Eight ideas for experienced teachers who want a second career

Written by Michael Hoon

Teaching is both rewarding and difficult. There’s a lot to love about the profession, particularly having a front seat to witness students growing and learning throughout the school year. But over the long term teachers can get worn out—and are often overworked for little pay.

The good news for experienced teachers is that the profession comes with a number of translatable skills. In addition to particular subject area knowledge, experienced teachers possess excellent public speaking, presentation, and leadership skills, and establish themselves as effective communicators—not just with school-aged populations, but also among parents, colleagues, and administrators. Teachers are also adept at detail-oriented work like editing, long-term planning of activities, and meeting educational goals.

If you’re looking to leave the traditional classroom, the skills you’ve acquired as a teacher are can translate to many jobs in varying fields. Let’s look at a few.

8 non-classroom jobs for teachers

1. Employee training/HR

Many companies offer workshops, new employee training, and orientations, and need someone to run them. These employee training activities require someone with a similar skillset to teaching. Often housed in the HR Department, the presentation and transfer of knowledge in a corporate setting can offer experienced teachers a place to use their communication skills to help employees learn about their company and enrich their experiences at work.

2. School administrator

Whether in the area of running the day-to-day business of the school or assisting in curriculum development, teaching experience is a boon for any administrative position. From school principals to university registrars, there are a variety of positions that help keep a school running, and most positions require advanced degrees. This is a good position for teachers who are devoted to the educational system, but worn out on teaching in the classroom.

3. Residential life coordinator/Youth organization director

The organizational skills required to plan a year of lessons and be flexible minute to minute in the classroom translate well to camps, youth organizations, and residential life departments of college campuses. Teaching experience means you will be adept at the long-term planning required in these roles, and familiarity with specific age groups in a classroom setting gives you a leg up, as you must show you can deal with large groups of people and keep them organized and engaged.

4. Freelance writing and editing

Teachers’ communications skills translate well to writing and editing positions, where they can use their expertise to educate outside of the classroom. Writing offers more flexibility than teaching, but less job security—especially as most writers work on a freelance basis. Editing positions, where a teacher can be called upon as a subject-matter expert to review and offer advice on their topic of knowledge, are another great freelance opportunity.

5. Guidance counselor

Guidance counselors must have specific knowledge about school-age populations, testing, and school district guidelines, as well as the ability to tap into a student’s motivation. Teachers already know how to do this well. In most cases, guidance counselors need to be licensed, and in some states, they need to have a master’s degree. While this job is very much adjacent to the classroom, as the primary goal is guiding students toward their educational goals, the change from classroom to office is a big one. Even so, you’re still in a school setting so that the career will feel s.

6. Academic librarian

Experienced teachers fit well into the role of librarian, as they have experience engaging with students while helping them in educational settings. In academic libraries, there are subject librarians with particular knowledge in certain areas (similar to teaching) that help students and faculty find resources to help with their research. Academic librarians often give presentations or build websites for university classes to help them learn how to use library tools. This role requires a graduate degree in library and information science, but for teachers looking to make a career move it can be a great option.

7. Event planner

Large-scale events, from evening receptions to corporate meetings, require a lot of planning over months and need planners with ability to think on their feet to make sure the day of the event runs smoothly. As they coordinate speakers, catering, and venue staff, event planners must be detail-oriented, effective communicators who are comfortable with large groups. While a departure from teaching, running a big event and coordinating all the details requires a similar skillset and can be a new avenue for a teacher looking to embark on a totally different career.

8. Teaching outside the classroom

Essentially “freelance” teaching, this option offers educators the ability to set their own schedules. Beyond the traditional classroom setting in schools, there are growing opportunities for online teaching or tutoring one-on-one or in small groups. Educators who don’t want to branch out on their own can also work through an agency. For teachers who have frustration with the school system but still have the teaching bug, this route can provide more freedom while still changing students’ lives.

About the author

Michael Hoon