Janice Addison — When it comes to choosing a college degree program, opting for a teacher certification program is often a great way to get the most bang for your buck. No matter how the economy is faring, or how dismal the job outlook may appear, there is always a need for qualified teachers.
While there’s a chance that a certified teacher can find work in almost any state, as with any career, there are some regions where you’ll have an even greater chance of finding a good-paying teaching job. If you’re thinking about a career change, or simply want to explore your options, these 10 states are consistently ranked among the best for teachers in the U.S.
Investing in education to earn your PA teacher certification could pay off with one of the highest teacher salaries in the U.S. Teachers earn an average of more than $60,000 a year in the Keystone State, and the state government has vowed to continue full funding of educational programs for the foreseeable future. Class sizes tend to be small, and teachers can work in small rural areas or major cities.
Ohio is a great state for teachers, thanks to competitive salaries, low cost of living and a wide array of opportunities. Ohio also allows for a number of alternative paths to certification for those who don’t hold a bachelor’s degree in education, making it a great state for career changers.
Texas hasn’t always been known as a great state for teachers, but as the population changes, more districts are hiring teachers. The average salary for Texas teachers is slightly lower than other states, but the cost of living is lower. There’s especially great demand for math and science teachers.
Earning a special education degree online could pay off if you want to teach in Illinois, where there is a significant shortage of math, science and special education teachers. While the state is exercising fiscal restraint, meaning that educational funding is tight and holding steady, the average salary is still higher than average, at around $63,000 per year.
Connecticut held the top spot for teacher pay for years and is still one of the best paying states, with an average annual salary around $65,000. The state is teacher-friendly, and while funding has decreased in recent years, teachers still have the support and materials they need.
Bilingual teachers and ESL teachers are in high demand in Arizona, which is quickly climbing the list of teacher-friendly states. Pay is lower than average, at $41,000 per year, but cost of living is low. New teachers are also protected from layoffs thanks to a state law that prevents teachers from being let go because they were the last ones hired.
While the harsh landscape and winters of North Dakota might not appeal to everyone, the abundance of teaching jobs makes it an attractive option for some. Thanks to the recent oil boom, the population is increasing, and there are plenty of jobs. Pay is lower than average, but so is cost of living, and incentives for making the move abound.
New York teachers earn more than any others in the U.S.; the average salary is over $70,000 per year. Student achievement is higher than average, and in urban areas, so is the cost of living. Teachers can find good jobs in math and science in the Empire State.
As in neighboring New York, teacher pay is high in New Jersey, but so is cost of living. Student achievement in New Jersey is among the highest in the country.
The city of Minneapolis is consistently rated one of the best places to live in the U.S., and teachers here earn a competitive salary and have the full support of the community and the government, making this Northern state very teacher-friendly.
When you’re considering earning a teaching degree, consider where you might like to teach, as many states have reciprocity agreements that allow teachers to maintain their certification. Compare the average salary with the job opportunities and the quality of life, and you’ll find the right place for you.
About the Author
Janice Addison recently earned her special education teaching degree and works in a Pennsylvania school district. She blogs about education and related issues for a local site.