Teacher Compensation Dashboard
New Data & New Design
The newly designed Teacher Compensation Dashboard features state-by-state annual data for the Southern region on average compensation packages to teachers, including: teacher salaries, retirement benefits, health benefit options, and calculations on typical take-home pay for teachers.
Our most recent update features data from the 2021-22 school year, corrections to previous years and design updates – including the ability to easily see trend data across years for each state.
A new dashboard featuring 2022-23 example district data on average teacher compensation by urbanicity is forthcoming in early 2024!
Teacher Salary Footnotes
Average salaries and state salary schedules are featured from 2013 on.
Definitions and Sources
Cost of Living Index (%): The average annual cost of living index percentage by state, assuming the national COLI is 100%. It is the cost of achieving a certain level of utility (or standard of living) in one year relative to the cost of achieving the same level the next year. Sourced from the Council for Community and Economic Research. COLIs are listed from 2016 on.
Teacher Wage Penalty (%): How much less, in percentage terms, public school teachers are paid in weekly wages relative to other college-educated workers (after accounting for factors known to affect earnings such as education, experience and state residence). Sourced from Economic Policy Institute reports:
- The Teacher Pay Penalty Has Hit a New High: Trends in Teacher Wages and Compensation Through 2021. Economic Policy Institute, August 2022.
- Teacher Pay Penalty Dips but Persists in 2019. Economic Policy Institute, September 2020.
- The Teacher Weekly Wage Penalty Hit 21.4 Percent in 2018, a Record High. Economic Policy Institute, April 2019.
- The Teacher Pay Penalty Has Hit a New High: Trends in the Teacher Wage and Compensation Gaps Through 2017. Economic Policy Institute, September 2018.
- The Teacher Pay Gap Is Wider Than Ever: Teachers’ Pay Continues to Fall Further Behind Pay of Comparable Workers. Economic Policy Institute, August 2016.
All Teacher Salary Averages: 2013-2014 through 2021-22 school years. Sourced from National Education Association reports (for available corresponding years) Rankings of the States and Estimates of School Statistics and Teacher Salary Benchmark Report.
Minimum 0-Yr, 15-Yr, 35-Yr Salary Base: Based on SREB review of state minimum teacher salary schedules from state websites for teachers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. All figures from the corresponding school years, with the exception of the Delaware 2018-19 school year which uses figures from the 2019-20 school year. Figures do not include any state or local supplements or additions for higher degree attainment. Florida, Louisiana, Maryland and Virginia do not have teacher salary schedules. Minimum starting salaries for these states reflect the lowest full-time public school teacher salary paid in a district within the state, when data is available.
Time to Max Salary: The number of years it will take a teacher to reach the maximum salary available on the statewide teacher salary schedule, per degree label. These figures do not include state bonuses or local supplements.
Time to Reach $50,000: The least number of years it will take a teacher to reach a $50k salary based on the state minimum salary schedule, not including state bonuses or local supplements.
- “50-State Scan: Teacher Recruitment and Retention 2022″ – Teacher Compensation and Financial Incentives Section, Education Commission of States
- “Teachers’ Base Salary and Districts’ Academic Performance: Evidence from National Data” – Emma Garcia and Eunice S. Han (March 2022)
- “Do Smarter Teachers Make Smarter Students?” – Eric Hanushek, Marc Piopiunik, and Simon Wiederhold, Education Next
- “Raising public school teacher pay: What the research says” – Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist’s Resource
- “Your State’s Teachers Are Underpaid. Find Out By How Much” – Alvin Chang, Vox
Teacher Health Benefits Footnotes
All health insurance information displayed represents state-based options only for each school year or fiscal year (identical in most states) from 2019 on. Because most states do not display archived health insurance information, data prior to 2019-20 was not included in this dashboard as it was not available during our baseline year collection timeframe for all states. All plan information was retrieved through state-specific benefit websites.
Premiums (Individual and Family): The amount paid monthly for health insurance. Premiums listed for both individual and family coverage are the maximum amount paid by employees.
Deductibles (Individual and Family): The amount you pay for covered health care services before the insurance plan starts to pay.
Out-of-Pocket Maximums (Individual and Family): The most you must pay for covered services in a plan year. This includes deductibles, copayments and coinsurance for in-network care and services.
