How Much Teachers Earn (And Spend) In Each U.S. State

From grading homework to managing classrooms, teaching is one demanding job. Debates over how much teachers should be paid have spread across America. Because of varied government spending, a teacher’s salary varies state-by-state.

On top of that, Teachers are often expected to pay for classroom supplies as well. Some instructors have high pay and low spend, while others selflessly use hundreds of dollars of their paychecks on school supplies. Do you know how much teachers make and spend on their classrooms in your U.S. state? Take a look.

California Teachers Pay More Than Any Other State

A Spanish teacher instructs students in California.
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

According to the California Department of Education, the average teacher receives $80,680 annually. Teachers with minimal experience get paid just over $45,000 per year, but that number could go up by tens of thousands with more years and degrees. If you have over ten years of experience, you could make $30 per hour teaching in California.

On the downside, California teachers spend more on their classrooms than any other state. Every year, teachers give up an average of $664– over $200 higher than the national average. Although California spends over $11,000 per student, many think that that is too low.

New York Offers The Highest Pay

A New York teacher instructs a class in The Bronx.
Chris Hondros/Newsmakers
Chris Hondros/Newsmakers

According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government, New York has the highest-paid teachers in the country. In 2019, the teachers’ starting salary was around $57,845– that’s $31 an hour. Those with a master’s degree and extensive experience can receive up to $87,510 per year.

However, New York teachers also spend a lot of money on their classes. Economic Policy Institute reports that New York teachers spend $480 per year on school supplies, about $20 more than the average American teacher. But the school system makes up for that with high pay.

The Lowest Salaries Are In South Dakota

A science teacher helps students in a South Dakota high school.
RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images
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Throughout the years, South Dakota has consistently paid teachers lower than all American states. In 2014, the National Center for Educational Statistics found that teachers in South Dakota make $39,580 per year. By 2019, that pay increased to $44,610.

During their first year, South Dakota teachers only make $16 per hour. After ten years, the pay increases to $21–$10 less than other states in the U.S. On the flip-side, South Dakota teachers spend less on their classrooms than most of America. They take $349 out of their own pockets every year.

Teacher Salaries Have Declined In Louisiana

Tired students watch an educational film in a Louisiana classroom.
Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images
Mario Villafuerte/Getty Images

In terms of teachers’ salaries, Louisiana’s national ranking has been falling. In 2016, it had the 34th lowest pay; that sunk to 36th in 2017 and 39th in 2020. Although the average salary is $52,090 annually, some people expect it to drop if this trend continues.

In February 2020, Louisiana’s governor revoked the $1,000 pay raise for instructors. Meanwhile, teachers are still expected to buy $338 worth of school supplies every year on average. Although the state hosts over 50,000 teachers, Louisiana has a lower educational fund than elsewhere in America.

Oklahoma Teachers Earn Less Than Gas Station Workers

An Oklahoma science teacher teachers her high school students about lipids.
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J PAT CARTER/AFP via Getty Images

In 2018, a CNBC article reported that Oklahoma teachers make less money than gas station workers. And they weren’t wrong. The average Oklahoma instructor receives $47,320 per year, whereas some get as little as $34,500 per year. Teachers receive some of the lowest wages in Oklahoma than anywhere else in the U.S.

Every year, Oklahoma teachers spend $459 on school supplies for their classrooms. According to Oklahoma Watch, some buy $300 worth of products before the first day. The state schools have more students than elsewhere in America, which places a tremendous burden on teachers.

Arizona’s Pay Is Low, But It’s Getting Better

Students from six Arizona schools take high school exams.
Dallas Kilponen/Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images
Dallas Kilponen/Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images

Although Arizona has increased its school spending in recent years, it still has one of America’s lowest teacher salaries. As of 2020, the average Arizona teacher salary is $46,580, about $14 per hour as a start. That’s the second-lowest pay after South Dakota.

On the bright side, Arizona school spending has increased over the past few years. Between 2016 and 2019, the state raised the money per pupil from $800 to $900. Teachers must provide about $552 per year for their classrooms, about $100 higher than the national average.

