Jobs For Former Teachers

Teaching is tough these days, especially for educators in the public school systems.

We’ve heard all the complaints: teachers receive less planning time, resources, and administrative support than they used to. Add in all the additional paperwork, standardized testing practices, and less-than-ideal pay, and it’s no wonder that so many great teachers are leaving their field in search of other work.

We receive a lot of emails from teachers looking for advice, and to be completely honest, it’s tough to make specific recommendations. So much of it depends on what your personal interests, strengths, experiences, and goals are that it’s hard to make concrete recommendations without knowing you personally.

That said, there are some careers that will definitely capitalize on your teaching experiences more than others. We can’t promise that there will always be a seamless transition from teaching to your new career, but below is a list of 8 jobs that will hopefully get your brain spinning.

Just keep in mind that, even though you have a lot of occupational experience you can leverage to a new job, you are starting a new field and will likely need to start at the bottom. Set your sights on the entry-level positions, but don’t shy away from a more advanced position if it seems like it could be a great fit.

Social Worker

Yes, being a social worker comes with a set of challenges that are very similar to those found in the teaching field. Funding is limited, there are all kinds of hoops to jump through, the pay doesn’t reflect the value you’re providing to society, and it’s easy to feel underappreciated.

However, if you were first attracted to teaching because you wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, then a career as a social worker could make a nice career pivot.

Yes, you will need some additional education and training to make this happen. However, it’s hard to simply reboot your career without making an investment. And the good news is, having worked in the school systems, you probably already have some of the professional connections you will need to find a job in the field once you’re ready to make that leap.

Career Counselor

Yes, I get the irony here. You’re not sure what to do yourself right now, and here I am suggesting that you help other people figure out what to do with themselves.

But I can tell you that we work with a lot of career counselors from some of the top colleges and universities in the country, and many of them are former teachers. When you think about it, it makes a nice transitional fit.

Career counselors often:

  • Administer assessments to identify strengths (you’ve given a lot of tests, right?)
  • Listen to the students’ interests and desires, and make recommendations for possible careers
  • Help with resume and cover letter writing (you’re an effective communicator, right?)

Even though it may not seem like a direct fit, you can see that your teaching experience can set you up nicely to work as a career counselor.

Sales

Being good at sales basically comes down to having great listening and speaking skills. And if you’re a teacher, you’ve received a lot of training (and have a ton of experience) in the communication department.

Now, I’m not saying that an employer will say to themself, ‘wow, this person was a teacher, they will be perfect.’ But I am saying that you have an opportunity to leverage one of your greatest occupational strengths into an entry-level position in another field.

Also, I can feel you rolling your eyes right now. ‘Sales? Really?’

Yes, really. I’ve personally known more than a few teachers who have taken this route. One of them spent 30 years teaching, and now makes a very nice living selling cars at an up-scale dealership. Just don’t expect to start at the top.

Human Resources

Ask any company, and they’ll tell you that good human resources employees are hard to come by.

Basically, a good human resources employee has to be able to:

  • 1. Listen to the needs of the hiring manager (you’re a good listener, right?)
  • 2. Write accurate and appealing job descriptions (you’re a good writer, right?)
  • 3. Find potential matches in candidates (you’re a good researcher, right?)
  • 4. Interview candidates over the phone (you’re a good communicator, right?)
  • 5. Handle employees who have broken or violated company rules (you’re used to dealing with people breaking the rules, right?)

As you can see, your teaching experience aligns very well with a potential career in human resources. Only you can decide if it might make a good fit.

Corporate Trainer

I will admit, this is a bit of a tough one. Yes, you have the teaching experience nailed down. Yes, you’re excellent communicator, and you have a ton of experience putting together lesson plans and teaching unfamiliar concepts.

The tough part is finding someone to hire you without corporate training experience. In a cursory look through dozens of job descriptions, we found that most companies want corporate trainers to have at least a few years of experience in the field. That makes things difficult, but not impossible.

The key to finding a job in this field without previous training experience will be making the most of your network. Let all of your friends and trusted colleagues know that you’re looking for an opportunity in the field, and ask if they’d keep an ear out for you. Without a personal recommendation, transitioning from education to corporate training can be difficult.

Administrator

Ok, so maybe you don’t want to be a teacher anymore, but would still like to stay in the school system. Working as a school administrator could provide you with that opportunity.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. School administrators often have an advanced degree, as well as years of experience in the field. There is also a ton of politics at work when it comes to selecting people for those roles, so that’s also a game that you will have to play.

However, if the idea of becoming an administrator is exciting, what’s stopping you? Even if it isn’t something that you can apply for today, it could be a long-term goal that you could work towards over time.

Tutor

Unless you’re very successful, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to replace your teaching salary with a tutoring gig. However, working as a tutor has a couple very major benefits:

1. The hours are incredibly flexible, because you set them yourself. This is ideal for former teachers who decide to go back to school and pursue a degree related to another field of study.

2. You still get to teach, but without all the politics and headaches associated with public school teaching. Sure, you don’t get to know your students as well as you did in a classroom environment, and yeah, you will get some angry parents from time to time wondering why their kid is still failing (they still aren’t trying). But if teaching is your passion, that could be a trade-off you’re willing to make.

As a tutor, your biggest challenge will be building up that initial client base. Over time, word of mouth will spread and you will have more consistent work, but starting out can be very tough. Making the most of your personal and professional network is often essential.

Content Creator

You may not realize it, but many sites (like this one) pay people to write for them. As a teacher, your perspective, ability to research, and ability to communicate are extremely valuable.

Of course, getting your foot in the door is always the hard part. For instance, when we post an opportunity for a content creator, we often receive 500 or more emails expressing interest, and we can only select one person. So do your best to stand out by being polite, friendly, and professional.

If this is something that interests you, check out Freelancer.com and the Pro Blogger job board.

Also, don’t be afraid to submit some articles to sites for free, just so you can mention that you’ve written for certain sites in your introductory note.

Updated: 09/03/2017
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Kevin Spence
Kevin Spence is the founder & previous owner of Career Thoughts.

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