Teachers are the lifeblood of our economy and our future. The occupation is challenging yet rewarding as teachers are tasked to help shape and guide our future generations and prepare them for adulthood. In addition to preparing the class curriculum, clearly communicating classroom lessons, and coaching students to understand the materials, teachers also prepare students for the next stage, whether it’s graduating from preschool to kindergarten or high school to college. Teachers can specialize in a particular subject such as math or biology; however, for grades K-12, teachers usually have a general knowledge across core subjects.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 500,000 preschool teachers, 1.6 million kindergarten and elementary school teachers, 600,000 middle school teachers, and over 1.1 million high school teacher jobs in the U.S. The field is growing at a 3.82% rate, which is just as fast as the average growth in other professions across the nation. But where are the best opportunities for teachers?
Our study at AdvisorSmith ranked 380 U.S. cities to determine the most attractive cities for teachers to pursue their careers in. We list the top 50 cities for teachers below, and we also break down the top small, midsize, and large cities for this profession.
Our analysis found that many of the best cities for teachers are midsize cities. Of the top 50 cities, 46% of them were midsize, 28% were small, and only 26% were large cities. A majority of the top cities were located in the east and west coasts. Midsize cities won out in our study, with 23 out of the top 50 cities having metro area populations between 150,000 and 500,000.
Top Cities for Teachers by City Size
Thirty-seven of the top 50 best cities for teachers were midsize or small cities, but smaller city living may not be ideal for everyone. In order to highlight this distinction in lifestyle preference, our study segments cities into different sizes based on population, listing the top 10 small (population under 150,000), midsize (population of 150,000-500,000), and large (greater than 500,000 population) cities for teachers.
- Rome ranked #16 overall in our study of 380 cities, beating out Dalton (#23), Brunswick (#30) and Augusta (#39).
- Rome hosts 67% more jobs for teachers on a per-capita basis compared with the U.S. average.
- The average annual salary for teachers in Rome, GA is $60,150, which is 17% higher than the national average.
AdvisorSmith’s study examined three key variables in determining the best cities for teachers to pursue their careers in.
1. Average annual salaries for teachers
For the purposes of this study, we focus on teachers ranging from preschool to high school, excluding special education and career/technical education.
We considered the average annual salary earned by teachers across the different teacher groups: preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school in each city in our study. The higher the average salary, the more highly we ranked a given metro area. The average salary for teachers in our study was $51,418.
2. Density of jobs for teachers in each city
Our study leveraged a location quotient, which represents the number of jobs available to teachers, relative to the national average. Cities with a higher location quotient have a higher concentration of jobs for teachers, which means more career opportunities and more demand for developers in those cities. Cities with higher location quotients ranked more highly in our study.
In 2018, there were 3.8 million teachers (preschool through high school) employed in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment for teachers will grow at a 3.82% pace over the 10-year period of 2018-2028, which is a fast as the national job growth outlook. This was calculated using a weighted average across the different age groups and number of jobs.
3. Cost of living index for each city
We adjusted the salaries earned by teachers in each city by a cost of living multiplier. The cost of living, including necessities such as rent, transportation, and groceries, varies by city, so it is important to normalize the salaries so that the cities can be compared fairly. Cities with more affordable lifestyles were ranked more highly in our study.
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook
 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics
 Sperling’s Best Places Cost of Living Index