RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — While Virginia teachers may make thousands more a year than their counterparts in other states like Mississippi and Arkansas, one study still says Virginia is the worst state to teach in. When comparing teacher wages to other occupations, the Commonwealth ranks 50th in the country, only beating Washington, D.C.
Compared to average wages in Virginia, teachers make 10.4% less than other occupations. The average teacher’s salary in Virginia is $53,933 but other occupations make an average of $60,160.
Business.Org ranked all 50 states based on the difference between teacher’s wages and wages for all other occupations.
Virginia and Washington, D.C. scored significantly worse than the rest of the states. Teachers in D.C. make 16.8% less than other workers. The only other states where teachers made below the average statewide wages were Colorado, Arizona Florida, North Dakota and Minnesota.
Everywhere else in the country, teachers earn above the average salary for other occupations. The northern parts of the East Coast dominate the top of the list with Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts all in the top 10.
Overall, teachers in the United States make an average of $63,645 while the average salary for all other occupations is $56,310. It is worth noting that in 2017-18, 58% of teachers had a postbaccalaureate degree, which could be anything from a master’s, doctorate or specialty education degree.
The National Center for Education Statistics reviewed how teacher salaries had changed over time and then also adjusted those numbers for inflation. The average U.S. teacher would have made $8,626 in 1969-70, which is the equivalent of $58,739 today.