Alternative Careers for Teachers (Salaries, Tips & More)

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Educators possess a unique set of skills that are transferable across many industries. Whether it’s time management, copy editing, user experience design, training or communication, teachers have honed abilities applicable in many professional contexts. As more educators explore jobs for teachers outside of education, the opportunity to leverage these skills in different industries continues to expand.

Transitioning from teaching to another career is a significant step that requires patience, effort and persistence. By identifying roles that resonate with your passions and align with your skills, the journey to a new, rewarding career is more navigable.

In this guide, we’ll provide insights into determining if you’re ready for a new role, how to approach the transition and potential career alternatives to teaching based on varied interests.

How to Determine if You’re Ready for a Job Outside Education

Educators considering a departure from their teaching roles should conduct a rigorous self-assessment to gauge their readiness to transition. The employment platform Indeed identifies six indicators that may suggest a need for a career change:

  1. A noticeable decline in enthusiasm and contentment derived from your work
  2. Persistent stress from work that adversely impacts your personal life
  3. A perception that your ideas and contributions are undervalued
  4. Frequent recommendations from acquaintances to reconsider your career choice
  5. Inadequate earnings to meet the cost of living
  6. Recurring contemplation or idealization of alternative employment

Sporadic experiences of work-related stress or feelings of undervaluation are commonplace. However, if you consistently experience these sentiments, it may be time to evaluate your professional status. To do this, educators might ask the following questions:

  • What competencies do you possess? This might encompass communication proficiency, acumen in project management or technological adeptness.
  • In which tasks or activities do you excel? How does your perception of your strengths correlate with your skill set?
  • What ignites your passion? Which tasks or projects excite you?
  • How do you envision contributing to society or your community?
  • How do your current compensation and benefits align with your needs and aspirations? Absent financial constraints, would your current role still appeal to you?

If the underlying issues seem amenable to resolution then staying the course with your teaching career is recommended.

On the other hand, if the challenges appear deeply entrenched or insurmountable, educators might consider pursuing education-related jobs outside the classroom or leaving the education sector altogether.

Transitioning to a New Career After Teaching

Upon thorough self-evaluation, educators may organize their prospective career trajectory into three categories:

  1. Adapting existing roles to alternate industries — Educators interested in retaining their instructional capacities but venturing outside traditional educational spheres might consider roles such as corporate trainers, learning consultants or private tutors.
  2. Transitioning to new roles within education — Those who remain committed to the educational sector but seek variation in function might explore roles in school administration and leadership, delve into more personalized spheres as counselors or tap into the creative domain as instructional designers.
  3. Taking on a career in a new industry — Educators considering leaving the teaching sector entirely have a wide array of professions to explore, opening up opportunities more aligned with their unique skills and interests. Examples of such transitions include roles in corporate communications, human resources, content development or nonprofit management.

The Harvard Business Review underscores the significance of a structured approach to career decisions. With this approach in mind, educators intending to transition should adopt a strategy that includes the following.

  • In-depth market research: Scrutinize the job market, both locally and in prospective relocation areas. Identify entities recruiting for desired roles and consider your potential alignment with these positions.
  • Assessment of requisite qualifications: Analyze the academic and skill prerequisites for targeted roles. Differentiate between non-negotiable and preferential requirements.
  • Skill alignment evaluation: Contrast the job requisites with your transferable skills. Discern the competencies directly applicable and those that need improvement, whether through additional training, certification or other skill development opportunities.
  • Gap identification and rectification: Isolate discrepancies in required academic credentials, experiential requisites or certifications. Devise strategies to bridge these gaps, which could entail further training, courses or accreditation processes.
  • Tailored application materials: When ready to apply, customize resumes and cover letters to clarify the rationale behind the career shift. Elaborate on how prior experiences have laid the groundwork for the impending transition and highlight the enthusiasm you have for the prospective role.

Top 13 “Outside the Classroom” Jobs to Pursue with a Teaching Degree

Exploring education degree jobs outside the classroom may seem daunting, but with the right strategies, educators can successfully navigate this transition. Here are several alternative careers, categorized by interests, to help guide your search.

