Are there jobs for former teachers that don’t take place in the classroom? Of course there are! Facilitating learning can take place in a myriad of different settings and in different industries. Education in all its forms impacts lives. The sad reality is, more teachers than ever are opting out of the traditional classroom for the sake of their mental health, physical health, life balance, and other reasons. Yet most who leave still want to remain connected to teaching and learning. After all, that is where their passion lies.
Worried your skills won’t transfer? Not true. Teachers are smart and skilled workers who would easily qualify for a wide variety of jobs in a variety of industries. In order to make a successful transition, it’s a matter of presenting your experience differently and highlighting skills instead of teaching jobs. To help get you started, check out Leaving Teaching? How to Make Your Resume Stand Out in the Corporate World.
Here are 31 jobs for former teachers, many suggested by our community of teachers in our Helpline group on Facebook, that will get you out of the classroom but not entirely out of the helping profession that is teaching.
1. Educational Policy Expert
If you’re considering leaving the classroom, there’s a chance it’s because you don’t agree with a mandated policy … or 30. Be the change by becoming a policy expert, a person who has hands-on administrative experience with a desire to review and adjust policies within educational institutions.
2. Curriculum Writer/Creator
Want to improve the quality of what students learn? Interested in working with teachers? Informing curriculum is a great way to directly impact what goes on in the classroom, without actually being in it! Whether that means going with one of the big education curriculum companies or producing your own content on paid teacher sites, it’s a great opportunity to share your knowledge with other teachers.
Many districts promote senior teachers to positions where they mentor and coach new and struggling teachers. Some coaches work at only one school, and some travel throughout the district. In these jobs for former teachers, you’ll get to spend time in classrooms but not be responsible for your own kiddos. Meghann R. reveals, “I’m a literacy coach for ELA educators. I coach teachers who are new to the profession or immensely struggling with their instructional strategies.” She started her coaching business after seeing how desperate fellow educators had become to simply keep their heads above water. “As someone who personally experienced those same struggles in my earlier years of education, I felt I could make a tremendous impact on others by offering my expertise where some are really struggling.
4. Educational Technology Consultant
There are several different ways in which an educational consultant helps schools and businesses. Kela L. says, “Lots of ed-tech and consulting jobs out there need a teacher’s experience. Think about all the software we used to transition to distance learning. All those companies are booming and may be hiring.”
5. Online Educator
Red tape and pressure still apply, but one of the best jobs for former teachers is an online educator. It’s been a game changer for many people, especially now that we’ve all done it during quarantine. The pay, even when salaried, is less, but so is the stress. Kellie T. agrees. “I’m still teaching but virtually on a virtual platform. I’ve been working for a couple of years. I enjoy it because I teach what I want and how I want.”
6. Community Director
Think of your local YMCA or youth center—anyplace kids go for extracurricular enrichment. Who better than a former teacher to organize and facilitate educational and athletic programs and events? In addition, this position allows you to impact your community on a larger scale.
7. School Counselor
School counselors are in a unique position to help students and make improvements to the school. While still working within a school district, counselors serve as personal advocates for students in need and are responsible for organizing programs to help the student body. It may take further education, but the investment is worth it.
8. Corporate Trainer
Corporate trainers are like teachers that work in corporate or other professional settings to promote employee growth and development. They may train teams in-person to develop their skills or create entire training programs used to teach and train employees. According to WGU, the career path of a corporate trainer can be rewarding for those with a passion for teaching. Anyone who is outgoing, loves being around people, and likes to teach would be an excellent fit for this position and can take simple steps to get started.
Still want to work one-on-one or in small groups with children? Being a para gives you the opportunity to teach and connect with kids, without all the additional stressful responsibilities like staff meetings, parent-teacher conferences, etc. The downside, of course, is the move comes with a significant pay cut.
10. Addiction Counselor
Addiction counselors provide support, counseling, and treatment for people with substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. Many of the skills required to be a good teacher—empathy, listening, being able to develop a personalized plan—apply nicely.
11. Career Coach
A career coach is a development professional who helps people adjust and improve their career paths through one-on-one guidance and advising. You may consider a career coach for several reasons, including to find a new job, to change careers, or to work toward a promotion.
12. Driving Instructor
If you love working with teens looking to build valuable life skills, this might be a good position for you. It’s the instructor’s job to analyze a student’s current ability and tailor driving lessons in a way that leads to success and minimizes the seriousness that potential mistakes could lead to.
13. Education Manager
Big corporations are a great place to look for jobs for former teachers. An education manager typically works within a company to facilitate teaching and learning activities. They may have administrative duties like organizing educational programs, obtaining funding, instructing, and more. Karen L. says, “I’m an education manager for a nonprofit farm-to-school organization. I create, edit/revise lessons, and teach young adults how to teach garden lessons to students.”