Alaskan Teachers Receive More But Also Spend More

Students work in an Alaskan classroom.
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Alaskan school teachers have a higher salary than most states. Elementary teachers receive an average of $73,220 per year, whereas secondary teachers get $80,550. That’s between $20 and $27 per hour, depending on the employee’s degree and work experience.

Every year, Alaskan teachers spend around $496 to buy classroom and school supplies. That is higher than the national average, according to the Economic Policy Institute. That said, the Alaskan government spends much more on K-12 students than most of America. In 2017, it paid $17,838 per student.

Oregon Teachers Have High Pay And Crowded Classrooms

High school students sit in a crowded classroom.
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Oregon offers a higher teacher salary than most states, averaging at $71,780. But as with any average, this number isn’t entirely accurate. In 2018, Statesmen Journal reported that employees with a bachelor’s degree start around $36,097, and those with a master’s degree can raise that to $58,000.

Oregon teachers spend slightly more than the national average on school supplies. Instructors give up around $463 for school supplies, despite the state paying $13,230 per student. Many teachers have to oversee larger classes than average– some even have over 56 pupils, according to CNN.

100% Of Rhode Island Teachers Pay For School Supplies

A Rhode Island teacher browses through a laptop with her students.
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Despite being a tiny state, Rhode Island dishes a hefty teacher salary. Many teachers receive $75,950 annually, placing Rhode Island within the top ten states for instructor salaries. While starting, employees earn around $44,300, or $21 per hour.

Rhode Island teachers have to spend more of their paychecks in the classroom, though. Every year, instructors pull $538 out of their pay, well above the national average. A study from INSIDER reported that 100% of Rhode Island teachers pay for classroom supplies, more than any other U.S. state.

Texas Schools Are About Average

A Texas teacher prepares her classroom.
Dave Einsel/Getty Images
Dave Einsel/Getty Images

The average Texas teacher makes $58,000 per year. According to the Texas Education Agency, yearly salaries start around $33,600 and can go up to $54,500. The more years a teacher works, the more they will make annually.

The Economic Policy Institute says that most instructors in Texas spend $450 on classroom supplies. That’s just below the national average. According to The Texas Tribune, many schools have shortages of paper and art supplies that the teachers need to accommodate. That said, the state plans to spend more on teachers in the upcoming years.

West Virginia Teachers Have Low Pay And Spend

A West Virginian elementary school teacher instructs her students.
MICHAEL MATHES/AFP via Getty Images
MICHAEL MATHES/AFP via Getty Images

West Virginia has the fourth-lowest teacher pay in the nation. Despite spending around $12,200 on every student, the average salary for teachers comes out to $47,610. That’s an increase from the starting salary of $31,000 for many teachers, which gives them less than the median income for everyday living.

Hourly pay ranges from $16 to $26. Only the top 20% of teachers make over $59,000 annually. When it comes to spending their salary in their classrooms, West Virginia instructors keep around $100 more in their pockets, compared to most other American teachers.

Utah Grants More Money To Schools Than Any Other State

A classroom door is pictured in a Utah school.
George Frey/Getty Images
George Frey/Getty Images

Utah pours more money into education than any other U.S. state. However, it does not pay teachers as much as other states. On average, instructors receive $61,050 annually, which isn’t the worst but isn’t the best. Teachers with a lot of experience can make up to $93,400 every year, but that’s only the top 20%.

The Economic Policy Institute says that Utah teachers spend around $364 on their classrooms each year. But a 2019 report from ABC News suggests that the amount may be higher. Interviewed teachers spent $200 before the first day and another $400 throughout the year.

Massachusetts Teachers Get A Good Deal

A science teacher leans over his projector.
Ashley Twiggs/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
Ashley Twiggs/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Massachusetts teachers have the third-highest salary in America. As of 2020, teachers make $81,070 per year. That’s up from $78,708 in 2017. However, teaching salaries can range from $45,000 to $102,000 depending on their experience, district, and degrees.

In Massachusetts, instructors earn around $25 per hour. But they spend $455 on classroom supplies every year, which hardly differs from the national average. Massachusetts also spends more on its students than almost any other state; around $16,197 went to each pupil. Both instructors and students get a good deal.