Individual State Notes and Sources
Delaware: Delaware Department of Human Resources
Florida: Florida Department of Management Services. In addition to the statewide benefits displayed in the dashboard, Florida provides additional plans through other health insurance providers that are district-specific.
Georgia: Georgia State Health Benefit Plan. In addition to the statewide benefits displayed, some Georgia districts provide additional plans through other health insurance providers. These locally based plans are not displayed.
Kentucky: Kentucky Employees’ Health Plan. Kentucky’s premium rates were decided by a formula in 2019-20: Plan Option Cost + Tobacco Usage + Living Well Promise + Time Specific Adjustments. In 2020-21 and beyond, the rate formula was discontinued, and a standard premium amount was instituted for state plans. With this restructuring, Kentucky greatly lowered the premium cost for all state plans.
Louisiana: State of Louisiana Office of Group Benefits
Maryland: The state does not provide an option for educator health insurance. Instead, health insurance is provided at the district level and therefore is not represented in this dashboard. Examples of district benefits are recorded in the new dashboard: Example District Average Teacher Net Pay and Local Economic Data by Urbanicity.
Mississippi: Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration. Mississippi’s premium rate is for Horizon Employees hired after Jan. 1, 2006.
North Carolina: North Carolina State Health Plan. North Carolina’s premium rate is for those with completed tobacco attestation.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services — Group Insurance Division. Premium costs are deducted by the amount the state contributes to each plan, which in 2019-22 was equal to single coverage premiums from the HealthChoice High plan.
South Carolina: South Carolina Department of Education
Tennessee: Tennessee Partners for Health. Tennessee’s premium rates only encompass the approximately 45% state subsidy found in the healthcare documentation.
Texas: Teacher Retirement System of Texas. The state has moved to a regionally-based health care plan benefit cost structure. The state was divided into 20 regions in 2023 and each region has an adjusted premium, deductible and out of pocket cost differentiation. SREB averaged the figures across the state to reach the sums provided in the health benefits section for 2023. See this webpage for exact figures in each of the 20 regions.
West Virginia: West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency. West Virginia’s deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums vary by salary for three of their plans.
- “Affordable Benefits are Key to High-Quality Teacher Compensation” – Guest Blogger Megan Boren, Education Commission of the States
- “How Much Does Teacher Health Insurance Cost?” – Chad Aldeman, Teacherpensions.org
- “Healthcare for Life” – Chad Aldeman, EdSource.org
- “How Are School Districts Dealing with Rising Health Insurance Costs?” – N. Gerber, National Council on Teacher Quality
Teacher Retirement Benefits Footnotes
All retirement plan figures are for the corresponding fiscal years (in most states identical to the school years) from 2018 on. Plans identified with tier levels are defined benefit plans. Updates were made in 2023 to correct some state normal cost rates.
Definitions and Sources
Defined Benefit (DB): A pension plan that is designed to provide participants with a predefined, predictable and guaranteed benefit based on a formula that takes into account an employee’s compensation, years of service and age, or a combination thereof. Many states have instituted tiered levels with plan changes based on year hired.
Defined Contribution (DC): Plans such as 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b) in which retirement savings grow through contribution amounts and investment strategy. The retirement benefit is not pre-determined and is entirely dependent upon the account balance at retirement.
State Pension Benefit Formulas: Multiplier percentage set by the state, multiplied by the average final salary calculation, multiplied by years of service. Sourced from state retirement system handbooks.
Social Security: Social Security originally only covered private workers, but in the 1950s, Congress allowed states to extend coverage to their workers. Some states opted out of enrolling their workers and instead relied on pension plan payout formulas. About 40% of public-school teachers (more than 1 million) are not covered by Social Security according to Bellwether Education Partners.
Vesting Period: A federally mandated minimum period before a retirement plan is unconditionally owned by an employee.
Employee Contribution (%): Percentage contribution amounts mandated by each system. Employee contribution (%) is sourced from state retirement system handbooks.
Employer Contribution (%): The actuarial percentage contribution required by state and district funds; percentages sourced from state retirement system valuation or actuarial reports.
Employer Normal Cost Rate (%): The amount of an employer’s contribution that goes toward a teacher’s retirement benefit, as opposed to paying for unfunded liabilities. Sourced from state retirement system financial reports.
