Sticky fingers, lots of whining and the beginning of standardized testing. It’s official: elementary school teachers deal with a lot in their quest to educate the next generation.
And depending on the state, many teachers don’t make a very competitive salary.
We compared the average annual elementary school teacher wage as of May 2016 in each state, using the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These numbers do not include special education teachers. How does your state stack up?
Keep in mind, salaries also vary within states, so county by county comparisons could be helpful if you’re looking for the right place in your chosen state to teach.
Alabama has a mid-range average salary, and the second-highest location quotient, meaning teachers make up a larger proportion of the economy in Alabama than in the U.S. as a whole.
Alaska is one of the most lucrative states to live in if you plan to be a teacher, and Fairbanks pays its teachers the country’s highest annual mean wage at $106,110.
A popular state for teachers to move to, the weather is warm but the salary is near the bottom.
Arkansas is in the midst of changing some standardized testing requirements for elementary school students.
California is near the top for teacher earnings, but don’t forget that the cost of living can also be high in the Golden State.
Colorado is experiencing a teacher shortage right now.
Connecticut ranks No. 2, just behind New York. Waterbury pays its teachers $84,660 on average, ranking fourth nationwide.
Teachers in Delaware do well, on average, compared to teachers in other states.
District of Columbia: $74,710
Washington, D.C. places third for average salary, and you may even have the opportunity to teach the politicians and difference makers of the future.