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The Best Jobs for Former Teachers

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The Best Jobs for Former Teachers

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Many teachers leave the classroom every year for various reasons. Experience in education leaves them with a unique skillset that they can leverage in positions both within the education sector and beyond. Read on to discover the best jobs for former teachers.

Effects of the Pandemic

During the pandemic, the educational sector has experienced a seismic shift. Prior to this, the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that teaching jobs would grow at a rate of 7.6% by 2024. However, the outbreak has negatively impacted growth.

The deepening recession has put school districts in a tough spot, with budget cuts leading to layoffs. 

Additionally, overwhelmed teachers have already begun exiting the profession. Educators who struggle with personal health concerns have also left.

Studies show that one in four teachers are at greater risk of COVID due to an underlying condition. The situation is dire: Educators who recently left the classroom wonder if they’ll ever return. 

If your educational career has been cut short, put on pause, or called into question by the pandemic, take heart. There’s life beyond the classroom.

Why Do Teachers Switch Careers?

In every vocation, some turnover is expected. Still, teachers tend to leave their jobs and seek new careers at higher rates than those in other professions. This was the case even before the pandemic took the world by storm.

Overall, around 8% of teachers leave the profession every year, according to the Learning Policy Institute, citing Department of Education data. Another 8% move to other jobs in education.

Less than a third of teacher attrition is down to retirement.  Why do so many teachers leave the classroom every year?

A professional working in front of a white board.

Although the job comes with high demands, it is rarely high paying. The average salary for Educational Instruction and Library Occupations is $ 28.75 (mean hourly wage) according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics – seem to be contributing factors. However, wages greatly vary according to geographic location and grade level.

While teachers may feel that their educational pathway has prepared them for only one outlet (the classroom), their unique skill sets often leave them well-positioned to transition to alternative jobs.

If you’re a teacher exiting the classroom, you may want to consider the following before your career change.

The Benefits of Being a Teacher

A teaching job is usually more than just a job: it is a vocation, and it comes with rewards. Most teachers and ex-teachers cite making an impact on other people’s lives as one of them. Teachers with a passion for their subject – be it Physics or English – are an inspiration for their students. What is more rewarding then sparking curiosity in others to ignite learning?

A teaching career has other, practical benefits as well: it allows for creating your own work environment and agenda within certain limits.

What Do Teachers Do in Their Careers?

The Gwynedd Mercy University provides a good summary of traditional education career paths broken down into teaching, educational administration, school counseling, and school social work. 

Teachers may specialize in different education fields such as special education, early childhood education, or secondary education. Teachers who do not wish to teach in a traditional classroom, or retired teachers may become online teachers or private tutors.

Alternatives to Teaching in the Education Sector

If you are an ex-teacher who does not wish to venture far outside the world of academia, you may consider becoming a school counselor or career counselor

These jobs entail helping students with their various academic and emotional concerns so that they can achieve their full potential outside the school environment.

An ex-teacher giving a presentation in an academic setting.

Similarly, as an educational consultant, you’ll be able to continue impacting young minds, albeit indirectly.

As an educational consultant, some of your responsibilities may include:

  • working with the school board to solve district-wide education issues
  • liaising between faculty and administrative staff
  • engaging in creative, experiential problem solving
  • working directly with teachers to improve their classroom processes
  • designing professional development programs for teachers

If you want to transcend the daily grind of the classroom, this may be the career path for you. Many school counselors and educational consultants are former teachers. If you have a bachelor’s degree, you have met the minimum requirements for becoming a consultant.

However, bear in mind that you may need an advanced (master’s) degree if you want to consult in a particular educational setting in which you have little to no experience.

School administrators help fellow teachers align their lesson plans with the district, state, and federal requirements, as well as design various school-wide programs, for example, safety programs, as well as after-school activities. 

This is another opportunity for former teachers who wish to stay within the school community. Pursuing this path usually requires a degree in Education Administration.

