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by Heytutor Blog
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The Great Recession may be over, but not all professions are reaping the benefits of the growing economy.


Recent trends in hiring and wage increases indicate that the economic outlook for some American workers may be slowly improving, but there is one group that is still falling behind: teachers and private tutors. When adjusted for inflation, teacher salaries have actually been decreasing since 2009, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

In the past few months, teacher strikes have occurred in Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland and throughout West Virginia to demand pay raises and smaller class sizes, among other things. Teaching has never been a highly-lucrative profession, but many teachers and tutors are struggling to make a living wage.


Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the President of the National Education Association (NEA), explained: “Educators don’t do this work to get rich, they do this work because they believe in students. But their pay is not commensurate with the dedication and expertise they bring to the profession.”


Lower incomes contribute to teacher shortages, as non-competitive wages drive many would-be educators toward more financially stable career paths. The NEA believes fair pay is essential to attracting and retaining top candidates for teaching.


According to Garcia, “Too often the educators who dedicate their lives to children struggle to support their own families. They are forced into taking second and sometimes third jobs...to make ends meet. This is not right. It shortchanges students, public education and these dedicated professionals.”


Teachers aren’t the only ones feeling the strain of the pay gap. Students are affected, too. Teacher shortages and high turnover can lead to overcrowded classrooms, fewer qualified teachers, and reduced academic programs. All of these have a negative effect on student learning, which result in student reach out for Math tutoring, Science tutoring, English tutoring and more.


Garcia emphasized, “If we’re serious about every child’s future, let’s get serious about doing what works. We cannot recruit and retain the committed, qualified educators that students deserve without making a major investment in raising salaries. In order to ensure that every student has a qualified teacher in the classroom and caring professionals in schools, we must make better investment in what we pay educators so careers in education are more attractive.”


Despite support for raising salaries, doing so is a complex problem. Public school budgets, and thus teacher salaries, are tightly coupled with rising costs for pensions, healthcare, and other benefits, as well as local tax laws that are difficult to update. Although there is much work to be done nationwide to fix the teacher pay gap, there is also a lot of variation in teacher salaries across the country.


To learn more about the pay gap and which states offer the most competitive wages for teachers, HeyTutor analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey. Its researchers calculated the median primary/secondary school teacher salary and compared that to non-teachers working full-time with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The analysis included both public and private school teachers.



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Findings

Nationwide, the teacher pay gap is -27.1 percent, meaning that teachers make 27.1 percent less than similarly-educated full-time workers in other professions. The median annual earnings for full-time teachers is $51,571 (including public and private), while the median annual earnings for full-time workers in other professions is $70,783. In addition, the 5-year earnings growth (adjusted for inflation) for teachers is -4.4 percent, while the 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers is 4.2 percent. While teachers overall make far less than the average full-time worker with comparable education, private school teachers make even less. In no state does the median teacher salary match that of similarly-educated full-time workers.


Here are the states with the largest pay gap between teachers and non-teachers.

Teacher pay gap by state (from smallest to largest)



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51. Alaska

  • Teacher pay gap: -2.8%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $70,783

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $72,806

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 1.0%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -3.6%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

50. New York

  • Teacher pay gap: -6.7%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $70,783

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $75,839

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 1.0%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 1.9%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

49. Rhode Island

  • Teacher pay gap: -7.1%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $65,727

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $70,783

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -3.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 1.0%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

48. Vermont

  • Teacher pay gap: -9.1%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $50,559

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $55,615

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -4.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -0.8%



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47. Montana

  • Teacher pay gap: -9.1%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $50,559

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $55,615

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 5.8%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 3.1%



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46. Wyoming

  • Teacher pay gap: -9.6%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $52,582

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $58,143

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -8.0%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -2.0%



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45. Pennsylvania

  • Teacher pay gap: -10.4%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $60,671

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $67,750

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 2.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.7%



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44. Nevada

  • Teacher pay gap: -11.5%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $54,604

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $61,683

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -2.6%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -1.4%



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43. Nebraska

  • Teacher pay gap: -12.3%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $50,559

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $57,638

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 11.6%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 1.8%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

42. Connecticut

  • Teacher pay gap: -12.5%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $70,783

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $80,895

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 1.0%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -2.6%



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41. Iowa

  • Teacher pay gap: -13.3%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $52,582

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $60,671

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 1.6%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 8.2%



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40. South Dakota

  • Teacher pay gap: -14.0%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $43,481

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $50,559

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 6.1%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.2%




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39. North Dakota

  • Teacher pay gap: -14.0%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $49,548

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $57,638

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 9.4%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -2.8%



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38. California

  • Teacher pay gap: -15.0%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $68,761

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $80,895

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 4.5%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 0.0%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

37. Maine

  • Teacher pay gap: -15.3%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $50,559

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $59,660

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 4.2%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 6.4%



Photo Credit: Dave Newman / Alamy Stock Photo

36. Ohio

  • Teacher pay gap: -16.9%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $54,604

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $65,727

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -4.5%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 1.6%



Photo Credit: Steven Frame / Alamy Stock Photo

35. Kentucky

  • Teacher pay gap: -17.2%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $48,537

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $58,649

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -2.2%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.6%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

34. Massachusetts

  • Teacher pay gap: -17.5%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $66,738

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $80,895

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 3.1%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.2%



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33. Delaware

  • Teacher pay gap: -17.8%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $60,671

