Teacher Pensions Blog

Interested in data on the average teacher pension in your state?  See the chart below for data on the average teacher pension in your state. But before you do, here are some caveats to what you're looking at:

1.  Not all teachers qualify for a pension. States can and do set relatively high minimum service requirements, ranging from five to 10 years, and over half of incoming teachers won’t qualify for retirement benefits in their state. Leaving these teachers out of the overall pool obscures who gets counted in the “average pension.” 

2. Of the teachers who do qualify for benefits, their benefits will vary widely. The statistical average, or mean, hides the fact that only a small percentage of incoming teachers will receive a full career pension at retirement, while many, many more get only a small amount. Also, teachers in 15 states aren't covered by Social Security; pensions in these states tend to be larger to make up for this fact.                              

3.  These amounts only tell us what a teacher earns at retirement—not what she contributed to her state or local system. The averages include many teachers who qualify for some pension, but those pensions may be worth less than the value of the teacher's own contributions. 

Now onto the data. The first column shows the “average pension” for newly retired teachers from the past ten years in each state. The next column shows, amongst all newly retired teachers, what the median retiree earns. The last column show the estimated percentage of new teachers who will actually receive a pension. The data come from each state's annual comprehensive financial report.  

In Maryland, for example, the “average pension” for new teachers is $35,000. But the median pension for new retirees is just $20,544, meaning half of all new retirees earn less than that amount. Moreover, 57 percent of new Maryland teachers are expected to leave the system before qualifying for any benefits at retirement. They're not included in the pension data at all. 

Knowing what your state’s “average pension” can be interesting. But this amount doesn’t necessarily reflect the amount that many teachers actually earn. With those caveats in mind, here are the data: 

 

Average Teacher Pension by State

State

 Average Benefit for New Retirees

 Median Benefit for New Retirees

Percentage of New Teachers Who QUALIFY FOR a Pension

Alabama

 $   20,721.89

 $   19,728.00

39

Alaska (DB plan)

$33,845

$39,372

37

Arizona

 $   20,508.00

 $   20,328.00

100

Arkansas

 $   21,067.00

 $   17,784.00

57

California

 $   43,308.00

 $   40,008.00

69

Colorado

 $   37,452.00

 $   29,376.00

36

Connecticut

$47,386

 

55

Delaware

 $   20,485.00

 $   25,440.00

36

Distrct of Columbia

 $   63,468.00

 $   48,420.00

29

Florida

 $   19,765.00

 $   18,198.00

28

Georgia

 $   34,946.00

 $   22,835.16

33

Hawaii

 $   14,964.00

 $   30,252.00

25

Idaho

 $   17,043.00

 $   13,992.00

70

Illinois

$  46,513

 $   52,188.00

50

Indiana (Pre1996 Fund)

 $   17,436.00

 $   21,516.00

 

Indiana (1996 Fund)

 $   16,392.00

 $   12,492.00

31

Iowa

 $   19,704.00

 $   15,180.00

42

Kansas*

 $   12,929.00

$15,924.12

44

Kentucky

 $   34,685.00

 $   36,330.00

67

Lousiana

 $   23,828.00

 $   25,836.00

56

Maine*

 $   20,333.00

 $   24,312.00

14

Maryland

 $   34,956.00

 $   20,544.00

43

Massachusetts

 $   38,637.00

 

12

Michigan

 $   21,348.00

 $    4,680.00

43

Minnesota (All retirees)

 

 $   20,283.00

50

Mississippi*

 $   18,764.25

 $   17,064.00

24

Missouri

 $   41,344.52

 $   47,460.00

58

Montana

 $   21,153.00

 $   27,708.00

35

Nebraska

 $   22,590.15

 $   20,288.39

32

Nevada

 $   30,468.00

 $   27,036.00

57

New Hampshire

 $   21,355.00

 $    7,020.00

31

New Jersey

 $   40,104.00

 

56

New Mexico

 $   21,165.96

 $   19,765.68

33

New York

 $   44,383.40

 $   46,920.00

40

North Carolina

 $   18,443.00

 

35

North Dakota

 $   31,596.00

 $   57,413.00

56

Ohio

 $   46,620.00

 $   57,696.00

34

Oklahoma

 $   19,846.00

 

44

Oregon

 $   28,320.00

 $   28,296.00

46

Pennsylvania

 $   24,603.00

 $   23,664.00

36

Rhode Island

 $   44,953.00

 

51

South Carolina

 $   19,630.00

 $   26,287.80

37

South Dakota

 $   18,717.00

 $   18,120.00

53

Tennessee

 $   18,612.00

 $   10,668.00

56

Texas

 $   44,556.00

 

59

Utah (noncontributory)*

 $   21,063.00

 $   19,512.00

 

Utah (contributory)*

 $   15,996.00

 $   25,020.00

52

Vermont

 $   18,230.18

 $   27,245.00

33

Virginia

 $   21,962.50

 $   18,708.48

50

Washington (PERS 1)

 $   28,203.65

 $   26,529.84

 

Washington (PERS 2)

 $   20,775.48

 $   18,311.28

55

West Virginia

 $   19,165.69

 $   23,364.00

39

Wisconsin*

 $   22,911.00

 $   13,392.00

64

Wyoming

 $   17,556.00

 

42

Source: Data collected from state comprehensive annual financial reports. Teacher state plans were used unless otherwise noted.

**Out of all retirees.

*Average for all participants plan; includes teachers and other state employees.

Last updated 4/13/16.