GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Teacher pay in North Carolina continues to be a hot-button issue and WNCT 9 On Your Side is looking into the rising number of teachers picking up a second job to make ends meet.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 16% of teachers across the country work second jobs outside the school system. Yet in North Carolina, that number is much higher at nearly 25%, the third highest in the entire country.

Many teachers maintain that low pay forces them to pick up the extra work.

Teaching salaries in the state have declined more than 17% over the last 10 years, more than any other state in the country.

Kacey Gray is one Pitt County School teacher feeling the impact. She’s a history teacher by day, and a salesperson at Old Navy by night. She works 15 to 20 extra hours a week at her second job, on top of the average 53 hours teachers work every week.

Gray said working a second job means isn’t giving her extra income, it just allows her to get by.

“It was a constant stomachache worrying about, okay I’ve got this, this and this and I have to make this much stretch. So you just don’t want to, in a profession, you don’t want to have to worry about that,” said Kacey Gray.

A 2015 Wallet-Hub survey found North Carolina to be the second worst state in the country for teachers.

The National Education Association ranks North Carolina 42nd in the country for teacher pay.