Highest Paying Jobs for Teachers

As a teacher, you instill a lifetime love of learning in children, provide your students with inspiration, act as an advocate and confident, enrich the lives of others, and shape future generations. Needless to say, a career as an educator can be quite fulfilling.

While the personal fulfillment that you’ll experience working as a teacher is certainly amazing, monetarily speaking, teaching isn’t always rewarding. Despite the vital roles and the essential services that teachers provide, often – and unfortunately – educators aren’t properly compensated. As a result, many teachers experience financial challenges and in order to make ends meet, they often have to find additional ways to supplement their income; teachers often moonlight as waiters and waitresses, work retail jobs on the weekends and evenings, and offer tutoring services, for example. 

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in education, you might find the above-mentioned information disparaging, but you don’t have to. There are several locations that do pay teachers livable, and in some cases, lucrative wages – you just need to know where to go! In an effort to help you attain a position that’s both personally and financially rewarding, below, you’ll find an overview of locations that offer the best career prospects and pay for educators and make sure you have a great resume beforehand.

Average Salaries for Teachers

Before we list the areas that offer the best compensation for educators, let’s take a moment to discuss the average salary in this profession. While there are several factors that influence salary, the type of educator – what grade-level and/or field an educator teaches – is one of the biggest influences. The following is a breakdown of different kinds of teachers and the average starting salary for those fresh out of college or making a career change. 

  • High school teacher. On average, high school teachers make just over $58,000 annually, with an average income of about $92,000 for the top 10%.
  • Special education teacher. The average income for special education teachers is just under $58,000 per year, while the top 10 percent of special educators can earn just over $93,000 per year. 
  • Middle school teacher. Educators who teach grades 6 through 8 make, on average, almost $57,000 per year. The top 10 percent of middle school teachers can earn as much as $89,000 a year. 
  • Elementary teacher. Educators who teach the primary and intermediate grade earn an average yearly income of approximately $55,500, while the top 10 percent can earn more than $88,000 annually. 

States that Offer the Best Pay and Prospects for Teachers

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the states that offer the best pay and prospects for educators. Read through the list to see if you currently reside in one of these states or to determine whether or not relocating would be worth your while. 


In Wisconsin, where there are just under 6,000 public and private pre-k through 12 schools, teachers are paid an average income of just below $60,000 per year. 


According to data from the Ohio Department of Education, public schools serve about 1.8 million students throughout the state, making Ohio the sixth-largest public school system in the country. The average yearly income for teachers in this state is also just under $60,000. 

New Hampshire

Thanks to the low student-to-teacher ratio, New Hampshire is rated one of the best places for educators to teach and for students to receive an education. The average yearly income for teachers in New Hampshire is just over $60,000. 


Georgia is another state that provides excellent opportunities for both students and educators. Because the state allows entire school systems and individual schools to obtain charter status, the schools can determine how to best serve their communities. As for income, teachers in the state of Georgia earn an average income of $60,578 per year. 


At the time of writing, there were 250 public schools in Vermont. This includes 28 union high schools that are supported by towns with separate school districts for the elementary grades. On average, teachers in the state of Vermont earn just over $61,100 per year. 


Michigan schools serve approximately 1.5 million students in 3,500 schools and 891 districts throughout the public school system. With such a large student population, the need for educators is great in Michigan, and they are paid an attractive income of about $62,000 per year. 


For the 2020-2021 school year, there were more than 138,400 students enrolled in Delaware schools. While this was a decrease, due to the state’s response to covid, which included a long list of mandates, including forced school closures, masking, and testing, there is still a need for educators in the state. Schools in the state have pretty much returned to normal, and the average yearly income for teachers in Delaware is just under $65,000. 


The state of Hawaii is the only state in the union to have a sole, unified, state-wide public school system, which many report is beneficial, as it allows for more equitable distribution of funding, staffing, and facilities. The average annual income for teachers in this island state is approximately $65,400. 

Rhode Island

Another location that offers teachers many opportunities and pays a great wage is Rhode Island. Like other states in New England, teachers in Rhode Island can earn attractive incomes, with the average being around $67,300 per year. 


In the state of Oregon, there are more than 1,200 public pre-k through 12 schools that are divided into 197 school districts, so there are ample opportunities for employment here. Additionally, the state pays its teachers an attractive wage, with the average income being about $67,685 per year. 


In 2013, there were more than 2 million students enrolled in the 4,266 schools and 1,070 districts throughout the state of Illinois. Additionally, there is a low student-teacher ratio, with about 1 teacher for every 15 students. The yearly average income for educators in Illinois is about $68,300 per year. 

New Jersey

In New Jersey, teachers can earn a lucrative income of just over $76,000 per year, which is really quite impressive.

New York

Teachers in the State of New York earn the highest income. There are more than 1.1 million students across more than 1,700 public schools throughout the state. Educators in this state earn an average income of about $87,500.

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