Total Contribution to Teacher Benefit (%): The total contribution amount that goes directly to a teacher’s retirement benefit, which is calculated by adding the Employee Contribution + the Employer Normal Cost Rate.
Contribution to Unfunded Liabilities (%): The amount from an employer’s contribution that is used for paying down unfunded liabilities (as opposed to contributing directly to a teacher’s retirement benefit). Sourced from state retirement system financial reports and handbooks.
Full Retirement Status: Reflects eligibility to retire with full benefits. All states offer an early retirement option with partial benefits. Retirement status in any state is still subject to federal IRS regulation. Sourced from state retirement system handbooks.
Typical Gross Annual Pension Benefit: What the average teacher retiree may gross annually in retirement income. Net benefits and social security benefits are not calculated. This calculation provides a potential typical gross annual pension benefit in each year by state retirement tier. This calculation is not provided for defined contribution or hybrid plans due to the vast number of variables in investments and returns.
Years to Break Even and Percentage of Teachers Who Will Not Break Even (2018-19 sheets only): The number of years it will take a teacher in each plan to earn a pension worth more than their own contributions plus interest and the percent of teachers in the state who will not exceed this point. This analysis does not apply to defined contribution or hybrid plans. Sourced from an analysis by Aldeman and Johnson: https://www.teacherpensions.org/sites/default/files/TeacherPensions_Negative%20Returns_Final.pdf
SREB Assumptions for Typical Gross Annual Pension Benefit:
- The calculations utilize the state plan’s benefit formula which is usually a multiplier, times average of highest pay over a certain number of years, times total years of service. For all calculations, teacher retirees were assumed to be aged 65 with 30 years of service – the common age and service requirement across the region to receive full pension benefits.
- SREB calculated the highest average pay over a certain number of years by: 1) assuming the state’s average top salary as the highest salary amount, 2) calculating the additional highest years of salary by reducing the average top salary amount by the regional average step increase amount linked to years of service that most states utilize in their teacher salary schedule, and 3) averaging these salary amounts for the number of years required in each state’s pension benefit formula.
Individual State Source Links and Notes
Alabama plans (https://www.rsa-al.gov/trs) are based on year hired. Tier I: teachers hired before 2013; Tier II: teachers hired in or after 2013. As of Oct. 1, 2021, the employee contribution for Tier II was raised 0.2% by the state legislature. Employer normal cost rate updates have been incorporated for all years as of fall 2023.
Arkansas (https://www.artrs.gov) has one defined benefit plan for teachers. Unlike most state plans, Arkansas adjusts the employee contribution amount annually.
Delaware (https://open.omb.delaware.gov/) Tier I: teachers hired before 2012; Tier II: teachers hired in or after 2012.
Florida (https://www.myfrs.com) Tier I: teachers hired before July 1, 2011. The pension formula is calculated by a range multiplier based on age and years of service (age 62 or 30 years 1.60%; age 63 or 31 years 1.63%; age 64 or 32 years 1.65%; age 65 or 33 years 1.68%). Tier II: hired on or after July 1, 2011. The pension formula range multiplier changes (age 65 or 33 years 1.60%; age 66 or 34 years 1.63%; age 67 or 35 years 1.65%; age 68 or 36 years 1.68%). New teachers are automatically enrolled in the Investment (DC) plan but can opt to switch to the defined benefit plan at any time. Current teachers hired before July 1, 2011, with five years of service and those hired on or after July 1, 2011, with eight years of service can also opt into a hybrid option within the Investment plan to include partial pension benefits. When a teacher elects this option, the current pension benefit is frozen, and all future contributions are directed to the investment plan.
Georgia: (https://www.trsga.com/) Defined Benefit Legacy: teachers hired before 2009; GSEPS Georgia State Employees Pension and Savings plan: teachers hired in or after 2009.
Kentucky (https://trs.ky.gov/) TRS I: hired prior to July 1, 2002; TRS II: between July 2002-2008; TRS III: between July 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2021; TRS IV applies to future teachers hired on or after Jan. 1, 2022. The pension formula in Tier III is calculated by a range multiplier based on a scale of years of service for those hired after 2008. Ranges include 1-10 years (1.7); 10.01-20 (2); 20.01-26 (2.3); 26.01-30 (2.5); and 30+ (3). The pension benefit formula for Tier IV is based on two factors: age factor, which is 1.7% from age 57 to 60 and then increases monthly to 1.9% at age 65; and career factor, which is 0.25% from 20 to 29.99 years of service or 0.5% at 30 or more years of service.
