City Snapshots: Teaching in Major Cities

From New York to Los Angeles, people from all walks of life are drawn to the cultural diversity, abundant nightlife, and endless entertainment that life in a big city offers.

For teachers, however, it can be easy to feel intimidated by the logistics of relocation to a new city. Are there enough opportunities for teachers? Will I make enough to make ends meet? There’s a lot to consider when contemplating relocation.

To try and make this process a little easier for you, Teach.com has created a few “city snapshots” that take an in depth look at the ins and outs of teaching in specific metropolitan areas. Take a look at your area:

Which major city do you want to teach in?

Chicago

Number of Public Schools:

The Chicago Public Schools district (Chicago's largest) has 603 schools serving 392,558 students.  

Average Student to Teacher Ratio:

The student teacher ratio for the Chicago is 17.40 (22,559 teachers for 392,558 students).

Annual Median Wage:

Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL metropolitan salaries were reported as follows in 2016 (according to the Burea of Labor Statistics 2016 employment and wage estimates):

Non-Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $33,600
  • Kindergarten: $62,010
  • Elementary school: $64,840
  • Middle school: $74,820
  • Secondary school: $77,660
Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $69,170
  • Kindergarten: $67,370
  • Elementary school: $67,370
  • Middle school: $71,320
  • Secondary school: $73,560

Average Wage Adjusted for City's Cost of Living:

According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the median elementary school teacher's pay in Chicago when adjusted for cost of living, was $48,257 in 2013. Unadjusted, it was $55,640.

Location Quotient by Type of Teacher:

What's the concentration of teachers in different grade levels in the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL metropolitan area?

Few grade levels were near or above the concentration national average (which is 1.0):

  • Secondary school special education teachers: 1.04
  • Preschool special education teachers: 1.21
  • Preschool teachers: 1.26
  • Middle school special education teachers: 1.65

Some grade levels were below the concentration national average:

  • Kindergarten teachers: 0.52
  • Middle school teachers: 0.61
  • Kindergarten school special education teachers: 0.72
  • Elementary school special education teaches: 0.72
  • Elementary school teachers: 0.84
  • Secondary school teachers: 0.90

Average Graduation Rates:

The Chicago Public Schools district’s 5-year cohort graduation rate (from the five years following the 2011-2012 school year) was 53.5%.

Standardized Tests:

Chicago students between grades three and eight takes are still taking the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers exams in reading and math (the PARCC), but high school students are no longer required to (as of July 2016). The Chicago Public School District also administers NWEA MPG or MAP, ACT, REACH PTs, TRC/DIBELS, mClass Math, and CPS Benchmarks exams.

Great Field Trip Locations: 

Fun Fact:

The Chicago Public School District is the second largest employer in the city with 35,862 full-time employees.

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Cleveland 

Number of Public Schools:

The largest school district in Cleveland, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, has 102 schools serving 39,125 students.

Annual Median Wage:

Cleveland-Elyria, OH area salaries were reported as follows in 2016 (according to the BLS 2016 employment and wage estimates):

Non-Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $28,960
  • Kindergarten: $49,840
  • Elementary school: $60,190
  • Middle school: $56,230
  • Secondary school: $62,840
Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $67,430
  • Kindergarten: $61,780
  • Elementary school: $61,780
  • Middle school: $63,950
  • Secondary school: $59,570

Average Wage Adjusted for City's Cost of Living:

According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the median elementary school teacher's pay in Cleveland when adjusted for cost of living, was $65,045 in 2013. Unadjusted, it was $65,110.

Location Quotient by Type of Teacher:

What's the concentration of teachers in different grade levels in the Cleveland-Elyria, OH area?

Many grade levels were near the concentration national average (which is 1.0):

  • Elementary school teachers: 0.76
  • Preschool teachers: 0.78
  • Kindergarten teachers: 0.91
  • Preschool special education teachers: 1.05
  • Kindergarten special education teachers: 1.11
  • Elementary school special education teachers: 1.11

However, some grade levels were slightly higher than the concentration national average:

  • Secondary school teachers: 1.23
  • Secondary school special education teachers: 1.34
  • Middle school special education teachers: 1.46
  • Middle school teachers: 1.69

Average Graduation Rates:

The class of 2015 for Cleveland Metro School District had a graduation rate of 69%.

Standardized Tests:

District tests for the Cleveland Metro School District currently include CMSD Benchmark tests, NWEA tests, STAR tests, and Student Growth Measures.

Great Field Trip Locations: 

Fun Fact:

100% of Cleveland Metro School District students get free/reduced lunch.

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Houston

Number of Public Schools:

The largest district in Houston, Houston Independent School District, has 287 schools –159 of them elementary schools, 37 middle schools, and 38 high schools. Among the other 15 school districts in Houston, though, there may be as many as 909 public schools.

Average Student to Teacher Ratio:

IHSD, Houston's largest district, has an average student to teacher ratio of 19 to 1.

Annual Median Wage:

Houston/Woodlands/Sugar Land, TX area salaries were reported as follows in 2016 (according to the BLS 2016 employment and wage estimates):

Non-Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $31,210
  • Kindergarten: $55,820
  • Elementary school: $59,610
  • Middle school: $59,570
  • Secondary school: $60,060
Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $62,050
  • Kindergarten: $62,520
  • Elementary school: $62,520
  • Middle school: $61,920
  • Secondary school: $62,110

Average Wage Adjusted for City's Cost of Living:

Houston elementary school teachers actually made a higher adjusted median salary of $52,278 in 2014 than unadjusted ($51,860).

