7 Alternative Jobs for Teachers Looking for Something Different
Watching kids grow and learn new things sounds like an amazing way to earn a living. But you can’t help but wonder if becoming a teacher is the best option for you—will becoming a teacher drastically shrink your career horizons? What options are out there if you want to branch out from the typical K–12 teacher experience?
It’s clear the idea of being a teacher caught your attention for good reason. Whether it’s working with kids, leading others or knowing you’re making a difference through education, there’s a lot to like about the profession. So what options are out there for someone who’d like to capture some of that same appeal while working outside of the classroom? To answer that, we rounded up some of the best alternative jobs for teachers that will put your passion for education to good use.
Branch out with these alternative jobs for teachers
Teachers like you have skills that translate well to a number of different roles. Take a look at these seven jobs for former teachers to see if one of them sounds right for you.
1. Corporate trainer
Corporate trainers develop programs and teach courses to train employees at an organization, typically as part of a human resources department initiative. These specialists discover where employees need additional training by conducting surveys and interviews and speaking with management. Then they create curriculum and teach courses to meet those training needs. A corporate trainer’s courses can range from a general orientation class to a specific skill for advancing employees.
Why teachers are a good fit: Many teaching job duties overlap with those of a corporate trainer. Experience in developing curriculum and speaking in front of a crowd are excellent preparation for this type of career.
2. Leadership consultant
Leadership consulting involves coaching clients to improve their leadership skills and recognize their leadership style. Former middle school teacher David McNamee says he uses his teaching experience every day in his leadership business, Foundations for Leaders.
“In my teaching and consulting work, the goals are the same: Helping my students (or clients) find those ‘Aha!’ moments that make them a better leader,” says McNamee. He uses speaking engagements, workshops and small groups to bring his clients’ leadership potential to the surface—much like the way teachers support and encourage students.
Why teachers are a good fit: Teachers are often natural leaders themselves. They are gifted at finding and encouraging their students’ strengths. And of course, they know how to speak to a crowd.
3. Child life specialist
Child life specialists provide support for families and children who are experiencing a difficult medical situation, especially those involving hospitalization. These advocates help children cope with their medical situation and offer them educational play opportunities while they are hospitalized. They also help siblings and parents understand the medical situation, offer emotional support to families and educate healthcare professionals about children’s needs during stressful circumstances.
Why teachers are a good fit: A teacher’s background educating and working with kids gives them a unique perspective on a young patient’s complex emotions during a hospital stay. They also have plenty of experience joining forces with parents to support their child in the best way possible.
4. School administrator
School principals, or administrators, are the leaders of their school. They perform typical managerial duties, such as creating a budget, hiring and managing staff and ensuring their school remains organized and running smoothly. But school administrators have additional jobs specific to education. They work with state and local governments to ensure their school and curriculum meets educational standards, and they cooperate with parents and teachers to create the best learning environment possible for their students.
Why former teachers are a good fit: Becoming a school principal is a natural progression for teachers as they look to advance their careers. This job is perfect for teachers who need a change of pace but still want their career to contribute to education.
A writing career can take many forms, from fixing up job hopefuls’ resumes and cover letters to writing an entire book! Former teacher Steve Sonntag turned his experiences in the classroom into five educational books—three for teachers, two for families. “I reflected on the good times, the advantages, the disadvantages, and what was helpful for me so that I could share with other new, veteran, retiring and even retired teachers,” says Sonntag.
While this might not be the easiest field to make a steady living from, freelancing as a professional writer is an excellent way to shake up teachers’ routines and supplement their income if they’re not ready to leave their day jobs.
Why former teachers are a good fit: Traditional teaching isn’t the only way to convey information. If you have a way with words, becoming a writer is a fantastic opportunity to offer education and insights through a different medium.
6. Adult literacy teacher
These specialized teachers work with adults to improve their reading and writing skills and to help non-native English speakers improve their conversation skills. Adult literacy teachers often focus on teaching vocabulary and reading skills that will be beneficial in the workplace. They play a vital role in the lives of adult learners. Their work can help adult students get better jobs, recognize and get help for a learning disability and even earn their high school diploma!
Why former teachers are a good fit: You already have a knack for teaching. By working with adult learners, you’ll see your skills and experience directly benefit others looking to advance their careers.
7. Child development director
Child development directors are responsible for running early childhood education programs in preschools or childcare centers. They oversee teachers and aides, create budgets and develop classroom curriculums. They’re the leaders who keep their institution running smoothly, whether it’s helping teachers and parents work through a tough developmental stage with a child or keeping paperwork in order to ensure compliance with educational standards and childcare regulations.
Why former teachers are a good fit: Teachers have already had plenty of practice working with parents, children and educational standards. Becoming a child development director is a great place to put all that expertise to good use.
Looking for something different?
Being an educator doesn’t always mean you’ll work in the traditional K–12 educational routine. As you can see, there are several alternative careers for educators that give you a chance to develop others. If you haven’t considered it before, a career in child development might be an appealing fit.
Find out if you might be better suited to be working with your community’s littlest learners in our article, “6 Signs You Should Consider a Career in Child Development