What’s the Best State for Teachers? This Year’s Answer Might Surprise You 

Seeking a stable teacher salary and a healthy work environment? A new analysis suggests heading north. This year, North Dakota took first place in personal finance site WalletHub’s annual ranking of the best and worst states to be a teacher.

The other states rounding out the top five spots this year?

  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wyoming
  • Connecticut

The ranking is based mostly on what the website calls “opportunity and competition”—factors including the average salary and starting pay for teachers, the potential for income growth over the course of a career, pension, tenure protections, and job competition in the state. Scores on these metrics make up 70 percent of a state’s rating. The other 30 percent comes from measures of a teacher’s work environment and quality of life. These categories cover things like per-pupil spending and teacher-student ratio, but also union strength, commute time, and how supported teachers feel in their jobs.