25 States with Highest Salaries for Teachers in 2022
Teachers get the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on their students' lives and educations. Although the job of a teacher may look similar across the United States, compensation can vary quite a bit from state to state. Knowing which states offer teachers better salaries and benefits can help you make a more informed career decision.
In this article, we share which states offer the highest average pay for teachers and explain how you can increase your salary as a teacher. Keep in mind that higher wages may be associated with higher living expenses.
How much do teachers make?
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for education, training and library occupations was $52,380 in May 2020, higher than the median annual wage for all occupations of $41,950.
How much a teacher makes depends on factors such as your education level, experience and geographic location. Certain regions of the United States have a higher demand for teachers, which may influence these districts to pay their staff more favorably.
Along with their base salary, teachers tend to receive benefits such as health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, 401(k) matching, paid time off, paid sick time and professional development assistance. Some teachers also receive child care, referral programs, life insurance, tuition reimbursement and the option to work from home (depending on what kind of teacher you are).
Highest pay for teachers by state
Here are the top 25 states that have the highest average wages for educational instruction and library occupations according to the BLS. The salaries below were populated using state-specific data in May 2020.
Washington, D.C.: $81,030
New York: $76,390
Rhode Island: $70,280
New Jersey: $63,230
New Hampshire: $54,650
New Mexico: $54,370
Related: The 10 Best States for Teachers
Average pay by job title
How much you make as a teacher can also vary by what kind of teacher you are. According to the BLS, here are national median salaries for teachers by job title:
High school: $62,870
Special education: $61,500
Middle school: $60,810
Kindergarten and elementary school: $60,660
Career and technical education: $59,140
Adult basic and secondary education and English as a second language (ESL): $55,350
Teacher assistants: $28,900
6 ways to increase your salary as a teacher
Here are a few ways to advance your career and increase your salary:
1. Learn a second language
Learning a language that is in high demand in your region is a great way to advance your career as a teacher. With this extra skill set, you may stand out among other candidates for high-paying positions.
For instance, if you want to work at a bilingual school, you will need to fluently speak two languages. See if you can enroll in an online language course to make it easier to balance your job and education. You could also look to see what language courses your community college offers.
2. Continue your education
Many school districts operate on a salary schedule. When you earn a master's or doctorate degree, you can move up this schedule and earn more money.
See if your district provides any continuing education opportunities. They might be able to reimburse you for any courses you take, which can save you money as you grow as an educator. Likewise, see if your district has any loan forgiveness programs that will cover your tuition when earning an advanced degree.
3. Stay at the same school district
Along with education, seniority may also increase your salary. The longer you teach at a school district, the more your salary will increase. Even if you want to move to another district, your years of experience may raise your income. Before accepting a job offer, make sure to inquire about how your employer will adjust for level of education, years of experience and cost of living.
4. Move to a high-paying area
When calculating your anticipated income, remember that metropolitan areas may pay more, but they also tend to have higher living costs. Do a cost analysis to see which areas have the best average teacher salary to living expense ratio. If you're looking to earn a higher income, you may need to move to a city that pays teachers more.
5. Take on a side gig
There are plenty of side gigs you can do to raise your salary. For instance, some schools give teachers the opportunity to teach summer school. Rather than taking time off in the summer, you can continue to keep a steady stream of income during those months.
If you have previous leadership or sports experience, consider taking on a coaching position. Along with making a little extra cash, you can help students engage in an activity they love.
See if your school is looking for any exam proctors, too. This could lead to some extra side money that can add up.
6. Work to become an administrator
As you progress through your teaching career, you may realize that your salary goals exceed the potential wages of teaching. Becoming a school administrator, such as a superintendent or a principal, can jump your career to a higher earning potential. Both of these careers require a background in education and advanced degrees. Research programs you could complete while having a full-time job. You may find that an online program offers you the flexibility you need to work during the day and take higher education classes in the evening.
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