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Beyond the Classroom: Alternative Careers for Teachers

female teacher working on classroom papers 

Here’s the situation. You’re looking for a career where you can make meaningful relationships, a lasting contribution to the hearts and minds of generations to come and you want to work in education. But you don’t want to be a teacher.

That’s a sticky situation.

In today’s world, you don’t need to limit your career options to just working in a traditional classroom to make a splash in the education industry. There are many education-related occupations to explore for those of you with various educational backgrounds and work experiences.

Michelle Gannon, a former elementary and high school teacher, earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in education, and now runs her own company, The Language Playground. The organization teaches parents how to expose their children to a second language even if they don’t speak it themselves.

“The corporate world has many opportunities for employees with education backgrounds,” Gannon says. “Often there [are] software tools that need to be taught to all employees and manuals about processes that need to be written, and corporations offer lots of internal classes that could be taught by folks with backgrounds in education.”

Of course, if you’re looking to make an impact on the education industry it definitely helps to have teaching experience so you have an understanding of the basics. But not every occupation within education requires it.

There are several alternative careers for teachers within the technology field, publishing world and creative industry. Here’s what we found.

Education-based non-profit organizations

If you are passionate about a particular topic–e.g. health, education, technology–then working for a non-profit may be your best bet to working within the education industry and positively influencing the future for children.

There are many non-profits that work within the school system to educate and align students with their missions. A career such as designing and writing curriculum for schools is a great alternative for teachers. Or perhaps a curriculum teacher trainer is a better fit. In this job you would be sharing with teachers how the curriculum was developed and how they can teach it to their classes. How do you get to that point within a non-profit? Start by volunteering. Many non-profits hire from within.

Look for alternative careers to teaching at: Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Teach for America and Peace Corps.

Technology in education

Education isn’t limited to just teaching in a traditional classroom. If you are someone who is interested in technology and the field of education, have you ever considered a career teaching technology to students? Technology in the classroom is crucial. After all, 65 percent of today’s students will end up in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet.

If you have an information technology degree, there are careers within schools that you could consider. Examples include a web designer who designs the school’s website, an IT specialist who works behind the scenes or an IT desk support specialist to assist in fixing technology throughout the school.

*Other alternative careers to teaching include: training and development specialist, instructional technologists and software developer.

Writing to provide educational materials

Working in the creative field is not limited to just art directors and designers; writing also has a special place in education. From positions where you can be involved in creating instructional videos, to writing and editing textbook copy, there is an alternative career to teaching for you in the creative world.

Need a way to get started? Try submitting blog articles to authoritative websites and teaching magazines to get your name out there. With this type of experience, you can begin sending your writing samples to educational publishers for review. If there are educational publishers in your area, set up an informational interview to learn more about the role of a writer for their company and how you could earn a position there.

*Other alternative careers to teaching include: editor, writer, author or school guidance counselor.

Make a plan

In other words, do your homework on what’s out there for a future career in the market today. Think about the skills you currently possess and what you could offer a company or organization. Another way to find an alternative education career is by taking an aptitude test to match your skills to the career that’s right for you.

All in all, a degree in education can be helpful for any of the careers listed above. To learn more about your options for a degree in education, visit the School of Education and be sure to check out other teaching-related careers by downloading the Education Career Outlook.

*Source: (Analysis of 2,439 job postings in education from Dec. 10, 2012 - Dec. 9, 2013).

Kendall Bird

Kendall is a Social Media Strategist at Collegis Education who is focused on bringing awareness and engagement to Rasmussen College's social media properties. She is passionate about helping others, the power of education and building strategies that put the needs of students first. 


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