Seeking a stable teacher salary and a healthy work environment? A new analysis suggests heading north.
This year, North Dakota took first place in personal finance site WalletHub’s annual ranking of the best and worst states to be a teacher.
The other states rounding out the top five spots this year?
The ranking is based mostly on what the website calls “opportunity and competition”—factors including the average salary and starting pay for teachers, potential for income growth over the course of a career, pension, tenure protections, and job competition in the state. Scores on these metrics make up 70 percent of a state’s rating.
Teacher pay has been in headlines across the country recently: Educators in Oklahoma and West Virginia successfully forced the legislature to pass pay raises in early 2018, and teachers in Arizona were demanding lawmakers there do the same.
Teaching has long been viewed as a low-paid job, but much more goes into teachers’ compensation than just the take-home paychecks.
“Although teaching is a profession, the way that teachers are paid looks a lot more like the way we pay blue-collar workers in the United States,” said Jacob Vigdor, a professor of public policy and governance at the University of Washington.
What exactly does that look like? We spoke with experts to break down how teachers are paid.