The highest-paying states for teachers in 2024

Despite some record-level pay increases, when adjusted for inflation, starting teacher salaries are more than $4,200 below 2008-2009 levels.

Lawmakers and district leaders in several states have provided teachers with record-level pay increases over the past few years. However, they’re still making 5% less than they did 10 years ago after adjustments for inflation.

That’s according to a new analysis from the National Education Association, which has been tracking teacher salary benchmarks for the last 14 years. The research suggests significant progress has been made toward awarding teachers with the compensation they deserve. In fact, the average starting salary has increased by 3.9%, the largest raise the NEA has recorded since they started collecting such data.

Yet, inflation is drowning states’ efforts to bolster teacher pay. When adjusted for inflation, starting teacher salaries are more than $4,200 below the 2008-2009 levels. Most notably, teachers who work in states with collective bargaining earn 26% more.

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In 2024, the national average starting teacher salary is $44,530. The national average teacher salary is $69,544.

“Despite this progress, much work remains to close the teacher pay penalty and address inadequate pay for all educators and finally make the investments at the state and local levels to attract and retain quality educators into community public schools,” the analysis reads.

A staggering 77% of school districts still pay new teachers salaries below $50,000. 28.6% of those districts start teachers out at less than $40,000. Only 16.6% of districts have teachers making $100,00 or more.

Here’s a look at the top 10 highest-paying states for teachers based on the NEA’s FY 2022-23 data:

Average teacher salaries

  1. California: $95,160
  2. New York: $92,696
  3. Massachusetts: $92,307
  4. Washington: $86,804
  5. District of Columbia: $84,882
  6. Connecticut: $83,400
  7. New Jersey: $81,102
  8. Maryland: $79,420
  9. Rhode Island: $79,289
  10. Alaska: $76,371

To find where your state ranks on teacher pay, click here.

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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