Location Quotient by Type of Teacher:

What's the concentration of teachers in different grade levels in the Houston/Woodlands/Sugar Land/TX area?

A few grade levels were near or above the concentration national average (which is 1.0):

  • Preschool teachers: 1.04
  • Secondary school teachers: 1.10
  • Elementary school teachers: 1.20
  • Kindergarten teachers: 1.29
  • Middle school teachers: 1.29

However, many grade levels in special education were below the concentration national average:

  • Preschool special education teachers: 0.47
  • Kindergarten special education teachers: 0.54
  • Elementary school special education teachers: 0.54
  • Middle school special education teachers: 0.77
  • Secondary school special education teachers: 0.87

Average Graduation Rates:

HISD, Houston's largest district, had an 81.8% graduation rate in 2016.

Average SAT Scores:

HISD's class of 2014 had an average SAT score of 1247.

Standardized Tests:

HISD students take the STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness), TELPAS (Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System), and Stanford Achievement Test Series.

Great Field Trip Locations: 

Fun Fact:

100 different languages are spoken in HISD schools alone.

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Los Angeles

Number of Public Schools:

The largest school district in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), has more than 900 schools serving over 640,000 students.

Annual Median Wage:

LA/Long Beach/Anaheim teacher metropolitan salaries were reported as follows in 2016 (according to the BLS 2016 employment and wage estimates):

Non-Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $36,030
  • Kindergarten: $61,780
  • Elementary school: $76,050
  • Middle school: $70,290
  • Secondary school: $78,280
Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $46,900
  • Kindergarten: $75,590
  • Elementary school: $75,590
  • Middle school: $74,740
  • Secondary school: $79,760

Average Wage Adjusted for City's Cost of Living:

According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the median elementary school teacher's pay in Los Angeles $56,963 in 2013 when adjusted for cost of living. Unadjusted, it was $74,280.

Location Quotient by Type of Teacher:

What's the concentration of teachers in different grade levels in the Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim area?

Few grade levels were near or above the concentration national average (which is 1.0):

  • Secondary school teachers: 0.91
  • Preschool teachers: 1.01

However, many grade levels were below the concentration national average:

  • Preschool special education teachers: 0.52
  • Middle school teachers: 0.61
  • Middle school special education teachers: 0.67
  • Secondary school special education teachers: 0.71
  • Elementary school teachers: 0.75
  • Kindergarten teachers: 0.76
  • Special education teachers (kindergarten and elementary school): 0.79

Average Graduation Rates:

LAUSD's average graduation rates were 74% in 2015.

Standardized Tests:

California students between grades two and 11 take the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP). The online tests "ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, just as they will need to do in college and on the job," writes the California Department of Education, which reported significant improvement in the scores at every grade level and in every student group in 2016 over the previous year.

Great Field Trip Locations: 

Fun Fact:

LAUSD (Los Angeles's largest public school district) is the second largest public school district in the U.S.

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New York City

Number of Public Schools:

The New York City Department of Education has 1,800+ schools serving over a million students, making it the largest district in the nation.

Average Student to Teacher Ratio:

The average pupil-to-teacher ratio across all grades in New York City schools in the 2015-2016 was 15.0. The average class size across all grades in 2015-2016 was 26.4 students per class

Annual Median Wage:

New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan salaries were reported as follows in 2016 (according to the BLS 2016 employment and wage estimates):

Non-Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $47,860
  • Kindergarten: $68,290
  • Elementary school: $75,700
  • Middle school: $76,500
  • Secondary school: $85,070
Special Ed Teacher Salary
  • Preschool: $75,010
  • Kindergarten: $71,370
  • Elementary school: $71,370
  • Middle school: $76,510
  • Secondary school: $88,390

Average Wage Adjusted for City's Cost of Living:

According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, the median elementary school teacher's pay in New York City was $33,152 when adjusted for cost of living (in 2013). Unadjusted, it was $73,000.

Location Quotient by Type of Teacher:

What's the concentration of teachers in different grade levels in the New York-Jersey City-White Plain area?

Many grade levels were nearly double the concentration national average (which is 1.0):

  • Preschool special education teachers: 1.70
  • Preschool teachers: 1.71
  • Kindergarten special education teachers: 1.77
  • Elementary school special education teachers: 1.77
  • Secondary school special education teachers: 1.97
  • Middle school special education teachers: 2.09

Some grade levels in special education were slightly below the concentration national average:

  • Kindergarten teachers: 0.72
  • Elementary school teachers: 0.75
  • Secondary school teachers: 0.89
  • Middle school teachers: 1.02

Average Graduation Rates:

City-wide, 72.60% of New York's 2012 four-year August cohort graduated high school.

Average SAT Scores:

The average SAT score for New York City students was 1352 in 2016. That breaks down to scores of 446 for Critical Reading, 440 for Writing, and 466 for Math, on average.

Standardized Tests:

New York City students between grades three and 12 take Regents exams in English, Math, Science, Social Studies.

Great Field Trip Locations: 

Fun Fact:

New York is the highest paying state for middle school teachers and the second highest for elementary school and high school teachers. But don’t forget to take into account the cost of living!

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