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Life After Teaching: What Alternative Careers for Teachers Exist in the UK?

From Ellen, published on 26/05/2017 Blog > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > Alternative Jobs for Teachers

Are you thinking about getting out of the teaching profession, in search of a change? Not sure what alternative jobs for teachers are out there that you can apply for, where to start looking for jobs, or even what you want to do?

Perhaps it’s the same old daily routine that’s making you pine after a new job, or the multiple pressures of the school environment that’s making you want to leave. It sometimes feels easier to cling to our jobs when the future is uncertain, or we feel we might end up regretting our choice. Perhaps you feel like you are past the age of retraining, or simply cannot afford to.

But remember that you are not alone in this fear –  there are always many reasons to stay in your current job, and many factors to consider when thinking about a career change.

Leaving a career path can be an incredibly daunting move, and it is not a decision to take lightly – particularly for teachers. There are many wonderful perks to being a teacher, with a six-week summer holiday at the top of the list!

It is true, though, that teaching jobs are tremendously demanding. It is easy to feel unsupported and overwhelmed with workloads. You might just feel that you are better suited to a different kind of work, that teaching is not allowing you to fulfill your needs or talents.

It’s clear that teachers all over the country are constantly exploring the options of a career change, but often don’t know what vacancies are available to ex-teachers and what might be suited to their particular qualifications.

If you are considering leaving your teaching job for a new career track, there are many questions you might be asking yourself. For example, you might be wondering:

  • What other careers are available for teachers?
  • How can I retrain for new jobs?
  • What different roles are available between the public and the private sector?

We’ve put together an easy guide to help and advise you through this change, showing you what options you have for life after teaching and how best to approach this transition.

what careers are available to ex-teachers Explore the options available when leaving your teaching job. Source: Visualhunt

To get the ball rolling, it’s a good idea to really take a look at yourself in terms of character and of employability. Think about what you really want to do, what excites you. Consider your qualifications – where do your skills lie? Would you need to find a training course relevant to the area you wish to work in?

You could carry out a skills assessment with websites such as CareerOneStop or Prospects, or speak to a local careers counsellor, to really explore the different paths from where you’re currently standing. Speak with friends, family and colleagues to get an idea of what different careers require and offer.

When you’ve got an idea of what skills you have, you can look up jobs that best suit your professional profile with sites such as O*NET.

You can also keep an eye on the job market in general and look for patterns or anything promising that you feel your skill set might work with – you might be surprised by the array of options out there that are available to you.

Think about the logistics of different careers too: what possible training might you need? What salary and living conditions will this offer you? Is there scope for career development? What kind of daily activity will it entail?

Make sure you have done all the right research, as it might bring you a whole new perspective. If you are a secondary school teacher, you might end up realizing that actually college or sixth-form level teaching would suit you better. If you are working in a state school and finding it a tough environment, you might find that you could be happier in private education.

Above all with this potential change, you need to be in tune with yourself. If your gut feeling is that you are unhappy in teaching, then it’s worth taking the leap. Listen to your emotions and follow your interests, and you’ll end up on the right track for you.  So what next?


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Five Alternative Careers for Teachers

Resigning from education means taking certain cuts. You might risk losing perks such as job security, school holidays, annualized salary and social protection to name a few. But that does not mean to say that you can’t find similar perks elsewhere, or that you will be at a great loss if you change careers.

jobs for ex-teachers There are various career paths available if you’re looking to leave teaching. Source: Visualhunt

Here are five great examples of alternative career paths for teachers, which have proven to be the most popular kinds of transitions for the characteristics, interests and skills that teachers tend to share in.

These jobs are widely considered to involve a lot of the same elements of work in the education system, but can be drastically less pressurized and demanding than teaching. Teachers have a high educational background and usually a high level of interests and people skills, so these options are tailored to these strengths:

  1. Student learning support

If you feel as though your passion is getting students motivated and helping them through their education experience, then there are various roles available within the world of learning support.

This is a very broad career path, and can range from non-profit youth groups to guidance counseling, all aimed at supporting pupils with their homework, exams, and even aspects that might affect their school lives, such as personal and social issues.

This is a hands-on career path, much like teaching is, but the outcomes and rewards can be vastly different. You would work more closely with students, and sometimes their teachers and parents too, in order to bring out the best in them and guide them to success.

  1. Private tutor

You might decide that teaching is your one true passion, it’s what you’re best at. But maybe you’re fed up with the classroom environment and students who simply don’t have the motivation to learn.

If it’s this that’s getting you down, all hope is not lost. You don’t need to give up teaching altogether to escape the burdens and strains of being a school teacher. Private tutoring jobs London or in the UK might be the best option for you!

Being a home tutor means you can pick your own hours and your own rates. You can work from your own home, in your student’s home, in a professional office or in an agreed public place. You will be able to really help students who want to learn, and use your talents to provide an individualized learning environment for each student and help them achieve academic success.

You might choose to work through an agency, which can provide excellent visibility for tutoring in your local area and also online – but can also often entail fees and commission.

You could also look into starting up your own business as a self-employed private tutor, whereby you will advertise yourself and be completely your own boss.

  1. Publishing

Teachers often complain about stressful working conditions and the chaotic classroom environment. Why not replace this hectic atmosphere with one of calm and quiet? If you love writing, you might want to share your expertise and interests with others through the written word instead of at the head of noisy room full of students.

You might like to stay within the realm of secondary or college education, so you might explore the possibility of writing textbook and classroom resource content. You could have a look to find jobs with education publishing houses to see what roles exist within this career in general. It could be that you find your calling in editing or copywriting for educational publications.

You could also look at what freelance options are available in the world of publishing. Using agencies or freelance websites is a great way to start, and you can start exploring the various writing or editing jobs that are involved in publishing.

  1. Education liaison roles

Perhaps you feel as though education is where you belong, but it’s teaching itself which has become too strenuous and demanding. You might feel more at ease taking less up-front role, and work more in the line of teaching recruitment or development rather than being a teacher yourself. Maybe teaching teachers could be the right role for you!

Organisations such as Teach First work on the behind-the-scenes elements that are crucial to national education. Student support, innovation in teaching, and encouraging equality in education are areas that you might feel passionate about. There are various roles available in these areas, for which teaching experience is a huge advantage and sometimes even a requirement.

  1. Corporate learning and development

As a teacher you have great interpersonal skills, and you understand how people learn and develop as individuals. But teaching doesn’t have to remain within the confines of school education.

You might find that the change you crave is in the people you are teaching. Providing learning and development within an organisation could be the difference you’ve been after. From coming up with innovative learning strategies, to mentoring and coaching, and designing development courses, a corporate job role could be right up your street.

Maybe that your strengths lie in managing relationships and personal progress within a team, and so you might look for roles that allow you to mentor and advise a company team on how to work together.

How Can I Retrain Successfully for Jobs after Teaching?

Retraining for a new career isn’t always smooth-sailing, and can sometimes require a lot of time and money if you need new qualifications.

You can start by finding out exactly what training or qualifications you will need for your new career after teaching. It might be that you don’t actually need anything else, particularly as you will already have a degree and a considerable knowledge of your subject area.

certain professions require specific training Teachers might need to retrain or acquire new qualifications for a career change. Source: Visualhunt


Think about what skills you possess, and what work experience you have that might be relevant. Identify what the new role requires of you, and assess whether you will be suited to it.

If you are looking to go into a more counseling-based role in student support, this will rely on certain personality traits and interpersonal skills, along with a training course to work in counseling.

If you want to become a private tutor, however, there are no necessary qualifications – your teaching credentials will be a bonus! It is your talent and flair for teaching that will qualify you for this work.

For many other careers, particularly in corporate roles or in specific industries of the private sector – for example, of you wanted to go into law – you will need the relevant training or degree for the position. So ask around and read up on retraining for jobs after teaching and new prospects – it might also be an idea to speak with a careers advisor for advice on how to retrain for specific jobs.

What Alternative Public Sector Jobs for Teachers Exist?

The public sector is the biggest employer in the UK. You might decide that you prefer work in the public sector, and that this is where your skills and character can be best put to use.

There are many career options for teachers in the Public Sector. The main fields of the public sector are education, healthcare, defence, local and national government, administration and civil service.

Practical careers that require a hands-on, logical approach involve jobs such as police, fire fighters or the armed forces. Alternatively, you might see your strengths in your communication skills, and maybe decide that you would like to put your public speaking to good use and get involved in politics or local government.

Or perhaps you feel you are not destined for a politically-charged career and wish to remain more neutral whilst still working with and for the public. The Home civil service is a politically neutral organisation which provides support and advice to the government in regards to delivering policies and public services.

What Alternative Private Sector Jobs for Teachers Exist?

Resigning from the public sector is a big move, and you should think about the consequences of this decision. You might feel, however, that your interests and skills are best suited to a role within the private sector, and that it can offer you a better, more stimulating career. Remember that it’s not impossible to leave one for the other!

The private sector’s main fields are retail banking, professions such as law, media organisations and management roles.

For most careers in the private sector you will need specific qualifications for the role, which as a teacher, you might find that you already possess. It could also mean that you will need to retrain for a particular profession.

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