15 of the Best Career Changes for Teachers
Making a career change can be a scary prospect! The reality is most of us choose a career path and plan to stay the course until we retire.
But if you’re feeling more and more convinced that you need to pursue other options, then this podcast is for you.
Today we are going to explore the best career changes for teachers who want out of the traditional classroom and are actively seeking other alternatives.
Now I know we’ve spent time touching on the topic of seeking a new career path before, but today we’re going to look at…
- 15 of the best jobs for teachers that capitalize on your transferable skills and your experience in the education field,
- why they are each considered the best career change for teachers,
- and how to determine which one you should pursue.
So if you’re ready, let’s do it!
The Best Career Changes for Teachers
Before we dig into the specifics of these alternative jobs, make sure you’ve taken the time to listen to these additional episodes.
- Episode 3 – Learn the exact steps for how to find the perfect job outside of the classroom,
- Episode 5 – Uncover the transferable skills you have as a teacher,
- Episode 50 – Explore the common strengths and weaknesses of teachers as well as how to highlight them in an interview, and
- Episode 52 – Discover the different types of teachers and the ideal jobs for each type.
Trust me when I tell you these episodes are going to give you TONS of valuable insight that will help you drill down to the bedrock of what it is you are seeking.
You need to be able to answer some specific questions in order to be able to filter out the jobs that aren’t right in order to make room for the ones that are right.
Remember, you aren’t looking for the best career change for teachers in your district…you are looking for the best career change for YOU!
So now that you have clarity and a strong foundation, I want to give you a peek behind the curtain at the 15 specific job titles you need to be researching.
These are the same ones that many of my clients (who are teachers just like you) have found to be ideal job options.
And to make it even easier for you, I have divided these jobs into two categories – those within the teaching profession (but not in the classroom) and those totally outside of the education sector.
Jobs Within the Education Realm
1. School Counselor
If you are certain your calling in life is to work with kids in one of the school systems near you but you are tired of lesson plans and regular classroom teaching, then school counseling might be a good fit.
It may require you to seek additional licensure or training, but this new role would allow you to continue working with students…just in a slightly different way.
The key is understanding that you will still have to interact and work with school administration (as well as others in leadership roles). However, you may not have as many extraneous job duties as you do currently.
If this job sounds intriguing, you need to find out what the requirements are for this position. You need to know if you will be required to have a specific degree in social work or some other field of study or whether your education degree will suffice.
2. School Administrator
There has been a HUGE turnover of school administrators since 2020, and unfortunately, many of the individuals that have been placed into these positions have not risen to the challenge.
They may have completed the required training programs to have the appropriate credentials, but they are lacking certain interpersonal skills that are essential for good leaders.
So that is why this could potentially the perfect opportunity for you to make the changes that you feel are currently lacking in key leaders. Imagine yourself for a second as a school principal!
Does the thought make you laugh or does it make you say, “Hmmmm…”
If it gives you even the slightest pause, you need to truly consider that this might be the next step in your career.
Now as with school counseling, this particular job may require you to pursue an additional degree or at least additional training.
But if you know you want to make a positive difference on a larger scale, public schools and private schools alike are hiring for just about every leadership position!
3. Private School Teacher
This is probably a weird addition to the list of the best career changes for teachers because you would still be, well, a teacher.
But the reason I added this is because it is almost so obvious it tends to be overlooked.
Many teachers looking to leave the classroom are specifically those in a public school setting. Therefore, it makes sense that you could pursue other options in the private sector.
I recently spoke with a client who was in an extremely toxic public school work environment.
The issues she was facing were directly correlated with a particular district and she was desperate to discover alternatives, and as we discussed the problems, we determined that a private school teaching position would be ideal for her.
This option is exactly why I suggest you do the exercises I suggest in Episode 3 – How to Find the Perfect Job Outside of the Classroom. Because the truth is, you may find it isn’t the classroom you need to leave…it’s simply the school or school district.
4. Curriculum Developer
There is a really good chance that as a teacher when you hear curriculum development, you think of someone who creates the curriculum you teach in your classroom.
And you would be correct in that assumption. But what many people don’t realize is that this actually goes FAR beyond the reaches of the K-12 classroom in the local school districts.
By definition, a curriculum developer (or curriculum designer) is someone who develops, creates, or designs curricula…for anything.
So this job title could theoretically fall into either category – jobs within education and jobs outside of education.
If you want to know more about this job as it relates to education, be sure to check out Episode 32 – How to Decide if Curriculum Designer Jobs are a Good Fit for You.
However, if you’re interested in knowing how this relates to a potential job outside of education, I have an interesting example for you.
Let’s say you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
You want to roll out a new flagship product and you need everyone within the company to understand the “ins and outs” of this product and essentially exude knowledge about it.
Employees need to know every nuance and embrace this new product like it’s their own newborn child.
So what do you do?
Well, if you are smart (which I’m assuming you are if you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company), you hire a curriculum developer to develop a curriculum that will ensure every individual in the company lives and breathes this product.
Then you hire corporate trainers who will impart that knowledge to the masses. (But don’t worry if you don’t know what a corporate trainer does because we are going to look at that job in a minute.)
5. Private Tutor
This is another very interesting option that is worth taking a moment to consider.
You see, we are all guilty of thinking, “I’m not interested in tutoring…I’m a teacher.” But did you know tutoring can be super-lucrative?
Seriously! Tutoring can be a huge money-making opportunity for you.
The key to this particular endeavor is to determine whether you need an income to…
- replace or surpass your current teacher salary, or
- simply supplement your family finances.
Deciding which of these is right for you will make the difference in how you move forward as a private tutor.
As I have mentioned before, I was an online ESL teacher (or private tutor) with VIPKid for over 4.5 years while I simultaneously grew my TpT shop, homeschooled my boys, and built my website, blog, and podcast from the ground up.
I wasn’t interested in replacing my teaching salary at that point because my husband and I had already determined that homeschooling was the most important task for me in that particular season.
So I knew that the purpose of being a private tutor was to simply bring in a little bit of extra money for our family on the side.
If you think this would be an option you might like to pursue, do a little bit of research into companies like VIPKid, VIPTeacher, Outschool, and Varsity Tutors. These companies are always looking for teachers who want to add tutoring to their resume.
This will also allow you to dip your toe in without any real commitments.
Now, if you know you want to start a full-time tutoring business and work directly with parents and students (without an overseeing company), then your approach will be completely different.
6. Professional Development Presenter
Another great job option for many teachers is that of a professional development presenter.
Because professional development is a part of every teacher’s contract, there is always a need for those who can help provide relevant and meaningful presentations.
From curriculum companies to independent agencies, there are so many education-based businesses seeking former educators to assume the role of professional development presenters.
For this particular type of position, you want to make sure you feel comfortable talking in front of large groups of people as it is highly likely that this will be a big part of your job.
Whether it’s teaching teachers how to use the newest products or curricula to maximize learning or introducing new concepts and management techniques, companies will always seek out those with teaching experience.
You can also choose to establish yourself as an independent consultant who specializes in data-driven and meaningful professional development.
The only drawback is that you have to either be able to provide proof of an advanced degree or additional training for school districts to invest in your services.
7. Instructional Designer
Instructional design is a hot topic in the education world. In fact, we hear it mentioned on social media and in every day conversation as the newest buzzword in education.
If you are looking for the best career changes for teachers, then this might be the job you have been seeking. It’s an absolutely a fantastic option for any classroom teacher looking for alternatives to the traditional job.
Instructional designers are all about learning objectives! They seek to create meaningful objectives and then align any content with those specific objectives.
That’s why you will find Instructional designers contracted with many of your biggest companies and on staff at every curriculum corporation. Why?
Because the common denominator of each is that they need to know what the objectives are for employees or other relevant stakeholders and devise a very strategic path for how to meet those objectives.
If you want to know more about instructional design, be sure to check out Episode 31 – How to Transition from Teacher to Instructional Designer.
8. Instructional Coordinator
While this position is similar to that of an instructional designer, there is one significant difference in that an instructional coordinator oversees the instruction and implementation of all curricula for a specific company or on a campus.
You will find many instructional coordinators at high school campuses, colleges, and universities across the globe.
These individuals typically must have a Master’s Degree, and therefore, the average salary is generally higher than that of a traditional classroom teacher.
And because these particular positions are found in higher education settings, they are some of the best career changes for teachers who could see themselves working with high school or college students.
9. Educational Consultant
The last one of the best career changes for teachers specifically still in the realm of education is that of an educational consultant. The neatest thing about this particular field is the breadth of it!
