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The best and worst countries to be a teacher, based on salary

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Teacher classroomTim Boyle/Getty Images

Excuse us while we pack our bags and plan our new lives as teachers in Luxembourg.

According to new data released by the OECD, the starting salary for a high school teacher with no experience in the country is $79,000. The peak salary for a veteran teacher is $137,000.

The OECD’s full data set reveals a yawning gap between the highest and lowest paid teachers around the world. When converted to US dollars, many of the salaries fall well short of the average American teacher, who makes $44,000 starting out and approximately $67,000 at the upper end.

Here is the full breakdown, sorted by school level and gender.

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Elementary school teachers — best and worst

Elementary school teachers — best and worst

Skye Gould/Business Insider

In Luxembourg, one of the richest countries in the world, an inexperienced teacher can expect to make more on his or her first day than teachers in nearly all other countries can hope to make in their entire careers.

The only exception is Switzerland, where elementary school teachers make $92,000 at the top range of salaries.

Meanwhile, salaries in the three-lowest-paid countries all top out below the starting salaries in the 10-best-paid countries. Korean teachers start out at $26,815, while Czech, Hungarian, and Polish teachers shouldn’t expect to make more than that throughout their careers.

High school teachers — best and worst

High school teachers — best and worst

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Luxembourg’s and Switzerland’s dominance continue on for high school teachers. Likewise, Korean teachers still see the biggest jumps in pay over their careers.

Though a brand-new teacher makes just $26,815 in their first year, by the time they’ve hit the 10-year mark it rises to $40,453, and at the top end it’s $75,202.

Austria is one of the only countries to jump significantly from elementary school pay to high school. High school teachers make about $9,000 more.

Elementary school teachers — best and worst by gender

Elementary school teachers — best and worst by gender

Skye Gould/Business Insider

Luxembourg doesn’t just dominate with the size of its paychecks, but their level of equality, too. Male and female elementary school teachers both make roughly $108,000 at the top end of the pay scale.

The same can’t be said for the other countries in the top five, many of which see discrepancies of a few thousand dollars tilted in men’s favor.

Teachers in the worst-paying countries see smaller gaps. In certain countries, namely Poland and Hungary, women even make slightly more than men.

Notice: The OECD didn’t collect gender data for every country in the general list.

High school teachers — best and worst by gender

High school teachers — best and worst by gender

Skye Gould/Business Insider

The story is roughly the same for high school teachers. Luxembourg still pays its teachers $108,000 each. 

The five worst-performing countries remain in the same order, as do the gender pay gaps between women and men in Poland. No country in the bottom five has a gender pay gap of more than $2,000.

*The OECD didn’t collect gender data for every country in the general list.

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