Teacher Salaries

As with many occupations, prospective salary will depend on primarily years of experience and location. Generally speaking, for a public school teacher, the poorer the students are within a school district, the higher the salary will be relative to surrounding districts. There is generally a strong correlation between the average family income level and ability to attract teachers who want to teach at a particular school. The most common reason being that more poor students equate to more behavior issues within a classroom, making a teacher's job more difficult.

A new teacher within a public school system can stand to make anywhere from $35,000 to $50,000 depending on the particular district and state. Most public school districts have organized teacher unions that call for anywhere from an annual 1% to 5% raise. Some of these annual raises were frozen due to the recent recession. Only within the past few years have raises been more common for teachers. Even with annual single digit percent raises, it is no surprised that long-time veteran teachers may be making anywhere from $80,000 to $100,000.

Determining Your Salary

Districts often calculate a teacher's salary by factoring in their degree level and course units completed with the number of years taught. Some districts only count the amount of years taught within their district while some count up to a certain maximum years and others will count all years taught no matter the location.

Think of the salary calculation as a matrix with degree level/course units completed as one varying factor, and years of teaching experience as the other variable. As a teacher gains more years of experience they move from left to right within their matrix, increasing their base salary.

Some states such as Illinois( Illinois School Code (105 ILCS 5/24-8)), actually have minimum salaries that are mandated by the state.

Top 10 Best Paying States

TakePart.com calculated the top 10 best paying states based on the 2012-2013 state salary averages by factoring in the 2013 Cost of Living Index. Remember that even within a state, the average salaries will vary quite a bit depending on location.

Rank State Average Salary Adjusted Salary *
1 Michigan $61,560 $64,937
2 Pennsylvania $63,521 $63,079
3 Ohio $58,092 $62,802
4 Illinois $59,113 $61,834
5 Wyoming $57,920 $59,897
6 Massachusetts $73,129 $59,893
7 Nevada $55,957 $58,594
8 Wisconsin $55,171 $57,172
9 Georgia $52,880 $56,921
10 Indiana $51,456 $56,795

* Based on 2012-2013 average state salaries and 2013 Cost of Living Index

Additional Resources