Honestly, anything you do as an independent consultant related to education at large, could theoretically mean you are an educational consultant.
There are essentially two different routes you can take in this category and that is to be hired by an educational consulting firm or to be an independent educational consultant.
As I mentioned before when I was discussing the job of professional development presenter, you need to have some kind of affiliation, training, or degree to back up your status as an educational consultant or school districts will not be able to hire you.
Remember when I said anyone could claim to be an educational consultant?
Well, that is why districts need some type of proof that you can produce results with your methods and unique approach.
If you are interested in this type of job, research different associations of educational consultants and determine what additional certifications (if any) you might need.
If you want to know more about educational consulting, be sure to check out Episode 30 – Education Consultant Jobs: How to Find the Right Fit
Jobs Outside of Education
Now that we’ve spent time discussing some of the jobs that are directly correlated with education and your teaching degree, let’s take a few minutes to look at some alternative careers in the corporate world.
1. Corporate Trainer
Corporate training is a great fit for many former teachers.
You get to use your highly developed communication skills to impart wisdom to employees of the company for which you work.
You might have the opportunity to travel all over the country (or even the globe) using your teaching skills to help learners connect with the information you have been assigned.
The most interesting part about this particular job, in my opinion, is the fact that the company you will be working for isn’t even in a related field, yet you’re able to use your work experience.
2. Human Resources
As a teacher, you’ve dealt with your fair share of conflict and hopefully, conflict resolution. And you’ve had ample opportunity to hone your negotiation skills.
That’s what would make you an amazing human resources employee. You understand the importance of listening to both sides of a disagreement and figuring out what “actually” happened.
And the good news is that you might just be an awesome private investigator, too.
But I digress..
The point is that in human resources, you could use your highly developed problem-solving skills to make any company a more efficient place simply by bringing your strengths with you!
3. Sales Representative
Sales representatives get a bad reputation because we immediately think of telemarketers.
You know the ones to which I am referring…the ones who call about your car warranty.
But don’t worry, they didn’t pay me to say that. So you’re safe to continue listening. 😉
The most important thing for you to know about being a sales representative is that you want the potential customer to “buy in” to your product or service.
As teachers, we work on this skill all the time with our students! Think about it.
A student comes to you and says he hates math. You start pitching him the idea that he loves math.
At first, he scoffs because he hasn’t ever seen the need for math. But through your strategic language and teaching methods, he starts to understand how math is important for him.
He realizes he needs to know math to calculate his paycheck, groceries, and other important things. And over time (without even knowing it), he has started to “buy in” to the idea that he really does like math!
All of the hard work you have invested into your students has been the training ground for making you an ideal sales representative.
4. Project Manager
If you are a Type A teacher who is teeming with organizational skills, project management might be an excellent fit.
As a project manager, you oversee one or more projects at a time and ensure that everything gets completed in a timely fashion.
Because you will be in a leadership role, it will be your responsibility to ensure that the project stays on track and that the people involved are completing their specific tasks on time.
To be a project manager, you will probably have to spend a lot of long hours on the job…especially as the deadline approaches for each project.
However, if you are really good at staying focused and keeping everyone to their deadlines, you may find you have a better work-life balance than you did in the classroom!
5. Technical Writer
If you enjoy writing and you like to geek out on “how to” manuals, then you absolutely need to find a new job as a technical writer.
According the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers “prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.”
Obviously, if you are gifted at breaking down complex information into manageable chunks, this could be a perfect fit.
And you only need a Bachelor’s Degree as opposed to the Master’s Degree required to pursue other jobs…plus you get paid REALLY well for this job.
6. Business Administration
The last option I want to mention is business administration. Now this may seem a little too far outside the box, but just hear me out.
Who better to oversee the daily operations of a business than someone who has been the overseer of 15-30+ humans who possess minimal self-control and BIG emotions?
You got it…you!!
You have the leadership skills needed to thrive in this type of role and you certainly have the experience needed to…
- lead meetings,
- communicate with relevant stakeholders, and
- implement new policies and procedures as needed.
So the only question that remains is which of these 15 jobs sounds like the perfect fit for you?
Trust me when I tell you these are just a few of the jobs available, but they are the best career changes for teachers based on the skill sets we bring to the table.
You have what it takes to thrive in a variety of environments! That means that you get to be the one to decide where you want to work.
Do the research and start taking steps to make this possibility your reality.