January 2, 2013

Teacher pay versus Firefighter pay by State

Who makes more: teachers or firefighters?    In most places teachers have higher average wages but in some states the firefighters come out ahead.    Nationally elementary teachers average $55,270 and firefighters average $47,720.   In general teachers make more than firefighters nationally.   But some states thats not the case.

I pulled the average wage numbers for firefighters from the May 2011 State Cross-Industry estimates at the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics pages.  The teachers salary figures are from the Teachers Portal.

Heres all the data showing the average annual wages for teachers versus firefighters :



teachers firefighters
Alabama $47,803  $39,200
Alaska $62,918  $50,910
Arizona $47,553  $44,010
Arkansas $46,500  $34,810
California $67,871  $71,030
Colorado $49,228  $53,900
Connecticut $69,165  $55,740
Delaware $57,934  $45,490
Florida $45,732  $50,770
Georgia $52,815  $37,110
Hawaii $55,063  $53,030
Idaho $47,416  $34,260
Illinois $64,509  $47,300
Indiana $50,801  $45,040
Iowa $49,844  $38,700
Kansas $46,598  $39,750
Kentucky $48,908  $32,670
Louisiana $49,006  $31,670
Maine $47,182  $31,720
Maryland $63,960  $57,220
Massachusetts $70,752  $49,240
Michigan $63,940  $44,430
Minnesota $53,680  $33,760
Mississippi $41,975  $31,120
Missouri $45,321  $41,740
Montana $47,132  $41,520
Nebraska $47,368  $41,900
Nevada $53,023  $57,830
New Hampshire $52,792  $43,080
New Jersey $66,612  $70,160
New Mexico $46,888  $35,280
New York $72,708  $61,240
North Carolina $46,605  $31,540
North Dakota $44,807  $46,610
Ohio $56,715  $42,550
Oklahoma $44,343  $36,780
Oregon $56,503  $57,810
Pennsylvania $60,760  $48,920
Rhode Island $60,923  $48,340
South Carolina $47,050  $32,920
South Dakota $39,850  $39,060
Tennessee $45,891  $36,950
Texas $48,638  $45,530
Utah $47,033  $29,290
Vermont $50,141  $35,550
Virginia $48,761  $47,810
Washington $52,926  $63,040
West Virginia $44,260  $33,870
Wisconsin $54,195  $31,040
Wyoming $56,100  $49,780

I highlighted the states where firefighters make more.  

I'm sure theres a ton of reasons that wages differ between the occupations across states.   Demographics will play a role.   Its possible some states have a lot of younger or older people in one occupation who earn low or high wages based on experience.   Work hours and conditions may vary as well.   We don't know if teachers in a given states work 160 days or 180 and if they have average class sizes of 18 kids or 30 kids.   Same kind of thing goes for firefighters who may work more or longer hours and may have higher or lower staffing levels.

OK now lets look at it another taking the ratio of teacher wages / firefighter wages :



T / F 
Washington         0.840
Florida         0.901
Colorado         0.913
Nevada         0.917
New Jersey         0.949
California         0.956
North Dakota         0.961
Oregon         0.977
Virginia         1.020
South Dakota         1.020
Hawaii         1.038
Texas         1.068
Arizona         1.081
Missouri         1.086
Maryland         1.118
Wyoming         1.127
Indiana         1.128
Nebraska         1.131
Montana         1.135
Kansas         1.172
New York         1.187
Oklahoma         1.206
Alabama         1.219
New Hampshire         1.225
Alaska         1.236
Connecticut         1.241
Tennessee         1.242
Pennsylvania         1.242
Rhode Island         1.260
Delaware         1.274
Iowa         1.288
West Virginia         1.307
New Mexico         1.329
Ohio         1.333
Arkansas         1.336
Mississippi         1.349
Illinois         1.364
Idaho         1.384
Vermont         1.410
Georgia         1.423
South Carolina         1.429
Massachusetts         1.437
Michigan         1.439
North Carolina         1.478
Maine         1.487
Kentucky         1.497
Louisiana         1.547
Minnesota         1.590
Utah         1.606
Wisconsin         1.746

You can see there that theres a huge disparity across the states. At one end in Washington state the teachers make about 84% of what firefighters do and in Wisconsin they make 174%.  

Who should make more?   I don't know.  I guess it depends on if you want your kids to be stupid or if you want your house to burn down.

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