Back To Career News

The 5 Best States for Teachers

Topics: Current Events

Teaching is difficult work. However, some factors (such as compensation and teacher/student ratio) can make a big difference. Recently, WalletHub examined 50 states plus the District of Columbia using 18 metrics in order to determine the best and worst states for teachers.

teacher's desk

(Photo Credit: toddwendy/Flickr)

Let’s take a look at the five best states for teachers according to these findings. (Note: stats are based on June 2015 numbers. Links will redirect to the most current data.)

Do You Know What You're Worth?

1. Wyoming.
Opportunity and Competition Rank: 9 of 51;
Academic and Work Environment Rank: 7 of 51

If you’re not from Wyoming, you might not have considering moving there to teach. But, maybe you should. Wyoming has a lot to offer, and folks who teach there have some relatively sweet working conditions to help make their jobs a little more pleasant. Comparatively high salaries and low student/teacher ratios helped land this state in the number one slot.

2. Pennsylvania.
Opportunity and Competition Rank: 6 of 51;
Academic and Work Environment Rank: 13 of 51

Pennsylvania scored high across the board for the factors considered, placing it firmly in the number two slot. One stand-out stat is that Wyoming and Pennsylvania had high teacher salaries compared to other states, but were the only two toward the top that also fell outside of the top 10 for highest cost of living, leaving teachers with better take-home pay than they’d be afforded in most other states.

3. Minnesota.
Opportunity and Competition Rank: 5 of 51;
Academic and Work Environment Rank: 15 of 51

Boasting high salaries, low teacher/student ratios, and high per capita student spending, Minnesota is a great place to teach. There are teacher shortages in several areas, so the state is excited about new recruits. Check out information on available positions and how to acquire Minnesota state licensure to learn more.

4. Massachusetts.
Opportunity and Competition Rank: 10 of 51;
Academic and Work Environment Rank: 10 of 51

Massachusetts is known for its great schools, but the high cost of living in the state, and the relatively low number of teaching positions available, kept it out of the top three slots. It’s holding firm at number four though, boasting the second “best school system ranking” and a high per capita student spending.

5. Virginia.
Opportunity and Competition Rank: 2 of 51;
Academic and Work Environment Rank: 27 of 51

Virginia is still working some things out for its teachers; the academic and work environment ranking is surprisingly low for a state that came in fifth. Virginia is a non teachers’ union state which could explain some of these struggles. Still, there are plenty of job opportunities and the quality of education is higher than in most southern states. It might be worth considering Virginia when deciding where you’d like to teach.

Be sure to check out the full report for more information.

Tell Us What You Think

Which factors matter most when deciding where to teach? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Leave a Reply

4 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
PhilNaomiColleenPedro Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Bad list – PA is going bankrupt and the teachers’ pension program is a big factor. We had to leave the state to find teaching work for my wife. The PA teaching jobs are good, but they aren’t hiring. The workforce is older and the state can’t afford their wages/retirement anymore.


I have been a teacher for 17 years. I was passionate about my job and loved to impart knowledge. I kept abreast by studying consistently. With high university fees and low pay I became disgruntled and quit.

It is sad for people who quit what they like because of work conditions.


Incurious to know the rankings among Deaf schools by state as well.


I don’t know about other states, but what I do know is that you would be a complete fool to come to North Carolina to teach! We treat our teachers sooooo bad!! Since the Republicans have taken over, teachers have received one pay raise in 10 years and NC salaries have dropped from 27 in the nation to 49th. If you are considering coming to the “Old North” state, turn back or pass us by and move to areas that… Read more »

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.