Teaching can offer lots of rewards: it's never boring, you can do something different every day and there's the tremendous satisfaction of knowing you play an important role in a young person's life. But when it comes to financial rewards and other perks - along with plentiful job opportunities and job security - certain states are much more teacher-friendly than others. Here are some states where teachers are likely to get the best opportunities. (For related reading, check out 5 High-Paying, Low-Stress Jobs.)
In Pictures: 6 Hot Careers With Lots Of Jobs
The biggest problem for teachers right now is the lack of jobs in many areas. Even teachers who currently have jobs can't take their careers for granted.
"Right now we are expecting 150,000 to 185,000 educator layoffs across the country," says Michelle Hudgins of the National Education Association. In California, for example, 16,000 teachers lost their jobs last year with another 23,000 layoffs expected this year. In Connecticut, meanwhile, around 2,000 teachers may lose their jobs within the next few months, prompting the executive director of the Connecticut Education Association to call the situation, "the worst I've ever seen." (For tips on how to land your dream job, see Top 2010 Job-Hunting Tips.)
Connecticut offers teachers a very competitive starting salary of slightly over $39,000 while starting teachers in North Dakota fail to make in excess of $25,000. The salary survey at TeacherPortal.com shows that average salary for teachers at all levels in Hawaii is $49,292 which is slightly above the average in the country. However, the state ranks dead last in the "salary comfort index," probably due to Hawaii's high cost of living.
The average starting salary for new teachers here was $42,297, according to NEA stats. Maryland also has a statewide pay scale system, meaning all districts must abide by the minimum pay levels established by the state. Districts, however, are free to pay salaries above the minimums. This state also has a reputation for offering great perks for teachers. For example, they will often pay for teachers to go to school and earn advanced degrees - which will then in turn bump them up to a higher tier on the pay scale. By contrast, Texas stopped requiring higher pay rates for teachers with advanced degrees back in the 80s. (If you want to switch careers, you may not have to go back to school to do it. Find out how, in Sell Your Skills, Not Your Degree.)
NEA's figures show an average starting salary for new teachers here as $40,658, although estimates vary significantly.
"In Wyoming, teachers are paid just 90% of other college grads, which is one of the highest ratios in the country," says Hudgins.
The North Dakota Department of Education hasn't announced any belt-tightening layoffs and doesn't anticipate to do so in the coming year. Hudgins says the state is not applying for federal "Race for the Top" education grants, instead opting to use oil money to fund education.
"Although the salary might not be the most desirable, it's a good place to work if you want to know you have a job next year," says Hudgins.
The TeacherPortal.com survey shows the average starting salary in this state is $37,500, with average salary for Illinois teachers overall at $58,686. Plus, the state is number one in the site's salary comfort index rankings. Illinois also offers a special education tuition waiver program - a teacher pursuing a career in special education can qualify for full tuition exemptions at eligible institutions for up to four years.
There seem to be lots of opportunities for teachers in this state. For example, the Anchorage School District has recruiting events scheduled throughout 2010 all over the country. Plus, the state offers a $3,000 signing bonus for teachers who are qualified to teach in a world language immersion program. In addition, Alaska is one of the top paying states to their education professionals.
Teaching is Tough
While teaching jobs - along with increased salaries and benefits - may be hard to find in many parts of the country right now, you can still find some good opportunities by doing some research - especially if you have advanced or specialized qualifications, or are willing to relocate.
Feeling uninformed? Check out the financial news highlights in Water Cooler Finance: Greece Is Burning And Buffett's Under Fire.
BudgetingIf you’re worried medical expenses could overwhelm you, there are some thing you can do to ease your concerns.
EconomicsLearn about the top five states ranked by their real gross domestic product (GDP) per capita as of 2014: Alaska, North Dakota, New York, Connecticut and Wyoming.
Personal FinanceLearn 10 good reasons for switching jobs, such as major life changes, ethical concerns, job description creep and upwards mobility.
RetirementThe lack of a Social Security cost-of-living adjustment next year will result in higher costs for retirees, with some affected more than others.
RetirementOutside the major metroplexes of Mumbai and Delhi are many quieter locations ideal for retirees – and they offer less expensive living costs as well.
EconomicsFind out which American cities are hit hardest by inflation, and why California residents find themselves in a bigger pinch than anyone else.
TaxesHere's what gets deducted from your pay, what your employer pays and where your payroll taxes actually end up.
ProfessionalsThe job market is improving, but many companies are still running on tight budgets which means no raises. But there are other forms of compensation.
Personal FinanceConsider these U.S. hubs where workers get paid competitive salaries while enjoying a high quality of life due to a low cost of living.
Personal FinanceIf you're searching for a job that's in demand and has salary increase potential, keep an eye on these ten positions.
Social Security benefits are inflation-protected. Social Security was created in 1935, and taxes were collected for the first ... Read Full Answer >>
A cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is a purchasing power protection mechanism provided to all monthly Social Security ... Read Full Answer >>
Mutual fund managers get base salaries, which vary greatly depending on the size and pedigree of the fund company. They may ... Read Full Answer >>
A company accrues unpaid salaries on its balance sheet as part of accounts payable, which is a current liability account, ... Read Full Answer >>
Most financial advisors are required to meet quotas, particularly if they work for firms that pay base salaries or draws ... Read Full Answer >>
Social Security benefits are adjusted for inflation. This adjustment is known as the cost of living adjustment (COLA). For ... Read Full Answer >>