Lowest Teacher Salaries by State

The nationwide teacher shortage has created a surplus of jobs in education. But are they worth it? World Population Review suggests that some states are better than others when it comes to compensation. You might want to avoid the classroom if you live in one of these low-paying states. 

10. Montana

Montana University
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Montana is the highest of the lowest paying states for teachers, with average salaries around $53,628. Their state legislature recently passed a bill to offer more scholarships for aspiring educators, so at least your weekly paycheck won’t go toward student loans. Maybe the beautiful scenery can help compensate, too.  

9. Tennessee

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If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher in Tennessee, it may be useful to hear from someone in the field about their experiences. You should also know that you can expect an average salary of around $53,619 once you get your feet wet.

8. South Carolina

South Carolina College of Charleston
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South Carolina recently made headlines when lawmakers proposed the death penalty for women who receive abortion care. By contrast, news out of the state’s department of education is much less severe. Currently, South Carolina educators earn $53,393 on average and, like so many other states, they are hoping for a raise.

7. Arkansas

Arkansas Little Rock Central High School
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Teachers in Arkansas earn an average salary of $52,486, but they are fighting for more. Lawmakers are currently considering a proposal to raise the minimum teacher salary to $50,000 across the state. Right now, entry level teachers may earn as little as $32,654 per year. 

6. Missouri

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Missouri teachers earn $52,481 per year on average. Half of the state’s current vacancies in school personnel can be found in just five districts: Hickman Mills, Kansas City,  St. Louis Special School District, Hazelwood, and Riverview Gardens. 

5. Louisiana

Downtown New Orleans, Louisiana
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The average teacher salary in the bayou state is $52,376. If that doesn’t sound worth the required coursework and field experience, don’t count this one out just yet — teacher pay raises are included in the state’s most recent budget proposal. 

4. Florida

Florida School
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Florida educators earn $49,583 per year on average. Some entry level teachers in the state earn far less, possibly even as low as $27,590 according to Salary.com. These teachers face near constant controversy about everything from books and curriculum to teaching credentials. Most recently, Florida teachers are suing the U.S. government. 

3. West Virginia

West Virginia
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Experienced teachers in West Virginia will earn an average salary of $50,315. The eastern state has struggled with teacher shortages and ongoing budget cuts since well ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, West Virginia schools chronically underperform on national tests. 

2. South Dakota

Mount Rushmore
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Teachers in South Dakota can expect to make $49,761 on average, with experience. These teachers are some of the most dissatisfied in the nation. According to South Dakota News Watch, many of the state’s educators have left the profession after feeling disrespected. 

1. Mississippi

Mississippi State
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The average teacher salary in Mississippi is $47,162, with the lowest paid teachers making $30,804 per year — and they’re not happy about it. During the 2020-2021 school year, 17% of Mississippi teachers left their districts, citing low salaries and a lack of autonomy. 

This article was original published on STEM Education Guide.

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