The Best Jobs for Former Teachers

Corporate Trainer

An obvious alternative career for teachers is simply leveraging their teaching experience and interpersonal skills in a corporate setting. The most straightforward scene for this is corporate training. In a certain sense, these are very similar to classroom teaching, requiring the same communication skills (such as public speaking, clarity), and so on. If you are looking to take your career in this direction, you should however first decide on the industry that fits you best.

Keep in mind that aside from teaching skills, most corporate trainer jobs require one to have a Bachelor’s degree in either human resources, business administration, organizational management and educational psychology, or similar.

Museum Educator

Another obvious career move for former teachers is turning towards museum education. Museum educators plan, develop, and carry out various educational programs (to children and adults alike) that are linked to various exhibition at the museum. 

Teacher who felt constrained by the limitations of a classroom setting this could be a dream job, allowing for plenty of creativity and learning through hands-on experience.

Experience in the education field is a huge plus for this role, which usually requires a degree in Museum Studies, Education, or, depending on the nature of the museum, Art History, History, or Science, etc.

The links between education and social work are many. In fact, in many cases, teachers and social workers collaborate to meet student needs on a regular basis.

With a background in education, you’re uniquely suited to engage with social work that directly benefits students.

african-american counselor talking to the parents of a young child during a consultation

That said, social work is a broad category, and there’s no reason to limit yourself to the kind that only takes place in schools. In addition to school counseling positions discussed above, the following non-school-related jobs may interest you:

  • human resources specialist
  • substance abuse counselor
  • marriage and family therapist
  • probation officer 

While some social work positions may require specific degrees and certifications, others don’t. Though the possibilities are many, all these positions will benefit from the same care and compassion you brought to the classroom.

Registered Nurse

Nursing is one of America’s most in-demand professions. Coming from the teaching profession, you’ll need to undergo training and gain the necessary clinical skills, you’ll have great job prospects.

As a registered nurse, you could potentially help people in a wide range of healthcare areas, including the following:

  • medical-surgical
  • pediatrics
  • psychiatric
  • home care
  • gerontology
  • oncology
  • physical therapy

By joining the millions of nurses around the country who work on the front lines, you’ll be in a position to leverage your newly acquired skills to save lives.

Life Coach

Coaching is very similar to teaching. Coaches help their clients identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop the skills needed to thrive. 

Classroom teachers who love the experience of teaching but struggle with the limitations of the classroom setting (and accompanying school system bureaucracy) are poised to succeed as life coaches. 

Though certification isn’t required by law, there are benefits to becoming certified before jumping in.

Certification programs rarely run more than 3-6 months at a time. They assist in building your credibility and helping you adapt your classroom management skills for counseling and mentoring.

Once you’re certified, you can either establish your own solo coaching operation and build your business or join a well-known coaching agency. 

Freelance Writer

Writing skills are a given for teachers, who spend large amounts of their educational career creating and implementing daily lesson plans, they’ve learned to produce their own content, evaluate it, and tailor their message for specific audiences. With just a bit of training, teachers can excel in this job. 

The benefit of going freelance is that they get to still create their own work environment and set their own agenda, similarly to a teaching job.

Social Media Manager

Essentially a marketing job, social media management involves establishing a company’s online presence on social media platforms. The goal is to boost brand awareness and increase leads and conversions. 

Although they may not realize it, most teachers have already developed all the essential skills they need to create, manage, and execute engaging social media marketing campaigns.  

If you’re a teacher who is interested in pivoting to social media management, we suggest familiarizing yourself with the most important skills needed for the position

Want to get certified to build your credibility? Try Digital Marketing Institute’s self-paced Social Media Marketing Specialist certification. This will enable you to capitalize on your strengths and approach interviews with confidence.

Find The Best Jobs for Former Teachers on Lensa

Finally, if you’re looking to flex your skills outside the classroom environment, visit Lensa’s job search platform and discover a diversity of jobs for former teachers.

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Team Lensa
Team Lensa is a group of HR specialists, career counselors, and tech enthusiasts dedicated to helping job seekers navigate the employment landscape through actionable tips and insights.

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