If you're currently a teacher or want to be one in the future, make sure you're in the right state. Massachusetts, Virginia and Minnesota are all good options for educators -- at least, that's according to personal finance site WalletHub's recently released 2015 list of the best and worst states for teachers. But you should avoid Arizona, North Carolina and West Virginia, which ranked as the bottom three.
Looking at factors like average starting salary, income growth potential, change in salaries, unemployment rate, safety and commute time, WalletHub analyzed job conditions for teachers in all 50 states. In general, the East saw higher rankings than the West. Michigan and Illinois paid their teachers the most, while Vermont and New York spent the most money per public school student. Alaska and the District of Columbia had the worst school systems, whereas Utah and California had the highest student-to-teacher ratio.
But a more specific study from December found the best locations for teachers to be in Ohio, Georgia and Tennessee -- none of which appeared in WalletHub's top 10. Based solely on adjusted lifetime income, the National Council on Teacher Quality named Columbus, Ohio, first because teachers there can earn about $2.43 million over 30 years when cost of living is taken into account. The average teacher in Ohio was paid about $58,092 in 2013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
This figure didn't reflect a nationwide trend, however. The center found the average annual salary for the 3.5 million full-time teachers in the United States was about $56,400 in 2013. About 63 percent of poll respondents said earlier this year they thought teachers should be paid more, though this figure dropped to 45 when they were informed of the average teacher salary.
The WalletHub rankings were as follows:
10 Best States For Teachers
10 Worst States For Teachers