Why these states rank as the 10 best for teachers in 2023

Below is where the states rank for average salary, student/teacher ratio, average teacher pension and job availability.

You know what administrators want when picking a place to work, but how would you determine the best states for teachers in 2023?

Easy beach access? Low taxes and lots of amusement parks? More state funding for breakroom parties?

Well, here’s how one education organization picked the top 10 (and the bottom 10) and the decisive factors probably won’t surprise you. Scholaroo, a college scholarship search website, analyzed compensation, work benefits and environment, and student performance, among other measures.


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States got higher marks for having a new teacher mentoring program, increasing school enrollment, a focus on teacher diversity and high levels of administrative support and classroom autonomy. For student performance, the site tracked high school graduation and dropout rates, SAT and ACT scores, reading and math scores, and student safety.

Below is where the states rank for average salary, student/teacher ratio, average teacher pension and job availability based on teachers per capita.

10 best states for teachers

1. Washington

  • Average salary: $81,586
  • Student/teacher ratio: 8.15
  • Average teacher pension: $28,204
  • Job availability: 4
  • Why it stands out: One of the highest salary increases for teachers in the last 10 years. More than half of its teachers qualify for a pension.

2. California

  • Average salary: $87,275
  • Student/teacher ratio: 7.48
  • Average teacher pension: $49,267
  • Job availability: 3.60
  • Why it stands out: One of the highest per-pupil spending growth rates in the last 10 years. Low student/teacher ratio and teachers only need two years of teaching to achieve tenure.

3. New York

  • Average salary: $92,222
  • Student/teacher ratio: 10.73
  • Average teacher pension: $43,432
  • Job availability: 5.25
  • Why it stands out: Highest average teacher salary and among the lowest teacher turnover rates (4.5%). Near the top for per-pupil spending and one of the smallest teacher salary gaps compared to other careers.

4. Massachusetts

  • Average salary: $88,903
  • Student/teacher ratio: 10.76
  • Average teacher pension: $43,642
  • Job availability: 5.06
  • Why it stands out: Ranks in the top 3 in for salary and compensation category due to its competitive pay for both veterans and first-time teachers. Places second in the student performance.

5. Utah

  • Average salary: $58,619
  • Student/teacher ratio: 9.02
  • Average teacher pension: $17,894
  • Job availability: 4.32
  • Why it stands out: New Teacher Mentoring Program, a bonus for National Board Certification, and public school enrollment growth of 12.79%. Ranks No. 2 for highest growth in salaries over the last 10 years.

6. Hawaii

  • Average salary: $67,000
  • Student/teacher ratio: 7.81
  • Average teacher pension: $30,708
  • Job availability: 3.43
  • Why it stands out: No. 1 for teacher diversity and No. 3 for average starting salaries.

7. Oregon

  • Average salary: $69,671
  • Student/teacher ratio: 7.09
  • Average teacher pension: $37,794
  • Job availability: 3.58
  • Why it stands out: No. 1 in the work benefits category. One of the lowest student-teacher ratios.

8. Minnesota

  • Average salary: $68,491
  • Student/teacher ratio: 9.41
  • Average teacher pension: $27,593
  • Job availability: 4.46
  • Why it stands out: Encourages teacher diversity and 81% of teachers say they have classroom autonomy.

9. Maryland

  • Average salary: $75,766
  • Student/teacher ratio: 10.06
  • Average teacher pension: $24,409
  • Job availability: 5.44
  • Why it stands out: Offers a bonus for National Board Certification and fosters diversity teacher encouragement.

10. Connecticut

  • Average salary: $81,185
  • Student/teacher ratio: 11.56
  • Average teacher pension: $53,452
  • Job availability: 6.00
  • Why it stands out: Ranks in the top 5 for highest average salaries and No. 2 for average teacher pension. Highest growth in per pupil spending in the last 10 years. 

Worst places to work?

The 10 worst states for teachers (starting from the bottom) are Florida, West Virginia, Louisiana, Indiana, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is the managing editor of District Administration and a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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