wage in many states. The District of Columbia and New Jersey are the only states with starting teacher salaries over $50,000, with $55,209 and $51,443. Unfortunately, the livable wage is $68,000 in D.C. and $56,000 in New Jersey. Montana has the lowest starting salary at $31,418, which is still below its livable wage of $47,000. Thirty-four U.S. states have starting teacher salaries below $40,000 a year.
Below is a table of each state's average teacher salary and its comparison to the average full-time, year-round worker's salary and past salaries, and the average starting teacher salaries.