Arizona’s rank for teacher salary median when adjusted for the cost of living.

Elementary School Teachers

Rank Salary
United States $58,230
New Mexico 30 $56,752
Utah 24 $59,351
Colorado 46 $48,769
Arizona 49 $45,353

Secondary School Teachers

Rank Salary
United States $60,320
New Mexico 32 $57,567
Utah 27 $59,175
Colorado 47 $50,174
Arizona 48 $48,693

Comparable Professions

Rank Salary
Accountant and Auditor* 32 $66,784
Civil Engineer* 37 $82,376
Occupational Therapist* 4 $94,450
Physician Assistant* 27 $109,046
Elementary School Teacher 49 $45,353

Few things have greater impact than a highly effective teacher in every classroom and a strong leader in every school, yet Arizona is facing a teacher shortage crisis.

A 2017 report by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy offers further insight into the teacher recruitment and retention issues we’ve been hearing about for several years.

  • When adjusted for inflation, elementary teachers are paid 14% less than in 2001 and Arizona secondary teachers are paid 11% less.
  • When adjusted for cost of living, Arizona elementary teacher pay is lowest in the nation and high school teacher pay is 49th of the 50 states.

In addition, we learn that high percentages of teachers are leaving the profession within their first few years and that rural and urban schools alike struggle to attract and retain quality educators.

If we care about the success of every student, this is an issue we cannot wait to address. Arizona’s students deserve better than last. And investments in our teachers and classroom will positively impact our communities and everyone’s quality of life.

Arizona should minimally work to move toward the national median. Understanding that this requires a tremendous ongoing investment of resources, Expect More Arizona is advocating for new funding to increase teacher pay over the long-term.

We must also create opportunities for meaningful professional development, high-quality mentoring, and induction programs, as well as student loan forgiveness programs for Arizona educators.