Louisiana (https://www.trsl.org/) Tier I: system member before July 1, 1999. Those who retire later (age 65+ or 30+ years of service) are incentivized with a 2.5% benefit multiplier. Tier II: system member between July 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2010; Tier III: system member between 2011 and June 30, 2015; Tier IV: system member from July 1, 2015 on.
Maryland (https://sra.maryland.gov/) has two tiers, including the Alternate Contributory Pension Selection plan for teachers hired before July 1, 2011, and the Reformed Contributory Pension Benefit plan for those hired on or after July 1, 2011. Teachers may opt into supplemental defined contribution plans — 457, 401(k) and 403(b) options are available — but there is no employer contribution to these options.
Mississippi (https://www.pers.ms.gov/) Tier I: hired before July 1, 2007; Tier II: hired between July 1, 2007, and June 30, 2011; Tier III: hired on or after July 1, 2011.
North Carolina (https://www.myncretirement.com/member-education/teachers-and-state-employees-retirement-system-tsers) has one defined benefit plan for all employees. The state has instituted a contributions-based benefit cap of $100,000 (adjusted annually for inflation) on a teachers’ average final compensation. Employees are permitted to also invest independently in a supplemental NC 401(k) or NC 457 plan (defined contribution) to accrue additional retirement savings.
Oklahoma (https://oklahoma.gov/trs.html) Tier I: hired before July 1, 1992; Tier II: hired between July 1, 1992 and Nov. 1, 2011; Tier III: hired after Nov. 1, 2011. For those in Tier III, the vestment period increases to 7 years only for those hired after Nov. 1, 2017. There is also an optional 403(b) defined contribution plan but offering this is left up to districts.
South Carolina (https://www.peba.sc.gov/) Class 2: hired before July 1, 2012; Class 3: hired on or after July 1, 2012. Teachers can also opt between the defined benefit applicable to their hire date or the defined contribution plan.
Tennessee (https://treasury.tn.gov/Retirement/Retire-Ready-Tennessee/for-Teachers) Teachers hired before 2014 participate in the Legacy DB plan and optional 401(k) with a vestment period of 5 years. Newly hired teachers enroll in the hybrid plan. Tennessee’s hybrid plan includes partial pension and investment savings options. Teachers are automatically vested in the investment plan portion. Employees contribute 2% to the investment and 5% to the pension portion, while the employer contributes 5% to the investment and 4% to the pension portion.
Texas (https://www.trs.texas.gov) has six tiers in its teacher retirement system based on multiple eligibility criteria, including qualifications to be grandfathered, when service began, when vested, and active status. See this handbook for details: https://www.trs.texas.gov/TRS%20Documents/benefits_handbook.pdf.
Virginia (https://www.varetire.org/) Previously hired teachers had the option of choosing one of two defined benefit plans and could opt into the new hybrid plan. Teachers hired after 2014 enroll in a hybrid pension and investment plan. Virginia’s defined contribution portion of the hybrid plan has a gradual vesting period (50% vested after 2 years, 75% vested after 3 years, fully vested after 4 years). Employees contribute between 1 to 5%, to the investment portion and 5% to the pension portion. The employer contributes between 1 to 3.5% to the investment portion and 15.68% to the pension portion. An optional 457 Deferred Compensation plan is also available to teachers.
West Virginia (https://www.wvretirement.com/TRS.html) Tier I: teachers hired before July 2015; Tier II: teachers hired after July 1, 2015. Teachers in Tier I who were members of the state retirement plan before July 1, 1991, receive 15% employer contributions. West Virginia had a defined contribution plan option between 1991 and 2005 when it was closed to new membership; it is not an option for new teachers to participate in this plan currently. For those who opted into this plan prior to 2005, the plan had a gradual vesting period of (1/3 vested at 6 years, 2/3 vested at 9 years, and fully vested at 12 years).