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $73,817

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 6.1%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 10.4%



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32. Oregon

  • Teacher pay gap: -17.9%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $55,615

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $67,750

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 3.1%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.7%



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31. New Mexico

  • Teacher pay gap: -18.6%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $48,537

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $59,660

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 0.0%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.4%



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30. Hawaii

  • Teacher pay gap: -18.7%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $52,582

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $64,716

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 1.6%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 9.1%



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29. Michigan

  • Teacher pay gap: -19.1%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $55,615

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $68,761

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -9.5%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.8%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

28. Alabama

  • Teacher pay gap: -20.0%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $48,537

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $60,671

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -1.7%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.3%



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27. New Jersey

  • Teacher pay gap: -21.0%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $64,716

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $81,906

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 0.0%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -5.1%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

26. Arkansas

  • Teacher pay gap: -21.1%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $45,504

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $57,638

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 0.5%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.8%



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25. Wisconsin

  • Teacher pay gap: -21.9%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $50,559

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $64,716

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -4.7%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 3.5%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

24. Mississippi

  • Teacher pay gap: -21.9%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $40,448

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $51,773

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -1.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -4.0%



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23. Washington

  • Teacher pay gap: -22.1%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $60,671

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $77,862

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -1.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 3.1%



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22. Maryland

  • Teacher pay gap: -22.5%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $62,694

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $80,895

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 3.8%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: -1.3%



Photo Credit: Dave Newman / Alamy Stock Photo

21. Illinois

  • Teacher pay gap: -22.5%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $55,615

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $71,794

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -4.5%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.4%



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20. Texas

  • Teacher pay gap: -22.7%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $51,571

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $66,738

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -0.4%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 1.4%



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19. Minnesota

  • Teacher pay gap: -22.9%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $54,604

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $70,783

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 1.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 5.9%



Photo Credit: Steven Frame / Alamy Stock Photo

18. Kansas

  • Teacher pay gap: -23.3%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $46,515

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $60,671

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 2.7%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.3%



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17. Indiana

  • Teacher pay gap: -23.3%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $46,515

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $60,671

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -4.2%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.3%



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16. District of Columbia

  • Teacher pay gap: -23.5%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $65,727

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $85,951

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 21.9%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.9%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

15. West Virginia

  • Teacher pay gap: -23.6%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $42,470

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $55,615

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -14.4%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 1.1%



Photo Credit: Dave Newman / Alamy Stock Photo

14. Tennessee

  • Teacher pay gap: -23.7%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $45,504

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $59,660

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 0.5%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.4%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

13. South Carolina

  • Teacher pay gap: -24.1%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $44,492

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $58,649

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -8.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.6%



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12. Georgia

  • Teacher pay gap: -24.2%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $50,559

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $66,738

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -3.1%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 3.1%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

11. Louisiana

  • Teacher pay gap: -24.4%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $45,099

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $59,660

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -2.8%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 0.6%



Photo Credit: Paul Brady / Alamy Stock Photo

10. Missouri

  • Teacher pay gap: -25.0%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $45,504

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $60,671

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 0.5%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 4.2%



Photo Credit: Steven Frame / Alamy Stock Photo

9. New Hampshire

  • Teacher pay gap: -25.4%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $53,593

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $71,794

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -0.6%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.4%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

8. Florida

  • Teacher pay gap: -27.0%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $44,290

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $60,671

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -2.2%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.3%



Photo Credit: Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

7. Utah

  • Teacher pay gap: -27.2%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $47,829

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $65,727

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 8.2%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 1.6%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

6. North Carolina

  • Teacher pay gap: -28.3%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $43,481

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $60,671

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: 3.4%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.3%



Photo Credit: Paul Brady / Alamy Stock Photo

5. Colorado

  • Teacher pay gap: -29.4%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $48,537

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $68,761

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -4.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.8%



Photo Credit: Dave Newman / Alamy Stock Photo

4. Oklahoma

  • Teacher pay gap: -30.9%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $38,425

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $55,615

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -8.6%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 3.1%



Photo Credit: Sergey Novikov / Alamy Stock Photo

3. Idaho

  • Teacher pay gap: -33.3%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $40,448

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $60,671

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -14.8%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 2.3%



Photo Credit: Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo

2. Virginia

  • Teacher pay gap: -35.1%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $50,559

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $77,862

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -0.3%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 0.3%



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1. Arizona

  • Teacher pay gap: -35.4%

  • Median annual earnings for teachers: $42,470

  • Median annual earnings for non-teachers: $65,727

  • 5-year earnings growth for teachers: -1.6%

  • 5-year earnings growth for non-teachers: 1.6%



Methodology

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 and 2017 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimate Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS). For the purpose of this analysis, only elementary, middlel, and secondary school teachers were categorized as teachers. Preschool, kindergarten, special education, and “other” teachers were excluded from the analysis. All remaining occupations were categorized as non-teachers, including post-secondary educators.


The teacher pay gap is the percent difference between the median earnings for teachers (elementary, middle school, and secondary teachers) and the median earnings for non-teachers. To control for work status, education, and hours worked, the analysis only considered full-time workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Full-time workers are defined as any person with earnings who worked 35 hours or more per week and at least 48 weeks out of the previous 12 months.


For both teachers and non-teachers, the five-year earnings growth was calculated as the percent difference in earnings between 2012 and 2017 after adjusting for inflation, which is why many of the statistics are negative.


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