Starting Teacher Salaries Ranked by State

When one goes to University to become a teacher, there are many things to consider. However, the most important things to a most people are money and what life may be like in a certain area.

Here is a list of the fifty states ranked by teachers starting salary according to the National Education Association. We’ve also included some activities available in each state to help you identify which of them might be right for you!

By Arthur Paxton - Office of Communications, Rutgers University, Newark, CC BY 3.0

1. New Jersey

Teachers starting out in New Jersey can expect a pay of about $48,631. You can spend your salary wisely by doing some free or inexpensive day trips nearby. There are many fun attractions from people watching to a relaxing beach day. Lady Liberty is located in New Jersey, so be sure to check her out. You can put vacation time to good use, and explore all that New Jersey has to offer. Check out this site for some cheap or even free things to do.


2. Alaska

If you are really into nature and roughing it, you may want to consider teaching in Alaska. There are plenty of things to do for free in the great outdoors, such as climbing mountains, or taking sled dogs out for a spin. There are also free and inexpensive indoor activities. You can find a great list of things to do here. The starting salary for a teacher is $44,166 (not to mention the stipend each resident gets just because they live there), so you will be able to indulge from time to time.


3. New York

When people think of New York, many imagine the Empire State building or Times Square. While New York City is truly a magical place, New York State has so much more to it than that. Go on a wine tour in the finger lakes, gaze at the fall leaves in the Adirondacks, catch a Saranac Brewery tour in Utica, and have a mystical experience in Niagara Falls. That and so much more are in the great State of New York.  With a whopping beginner salary of $43,839, you will have a great time. Click here for more ideas.


4. Wyoming

Do you want Yellowstone National Park at your back door? If so, Wyoming is the place for you! There are several beautiful things to do in Wyoming such as visiting national parks, fishing, and hiking. With a budget of $43,269, you will have plenty to do. Here is a resource for your adventure.


5. Maryland

Maryland has everything. You can enjoy skiing, camping, and fantastic museums. You will also enjoy a starting salary of $43,235, which is pretty good for a teacher just starting out. Here is a website that will hook you up with several free and cheap things to do in Maryland.

Noroton at the English language Wikipedia GFDL

6. Connecticut

Relax at a nice Bed and Breakfast after a long day of antiquing. You will have a great time building memories in Connecticut. Whatever you choose, your living budget will come from a starting salary of $42,924. This website has plenty of activities for you to check out.


7. Pennsylvania

Soak up some history in Gettysburg, have a romantic getaway in the Pocono Mountains, or stop by Hershey Park. You can stuff yourself every night with a starting salary of $41,901. Whatever you do, don’t forget to have some Shoofly pie! Here is a neat guide of stuff to do in Pennsylvania.


8. California

Want to meet Mickey Mouse or see the Golden Gate Bridge? California is filled with possibilities. You can go surfing at the beach and skiing in the mountains all in the same day. You will have around $41,259 yearly to play with.

By Cristo Vlahos - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

9. Hawaii

Have some fun in the sun! Everyone know Hawaii is paradise. After work you can be a total beach bum. Here is a guide of things to do in Hawaii. You are going to have $41,027 to play with for your starting salary.


10. Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a place full of history and fun. Take a trip back in time to the Salem Witch Trials, the Boston Tea Party, or walk around Plymouth. There is plenty to do in Massachusetts. Check some of it out. Your salary will be $40,600 in your starting year.

By Tim Kiser (User:Malepheasant) - Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 2.5

11. Delaware

You will have a budget of $39,338 when starting out in Delaware. There are so many things to do with that money such as check out historic mansions, catch some serious beach time, and explore beautiful state parks. Don’t forget, you can shop at the tax-free malls. That will surely make your budget stretch. See all the fun things you can do here.

photo by liz west CC BY 2.0

12. Rhode Island

Take a visit to Brown University, enjoy lighthouses, or take a ferry for pleasure. With a salary of $39,196, you should have no trouble finding something to do. Here are a few things that you should try when you get there.


