Teaching jobs in Massachusetts public schools may not pay as well as such private-sector occupations as nursing and technical writing, but in most communities teachers are doing relatively well, financially. The list below shows average salaries for selected occupations during 2006, and both elementary and high school teachers make more, on average, than police officers, firefighters, and toll-takers (but a bit less than state legislators).

Salaries vary across the state, of course, ranging from an average $34,748 for the 12 teachers in Berkshire County’s little town of Florida to $71,123 for the nearly 5,000 teachers in Boston, according to the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Different costs of living are one factor, and a greater demand for skilled professionals may be driving up teacher salaries in places like Dover, Malden, Natick, Weston, and the Concord-Carlisle district (to cite the only places other than the Hub to top $70,000 per year). In the Boston public school district, the average teacher’s salary in 2006-07, spread out across the entire year, was $1,368 per week. That’s a bit less than the average weekly wage of $1,386 for all people working in Boston during 2006, according to the state’s Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Similarly, public school teachers made almost exactly the average wage as for all workers in Cambridge and Framingham.

But in cities and towns with a weaker employment base, particularly those outside of Route 128, public school teachers were among the higher paid professionals. In Brockton, the average teaching salary came out to $1,206 a week, or almost 60 percent more than the average paycheck of $757 earned by all workers in the community. And in New Bedford, the teaching wage was $1,124, well above the $718 averaged by all people working in the city.


Physicians and surgeons: $134,400

Lawyers: $122,000

Computer software engineers: $93,080

Physics teachers (college): $89,640

Registered nurses: $70,910

Technical writers: $69,310

Probation officers: $61,320

State legislators: $58,237*

Elementary school teachers: $55,910

High school teachers: $54,780

Toll takers (Mass. Turnpike): $52,773**

Police officers: $48,830

Biological technicians: $48,750

Firefighters: $46,100

Construction laborers: $41,600

Court, municipal, and license clerks: $39,360

Mental health counselors: $35,610

Preschool teachers: $28,780

Source (except as noted): May 2006 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates for Massachusetts, Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor (www.bls.gov)

*Base salary as of March 2007

**Current salary as reported by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority