Top 5 States for Teachers to Work

Teachers are the lifeblood of education, nurturing and molding young minds to become the leaders of tomorrow. However, the state of the teaching profession today is often fraught with low pay, challenging working conditions, and limited resources.

Seldom do teachers get the recognition they deserve and the resources  they need to thrive. ThinkFives scoured the surveys and lists to determine what are the top states for teachers to work in.

Since this is a subjective view, we will explore the factors that determine the best states for teachers to work, including compensation, working conditions, education system quality, and lifestyle factors.  You can decide what is most important to you.

Top 5 States for Teachers to Work - New York


The top paying states for teachers in the United States can vary based on several factors, including experience, education, and location. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data from May 2020, the top five states with the highest average annual salaries for elementary, middle, and high school teachers combined are:

  1. New York: $87,240
  2. California: $85,830
  3. Massachusetts: $85,290
  4. District of Columbia: $84,310
  5. Connecticut: $79,930

For comparison, the 5 states with the lowest average annual salaries are:

  1. Oklahoma: $44,430
  2. Mississippi: $45,290
  3. South Dakota: $45,560
  4. South Carolina: $46,560
  5. West Virginia: $46,610

No Income Tax

With some state tax rates over 10%, working in a state with no income tax can be quite an advantage, particularly if your spouse or partner also works. 

No Income Tax - Texas

There are currently seven states that do not impose an income tax at the state level:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

In addition to these states, two other states, New Hampshire and Tennessee do not tax wages and salaries but do tax interest and dividends.

Lowest Cost of Living - Mississippi

Lowest Cost of Living

The cost of living can vary significantly by state and even within different regions within a state. However, according to a study by U.S. News & World Report, these 5 states with the lowest cost of living, based on factors such as housing affordability, food and grocery costs, transportation expenses, and healthcare costs:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Arkansas
  3. West Virginia
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Missouri

Teacher-Student Ratio

The teacher-to-student ratio can vary significantly by state and school district. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the 5 states with the lowest teacher-to-student ratios in public elementary and secondary schools for the 2019-2020 school year are:

Teacher-Student Ratio - Vermont
  1. Vermont: 1:9.4
  2. North Dakota: 1:10.4
  3. Wyoming: 1:10.5
  4. Montana: 1:11.4
  5. South Dakota: 1:11.4
Teacher Satisfaction - Hawaii

Teacher Satisfaction

Teacher satisfaction can be influenced by a wide range of factors, including working conditions, compensation, administrative support, and student outcomes, among others. According to a 2021 survey by education nonprofit, Learning Heroes, the five states with the highest teacher job satisfaction are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Vermont
  4. Maryland
  5. Massachusetts

The survey asked teachers to rate their satisfaction with a range of factors, including work-life balance, professional development opportunities, and their school’s leadership.

What factors do you consider the most important in determining where to work?


  1. In Texas you are not allowed to collect Social Security. If you worked for 15 year and paid into Social Security, you are not allowed to collect it in Texas. You get a flat sum of $250.00 no matter what you have paid in. Which includes your husband Social Security as well. When you retire you only get 2% of your annual salary, the averaged of your last 4 years. This is a total rip off.

  2. My state isn’t on there. 😩 However I would love to look up the wanted ads in Hawaii! 🌊☀️

    1. Me, too, Kelli! The cost of living in Hawaii is quite a bit higher than where we live now!

What do you THINK?

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