For example, if a teacher in Virginia and Iowa each make around $59,000 per year, that money would go further in Iowa because Virginia has a higher cost of living. If these salaries were adjusted to compensate for the different costs of living, the teacher in Iowa would make closer to $66,000 and the Virginia teacher would make closer to $58,000.
When considering cost of living adjustments, New York and Massachusetts K-12 teachers are compensated more than teachers in the rest of the country. Adjusted teacher pay is the lowest in Florida.
For the 2021–22 school year, the nation’s average cost-of-living-adjusted K-12 public teacher salary was $64,300. Nineteen states and Washington, DC, paid higher than this national average and 31 states paid less.
Florida had the lowest average adjusted salary at $50,508.
Florida was an outlier compared to other states that pay lower teacher salaries. In the next three states with adjusted salaries close to Florida – Mississippi, South Dakota, and West Virginia – the average teacher salary was within $600 of $55,000, or nearly $5000 more than the average Florida teacher salary.
More than a third of states paid teachers an adjusted average of less than $60,000 per year.