Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world – educating our youth to become the future of our world. For those who choose the career path to become a teacher, they know it may not be easy, but they are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of their students, whether they teach Pre-K or graduate school classes.

Many teachers don't get the credit they deserve for doing such noble work. They may not be rightfully appreciated, paid very well, or work in an environment that provides the best atmosphere for them and their students. Others are luckier, with teaching/learning-conducive schools, fair pay, and are treated with the utmost respect, as they ought to be.

Depending on the U.S. state in which they teach, the opportunities and environments can be as different as night and day. That is why WalletHub's recent analysis of 2017's best and worst states for teachers is eye-opening. The personal finance website compared the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to help educators find the best places in the country to teach based on 21 key metrics. These include annual salaries, teacher turnover rate, teacher-student ratio, school spending, the best and worst school systems, teacher safety, and more. WalletHub's panel of experts reviewed and assessed the findings to determine which states were the best in terms of teacher-friendliness and which fared worst.

The top 5 states for teachers (#1 being the overall best):

  • 1. New York
  • 2. New Jersey
  • 3. Illinois
  • 4. Connecticut
  • 5. Pennsylvania

The bottom 5 states for teachers (#1 being the overall worst):

  • 1. Arizona
  • 2. Hawaii
  • 3. South Carolina
  • 4. Mississippi
  • 5. Florida

Did your state rank in the top or bottom 5? If you're a teacher or aspire to get into the profession, will these findings make an impact on where you choose to teach?

While these states are not in the top 5, some notable standouts include:

Wyoming – ranked #8 overall. Here teachers earn the highest starting salary (cost of living adjustments considered). They make $47,185 at the start of their career on average.

Vermont – ranked #27 overall. The student-teacher ratio is lowest in Vermont – 10.55. Students will get greater personal attention when the teacher has fewer students in their class.

Massachusetts – ranked #7 overall. This state ranked #1 for the very best school systems in the nation.

For the full ranking and additional specifics on WalletHub's findings, see the entire report.

If you are not in the teaching profession but are curious about the best and worst cities for jobs on the whole, see our report on WalletHub's best and worst cities for jobs in 2017.

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