For around seven hours each day, teachers across the United States are in charge of making sure students learn to read, write, and figure out that 2 + 2 = 4. Their job description gets a little more nuanced as students grow older, but it’s no less important as the basics, since English literature and geometry eventually prepare them for college or a career. Any teacher will tell you that their day doesn’t end when the final bell rings — then it’s on to their own versions of homework in the evening. It’s why teachers landed on our list of jobs that are more difficult than you might think. The designation is well deserved, especially considering that many public school teachers make far less money than their peers with other college degrees.
Despite generally low earnings, at least compared to other college grads, there are still numerous college students who choose to enter the teaching field, specifically in public schools. Starting salaries are often shockingly low for teachers, but wages do have the ability to rise generously as they gain experience.
According to a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute, the ratio of teacher’s wages compared to the wages of other college graduates is consistently lower. In fact, there is not one state in which teacher wages are equal to or better than other college degree-holders. On a national average, teachers earn just 77% of what other college graduates are making, the EPI reports.
However, if you’re looking to start a career in teaching, some states offer pathways to a higher paycheck than others. Here’s a look at the states that pay the most, and least, on average.