The 15 worst US states to be a teacher

KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesNew Hampshire ranks as the worst state to be a teacher.
  • New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Arizona topped WalletHub‘s annual ranking of the worst states for teachers.
  • Educators across the country have expressed their frustration over rushed district reopening plans, or inadequate resources to bring lessons online.
  • Many states on the list have held protests and strikes over the last few years calling for better education funding and higher pay.
  • Here are the 15 worst states to be a teacher.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

American teachers are struggling to adapt to virtual education amid the coronavirus pandemic — and some states have been less helpful than others.

The coronavirus has upended teaching in the US. Educators across the country are not only struggling to adapt to virtual learning, but say they have spent their own time and resources on online education tools without support from state and local districts.

But teaching has been in crisis before March. Since the Great Recession of 2008, the country has lost 60,000 jobs in education, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Not only that, but 247,000 more teaching jobs should have been created to keep up with growing student enrollment as the population increases. This has resulted in a shortfall of 307,000 teaching jobs — meaning over 300,000 educators are currently needed right now.

To determine which areas offer the least help to teachers, personal finance site WalletHub detailed the list of the worst states to teach in. WalletHub ranked the areas depending on how they scored in two categories:

  1. “Opportunity and competition,” which includes how competitive salaries were, teacher pensions, and income growth.
  2. “Academic and work environment,” which includes the quality of the school system, how many students per teacher, and the rate of turnover.

Many of the states on the list — including Arizona, Colorado, and West Virginia — held historic teacher strikes in the last two years calling for higher salaries.

While WalletHub included the District of Columbia on their ranking, Business Insider omitted the territory from the report below because DC is not a state. WalletHub ranked DC as the sixth worst area to teach in.

Here are the 15 worst states to be a teacher:


15. Colorado: Educators in the state led the nationwide teacher strike in 2018 alongside West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona.

Associated Press

Academic and work environment rank: 22

Opportunity and competition rank: 42

Source: Denver Post


14. Nevada: Teachers held a protest last year calling for better education funding.

Associated Press

Academic and work environment rank: 47

Opportunity and competition rank: 18

Source: Associated Press


13. Rhode Island: More than 100 teachers protested in front of the Rhode Island Department of Education over the state’s reopening protocol.

Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 25

Opportunity and competition rank: 41

Source: Providence Journal


12. Ohio: More than twice as many Ohio teachers submitted retirement applications this summer than during the same time last year.

Christian Ender/Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 34

Opportunity and competition rank: 40

Source: The Columbus Dispatch


11. South Carolina: Teachers held a protest last year calling for higher salaries.

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 49

Opportunity and competition rank: 38

Source: CNN


10. Montana: Small, rural schools in the state reported a “crisis” in having too few teachers available.

Getty

Academic and work environment rank: 28

Opportunity and competition rank: 46

Source: Great Falls Tribune


9. Hawaii: The state ranked among the worst to work from home due to factors like internet access and cybersecurity threats.

AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Academic and work environment rank: 32

Opportunity and competition rank: 43

Source: WalletHub


8. Tennessee: One-third of teachers in the state would leave the profession for something with higher pay, a 2019 survey found.

Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 38

Opportunity and competition rank: 40

Source: Chalkbeat


7. Missouri: Teachers get paid less on average than those in eight neighbouring states.

Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 39

Opportunity and competition rank: 42

Source: KY3


6. Arkansas: In early August, teachers in the state held a demonstration to protest reopening schools.

George Frey/Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 23

Opportunity and competition rank: 51

Source: THV11


5. Louisiana: It has the second worst school systems in the country, according to WalletHub.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 27

Opportunity and competition rank: 49

Source: WalletHub


4. Maine: The state with the lowest annual average starting salary for teachers (adjusted for cost of living).

Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 18

Opportunity and competition rank: 50

Source: WalletHub


3. Arizona: It has the highest pupil-to-teacher ratio in the country.

Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 46

Opportunity and competition rank: 48

Source: WalletHub


2. New Mexico: The report said it had the worst school systems in the country.

Hill Street Studios/Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 50

Opportunity and competition rank: 47

Source: WalletHub


1. New Hampshire: Teachers in the state said people were sending them online messages threatening to stalk them to ensure they wear masks and stay at home prior to schools re-opening.

Ann Hermes/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Academic and work environment rank: 9

Opportunity and competition rank: 51

Source: NBC

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