- Comparing Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans: Example from the Florida Retirement System: https://www.myfrs.com/pdf/forms/BCS.pdf
- “4 Ways State Leaders Can Lower Teacher Pension Costs” – Guest Blogger, Chad Aldeman, Education Commission of the States
- “Social Security, Teacher Pensions, and the “Qualified” Retirement Plan Test” – Chad Aldeman, Bellwether Education Partners
- “Teacher Pension Plans: How They Work, and How They Affect Recruitment, Retention, and Equity” – Chad Aldeman, Bellwether Education Partners
Teacher Take Home Pay Footnotes
Typical Teacher Take Home Pay: What the average first-year teacher, mid-career or 15th year teacher, and 35th year teacher brings home in their paycheck after deducting their required retirement contribution, their health insurance premium costs and taxes, as calculated by SREB. Calculations do NOT include extra deductions for additional health benefits, FSA or HSA options, etc., additional retirement savings by employees, nor additional tax withholdings.
Note: Maryland does not provide an option for educator health insurance. Instead, health insurance is provided at the district level and therefore is not represented in Maryland’s take home pay calculation.
SREB Calculation Assumptions for 2019 Take Home Pay
- Tax Calculations: July 1, 2019, date used for calculation of federal and state taxes using ADP.com with applicable marital status and one allowance.
- Typical 1st year teacher: Hired in 2018. Average state starting bachelor’s salary. Single w/ no dependents. Selects HMO plan for employee only. Eligible for newest pension plan tier or investment/hybrid plan option.
- Typical 15th year teacher: Hired in 2004. Average state salary. Married with two children, spouse is employed. Selects family PPO plan. Eligible for pension plan tier applicable to hire date.
- Typical 35th year teacher: Hired in 1984. Average state top salary. Married with two children under age 26; employed spouse. Selects family PPO plan. Eligible for pension plan tier applicable to hire date.
SREB Calculation Assumptions for 2020 Take Home Pay
- UPDATED: Corrections have been made to several state health premiums used for calculation take home pay.
- UPDATED: Tax calculations have been updated for June 1, 2020, date for calculation of federal and state taxes using ADP.com with applicable marital status and one allowance.
- Typical 1st year teacher: Hired in 2019. Average state starting bachelor’s salary. Single w/ no dependents. Selects HMO plan for employee only. Eligible for newest pension plan tier or investment/hybrid plan option.
- Typical 15th year teacher: Hired in 2005. Average state salary. Married with two children, spouse is employed. Selects family PPO plan. Eligible for pension plan tier applicable to hire date.
- Typical 35th year teacher: Hired in 1985. Average state top salary. Married with two children under age 26; employed spouse. Selects family PPO plan. Eligible for pension plan tier applicable to hire date.
SREB Calculations for 2021 Take Home Pay
- OF NOTE: Kentucky’s dramatic increase in take-home pay for each teacher experience level for 2020 is mostly attributed to the restructuring and reduced cost of state health premiums for all state plans.
- Tax calculations: June 1, 2021, date used for calculation of federal and state taxes using ADP.com with applicable marital status and one allowance.
- Typical 1st year teacher: Hired in 2020. Average state starting bachelor’s salary. Single w/ no dependents. Selects HMO plan for employee only. Eligible for newest pension plan tier or investment/hybrid plan option.
- Typical 15th year teacher: Hired in 2006. Average state salary. Married with two children, spouse is employed. Selects family PPO plan. Eligible for pension plan tier applicable to hire date.
- Typical 35th year teacher: Hired in 1986. Average state top salary. Married with two children under age 26; employed spouse. Selects family PPO plan. Eligible for pension plan tier applicable to hire date.
SREB Calculations for 2022 Take Home Pay
- Tax calculations: June 1, 2022, date used for calculation of federal and state taxes using ADP.com with applicable marital status and one allowance.
- Typical 1st year teacher: Hired in 2021. Average state starting bachelor’s salary. Single w/ no dependents. Selects HMO plan for employee only. Eligible for newest pension plan tier or investment/hybrid plan option.
- Typical 15th year teacher: Hired in 2007. Average state salary. Married with two children, spouse is employed. Selects family PPO plan. Eligible for pension plan tier applicable to hire date.
- Typical 35th year teacher: Hired in 1987. Average state top salary. Married with two children under age 26; employed spouse. Selects family PPO plan. Eligible for pension plan tier applicable to hire date.