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Top States for Beginning Teacher Pay

Updated on November 9, 2015
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie was an elementary school teacher for 13 years, teaching grades 3-5. She is now a Library Media Specialist in an elementary school.

Top 5 Highest Paying States for Elementary School Teachers Averages (not beginning pay)

Average Teacher Salary
1. Rhode Island
2. New York
3. Connecticut
4. California
5. New Jersey
Top 5 Highest Paying States for Elementary School Teachers (Mean Averages) Information collected from:

Top 5 Highest Paying States for Beginning Teacher Salary

Beginning Salary
1. New Jersey
2. Alaska
3. Connecticut
4. Maryland
5. Wyoming
$40, 044

The Top 5 Highest Paying States for Beginning Teachers

Beginning teacher salary varies greatly from state to state. While a higher beginning salary may sound attractive, the pay increase each year may not follow suit. Some states use a higher beginning salary to get teachers hired, because they have trouble keeping teachers for long periods of time. For instance, some inner-city schools may have a higher beginning salary, but in the long-term, the salary may pay less than the lower-paying beginning salary states. According to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the highest state for beginning teacher pay was greater than $44,000. Below is a list of the top five states with the highest beginning teacher salary.


The Top 5 Highest Paying States for Average Teacher Salary

Average teacher salary varies as much as beginning teacher salary from state to state. While high average teacher salary may sound appealing, it is important to consider the cost of living along with the pay. In most cases, high average salary, indicates high cost of living, meaning that you will need more money to pay for living expenses, so your salary will need to be higher. According to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the average beginning teacher salary in the United States is $35,284. Below is a list of the five states with the highest average beginning teacher salary.

Things You Should Know About Before Becoming a Teacher

  • After receiving your initial teacher certification, you will be required to become recertified every 5 years. This means you will have to earn professional points which can be acquired through various training sessions offered to you through your school system. Usually these sessions or classes only add up to a few points each, and you will need to take at least one college class as well. The other option is to take at least two college classes which in most states need to be approved by your administrator or the department of education. Many states now do not offer any compensation for these classes, so you will have to pay for these classes out of your own pocket.
  • Depending on the school and district you are teaching in, you may be required to stay after school for any of several different events: back-to-school night, PTA meetings, fund raising events, student performances, book fairs, before or after school clubs or classes, committee events, parent/teacher conferences, and fieldtrips.
  • Most schools require teachers to be on at least one committee that will meet once or twice a month before or after school hours. You will be required to complete work for this committee as well. Examples of committees: hospitality, gardening, science fair, subject-area, and social.
  • You will have some planning time each day, about 45 minutes. Meetings or training will often be scheduled during this time. Examples of meetings: professional learning meeting, grade level team meeting, subject area meeting, and IEP meetings.
  • You will be required to plan lessons for multiple subject areas, using multiple resources on a daily basis. You will need to follow the guidelines of your state standards when planning lessons to ensure that all material is covered. Much of the material you will be accessing is online, and you will need to refer to it often.
  • You will be required to grade papers often, and will need to set time aside to do this on a weekly basis. Most school districts use the quarterly system, giving grades 4 times a year. They also compute grades for interims 4 times a year, in between report cards.
  • In most school districts, teachers report to work a week before school starts. During this time, several meetings are attended, training may be required, setting up the room from top to bottom. You will be required to move all the furniture into its correct placement, setup all computers, and make your classroom student-ready for the first day of school.
  • During the summer, you may be required to attend workshops lasting several days. These may occur at any time, even the very middle of summer.
  • Most schools expect teachers to have a webpage, portaportal site, and to check email at least twice a day. You will need to respond to emails in a reasonalbe amount of time on a constant basis. Parents will email you often and you will need to keep open lines of communication to ensure a supportive environment.
  • You will be observed on a yearly basis by at least one administrator in your buidling. This can occur with no notice or may be a planned event. You will also need to write professional goals at the beginning of the year, and provide proof that you reached them at the end of the school year, through documentation.


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    • finalreview profile image

      finalreview 4 years ago

      Becoming a teacher is an important decision because you will be taking responsibility in educating the future generation. This page should help those who consider this profession.

    • molometer profile image

      molometer 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great information for Teachers looking for that first post.

    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 4 years ago from Virginia

      That is true Glimmer Twin Fan. And teachers' pay is remaining unchanged or less than the year before unfortunately.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Interesting charts. Unfortunately budgets are so tight right now there are many places, like here in Pennsylvania, that are not hiring new teachers.