13. Louisiana

Get ready for a tasty shrimp po’ boy, collect some beads for Mardi Gras, and go on a swamp adventure. If you live in Louisiana, I’m sure you won’t have many disappointing days. Be sure to check out this site for some Lousiana activity ideas. Just so you know, you will have a budget of around $38,655 to start with.


14. Texas

Put on some sweat pants so you can try some real Texas cookin’. Start off right by trying some real Texas BBQ. $38,091 can buy a whole lot of ribs. There are also many other things to do such as the Space Center, the Museum of Fine Arts, and so much more. Check out this guide to Texas.


15. Virginia

Colonial Williamsburg comes to mind when you think of Virginia. If you like history, Virginia is the place for you. Enjoy the deep history of Virgnia and all it has to offer. Your expected starting salary is $37,848, which will stretch pretty far in Virginia. Be sure to check out this guide of free things to do.


16. Illinois

The once home of Abraham Lincoln, Illinois has plenty of activities to choose from. A must on the list is to try a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza! You will also be compelled to visit the many museums, Wrigley Field, and Lake Michigan. Here is a list of things to do with your $37,166 per year.


17. Washington

Do you fancy a view from the Space Needle? How about a nice day in nature checking out Mt. Rainier? Or maybe you will try to find the elusive Sasquatch. With a starting budget of $36,335, you will be able to enjoy all that Washington has to offer. Here is a nice list for you to check out some more activities.


18. Alabama

Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote “Sweet Home Alabama” for a reason. There is so much natural beauty in Alabama you may not want to ever go inside, but in case you do, there is plenty to do inside as well. Here is a list of things to check out while you live in Alabama.
As a teacher, I highly reccommend that you and your students visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum. It holds a very important part of history that should never be forgotten. Your starting salary in the state of Alabama will be around $36,198.


19. Michigan

There is so much to do in Michigan. From trying authentic Arabic food, swimming in a Great Lake, and so much more. You also definitely have to see the rebirth of Detroit. Your salary of $35,901 can get you pretty far in Michigan. Make sure you check out this site. It has many in depth descriptions and must dos to do while living in Michigan.


20. Vermont

From checking out beautiful autumn and winter scenes, skiing, and maple syrup tasting, to camping under the star, Vermont has it all. There are also so many quaint shops to visit, you won’t know where to start. You will have about $35,541 to start with. That should keep you in knick knacks for a while. Be sure to check out this site for more activities.


21. Nevada

Whether you are in the mood for the glitz and glam of Las Vegas, the solitude of the desert, or an outdoor rush like the Hoover Dam, Vegas has it all waiting for you! You can expect a starting salary of $35,358. Check this site for unusual things to do in Nevada. Just don’t forget to indulge in a fried Oreo or two in Vegas.


22. Florida

The happiest place on Earth resides in the great state of Florida. You can visit Disney World, check out the Everglades, or go clubbing in Miami. You can pretty much have it all. Your starting salary will be about $35,166, which is quite enough to have a bit of fun in the Sunshine State. Check this out for more ideas.

photo by Jeff Kubina CC BY SA 2.0

23. Kentucky

Have a nice glass of bourbon while you watch a friendly horse race. That’s a nice way to start your life in Kentucky. You are also surrounded by the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the proud traditions of the people of the state. $35,166 is a nice chunk of change to start you off on a life of adventure in Alabama. Here is a nice resource of things to do in Alabama.

phot byy Daniel Schwen CC BY-SA 4.0

24. Indiana

Indiana is the home state of the Jacksons and David Letterman. It seems to be a place that produces people with great talent. Who knows who you might end up teaching. You will love the people and their Midwest charm, Indiana’s beautiful scenery along with thrills from racing. Here is an awesome list of things to do in Indiana. With a starting salary of $34,696 you will be a able to live pretty nicely.


25. Minnesota

There is no shortage of water features and beauty in Minnesota. Or if you prefer to shop until you drop with your $34,505 a year, hang out at The Mall of America. This list has a great variety of things to try.


