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The Best and Worst States for Teacher Pay

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Drazen Zigic/istockphoto

Math Lesson

As many parents who are suddenly homeschooling children have come to realize, teaching is far from easy. In many ways, it has become much more complicated, as teachers juggle new technologies while trying to teach as many as 20 to 30 kids from afar, or return to the classroom with distancing, hygiene, and infection to worry about. Bottom line: The COVID-19 pandemic has helped make it clear how valuable teachers are, but that value isn't always reflected by their pay.

A Business.org analysis found that nationally, teachers make about $61,189, which is 6.7% less than the national average salary. And how you fare as a teacher really depends on where you live: Educators in six states actually make more than the average occupations in their area. Here's a look at the 15 best- and 15 worst-paying states for teachers, compared with average earnings for all full-time, year-round employees.

Related: Helpful Resources for Single Parents Struggling Amid the Pandemic

Sheridan, Wyoming
Sheridan, Wyoming by Atkach24 (CC BY)

15th-Best: Wyoming

Average teacher salary: $58,618
Average employee earnings: $60,252
How teacher pay compares: 2.7% less
Change since 2010: Down 10.2%
Change since 2018: Down 1.6%

Delaware
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

14th-Best: Delaware

Average teacher salary: $62,308
Average employee earnings: $63,906
How teacher pay compares: 2.5% less
Change since 2010: Down 6.6%
Change since 2018: Down 1.2%

Related: How the Pandemic Changed Back-to-School Shopping

Billings, Montana
peeterv/istockphoto

13th-Best: Montana

Average teacher salary: $54,034
Average employee earnings: $55,401
How teacher pay compares: 2.5% less
Change since 2010: Up 1.1%
Change since 2018: Up 0.3%

Seattle
aiisha5/istockphoto

12th-Best: Washington

Average teacher salary: $72,965
Average employee earnings: $74,808
How teacher pay compares: 2.5% less
Change since 2010: Up 17.8%
Change since 2018: 28.4%

Boston Common, Boston
Jorge Salcedo/shutterstock

11th-Best: Massachusetts

Average teacher salary: $82,042
Average employee earnings: $83,898
How teacher pay compares: 2.2% less
Change since 2010: Up 1.3%
Change since 2018: None

Related: What Teachers Are Paid Around the World

Michigan Highway 119, Michigan
haveseen/shutterstock

10th-Best: Michigan

Average teacher salary: $61,825
Average employee earnings: $62,736
How teacher pay compares: 1.5% less
Change since 2010: Down 8.7%
Change since 2018: Down 2.2%

Hawaii
okimo/istockphoto
Providence, RI
Sean Pavone/shutterstock

8th-Best: Rhode Island

Average teacher salary: $67,040
Average employee earnings: $67,216
How teacher pay compares: 0.3% less
Change since 2010: Down 3.9%
Change since 2018: Down 1.6%

Portland, Oregon
halbergman/istockphoto

7th-Best: Oregon

Average teacher salary: $64,385
Average employee earnings: $64,401
How teacher pay compares: 0%
Change since 2010: Down 0.2%
Change since 2018: None

Related: Historic Schoolhouses Across America

Iowa
LarryLindell/istockphoto

6th-Best: Iowa

Average teacher salary: $58,140
Average employee earnings: $58,014
How teacher pay compares: 2% more
Change since 2010: Up 0.3%
Change since 2018: Down 0.10%

Juneau, Alaska
BriBar/istockphoto
Burlington, Vermont
Erika J Mitchell/shutterstock

4th-Best: Vermont

Average teacher salary: $61,027
Average employee earnings: $59,416
How teacher pay compares: 2.7% more
Change since 2010: Up 6.4%
Change since 2018: Down 1.3%

Philadelphia
Pgiam/istockphoto

3rd-Best: Pennsylvania

Average teacher salary: $68,141
Average employee earnings: $65,346
How teacher pay compares: 4.3% more
Change since 2010: Down 1.4%
Change since 2018: Down 1.2%