14. Educational Curator for the Public
Do you have a passion for culture? This role helps create and implement educational events and programs at places like museums and zoos. You still get to work with curriculum and learning, and best of all, kids.
15. Work With Disabled Adults
Melissa M. shares, “If you have any medium- to large-size companies that employ people with disabilities, maybe start there. City and county offices and child protective services need SPED-educated folks all the time.”
16. Event Planner
Were you the teacher who liked to plan all the events and functions at your school? If so, extend that passion to the event-planning space. You’ll still get to interact with others and plan and lead projects through to fruition.
17. Life Coach
Life coaching is similar to teaching in that you’ll be helping someone find their strengths and work to meet the goals they create. The only difference is you’ll be working with adults outside of a classroom setting.
18. Prison Educator
Many people shy away from this because they fear for their safety. Teacher Melissa E. says otherwise. “It’s a great gig! You get the best, most motivated students. They will go out of their way to keep you safe because they value you so much. Go for it!”
19. Freelance Writer
If you love to write and are a hard worker who will do the detective work to land writing gigs, then freelancing is an awesome option for you, and there are lots of education-related publishers looking for contributors. You can work from home, write when it fits your schedule, and make decent money. Susan G. says, “I became a copywriter when I retired after 32 years because I love to write and it combined my English and journalism major.”
If you don’t feel much like writing but still want to facilitate the distribution of content, you may want to look at becoming an editor. An editor typically works with writers to develop content that fits within the editorial guidelines of the publication (whether printed or online). Writing and management skills are a must! And if you worked within a particular subject, you may find your knowledge is even more in demand for editorial work.
Dietitians and nutritionists counsel clients on nutrition issues and healthy eating habits. They are experts in the use of food and nutrition to promote health and manage disease. These are perfect jobs for former teachers because you can put your lesson planning and instruction skills to use by planning and conducting food service or nutritional programs to help people lead healthy lives.
22. College Academic Advisor
As a teacher, you’re well-versed at looking at the big picture when it comes to helping students succeed—both academically and personally. Being an academic advisor is often a good match for people who’ve left the teaching profession but don’t want to leave the education sector altogether. Note: Most universities prefer candidates with master’s degrees and relevant higher-education experience.
23. Curriculum Service Rep
Publishing companies that create curriculum for school districts often employ former teachers as service representatives. Your job is to connect with and train educators on using the company’s products. The advantages of this position are that you get to use the knowledge you’ve gained as a classroom teacher (which makes it easier to connect with clients), you can usually work part-time, you control your schedule, and you make a lot more money.
24. User Experience Designer
A User Experience (UX) Designer’s role is to make a product or service usable, enjoyable, and accessible—skills that teachers work on every day. After all, good teachers create lessons with their students’ experience in mind. This role is particularly suited for teachers with strong tech skills. While many companies design user experiences, the term is most often associated with digital design for websites and apps.
Use your expertise as an instructor and start your own tutoring business. Yes, tutoring jobs are some of the most obvious jobs for former teachers. However, if you build up your own clientele, you can make serious money, with experienced tutors charging anywhere from $35 to $50 per hour. Tap into those good relationships you’ve built over the years and make the transition to working at your own pace on your own terms. Michele T. shares, “I resigned after 20 years of teaching, and I’ve never been happier! My school families started reaching out to me almost immediately to ask if I’d be interested in becoming a personal tutor for their children. I designed individual plans based on their needs.”
For those who love books and/or encouraging research or a love of reading, this position might be for you! Librarians select books and educational material for schools as well as business, law, and public libraries. Generally, you’ll need a master’s degree in Library Science (MLS). China R. says, “Now I work in the children’s department of the local library, and I have never been happier.”
27. Health Coach/Personal Trainer
A health coach works to be a mentor and wellness authority to assist individuals in making food and lifestyle changes. Wendy A. shares, “I left teaching because I replaced my income within six months health coaching, and I am impacting so many lives. Most rewarding career I have ever had and freedom to work from anywhere.”
28. Foreign Language Interpreter/Translator
Did you teach a foreign language? Why not pivot those skills to being an interpreter or translator? You’ll be working on converting the spoken or written word in at least two languages, so your fluency level must be high.
29. Interpreter for the Deaf
Look within your school district for job opportunities for former teachers. If you have the skills, serving as an interpreter for the deaf is a great way to work one-on-one with students in a classroom setting.
30. Technical Instructor
Technical instructors provide a variety of training in fields such as auto repair, health care, culinary science, and more. They design curricula, encourage class discussion, and teach technical skills to students (for example, auto repair tech instructors might teach how to fix a damaged car frame or replace a tire).
31. Dog Trainer
Love animals and want to use your teaching skills in a setting where students don’t talk back? Dog trainers work with dogs to teach them basic obedience, and in some cases, advanced performance activities. Some dog trainers may work primarily with dogs to correct behavior, and others may work with dogs to prepare them for shows or competitions.