Which Region of the Country Has the Best School Systems and the Highest Paying Teaching Jobs?As populations soar across the United States so does the demand for skilled educators, and the regions of the country with the best school systems usually have the highest paying teaching jobs. The average pay for teachers across the country is a little over $55,000 per year; the lowest paid teachers annually earn about $37,000 and the highest paid instructors make about $85,000. A key factor that impacts pay for teachers is school location. Although struggling school systems may provide monetary incentives to educators who have expertise in specialty subjects like math and science or in underserved niche areas like special education, most teachers find their best opportunities for higher pay and broader ranges of responsibility at secondary schools that already have reputations for academic excellence. Here are four regions where highly ranked schools offer the highest pay to top talent in the field of education.

Northeast Region

The Northeast section of the country is one of the top hubs for outstanding secondary schools in the nation. This region is sometimes referred to as New England, and it is home to high performing schools in Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut. New York, which is a Northeastern state that borders both the Great Lakes and Mid Atlantic regions, also has a number of high schools that have reputations as top performers. Newsweek conducted a survey in 2014 of the best high schools in America based upon their students’ level of preparedness for university subjects and their graduation rates. Nearly 20 percent of the top 491 schools identified were in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. The Northeast region is also where teachers find the highest pay scales for their profession, which is in part due to high performance expectations as well as the region’s notoriously high cost of living.

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Mid-Atlantic Region

Teachers who want opportunities to earn higher pay in slightly lower cost of living areas consider positions in Mid-Atlantic states like Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. For the same Newsweek survey of top American high schools of 2014, Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia and Union County Magnet High School in New Jersey were ranked number one and two out of 491 respectively. The Charter School of Wilmington in Delaware came in a respectable 10th place among the schools surveyed. Many of these schools, like the High Tech High School in North Bergen, New Jersey which focuses on preparing students for technology related college degree programs and careers, get top marks for academic excellence, school culture and quality of faculty.

Great Lakes Region

Generously sprinkled throughout Midwestern farm communities are some of the best schools in the country. The Newsweek survey of top schools in 2014 gave special recognition to many schools in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, and Northside College Preparatory High School in Illinois was ranked third out of 491 schools.

West Coast Region

Although the West Coast is known for its temperate climates, overcrowded cities and water shortages, there is no shortage of excellent secondary schools with top pay for teachers. California has the largest number of high performing schools in the West, according to recent surveys. Due to its growing immigrant population, the California public school system presents teachers who have English as a Second Language instructional skills and credentials with plenty of career opportunities.


Many teachers have a passion for helping students from communities facing socioeconomic challenges find success, and they are willing to sacrifice potentially higher pay to follow their convictions. However, the top ranked schools offer more than higher pay to skilled teachers. The teachers who work at these schools are frequently exposed to the best training and tools in the industry. After their experiences in the highest paying teaching jobs, many instructors can return to underprivileged community schools armed with new techniques and ideas to help students, who are not in a region of the country with the best school systems, achieve their academic goals.

For more information on high-paying teaching jobs, please see: What are the Highest Paying Jobs in Education?