SREB Takeaways on Teacher Compensation Data
Trends and highlights from our latest analysis


Stacks of coins in front of a bar graph and a line graph


Teacher compensation is about more than just salaries. Each year, we track and analyze the full package of teacher compensation data across the 16 states in the SREB region — from salaries to health care and retirement benefits to net take-home pay.

Here we highlight key takeaways from our most recent compensation analysis


Updated! Dive into your state’s data or compare across states

A summary of preparation, diversity, turnover and more across the South

Below: Explore key takeaways on teacher compensation in the South

Average Teacher Salaries

Average starting salary, average salary and average top salary vary across the SREB region.

A map that shows Maryland, Texas, and Florida had the highest average starting teacher salaries in the SREB region in 2020-2021. Another map that shows Maryland, Delaware, and Georgia had the highest average teacher salaries and the highest average top teacher salaries in the SREB region in 2021-2022.


Despite a cost of living index that averages 91% in 2022 (compared to 100% for the nation), the South lags significantly behind the nation in overall teacher salaries — paying 15% less than the national average.
A line graph showing average teacher starting salary, average salary, and average top salary for both the SREB region and the nation overall. All lines trend up, showing salaries increased between 2013-14 and 2021-22. But in every instance, salaries in the SREB region lag behind  national averages.

Explore more state-by-state teacher salary data using the Teacher Compensation Dashboard.


Teacher Health Benefits

A map showing Virginia, Alabama, and Florida had the lowest individual and family premium costs to teachers in 2023.

In 2023, SREB states were able to maintain the same average premium costs for employees, yet family coverage costs increased. The chart below shows changes to average and median premiums for health benefits (for both individual and family plans) in SREB states. You can also use the Dashboard to further explore state-by-state data. 

A line graph showing changes in health premiums for teachers across the SREB region between 2020 and 2023. Costs for individuals and families (both average and median) trended up and got more expensive.


A bar graph showing how average monthly teacher health premiums decreased by $360 per month for families and $197 for individuals in Texas after the state implemented a regionally-based health care plan benefit cost structure.

Texas 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. This resulted in lower premium costs to teachers on average across the state. However, premiums for family coverage in Texas are still some of the highest in the region. Note: Some (but not all) districts supplement the state contribution to further lower premium costs for teachers. 


Teacher Retirement Benefits

A map showing Delaware, Georgia,  and Maryland had the highest potential gross pension benefit for teachers currently eligible for retirement in 2021-2022. All states offer pension plans to teachers, and most SREB states have pension tiers with varying benefits for newer teachers. Six states now have portable investment or hybrid plan options for teachers — which can allow younger teachers to save more and can also be a cost-saving measure for state budgets by lowering their total unfunded liabilities.

SREB calculates a gross annual pension benefit for teachers for each plan by state. The chart below shows the changes in the regional average gross annual pension benefits for teachers currently at retirement. Nearly all states have lower pension benefit formulas for newly hired teachers, which reduces newer teachers’ gross benefit earning capability.

A line graph showing changes in gross pension payouts for retirement eligible teachers in the SREB region between 2019-2022. The line trends slightly upward.

Note: SREB calculates the typical gross annual pension benefit for a teacher in each state at age 65 with 30 years of service (not including Social Security). SREB is unable to calculate potential gross annual investment or hybrid plan benefit due to the high number of variables related to investments and returns.


Teacher Take-Home Pay

A map showing Delaware, Maryland, and Florida had the highest average take-home pay for teachers in 2022.

SREB calculates typical take-home or net pay for teachers in each state at different stages in their career.

A bar graph showing changes in average net / take-home pay for teachers in the SREB region between 2019-2022 for teachers with 1 year of experience, 15 years, and 35 years of experience. For each experience level take-home pay increased slightly during this timeframe, but can generally be classified as low.

Note: SREB calculates typical net pay for teachers in each state at different stages of their career (gross salary minus benefit costs and taxes) using standard assumptions for age, family, tax status and health needs.


*Sample District Average Teacher Compensation & Local Economic Data

To provide users with more up-to-date, locally-based sample context to teacher compensation and how it varies widely across districts in the South, SREB collected sample rural, urban and suburban district data from 48 districts to calculate a more accurate look at teachers’ take-home pay in different contexts. Additionally, SREB also provides local economic and cost of living data sourced from the Council for Community and Economic Research to understand how far the average teacher’s paycheck stretches and the financial implications of their compensation packages. 

See a spotlight on three district samples from Maryland below.

Note: In the chart below, “basic living expenses” refers to the county’s average cost of housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, and healthcare.

 A chart showing the average teacher gross and net salary compared to median household income in three Maryland school districts/counties. The chart also shows teachers' average gross and net monthly salary and uses local cost of living index to calculate how much of each pay check they have left over after paying for basic living expenses.