26. New Hampshire

With a slogan like “Live free or die”, you know New Hampshire is a great place to be. You will be able to enjoy skiing, art houses, and even cozy sleigh rides. There will be plenty of things to do with a salary of $34,280. If you need any more ideas check this website out.


27. Tennessee

You can catch some music in Nashville, visit Shiloh National Military Park, have a relaxing fishing trip, or get some thrills in Dollywood. You can enjoy great food and spirits with the awesome new friends you will make. You will be able to live quite well on a starting salary of $34,098. If you need inspiration of things to do, check this out.


28. Georgia

Have some fun in Atlanta, AKA Hotlanta, honor Dr. Martin Luther King jr., and check out the North Georgia Mountains. Make sure you try some good old fashioned southern cooking. You will be able to buy a lot of grits and cornbread with $33,664. Here is a list of things to try in Georgia.


29. Oregon

Check out one of the hipster capitols of the world in Portland, jump into the deepest lake in the United States, and browse through the largest new and used independent bookstore in the world. Oregon has so much to do and see, and with a salary of $33,549, you will be able to experience it all. Here is a huge list of stuff to do in Oregon. Also, don’t forget to go Squatchin’!


30. Wisconsin

Check out the many gorgeous state parks, sample some fine cheese, and check out the Harley Davidson Museum. With a salary of $33,546 you will be able to have a well rounded experience. Here is a list of things to do.


31. Kansas

Take a peek at the Kansas State Capitol Building in Topeka, check out the many museums, and take in the sights at the states wildlife preserves. The starting salary of a teacher in Kansas is $33,386, which will stretch pretty well for the area. If you need some tips on other activities check out this site.


32. Iowa

When it comes to Iowa, nothing compares to the State Fair. They have delectable novelties such as: a butter cow, apple pie on a stick, doughnut sundaes, and so much more. You will also be able to see the livestock display, play games, and have a nice walk around the grounds. You will be able to buy plenty of corndogs with your salary of $33,226. Here are some other ideas for you while you teach in Iowa.


33. Ohio

Ohio is home to many botanical gardens, museums, and theaters. There is no lack of culture in this state. You will be able to visit these places alone, or plan field trips for your students. The starting salary of a teacher in Ohio is $33,096. Here’s a site to check out if you need more ideas for entertainment.


34. Utah

Utah is home to several state parks, the Mormon Tabernacle, and Faux Falls. If you choose to live in Utah there will be ample opportunity to go hiking and white water rafting. Or you can choose to have some indoor fun by watching the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Here is a extended list of things to do in Utah. You can expect a starting salary of around $33,081.

photo by Brandonrush - CC BY-SA 3.0

photo by Brandonrush – CC BY-SA 3.0

35. Arkansas

Arkansas is full of history. Check out the the many historical sites, parks, and natural beauty. Also, be sure to take a day or two to sip your way through Arkansas wine country. Many of the adventures in Arkansas can be had for little or no money. That will allow your $32,691 salary to keep you well fed and full of excitement. Here is a list of ideas for things to do in Arkansas.


36. West Virginia

If you are a bit of a ghost hunter, West Virginia is the place for you. The first stop of your haunted tour should be Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. There is tons of history and intrigue to see there. If you are more of the outdoor type, West Virginia has a ton of state parks to enjoy. Here is a more comprehensive list of things to do and see in West Virginia. You can expect to get paid around $32,533 as a new teacher.


37. South Carolina

The first thing you have to do when moving to SC is have some mustard BBQ, and be sure to wash it down with a tall glass of sweet tea. On your free time and vacation you can hit Myrtle Beach to relax, get fit on the Hilton Head Bike Trails, and learn about the steep history of the area. Give this list a try for more ideas:. As for your staring salary, you can expect around $32,306.

photo by BLM - CC BY 2.0

photo by BLM – CC BY 2.0

38. Colorado

From hot springs to the ski slopes Colorado is the place to be. Colorado is home to the Rocky Mountain National Park, Black Canyon, and Great Sand Dunes. If you love being at one with nature, this is definitely a state where you will thrive. Here is a neat site to help you find happiness in Colorado.  With all the free and outdoor activities you can do, your $32,126 will get you far.


