The 15 best US states to be a public school teacher

New Jersey and Wyoming are among the best states for teachers.

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New Jersey and Wyoming are among the best states for teachers.
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Getty Images

Some states treat teachers better than others.

Personal finance site WalletHub analyzed the states where teachers enjoy the highest salaries and most supportive administration in their annual ranking of the best and worst places to teach.

Read more: 31 teachers across the US reveal their exact salary, and how much of it goes to paying for school supplies like chalk and pencils

WalletHub ranked the states that scored highly in two key categories:

  1. “Opportunity and competition,” which includes how competitive salaries were, teacher pensions, and income growth.
  2. “Academic and work environment,” which includes the quality of the school system, how many students per teacher, and the rate of turnover.

North Dakota, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania topped the list. New Jersey has some of the best school districts in the country, while North Dakota has the second lowest pupil-teacher ratio after Vermont.

Illinois ranks as the sixth best state for teachers, despite talk of a looming strike among Chicago-area teachers. Unionized teachers say classrooms have become overcrowded and that low-income districts lack resources, NBC News reported.

Here are the best states for teachers in 2019:


15. Washington: Teachers in Seattle recently negotiated a contract for salaries as high as $124,000.

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Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 17th

Opportunity and competition rank: 19th

Source: The Seattle Times


14. Kentucky: Teachers have recently filled vacancies and helped eliminate the statewide shortage.

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Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 20th

Opportunity and competition rank: 15th

Source: Courier Journal


13. Kansas: The state has the 20th highest high school graduation rate in the country.

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Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 18th

Opportunity and competition rank: 18th

Source: USA Today


12. Oregon: Teachers there make above the US teacher pay average.

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Tony Avelar/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 34th

Opportunity and competition rank: 4th

Source: Oregon Live


11. Delaware: It has been named as a top teacher-friendly states by other rankings.

Academic and work environment rank: 9th

Opportunity and competition rank: 23rd

Source: TeacherPortal.com


10. New York: The state has the highest public school spending per student in the nation.

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Alejandra Villa Loarca/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 6th

Opportunity and competition rank: 25th

Source: WalletHub


9. Utah: Teachers have the 5th highest potential for income growth.

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Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 22nd

Opportunity and competition rank: 8th

Source: Utah State Board of Education


8. Massachusetts: The state has the country’s best school systems, according to various reports and rankings.

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Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 5th

Opportunity and competition rank: 24th

Source: WalletHub


7. Minnesota: Educators there earn the 21st-highest average teacher pay in the country.

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Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 7th

Opportunity and competition rank: 14th

Source: Patch.com


6. Illinois: It has the 11th highest average teacher salary in the country.

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Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 16th

Opportunity and competition rank: 6th

Source: Patch.com


5. Connecticut: It’s considered one of the most educated states in the country, according to various studies and rankings.

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Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 2nd

Opportunity and competition rank: 32rd

Source: US News & World Report


4. Wyoming: It has the highest annual average starting salary for teachers (adjusted for cost of living) at $44,971.

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Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 4th

Opportunity and competition rank: 20th

Source: WalletHub


3. Pennsylvania: It has the second highest annual teacher salaries in the country.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 10th

Opportunity and competition rank: 2nd

Source: WalletHub


2. New Jersey: The state is ranked as having the second best school districts in the country.

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TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GettyImages

Academic and work environment rank: 1st

Opportunity and competition rank: 17th

Source: WalletHub


1. North Dakota: It has the second lowest pupil-teacher ratio, after Vermont.

Academic and work environment rank: 3rd

Opportunity and competition rank: 11th

Source: WalletHub