Related: Thoughtful Gifts for Teachers

https://blog.cheapism.com/gifts-for-teachers-16572/

San Francisco
EarthScapeImageGraphy/istockphoto

2nd-Best: California

Average teacher salary: $82,282
Average employee earnings: $75,407
How teacher pay compares: 9.1% more
Change since 2010: Up 3.2%
Change since 2018: Down 0.1%

New York, New York
pidjoe/istockphoto
Indianapolis
f11photo/istockphoto

15th-Worst: Indiana

Average teacher salary: $50,937
Average employee earnings: $57,437
How teacher pay compares: 11.3% less
Change since 2010: Down 12.8%
Change since 2018: Down 1.4%

North Dakota
ericfoltz/istockphoto
Austin, Texas
RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/istockphoto

13th-Worst: Texas

Average teacher salary: $54,155
Average employee earnings: $62,720
How teacher pay compares: 13.7% less
Change since 2010: Down 4%
Change since 2018: Up 0.5%

St. Louis
amolson7/shutterstock

12th-Worst: Missouri

Average teacher salary: $50,064
Average employee earnings: $58,145
How teacher pay compares: 13.9% less
Change since 2010: Down 5.5%
Change since 2018: Down 0.5%

Related: 30 Famous People Who Were Kicked Out of School

Madison, Wisconsin
csfotoimages/istockphoto

11th-Worst: Wisconsin

Average teacher salary: $51,453
Average employee earnings: $60,348
How teacher pay compares: 14.7% less
Change since 2010: Down 14.4%
Change since 2018: Down 2.1%

Minneapolis
photo.ua/shutterstock

10th-Worst: Minnesota

Average teacher salary: $58,221
Average employee earnings: $69,045
How teacher pay compares: 15.7% less
Change since 2010: Down 5%
Change since 2018: Down 1.3%

Jersey Shore, New Jersey
Andrew F. Kazmierski/shutterstock

9th-Worst: New Jersey

Average teacher salary: $70,212
Average employee earnings: $83,250
How teacher pay compares: 15.9% less
Change since 2010: Down 7.7%
Change since 2018: Down 1.6%

Related: What Does It Cost to Send a Kid Back to School?

Kansas
ehrlif/istockphoto

8th-Worst: Kansas

Average teacher salary: $49,800
Average employee earnings: $59,743
How teacher pay compares: 16.6% less
Change since 2010: Down 8.7%
Change since 2018: Down 1.9%

Miami
acavalli/istockphoto

7th-Worst: Florida

Average teacher salary: $48,395
Average employee earnings: $58,254
How teacher pay compares: 16.9% less
Change since 2010: Down 11.3%
Change since 2018: Down 1.6%

Arizona
Davel5957/istockphoto
Manchester, New Hampshire
DenisTangneyJr/istockphoto

5th-Worst: New Hampshire

Average teacher salary: $58,146
Average employee earnings: $72,025
How teacher pay compares: 19.3% less
Change since 2010: Down 3.3%
Change since 2018: Down 1.5%

Salt Lake City, UT
strickke/istockphoto

4th-Worst: Utah

Average teacher salary: $50,342
Average employee earnings: $63,026
How teacher pay compares: 20.1% less
Change since 2010: Down 6.1%
Change since 2018: Down 0.7%

Related: What Kids Eat for School Lunch Around the World

030415 free wash dc 1 310

3rd-Worst: District of Columbia

Average teacher salary: $78,477
Average employee earnings: $99,557
How teacher pay compares: 21.2% less
Change since 2010: Up 4%
Change since 2018: Up 0.5%

Denver
benedek/istockphoto

2nd-Worst: Colorado

Average teacher salary: $53,301
Average employee earnings: $69,338
How teacher pay compares: 23.1% less
Change since 2010: Down 7.3%
Change since 2018: Down 0.7%

Richmond, Virginia
SeanPavonePhoto/istockphoto

Worst: Virginia

Average teacher salary: $52,466
Average employee earnings: $72,833
How teacher pay compares: 28% less
Change since 2010: Down 10.2%
Change since 2018: Down 1.1%

Related: 50 Tips for Back-to-School Savings