Those who teach our youngest students are visionaries and dreamers, full of inspiration and excitement. They have the honor of planting seeds of knowledge in our children’s lives, and watching those seeds take root as they grow up and out. It’s a truly noble profession. But does it pay well?

Teachers’ salaries are based on a number of factors, including education level, experience, and where they work. As with most careers, there are some states and cities where the average salary is higher than others. But what you may not realize is that the cost of living also plays a factor. Teachers in more expensive communities must often balance their salaries with the higher costs of housing and goods and services.

To maximize your earning potential, consider pursuing a master’s degree in teaching. The average teacher with a master’s earns about $2,760 more than their counterpart with just a bachelor’s. Many universities offer hybrid or fully online programs that can fit your schedule and provide the pedagogical training you need to make a meaningful contribution as an educator.

The highest average teacher salaries are found in the Bay Area and Southern California, where teachers enjoy a higher standard of living than the national average. Teachers in these regions typically earn between $82,746 and $93,160, which is well above the national average of $63,930. Teachers in other states, such as Louisiana and West Virginia, earn less than the national average.