Teaching can be a very rewarding career, but for many teachers there comes a time when they decide to leave the profession. Making a career change of any kind is challenging, especially in a field with a very specific degree. When I made the leap to leave the teaching field, I remember thinking I had no clue where to go next. Would I have to stay in education in some capacity? Would I be qualified for alternative careers? What other careers existed that were compatible with my interests and skills? After diving into my resume and some job exploration, it became clear quickly just how many alternative careers for teachers exist. Additionally, making a career change out of teaching is very common. Knowing I was in good company and had plentiful options for a career shift was the first step to making a successful transition out of teaching. If you are burned out, seeking greater work life balance, or find yourself considering a career change, check out these alternative careers for teachers as a starting place.
One job that is no longer considered in the education field but still feels very similar is corporate training. Corporate trainers educate adults on various topics for corporations or small businesses. Corporate training is necessary in virtually every field from healthcare to business. It is important for employees to have ongoing professional development and to stay abreast of developments in a particular field. A strong corporate trainer has the ability to instruct on a subject they are knowledgeable about while also engaging adults in effective learning techniques. Similar to the teaching field corporate trainers need skills like:
- “Lesson” planning and organization
- Effective communication
- Enthusiasm for learning
Corporate training roles can be found internally to companies such as in a sales department or a learning and development function, as well as in consultation roles with a variety of companies. If you enjoy the fundamentals of teaching without some of the added responsibility or education field challenges, corporate training could be an excellent fit as an alternative career for a teacher.
This is another field that is closely tied to the education field. Many teachers looking for an alternative career find instructional design to be a great starting place for transitioning out of teaching and applying highly transferrable skills. Instructional design involves the creation of engaging and accurate learning experiences and systems to support effective learning. It combines the creativity of teaching, with the science behind various learning theories. These roles also utilize many new learning technologies to design the best learning systems. This type of role is great as well because you can utilize your formal education background without needing additional training. Instructional design involves many skills used in teaching including:
- Assessment/testing knowledge
- Education theory
- Technology skills
- Data driven instruction
Similar to corporate training, instructional design positions are necessary for a variety of industries as they keep up with effective training and development. Prepare for these roles by learning specific technology platforms that are used in your company of choice, and preparing a portfolio of your work.
Every organization requires a human resources function to recruit, retain, develop, and guide employees for a smoothly functioning business. Many human resources specialist positions lend themselves well to an education background including recruitment, benefits coordination or training and development. Human resources positions are great for former teachers looking for an alternative job that is completely different while still involving people orientation and similar skills including:
- Customer service orientation
- Time management
- Project management
While acquiring human resources specific education or certifications is advantageous, teachers can often join human resources functions in coordinator or specialist roles to start on a new career path.
If you have a passion for active listening and negotiations, you could find a lot of enjoyment in becoming a real estate agent. Real estate is an exciting field that often allows for more flexibility or part time hours if you are seeking a change from the teacher life schedule. To be successful you need to have initiative, get to know your clients needs, and become an expert on the local area trends. You can start in real estate by joining an established agency or developing your own business using skills including:
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Marketing and sales
- Excellent communication
Many former teachers find real estate to be a great fit as an alternative career and enjoy the freedom that comes with building a real estate career of your own.
Sales is a very broad field and the ways sales roles are used varies widely by company. At its core, sales involves marketing and communication skills to convince a group of people to invest their money or time into your product or service over alternatives on the market. Many former teachers find alternative careers in sales due to its focus on people, by using their skills from the classroom including:
- Building rapport
- Strong communication
- Active listening
- Research skills
A great starting place for sales positions is in education material companies. Many educational companies that sell technology, classroom materials, curriculum, or testing materials seek out former teachers to support and sell to various schools across the region. As a teacher, if you are passionate about a particular platform or curriculum, look into their publishing company to see if you would be a great fit for joining their sales team.
Marketing or Public Relations
Similar to the sales field, marketing and public relations roles involve a lot of skills similar to teaching. These alternative careers for teachers involve building strong relationships with the public or other professionals and using creativity to connect with others. Many former teachers enjoy developing new ideas for advertising products or services and planning events and meetings to promote their organizations. To be successful in these jobs, you would depend on skills including:
- Relationship management
- Problem Solving
Many teachers make the transition out of the classroom into marketing or public relations roles in education materials or training companies to closely align with their experience.
If your teaching experience is English or you are a reading specialist, you might enjoy transitioning into a writing or editing role. Many organizations employ writers and editors for instructional materials and technology materials. Being a strong editor means being able to work closely with writers to mentor others. You will connect with them throughout the writing process and support their work. If you are a strong writer or have interests in developing a writing career, jumping into this field could be a great start. You will need skills including:
- Detail orientation
- Interpersonal skills
- Strong writing skills
Writers and editors are employed in internal positions in many companies but writing and editing can make great options for freelance careers as well. Freelancing with any of your skills is a great option if you desire more flexibility and autonomy in your career.
Every leader in an organization needs a strong executive assistant working with them to ensure they stay organized and prepared for any situation. Executive assistant roles are very specific to the company and the leader’s style. General day to day duties often including scheduling, event planning, correspondence, project management, or presentation building. As a teacher, we are often highly proficient in Microsoft applications and planning skills. These skills are extremely useful in these roles along with skills including;
- Time management
- Technology skills
- Presentation skills
- Effective communication
Becoming an executive assistant provides a great opportunity to learn a new industry by working closely with leadership. It often serves as a great entryway into a completely new field. Once you get to know the industry better, you will discover more alternative job options within the company.
Being a teacher is a great career if you are passionate and it fits your lifestyle. For me, becoming a wife and mother no longer aligned with my teaching roles. I sought out an alternative career that provided me with greater work life balance and a greater ability to take care of my own health. If you are considering leaving the teaching field, I hope you feel less stuck than I did, and see many avenues for alternative careers for teachers that might be the next right move for you.
All the best,