If you work in the field of education, these 10 states where teachers earn the lowest salaries are the ones to avoid.
Although the United States ranks number 12 among the 13 Highest Paying Countries for Teachers, there is such inequality between the salaries of different states that many teachers find themselves discontented with the compensation they receive in exchange for their devotion and hard work. The number of new teachers entering the profession has plummeted and undoubtedly, this disparity is one of the major factors leading to the decline.
The decrease in the supply of teachers, coupled with the climbing demand, has caused the US to face a dearth of educators, which is an alarming situation for a nation that considers education an absolutely vital part of its development. Furthermore, teaching has become a profession that parents do not desire for their kids. 43% of them have clearly said so, according to this poll conducted by Gallup.
With this crisis in mind, we decided to compile the US states where teachers are the unhappiest with their pay. We picked up salary data separately for teachers of each level from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Data for post-secondary teachers, however, was extracted from DataUSA, as the Bureau did not provide numbers for all states in this regard. The figures thus obtained were summed up and averaged for the final product which you can see below.
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $45,668
While a middle school teacher earns $58,710 annually in the state of Montana, a figure which is much more than the US average, the salary of teachers of all other levels has brought the average down significantly. The schools of this state do not spend much on education either, another fact that makes Montana undesirable for educators.
9. West Virginia
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $44,090
In addition to low salaries, West Virginia is considered one of the worst states for teachers. It ranks abominably low in the areas of job opportunity as well as work environment. However, there is a positive side to education in the Mountain State as the pupil/teacher ratio is agreeable, being 14.1 compared to the country average of 16.8.
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $44,076
After salary cuts and reduced funding to schools in 2015, the teachers were so infuriated at the state of education in the Sunflower State (and rightly so) that they began moving to other states in search of better-working conditions and more reasonable compensation. The appearance of Kansas on our list of states where teachers earn the lowest salaries indicates that nothing has been done to alleviate the situation up till now.
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $44,009
Arkansas and Kansas are not only geographically close, but are also quite similar in their treatment of teachers. The salaries in both states do not vary much, but Arkansas is worse off for middle school and post-secondary school teachers, causing it to achieve a higher spot on our list.
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $43,558
The schools in Idaho spend merely $6,752 on each student’s education and when placed next to the US average of $10,574, the number reveals itself to be extremely small. Since the state clearly does not spend exorbitant amounts on the pupils, it’s no surprise that teachers don’t get many financial benefits either.
5. North Carolina
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $42,605
With a considerable decrease in salary compared to the previous state on our list of 10 states where teachers earn the lowest salaries, North Carolina citizens do not find the profession of teaching rewarding anymore and for a good reason. In some schools, the situation is so miserable that teachers have to purchase supplies for their students from their personal money as the Old North State is almost at the bottom of the list when it comes to school funding.
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $41,600
Fourth on the list of the states where teachers earn the lowest salaries is Oklahoma, where teachers have innumerable reasons to be dissatisfied with their current circumstances. Only recently, their salaries were planned to be bumped up, but unfortunately for educators, the opportunity cost of this hike was that their health benefits were intended to be cut down, leaving the teachers unable to celebrate the increase in salary.
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $41,407
The school system in Arizona is often criticized. In addition, the work environment as a whole is not satisfactory, which is why teachers in the Grand Canyon State, like in Kansas, are leaving the state to find jobs elsewhere. Consequently, a serious shortage of skilled teachers is prevailing in the state.
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $40,991
While Mississippi does not offer a tempting deal to teachers of any level, it is especially bad for kindergarten teachers. Teachers of this level are paid $40,560 per year on average, the lowest for kindergarten teachers of any state.
1. South Dakota
Average annual salary of teachers of all levels: $40,827
Earning the not-so-honorable first place on our list of 10 states where teachers earn the lowest salaries, South Dakota is yet another state that is suffering a shortage of teachers. In fact, the South Dakota Department of Education has identified specific areas in the state where the scarcity is especially severe, in order to attract teachers to such places. However, with the pay being so low, this tactic might not be very successful.