Between 2008 and 2010, thousands of teachers were laid off during the Great Recession; now, states are scrambling to fill vacancies. In some areas, the shortage of teachers has become so severe that school districts are hiring educators with minimal experience and offering on-the-job training.
There are a number of factors contributing to the gap between supply and demand, including low salaries for educators. A recent Washington Post article revealed that, in 2015, the weekly wages of public schools teachers were 17 percent lower than similarly educated public workers. Nationwide, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the 2015 median salary for high school teachers was $57,200.
The news isn't all bad, though. In some areas, teachers make well above the average. Using 2016 data from the BLS, CareerTrends, a career research site by Graphiq, found the U.S. metro areas where high school teachers make the most on average. Some metro areas, like New York-Newark-Jersey City, are located in multiple states, but CareerTrends listed each metro area as part of the state where it is primarily based.
Teacher pay can vary for a number of reasons, including experience, level of education and union status. Additionally, cost of living differences can contribute to the geographic variation in salaries -- it's much cheaper to live in St. George, Utah, one of the lowest-paying areas for teachers, than San Francisco, California, one of the highest. Overall, metro areas in California and New England dominate this ranking, while only two cities from the South make the cut.