Library Sciences

InterestsReading, researching, cataloging
Job TitlesLibrarian, Library Media Specialist
Salary Range$28,500–$92,500
Transferable Teaching SkillsCommunication, organization, documentation, computer literacy
Educational/Experience RequirementsWorking as a librarian typically requires a master’s degree in Library Science (MLS). A library media specialist usually holds a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. Some roles might require teaching certifications.

Corporate Training

InterestsMentoring, skills instruction
Job TitlesLearning Consultant, Training and Development Specialist
Salary Range$29,500–$109,500
Transferable Teaching SkillsClassroom management, lesson planning, communication, innovation
Educational/Experience RequirementsPredominantly, positions call for a bachelor’s degree in a pertinent field, coupled with several years of instructional experience. Certain roles may require specific certifications.

Curriculum Development

InterestsAsset creation, educational technology
Job TitlesCurriculum Designer, eLearning Developer, Instructional Coordinator
Salary Range$47,493–$86,397
Transferable Teaching SkillsWriting proficiency, course design, technological adeptness, team collaboration
Educational/Experience RequirementsThe majority of roles require a bachelor’s degree in a field of study and years of course creation experience. Some might ask for proficiency in specified software platforms.

Human Resources

InterestsCommunication, personnel management
Job TitlesHuman Resources Manager
Salary Range$37,000–$125,500
Transferable Teaching SkillsCommunication, team collaboration, organization, technological familiarity
Educational/Experience RequirementsGenerally, a bachelor’s degree in communications, business, psychology or associated fields, plus experience in personnel management, is needed. Some roles may call for professional association certification.


InterestsGuidance, mentoring
Job TitlesCounselor, Life Coach
Salary Range$22,500–79,000
Transferable Teaching SkillsCommunication, analytical discernment, active listening, empathy
Educational/Experience RequirementsMany roles require a master’s degree in counseling or psychology, complemented by years of professional experience. Some positions might insist on state-regulated licensing or even a teaching credential.

Learning Design

InterestsCurriculum formulation, design, pedagogical technology
Job TitlesInstructional Designer, Learning Designer
Salary Range$31,000–$130,500
Transferable Teaching SkillsAnalytical thinking, course design, technological expertise, communicative skills
Educational/Experience RequirementsRoles typically require a bachelor’s degree in learning design or an analogous field. Some might prefer an advanced degree, particular certifications or teaching credentials.

Educational Consulting

InterestsInstruction in diverse settings
Job TitlesEducational Consultant
Salary Range$41,500–$137,000
Transferable Teaching SkillsCommunication, team synergy, analytical prowess, organization
Educational/Experience RequirementsA bachelor’s degree in education or a related discipline and years of teaching or administrative experience are expected. Some positions might require a master’s degree and familiarity with regional or national education policies.

Listed job salaries and requirements as of September 2023 sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and ZipRecruiter.

Additional Tips for Getting Started in a New Career

Individuals with a teaching background possess valuable skills, making them strong candidates for myriad roles, both within and outside the education sector. As you think about transitioning to a new career, consider the following structured approach.

  1. Conduct comprehensive research: Investigate potential roles, gain insights about prospective employers and understand the educational requirements and experience necessary for specific positions.
  2. Adopt a forward-thinking mindset: Transitioning careers can present challenges, including potential setbacks. Maintain focus on your reasons for seeking change and keep your overarching goals at the forefront.
  3. Expand networking efforts: Engage with relevant social media groups or professional networks. Such platforms can be instrumental in unearthing job leads, acquiring advice and gaining insights from individuals who have navigated similar career transitions.
  4. Develop a professional portfolio: Beyond the conventional resume and cover letter, curate a portfolio that encapsulates your most noteworthy accomplishments relevant to your desired role. For instance, aspiring curriculum designers might include example lesson plans, while prospective mentors or counselors could incorporate testimonials illustrating their interpersonal strengths.
  5. Seek relevant academic programs: Identifying and enrolling in programs aligned with the intended career trajectory can be beneficial. For example, the MS in Learning Design and Technology, offered through the University of San Diego, is tailored for those seeking roles in instructional design.

Finding the right academic program can provide you with the perfect mix of instruction, networking and hands-on experience to help you transition to a new career. For further insights into jobs for teachers outside of education, download our eBook, 9 Things to Know About Careers in Instructional Design.

9 Things to Know About Careers in Instructional Design

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