Recruiting tools: Why these states are the best places for teachers to work

High-quality teachers make schools shine, and a district's effective use of Instagram, X and other networks can help it recruit the very best.

Can social media—a source of much consternation in K12 these days—play a crucial role in whether the states your districts call home remain among the best (or worst) for educators? If it’s high-quality teachers that make a district shine, then recruiting the very best can rely on a district’s effective use of Instagram, X and other networks.

Superintendents and their teams should consider leveraging social media to connect teaching recruits with more experienced educators who can share reasons to come work in the district and to develop relationships with prospects, advises Ramon Goings, an associate professor in the Language Literacy & Culture Doctoral Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“Just relying on the reputation of the district alone will not always attract the best teachers. School districts will have to be more proactive in their recruitment,” Goings tells WalletHub for its just-released list of 2023’s Best & Worst States for Teachers.

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Leaders also need to control the digital narrative because potential hires will be using social media to research districts when seeking new jobs, adds Anna B. Dowell, a doctoral student in higher education leadership at Maryville University.

“It is helpful to look at social media pages, websites and local news to see if there are particular challenges in a school district,” Dowell notes in WalletHub’s survey. “A young teacher might want to look for schools with a mentorship program and supportive administration that will help guide them as they grow into experienced educators.”

Best states for teachers: By the numbers

From a broader perspective, WalletHub’s rankings of the best states for teachers track conditions in two major categories: “Opportunity & Competition” and “Academic & Work Environment.” Competitive salaries, job security and work-life balance are the key measurements, considering teachers earn among the lowest salaries among professionals with bachelor’s degrees and are making about $3,600 less than they were 10 years ago when accounting for inflation, WalletHub notes.

“Teachers are more fairly compensated and better protected in some states than in others, though,” WalletHub points out. “The best states are less likely to face a revolving door of teacher turnover.”

And just because a state excels in competition doesn’t mean its districts offer the best work environments. In some cases, it’s not even close. New Hampshire, for example, ranks last for “Opportunity & Competition” but 10th for “Academic & Work Environment.” Idaho, on the other hand, landed in the top 10 for the former and the bottom 10 for the latter.

Here are WalletHub’s overall rankings, including, in parentheses, where each state placed for “Opportunity & Competition” and “Academic & Work Environment.”

  1. Virginia (1,11)
  2. New York (6,3)
  3. Utah (2,12)
  4. Washington (3,13)
  5. Florida (8,8)
  6. Maryland (16,2)
  7. Massachusetts (22,5)
  8. North Dakota (25,7)
  9. New Jersey (24,4)
  10. Georgia (5,30)
  11. Connecticut (27,6)
  12. Indiana (17,9)
  13. Pennsylvania (14,14)
  14. Texas (9,26)
  15. Illinois (12,22)
  16. Delaware (45,1)
  17. California (4,46)
  18. Idaho (7,42)
  19. Mississippi (13,32)
  20. Oregon (10,36)
  21. North Carolina (11,38)
  22. Minnesota (28,24)
  23. Kentucky (32,21)
  24. West Virginia (34,20)
  25. Wyoming (36,18)
  26. Wisconsin (33,23)
  27. Nebraska (42,16)
  28. Kansas (21,43)
  29. Ohio (29,37)
  30. South Dakota (30, 34)
  31.  Alabama (31,35)
  32. South Carolina (23,44)
  33. Iowa (44,19)
  34. Alaska (15,50)
  35. Arkansas (26,45)
  36. Montana (37,28)
  37. Arizona (19,48)
  38. Louisiana (40,27)
  39. Michigan (39,29)
  40. Oklahoma (18,49)
  41. Colorado (41,31)
  42. Tennessee (43,33)
  43. Rhode Island (46,25)
  44. New Mexico (20,51)
  45. Missouri (38,40)
  46. Vermont (49,17)
  47. Nevada (35,47)
  48. Maine (50,15)
  49. Hawaii (47,41)
  50. District of Columbia (48,39)
  51. New Hampshire (51,10)
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is 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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