Teachers Receive More Money In Connecticut

A teacher in Connecticut points to a letter in the alphabet.
Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images
Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Compared to other states, Connecticut pays its teachers highly. The average instructor salary is $78,540. Many starting teachers earned $45,922, making them the sixth-highest paid instructors in the country. Even so, they still receive 4.5% less than they did ten years ago when adjusted for inflation.

In 2019, an NBC survey calculated how much Connecticut teachers spend per year. Most spent between $300 and $500 last year, and 18% sacrificed over $1,000 for their students. On average, though, Connecticut instructors give up less than others in America.

Mississippi Instructors Don’t Have Much Luck

A teacher points to a globe while talking to a student.
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Compared to other states, Mississippi does not pay its teachers well. The average salary is $49,930, and many instructors with a bachelor’s degree make $36,000 when starting. That makes Mississippi the fifth-lowest state in teacher pay. In 2019, the government planned to raise teachers’ checks, but this got delayed due to COVID-19.

Teachers also spend over $300 annually on their students. According to a study by the State Auditor’s Office, out-of-classroom spending robbed teachers of $11,000 over the past decade. In 2019, Mississippi was the third-highest spender of out-of-classroom supplies in America, behind Oklahoma and Texas.

Maryland Is Rapidly Losing Teachers

A Maryland teacher opens a package of school supplies in her classroom.
Marvin Joseph/The The Washington Post via Getty Images
Marvin Joseph/The The Washington Post via Getty Images

With an average salary of $77,540, Maryland teachers get paid more than many others nationwide. Starting teachers make around $45,147, the tenth-highest instructor pay in the U.S. However, the state still struggles with a lack of educational employees. Teachers must pay about $492 every year, slightly higher than the national average.

In 2019, Maryland legislatures passed a bill to increase the school (and teacher pay) budget by $1 billion. But many think that it still won’t be enough; 94% of Maryland teachers spend money to furnish their classrooms.

New Jersey Provides For Both Teachers And Students

Students take an exam in a New Jersey classroom.
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

New Jersey offers the fifth-highest teacher salaries in the nation. On average, instructors receive $78,090, but salaries range between $43,911 and $105,650. However, $78k may still be on the high end. According to NJ.com, the highest-paying districts offered an average of $66,000 in 2019.

New Jersey also spends quite a lot on its students. In 2019, every pupil received around $21,866 in government spending. However, teachers still pay an average of $412 on classroom supplies. That is lower than most American teachers need to take out of their own pockets.

Michigan Teachers Buy A Lot Of Supplies

Two instructors demonstrate a scientific tool.
John B. Carnett/Popular Science via Getty Images
John B. Carnett/Popular Science via Getty Images

Compared to other states, Michigan teachers spend a lot of their paychecks. An INSIDER study found that 93% of the state’s instructors purchase school supplies. Many pay $628 every year, almost $200 more than most other American teachers. The state suffers from teacher shortages.

Michigan teachers receive a medium amount of pay by American standards. According to the state Department of Education, the average salary is $61,978. Instructors with less than two years of experience make around $36,600. One study found that most returning teachers make $40,000 in their first year, not $36,000.

Illinois Spends More On Education Than Most States

A summer school teachers helps a student in Chicago.
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Illinois is one of the top ten states for well-paid teachers. According to Glassdoor, most high school teachers earn around $74,340, with many positions starting around $42,000. However, the minimum teacher wage begins at $30,000, which has resulted in a shortage of instructors. The state hopes to heighten that minimum pay to $40,000 by 2023.

Illinois hosts the highest number of school districts in all of America. Most government funding goes to upholding the school, and The Illinois State Board of Education spends 30% more on education than other states. But teachers still need to pay around $338 on classroom supplies annually.

New Mexico Teachers Earn Little And Spend A Lot

Citizenship teacher quizzes a student in New Mexico.
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

New Mexico has lower teacher pay than most of the nation. While salaries usually start around $40,440, they often raise to the average around $50,320. On the high end, instructors receive around $69,155, which is still lower than most other states.

Teachers from New Mexico have to spend more on classroom supplies than other states. Every year, the average instructor pays $552 for supplies. That said, New Mexico’s legislatures have pushed for higher education spending and teacher pay in 2020. Time will tell if the bill passes.