Top Areas for Hiring

Illinois is one of the nation’s more populous states with close to 2.7 million residents. It is also home to 12 metropolitan communities with populations over 75,000. Below, you’ll discover cost of living, living wage, salary and employment data for the top ten destinations for educators in Illinois.

  • Population
  • Cost of Living Index
  • Average Pay
  • Weekly Hiring Trends
  • Types of Hiring
1Chicago
  • 2,720,546
  • 116.2%
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Teachers, College and University Professors
  • $67,203
  • [TBA]

The major employer of educators in Chicago is Chicago Public Schools. Jobs with the district can be found on the district’s online recruitment site. Since many Chicago area residents do not choose to send their children to local public schools, however, Chicago is also home to a high percentage of private schools; available jobs can be found on the job site for Independent Schools Association of the Central States. On the postsecondary side, major employers in the Chicago area include the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago State University, which all post available positions on their human resources websites. Notably, while these may be the largest employers, the city is home to over 20 postsecondary institutions, making it a major destination for postsecondary educators nationwide. While citywide averages suggest most educators make just under the estimated living wage for a family of four, in fact, a majority of high school and postsecondary educators in Chicago exceed living wage estimates.

2Aurora
  • 200,661
  • n/a
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Teachers, College and University Professors
  • $65,153
  • [TBA]

In Aurora, public school teachers can find work with three local school boards: Oswega, Kaneland and Batavia. Oswega Public Schools, employs close 1000 full-time teachers, and posts available jobs on its website. Kaneland Public Schools is another large employer of educators and posts jobs on its recruitment site. Available openings with Batavia Public School can also be found on their website. On the postsecondary site, Aurora University, Waubonsee Community College and Rasmussen College are the area’s top employers. On average, local educators make just under the living wage estimate for a family of four with postsecondary educators generally reporting higher wages, especially at the university level.

3Rockford
  • 148,278
  • 92.3%
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Educators, College and University Professors
  • $74,213
  • [TBA]

The Rockford Public School District is the largest single employer of educators in Rockford with over 1800 full-time teachers. Jobs with the district can be found on the district’s recruitment site. Rockford is home to several postsecondary institutions, including Rockford University and Rock Valley College. The University of Illinois College of Medicine and Pharmacy also has a campus in Rockford.  Average teacher salaries in Rockford are generally higher than the living wage for a family of four making Rockford a top destination for educators statewide.

4Joliet
  • 147,861
  • 100.5%
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Educators, College and University Professors
  • $65,153
  • [TBA]

Joliet’s largest employers of educators are the Joliet Public Schools District, which posts available positions on its website, and Joliet Townships High School District, which posts jobs on its human resources site. At the postsecondary level, educators can look for work at Joliet Junior College and the University of St. Francis, which both posts available openings on their human resources pages. In general, educators’ wages in Joliet fall just under the living wage estimate for a family of four but by and large, dual-income educator families can expect to survive and thrive in Joliet.

5Naperville
  • 147,100
  • n/a
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Educators, College and University Professors
  • $67,203
  • [TBA]

In Naperville, the Naperville Community Unit School District is the largest employer of public school teachers in the region. Available jobs with the board can be found on their recruitment site. Postsecondary educators can search for available jobs at North Central College or at one of the many satellite campuses located in Naperville, which includes satellite campuses for the Northern Illinois University, the College of DuPage, Devry University and Northwestern College. On average, educators make just under the estimated living wage for the region, but most educators with seniority and postsecondary educators at all stages of their career exceed the region’s living wage estimates for a family. This means that by and large, Naperville is a good place for educators to work and live.

6Springfield
  • 116,565
  • 89.1%
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Educators, University Professors
  • $62,143
  • [TBA]

In Springfield, the largest employer of public school teachers is the Springfield Public School District. Job openings can be found on their recruitment site. The region is also home to several postsecondary institutions, including the University of Illinois at Springfield, Benedictine University at Springfield, Robert Morris University and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. On average, educator incomes in Springfield nearly meet or exceed the region’s living wage estimates for a family of four, making the city a recommended destination for educators and their families.

7Peoria
  • 115,070
  • 98.9%
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Educators, College and University Professors
  • $51,553
  • [TBA]

In Peoria, educators can find work with the Peoria Public School District, which employs over 1,000 full-time teachers, and posts available positions on its recruitment site. Other jobs at the elementary, middle and high school level can be found through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Peoria, which operates several local schools. On the postsecondary side, Bradley University, Midstate University and Illinois Central College are among the largest employers. While educators’ wages in Peoria lag behind the region’s required living wage for a family of four, dual-income educator families generally exceed the region’s living wage.

8Champaign
  • 86,096
  • 96.7%
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Educators, College and University Professors
  • $49,043
  • [TBA]

In Champaign, public school teachers can look for work with the Champaign Unit 4 School District, which posts available openings on its recruitment site, and with the area’s many local Catholic and independent schools. At the postsecondary level, the major employer is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which employs over 2000 full-time faculty. For openings, one can search the university’s talent recruitment page. At the college level, Parkland College is the largest employers.

9Bloomington
  • 78,292
  • n/a
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Educators, College and University Professors
  • $56,736
  • [TBA]

Bloomington is served by two public school districts: Bloomington Public Schools District, which supports an online job search portal, and McLean County Unit District, which posts jobs through their human resources site. At the postsecondary level, educators can find work with the Illinois Wesleyan University, which posts jobs on its recruitment site. While educator salaries lag behind living wage estimates for a family of four in Bloomington, public school teachers with many years of seniority and postsecondary educators generally meet or exceed the region’s living wage.

10Decatur
  • 73,254
  • 89.5%
  • Elementary, Middle School and High School Educators, College and University Professors
  • $47,023
  • [TBA]

In Decatur, the largest employers of educators include the Decatur School District, Millikin University and Richland Community College. The Decatur Public District, which employs over 430 full-time teachers, posts application information on their website. Millikin University also posts available openings online. For jobs at Richland Community College, visit the college’s human resources home. In Decatur, unlike several other regions of Illinois, educator salaries lag well behind the living wage, but dual-income educator families can expect to have enough money to meet the basic needs of a family of four and save for the future.

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