Living in Colorado is pretty awesome, but it's not the greatest place in the nation to earn a living if you are a teacher.

According to hireahelper.com, Colorado is the 4th worst paying state in the nation for teachers. With the median annual earnings for teachers nationwide at just over $60,000, in Colorado the median annual wage is a little over $51,000.

Researchers used data rom the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics program with adjustments for cost of living differences across the country. Across the nation, the statistics show the average salary for public school teachers has remained relatively flat since the late 1980s, hovering just above $60,000.

In coming up with the median annual salary for Colorado teachers, HireAHelper looked at salaries for elementary, middle, and high schools in both the public and private sector, figuring a cost of living adjustment of +1.9% compared to the national average.

One thing we know for a fact is Colorado teachers are underpaid, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many teachers have been forced into double duty, providing in-person learning as well as virtual teaching for those students who chose the learn-at-home option where it was available.

Even without the challenges of the pandemic, the teaching profession has grown increasingly difficult compared to what it was years ago. The culture is so much different now than it was in the 70s and 80s and teachers face many more challenges on a daily basis. Many schools, particularly upper levels, now have a continual police presence with safety concerns an ongoing issue. Cell phones and technology have brought a whole new set of challenges for teachers in the classroom, along with disruptive and defiant attitudes that seem more prevalent.

Hopefully, Colorado teachers will start to see annual salaries begin to climb and a narrowing of the earning gap between Colorado educators and the rest of the country. The responsibility these teachers have in educating our students is greater than ever and their pay should reflect a respect for that responsibility. If we truly value our teachers as much as we say we do, we'll find a way to get their salaries up where they belong.

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