States with the highest rates of teacher attrition

Where are teachers leaving classrooms at the highest rates? HeyTutor analyzed data from NCES and the RAND Corporation to find out.


An empty classroom with small blue chairs at desks.


A teacher shortage has gripped the U.S. for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic only provided teaching professionals with more challenges to navigate. Burnout is an acute problem in the education field; more than 44% of K-12 workers in the U.S. said they "always" or "very often" feel burned out at work, topping all other industries, according to a 2022 Gallup survey.

And, as test scores have recently fallen nationwide, improving student achievement over the next decade will be dependent on the very workers school districts are struggling to hire in sufficient numbers.

HeyTutor analyzed data from National Center for Education Statistics surveys of teachers to illustrate where in the U.S. attrition rates are highest. Data for Alaska, Delaware, Colorado, Washington D.C., Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming was unavailable. Attrition describes when employees leave a company or organization for any reason.

Data on teacher attrition is difficult to come by, but an NCES survey of teachers performed during the 2021-22 school year about whether they were leaving teaching, staying at their schools, or transferring to another provides limited glimpses of the turnover crisis. Research institutions like the Rand Corporation have performed their own surveys in an attempt to broaden the amount of educator turnover data publicly available.

The year-over-year increase in teacher turnover in 2021-22 was widespread but uneven, according to Rand's analysis. Turnover among teachers was highest in urban school districts. Principals also saw an uptick in attrition over the school year, with most affected principals in rural and high-poverty districts.

Available data depicts widespread teacher turnover

A map of the U.S. showing the percentage of teachers who left the profession in all but eight states that lack data on teacher attrition. States including Vermont, an outlier, Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kansas, New Jersey, and Michigan saw the highest rates of teacher attrition in the 2021-22 school year.

Dom DiFurio // HeyTutor

States where school systems saw the highest rates of teachers leaving the profession include Vermont, Kansas, Washington, and Florida.

In Vermont, schools lose hundreds of teachers each school year, according to a VTDigger analysis of state data. It stands as an outlier, but one that may hint at where teacher attrition trends in other states are headed if school systems continue to struggle to hire new teachers.

Nationwide, retirement was the most commonly cited reason teachers gave for leaving the profession in the 2021-22 school year, according to the most recent NCES survey data available.

The wave of retirements affecting the education system across the nation could be hitting Vermont particularly hard, a state that ranks high for its aging population. Vermont residents of retirement age or older now outnumber children in the state. Other states that have high rates of teachers leaving teaching, like Washington and Florida, are also home to some of the oldest counties in the country.

Story editing by Mary Reardon. Copy editing by Kristen Wegrzyn.

This story originally appeared on HeyTutor and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.