They say that behind every good teacher is a great leader. That might be true, but even great leaders can get tired of low salaries, high living costs, and kids who’d rather be anywhere else but the classroom. If your vocation is starting to feel like a chore, finding the kind of place that will re-inspire your love of teaching (not to mention add a few more dollars to your paycheck) could be just what the doctor ordered. To help set you in the right direction, we’ve rounded up the 20 best places for teachers to live in the U.S. Without further ado, here they are.
20. Rockford, Illinois
Drive just two hours from Chicago and you’ll find Rockford, one of the largest cities in the state and a positive breath of fresh air for teachers tired of being short-changed for their efforts. A mid-career teacher in Rockford can expect to earn the very decent salary of $79,000. Thanks to the city’s low cost of living, they can also expect to save 20% more of their salary compared to their Windy City counterparts.
19. New Hyde Park, New York
Why should you consider teaching in New Hyde Park? Because of Herricks Union Free School District, a top-rated, public school district that feels teachers do a great job and should be rewarded for their efforts. The average mid-career teacher can expect a very nice paycheck of $116,324 each year, along with small, manageable class sizes with a student-to-staff ratio of 11:1. The approach is clearly paying off: not only are the teachers happy, but the students are too, at least if their test scores and graduation rates are anything to go by. Characterized by a tight-knit, hard-working community, excellent extracurricular programs, and a supportive environment, New Hyde Park is exactly the kind of place every teacher dreams of living and working.
18. Springfield, Missouri
Living on a teacher’s income can be tough in some parts of the country. Not so in Springfield, Missouri, a city where teachers can expect to have around 80% of their $57,000 salaries left after the rent has been paid. As the state’s sixth most populous city, Springfield might not be ideal for teachers looking for the quiet life. For those who like spending their free time browsing shops and enjoying the big city lights, it’s ideal.
17. Syracuse, New York
If you want to teach in the kind of place that’s values education, Syracuse could be your perfect match. In addition to having some of the highest average spending per student in the state, it also has one of the best student-to-teacher ratios in the country, meaning you can stop wasting time trying to control the class and get back to teaching it instead. If that wasn’t enough to attract you, the prospect of teaching in one of the prettiest and most appealing little cities in New York State just might.
16. Riverside, California
Set just a little east of Los Angeles, Riverside is an excellent place for teachers fed up with low salaries and high living costs. In a list put together by CNBC, it comes out top of the cities where teachers’ salaries go the furthest. On average, a teacher can expect to make around $62,192 per year. The city also has excellent career prospects and employment growth, giving you plenty of opportunities to find a school that matches your brief.
15. Johnstown, Pennsylvania
According to USA Today, the excellent teachers’ salaries in Johnstown are nicely complemented by very low housing costs. In fairness, it has to be pointed out that the low housing costs have less to do with benevolent landlords and more to do with the economic decline the former steelworker town has suffered in recent years. Even so, few teachers would turn their nose up at the prospect of spending just 16% of their salary on housing.
14. Carmel, California
How does the prospect of earning $117,302 per year appeal to you? If you answered ‘a lot,’ you might want to consider making Carmel, California your next home. The salaries are high, the student to teacher ratio is hard to fault, the graduation rate is 97 percent, and no one can complain about the test scores. Completing the pretty picture are scenic campuses, well-structured curriculums, and environments that aim to support teachers just as much as they do students.
13. Washington, D.C.
On average, teachers in Washington, D.C. earn around $81,167, significantly more than in many other parts of the country. Sure, the cost of living may be on the high side, but most teachers will still find themselves with a decent amount of disposable income left after the bills have been paid. Other than a healthy salary, teachers in the city can also expect one of the best student-to-teacher ratios in the country. With just 14.65 students to each teacher, the pressure to control a room of rowdy teenagers is off, leaving you free to get down to some proper teaching.
12. Jericho, New York
Listwithclever.com ranks Jericho as one of the best places for teachers to live in the US. Looking at the quality of some of the schools in the district, it’s not hard to see what’s bought them to the conclusion. The average student-teacher ratio in the district is an impressive 9:1, while the schools routinely rank as some of the safest and best-funded in the state – the average spend per student, for example, is over three times the national average at $37,027. If you’re looking to teach in the kind of schools where students are eager to learn and where teachers are supported to the max, Jericho could be your ideal match.
11. Northfield, Illinois
Ranked by Homes.com both as one of the best places to teach in America and the best school district in Illinois, there’s no escaping the fact that Northfield is heaven for teachers. The schools invest heavily in both resources and support, something that’s clear to see in the superb array of extracurricular activities, the outstanding test scores, and the happy smiles on the faces of the teachers. Salaries are high and Northfield even offers a special education tuition waiver program to exempt teachers from paying tuition.
10. Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces is hot, steamy, and incredibly cheap. Located just a short hop, skip and jump from the Mexican border, the cost of living in the city will leave teachers with plenty of cash at their disposal, even after all the bills have been paid. The average salary is more than reasonable, with a mid-career teacher drawing around $74,000 before taxes.
9. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
With excellent prospects and continued employment growth, Lancaster, Pennsylvania is a great place for teachers to call home. The spending per student ranks as among the highest in the country at $17,248. The student-to-teacher ratio is also outstanding, with just 14.17 students per teacher. The beautiful campuses, high level of student engagement, and very healthy salaries all combine to make the city an extremely attractive proposition.
8. Skokie, Illinois
If the thought of earning around $96,028 per year gets you excited, cast your eyes in the direction of Skokie, Illinois. Not only does this small city boast some of the highest-paid teachers in the country, but it also boasts some of the happiest. Low student- teachers ratios, high engagement, above-average student expenditure, safe classrooms, supportive communities, challenging curriculums… the list of things to put a smile on your face goes on.
7. Phoenix, Arizona
Over the last few years, Phoneix has grown into its own. Once dismissed as boring, dismal, and far, far too hot for comfort, it’s now a lively, diverse city with a fast-growing (and very well deserved) reputation for its food scene, its entertainment, and its opportunities. If things continue to progress in the way they’ve been doing, it’ll soon rank much higher on our list than it does now. But even today, it’s still an incredible place to teach, with an ever-increasing array of employment opportunities leading to diminished competition and more chances for you to pick your perfect school. The salaries aren’t the highest in the US, but neither is the cost of living. If you want to live and work in one of the hottest (both literally and figuratively) cities for teaching in the US, there’s never been a better time to head to Phoenix.
6. Rochester, New York
Named by Smart Asset as one of the best places to be a teacher in the US, Rochester has a lot to offer the teaching community. Both the average spending per student and the student-to-teacher ratio are among the best in the country, leading to quiet, engaged classrooms and more than enough resources to go around. Understandably, a lot of teachers are drawn to the town, with the result that a significant 2.24 percent of Rochester’s workforce consists of teachers. If you want to feel part of a community, it’s a great place to make your base.
5. Little Rock, Arkansas
Up next is Little Rock, the largest city in Arkansas and unquestionably one of its prime locations for teachers. With a low cost of living, healthy salaries, and supportive environments, Little Rock is ideal for teachers looking to combine a great standard of living with a happy working life. The city itself might be the most densely populated in the state, but it’s still small enough to rock a friendly, welcoming vibe, with just enough big city attractions to keep hardcore city slickers happy.
4. Glenview, Illinois
If you’re looking to live in the kind of place where you feel your teaching efforts are supported, where the cost of living won’t leave you struggling to make ends meet, and where students routinely turn up to class ready and willing to learn, you might want to consider the village of Glenview. Set around 15 miles northwest of the Chicago Loop, the village has a population of around 47,308, plenty of amenities, and some of the best-rated schools around. Student engagement is high, resulting in excellent levels of proficiency and high test scores. If you’re tired of feeling like you’re talking to the wall during your lessons, a move to Glenview could be just the thing to reawaken your passion.
3. Solon, Ohio
Solon is widely regarded as one of the very best cities in the US for teachers. Why? Although it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason, it’s fair to assume the competitive salaries, challenging, well-conceived curriculums, supportive environments, and low student-to-staff ratios have something to do with it. As a slight caveat to this, it’s worth pointing out the cost of living is a little on the high side – 25 percent higher than the average for Ohio, in fact. Fortunately, those competitive salaries we mentioned earlier will go a long way in keeping your head above water.
2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Named by rentberry.com as one of the best places in the country for teachers, there no doubting Pittsburgh’s appeal. The average teaching salary of $53,490 might not sound like great shakes, but in a city that ranks as one of the most affordable in the US, it still gives you plenty of spending power. The cost of housing is incredibly low, meaning you’ll still have plenty to save or spend once the rent goes out. Schools like North Allegheny High School, Fox Chapel Area High School, and Mt. Lebanon Senior High School are great places to work, offering teachers the kind of supportive, encouraging environment that brings out the best in everyone. If you want a decent income, a happy working environment, and the opportunity to live in a diverse, vibrant city, Pittsburgh is a no-brainer.
1. Cambridge, Massachusetts
When it comes to education, Cambridge has it covered. The city is known throughout the world for premier institutions like Harvard University and M.I.T. Clearly, all that academic excellence isn’t restricted to universities, as the city also boasts some of the most prestigious and well-respected schools in the country. If you want to teach here, you’ll be expected to meet some tough standards. If you pass the test, you’ll be rewarded with engaged students, incredible resources, plenty of support, and a very healthy salary. If you’re looking for the most teacher-friendly city in the country, look no further.