Just like a person launching a career in software engineering might choose to work in high-tech areas such as Silicon Valley or Boston, teachers gain an advantage by choosing the best states for teachers.
Some states have a higher demand for teachers. But most teachers focus more on the quality of the education system than the salary they hope to make. Those considering a commitment to earning a master’s degree in education have reached a point in their career where they want to have the biggest impact on students’ lives in the best environment possible.
Here we look at recent rankings on the best states for teachers, focusing on Massachusetts. For those who live in the Bay State and plan to earn a degree here, the good news is the state provides some of the best opportunities for teachers in the country.
Massachusetts ranks fifth in the country in terms of overall pay for teachers in K-12 classrooms, according to U.S. News. Teachers in the Bay State make an average annual salary of $68,294.
That’s far above the national average. U.S. News reported that the average annual teacher pay across the country was about $55,000 in 2017. The disparity in pay between states is large – as much as $36,000 between the best-paying and lowest-paying states.
Teacher pay is obviously a big issue. Teachers have protested low pay in places such as Oklahoma and West Virginia. Overall, U.S. News reports that teachers in the Northeast are usually paid well “while those in the South struggle.”
The four states ahead of Massachusetts in salary were California, Connecticut, Alaska and New York.
Cost of Living
It’s fair to ask: doesn’t it cost more to live in most parts of Massachusetts than it does in Oklahoma, Texas, or other states? Yes, but a recent report from National Public Radio took that into account. Massachusetts’ score actually improved.
Using salaries based on the cost of living in the state, NPR provided a list of the states where teachers make the most. Massachusetts came in second place, behind only Michigan. Other high-wage states didn’t do so well. New York plunged to 17th place, while Connecticut fell to 15th.
One of the most comprehensive studies came in 2017 from Wallet Hub. That report, using large datasets on everything from pay to support from school systems, ranked Massachusetts third for academic and work environment, behind only New Jersey and Connecticut.
The report also ranked Massachusetts 7th best among all states for the overall score. New York topped the list. The other members of the Top 10: New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Wyoming, Ohio, and Oregon.
Clearly, Massachusetts ranks well among the best states for teachers. For those in Massachusetts seeking a graduate-level degree, you likely won’t have to travel far to find the job you want after graduation.