Blog Post

Insight: Teacher Salaries: How Does Utah Compare?

By: Andrea Thomas Brandley

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

Teacher salaries are receiving a boost as Utah’s 2023 legislative session concludes. H.B. 215 “Funding for Teacher Salaries and Optional Education Opportunities” provides licensed educators with an annual $4,200 pay raise (with an extra $1,800 in benefits). Additionally, S.B. 183 “Educator Salary Amendments” will tie educator salary adjustments to the weighted pupil unit (WPU) growth rate, positively impacting the growth of teacher salaries over time.

With significant changes to teacher salaries on the horizon, I wondered, how do Utah teacher salaries compare nationally?

Figure 1 shows the estimated K-12 teacher salary for every state, adjusted for cost of living, for the 2020-2021 school year. When comparing teacher salaries across states, Utah’s salary of $56,918 ranks 30th. When adjusted for cost of living, Utah’s adjusted average salary increases to $62,479, ranking 28th. Utah’s adjusted average salary trails the national average ($65,090) by a few thousand dollars.

Figure 1: Estimated Adjusted Average Annual K-12 Teacher Salary by State, 2020-2021

(Adjusted for Cost of Living using the Comparable Wage Index for Teachers, CWIFT)

Source: National Center for Education Statistics Table 211.60 and Comparable Wage Index for Teachers

F