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brooklyn bridge, manhattan, new york city, one of the best states to teach in

Being a teacher, especially if you live in one of the best states to teach in, can be one of the most rewarding jobs out there. You’re shaping young minds. You’re teaching others how to expand their horizons, and most importantly, you’re saving the world. 

We’re not being hyperbolic. Teachers really do save the world, one student at a time. Learning is a fundamental part of our everyday lives and there are certain states that make teaching more fun. 

What are the best states to teach in?

According to our International Education Recruitment Report of 2023, the best states to teach in are:

  1. Hawai’i
  2. California
  3. Florida
  4. New York 
  5. Colorado

Some states require a Bachelor’s degree to teach while others will hire educators with alternative certifications. Additionally, each state features different teaching certifications that must be earned. But, when you complete all your requirements, you can do what you’ve dreamed of doing since you found out what teaching was: helping children understand the world around them and how they got here. 

Whether it’s the elevated salaries or things that may seem trivial like the weather, each of these states offers a little something extra so educators can keep fighting the good fight. 

Hawai’i: Say aloha to teaching 

About 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland, nestled in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai’i offers more than paradise. For teachers, the starting salary is $50,123. Compared to other warm-weather states that start with “H”, that’s an incredible starting wage. Of course, there aren’t any other states that start with “H”, warm-weather or not but we wanted to make a point that teachers can live on their starting salaries.

The cost of living in the Aloha State is higher than most places which is why a starting salary of $50,000+ is ideal for teachers who are beginning their careers. If you have an advanced degree, you could be paid even more and inch your way to six figures. Plus, winter is practically non-existent which means you could take your students on outdoor adventures (or just go to the beach by yourself after work to unwind.) 

Want to become a teacher in Hawai’i? Earn a Hawai’i state teaching license in under a year, with Teach Away’s flexible, affordable, state-approved, AAQEP-accredited teacher certification program.

California: A golden teaching opportunity 

The starting salary for teachers in California is $49,933. Not as high as our Hawaiian friends would make teaching but it’s a good base. If you’re just beginning your teaching career, California offers the chance to make waves – whether you live near the beach or not. 

The state contributes about 2% to your pension fund – you contribute 8% – securing your retirement. You’ll also be entitled to health insurance at some schools and California boasts some of the best Latin food this side of the border. With a diverse population (the majority of the population speaks English, Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog), you’ll probably learn a new language while living there. And yes, Southern California winters are warm but you will definitely need a jacket in San Francisco. 

Florida: Sunshine and lessons plans

The cost of living in Florida is on the lower side making the starting salary for teachers of $44,040 easy to live on. With an advanced degree like a Master’s in Education, you could be paid $60,000 or more. The state has more than 4000 schools and get this – no state individual  income tax. 

Weather-wise, Florida is almost a tropical paradise with added humidity to make your hair frizz. But, you can teach outside if you desire and bring your students to see the beautiful flora and fauna in the Everglades. There’s also Disney World. 

Be warned, the political climate in Florida is changing rapidly with certain subjects, books, and educational milestones being banned (and not for the better.) It’s not the most progressive state in the country and if you’re looking to teach somewhere that values all students no matter their race and sexuality, this isn’t the place for you. 

New York: New teaching opportunities in the Empire State

The fourth most populous state, New York pays first-time teachers a starting salary of $47,618. Depending on where you live in the state, the cost of living is comparable to Florida. However, if you’re looking for the adventure of the Big Apple then you won’t be able to live in Manhattan on that salary without 468 roommates. We kid! But it is expensive. 

If you’re a subject matter expert – of course, you are, you’re an educator – you’ll probably find your niche in Upstate or Western NY. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there’s a teacher shortage, especially when it comes to special education, STEM, STEAM, and social studies. 

In terms of weather, if you do end up in Upstate or Western New York, winters bring the cold and so much snow that you’ll be making plenty of digital lesson plans for those days when mother nature is less than kind. 

Colorado: Bright futures in Colorful Colorado

At $35,724, the starting salary for teachers in Colorado may not seem that high considering the cost of living. However, the cost of utilities is 8% lower than the national average, so you don’t have to worry about spending too much to heat and cool your home. Doctor’s services are also 1% lower than the national average which is good since children get sick … a lot. As a teacher, you may catch a bug or two throughout the year no matter what grade you teach. At least you won’t break the bank getting better. 

Colorado is home to the Southern Rocky Mountains and scores high on the health index since it’s easy to get outside and breathe in that gorgeous mountain air. In addition to clean air, the state has 178 school districts that range from rural to cosmopolitan so know you’re in for great teaching opportunities no matter where you take your educational talents. 

Scholarly states await

Whether you’re looking to educate and shape young minds in one of the five aforementioned states or elsewhere in the country, teaching jobs in the United States are plentiful. You’ve already taken a step in the right direction by wanting to teach and hopefully, you’ll find yourself in a classroom soon helping youngsters become our next batch of leaders or teachers. In the end, aren’t teachers the best type of leaders? We think so.

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