39. North Dakota

North Dakota is proud of their deep Native American roots and culture. If you decide to teach in North Dakota, you can honor the Native American culture by attending many events in the state. You can also enjoy the great outdoors by fishing, hunting, and snowmobiling. If you would like some ideas of what to do check here.  Your starting salary as a new teacher will be $32,019.


40. New Mexico

Have a trip of a lifetime in a hot air baloon, take a tour of Route 66, and attend the Gathering of Nations. Maybe you even want to visit Breaking Bad landmarks and maybe catch a glimpse of Walter White. For an idea of how to spend your starting salary of $31,960 check this site out.


41. Arizona

Arizona is full of Native American culture, museums, and outdoor activities. The sunny and warm year round weather doesn’t hurt either. Here is a website with extensive activities to do in Arizona: You are going to start with a salary of $31,874 as a new teacher, which is pretty good for starting out.


42. Maine

Eat some fresh lobsters, go on a whale watch, and enjoy camping under the stars. Maine even has a standing drive-in theater! The starting salary for a new teacher is around $31,835,  which will allow you to splurge on lobster from time to time. For more ideas on how to spend your bucks check this site out.


43. Oklahoma

Have you ever had a hankering for a cowboy museum? If so, Oklahoma is the place to be! There are ample wildlife preserves, and Oklahoma is even home to a Tiger Safari. If you want a break from the great outdoors, you can hit up the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. As a new teacher, expect your pay to around $31,606. There are tons of new things to try in Oklahoma. Don’t forget to check the many things you can do as a new resident of Oklahoma.


44. Mississippi

If you are into cars, be sure to stop by the Tupelo Automobile Museum. It is truly a magnificent experience. Another cool thing to do is visit the birth place of Elvis Presley, even if he was a bit before your time, Elvis is an important part of American music history. There is so much to do in Mississippi. Here is a fuller list of neat things to see and try while you live there. As a new teacher, your starting salary in Mississippi will be about $31,184.


45. Idaho

Spuds anyone? The first thing that pops into many people’s minds when they think of Idaho are potatoes. While Idaho potatoes are absolutely delicious, there is so much more to the state than that. Have a blast by going skiing or snowboarding, gaze at the stars in the wide open skies, and visit the many state parks. Visit this site for more ideas of activities in Idaho. As for your salary, expect around $31,159 to start.


46. Nebraska

The state that is where the Midwest meets the West. Go horseback riding, eat some steaks, and enjoy some kayaking. While doing some exploring in the great outdoors, don’t forget to visit Chimney Rock National Historic Site. With a starting salary of $30,844, you will have a budget to explore a bit in your new home. Check this out for more info on things to do in Nebraska.


47. North Carolina

North Carolina is home to extremely beautiful architecture. If you want to see a property that will truly take your breath away, be sure to visit the Biltmore Estate. If nature is more your thing, take a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the outer banks, or some of the many state parks. Here is a bunch of ideas for your new adventure in NC. The rate of pay for a new teacher is $30,778.


James S. McDonnell Planetarium, St. Louis

48. Missouri

The natural beauty of the Ozarks are contrasted by the big city life in Kansas City and St. Louis. Missouri has many State Parks to enjoy nature as well as beautiful landmarks. Check here for a full list of activities. You can expect pay to be around $30,064 for a starting teacher.


49. South Dakota

South Dakota has a little bit for everyone. They have great state parks, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Mount Rushmore, amazing hiking trails and so much more.  Here is a great guide for all things South Dakota. You can expect a starting salary of around $29,851. That money will go pretty far because South Dakota has no personal income tax.


50. Montana

Montana has beautiful parks such as Yellowsone National Park and Glacier National Park. It is also home to the beautiful Rocky Mountains. If you have an extreme sense of adventure and a love of the outdoors, Montana is the place for you. Here is a list of things every Montana resident should do. The starting salary for a teacher is $27,274, while the average for a seasoned teacher just about doubles.

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