Alternative Jobs For Teachers

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 18, 2020

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The majority of working adults will change their career paths at least once, and teachers are no different.

Whether you’ve realized that you don’t actually enjoy teaching or are simply burnt out, there is no shame in looking for a different job, and a career change is more than possible to accomplish with the skills you have.

Marketable Skills Teachers Have

If you have experience teaching, you already have many of the skills companies seek out in employees. Highlight these on your resume, in your cover letter, and during your interview to make sure hiring managers see what you bring to the table.

  • Communication. Teaching requires you to find ways to communicate your message effectively, often to an audience with a wide variety of learning styles and needs.

    As a result, you’re used to finding creative ways to get your message across, whether written or verbal. This is a valuable skill in any industry.

  • Organization. No matter the size of your classroom or the grade you teach, you have to know how to organize your time, space, and workload. Companies will appreciate this skill since they can trust you to get your job done without any handholding.

  • Continual learning. Chances are, one of the reasons you entered into education was because you believed in its value. You understand that there is always something new to learn, so use your resume and cover letter to highlight the ways that you’re actively improving, as recruiters want to hire people who are eager to grow.

  • Management/Leadership. Whether it’s wrangling 15 preschoolers or managing 62 high school semester projects, you know how to get groups of people to get things done on time. You’ve probably solved conflicts, created effective teams, and motivated your students as well.

    Well-honed management and leadership skills like these are hard to come by in the workplace, so yours will make you a much more valuable hire.

  • Collaboration. As a teacher, you not only have to know how to work with your students, but also with your coworkers and students’ parents. When you’re applying for a job, give examples of times you collaborated with these groups to show how you know how to work as a part of a team.

  • Self-motivation. As a teacher, you know how to work alone as well as in groups. You have to be the one to motivate yourself to create lesson plans and grade papers, and employers will love that you’re able to do this.

  • Subject expertise. If you teach a specific subject, your expertise in this area could open up some exciting possibilities for you. For example, if you’re an art teacher, you might find work at a museum or gallery. If you’re an English teacher, you could tutor students or even help new citizens work on their English.

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21 Alternative Jobs for Teachers

If you’re considering a career change, don’t be afraid to get creative and pursue your goals and dreams. If you’re looking for ideas on where to start, though, keep reading.

  1. Substitute teacher. This is an excellent option if you’re looking for more flexibility and the ability to be in the classroom without being completely responsible for it. This is also a great place to start as you’re thinking about what else you might want to do.

  2. Librarian. Whether you work in a school or city library, this is a great chance to help students and adults learn and grow without working in a classroom.

  3. School administrator. If you still want to be a part of a school but don’t want to be the one doing the teaching anymore, a position as a school administrator might be a good option for you.

    Most of these positions require a master’s or doctoral degree, as well as teaching experience.

  4. Coach or personal trainer. Whether you’re coaching a school sports team or individuals at a gym, these positions are great opportunities for you to put your teaching skills to work in another arena. These are also good positions if you want to work part-time.

  5. Guidance counselor. Guidance counselors still work in schools but don’t usually work in the classroom. If you want to continue to support students, but from a more one-on-one approach, this may be a good option for you.

  6. Non-traditional teaching. If you just need a change of pace more than anything, consider looking for a position teaching in a different environment. Whether you’re running online courses or working with adults to help them receive their GEDs, breaking out of your norm may be the change you need.

  7. Community center class instructor. Your local community center is likely always looking for new class ideas and instructors to teach them. If you have a hobby or just want to help community members improve at balancing a budget, teaching at a community center could be fulfilling work.

    Even if you don’t have an idea for a class, these centers will appreciate having a certified teacher who’s willing to help out.

  8. Museum educator/tour guide. If your education prepared you for a specialized field such as history, art, or science, working at a museum is an interesting way to put your skills to use. You could teach workshops, give tours, or even visit schools to teach kids about what your museum does.

  9. Writer. Being a writer can mean a lot of things. You can write novels, personal or professional blogs, or articles. This is an especially good fit if you’re an English teacher, as education in this area and some solid writing examples are the main requirements for many writing positions.

  10. Camp director. Summer camps need managing and planning all year round, and ex-teachers are often the best people for this job.

    You have the organizational and communication skills needed to do this well, as well as a knowledge of how to work with both kids and parents. This could also be a fun way to continue working with children outside the classroom.

  11. Life coach. If you love helping people reach their goals, becoming a life coach might be a great option for you. Whether you choose to start your own business or join an agency, this field would allow you to continue to motivate and instruct others.

  12. HR representative. Much of human resources is training and working to solve problems with people, just like teaching. While you may need to obtain a certificate or degree to enter this field, it can be a natural fit for someone with a teaching background.

  13. Sales representative. Sales (especially wholesale, where you’re selling from one business to another) can be an excellent opportunity for you to put your motivational and organizational skills to use. This field also offers chances to grow and make some good money (if you’re good at your job), making it an ideal career change option for a teacher.

  14. Instructional coordinator. Becoming an instructional coordinator allows you to make a difference in education from the top by overseeing and improving curriculum and teaching practices. You’ll need a master’s degree to hold this position, and your experience teaching will bring a much-needed perspective to the job.

  15. Curriculum Designer. Designing curriculum allows you to help other teachers by putting the lessons you learned from your own teaching experience to use. You’ll be able to improve programs and set instructors and students up for success with the programs you create.

    Many of these positions require a master’s degree and a teaching certificate, as well as experience teaching in a classroom.

  16. Standardized test developer. If you’re interested in improving educational systems by accurately measuring students’ progress, becoming a standardized test developer might be the perfect career to segue into.

    You’ll likely need a master’s or doctoral degree in one subject of expertise to do this, so keep that in mind as you make your plans.

  17. Radiological technologist, licensed practical nurse, or dental hygienist. A large part of these professions is helping patients understand what’s going on and what they need to do to take care of themselves.

    If you’re looking for a major career change, one of these options might be the perfect way to continue to help and educate people in a different way.

    Each of these areas has its own training program that takes a year or two to complete. They only require a bachelor’s or associate degree to begin, which often doesn’t even need to be in a medicine- or science-based subject.

  18. Postsecondary teacher. A natural stepping stone for a teacher looking for a career change, postsecondary education may require an additional degree. Still, it can offer you more research opportunities in your subject and a more flexible schedule.

    Plus, teaching college students is very different from teaching elementary and high school students, so it might offer you a much-needed change of pace while still allowing you to teach.

  19. Psychologist. While this profession will require an additional degree or two, becoming a psychologist can open up a world of opportunities to help people in a new capacity. You could even become a school psychologist and assist students in this way instead of in the classroom.

  20. Social worker. If you’re passionate about helping people solve problems and find ways to meet their needs, then social work might be a fulfilling profession for you.

    You’ll likely need a bachelor’s degree in social work to become a social worker, but job opportunities abound in a variety of locales. You can work in a nursing home, a social work center, or even a school.

  21. Corporate trainer. Companies always need motivating, engaging individuals to conduct training for their employees. They may even want you to teach their managers how to better train their workers.

    This is also a great option if you want to travel, as companies will often have you visit multiple locations.

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Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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