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 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're better suited to a different kind of work, that teaching is not allowing you to fulfil 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.
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.
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?
Ten 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.
Here are 10 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 you're an enthusiastic person with a passion for getting students motivated and helping them through their educational experience, then there are various supervisor roles available within the world of learning support for talented teachers.
This is a very broad career path and can range from non-profit youth groups to guidance counselling, 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.
Possible roles in this area include being a special education teacher and even working as a substitute teacher.
2. 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 elsewhere 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.
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 a 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.
4. 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 certified 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, teacher recruitment, 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.
5. 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.
6. Human Resources
Regardless of the age of your students or the type of educational establishment you work in, you are certain to gain valuable transferable skills during your teaching career that can serve you elsewhere, such as in HR.
HR is a sector in which it is essential to have good interpersonal skills and enthusiasm as you motivate others to make the most of their own skills in the workplace.
Teaching is all about making students aware of their strengths and teaching them how to put them into practice to achieve academic success. As an HR specialist, your role will not be too dissimilar from this, as your responsibilities will include matching candidates to appropriate roles and facilitating personal and professional development in the workplace.
So, although teaching and human resources may seem worlds apart, both professions are about making others aware of their personal attributes and helping to make the most of them whilst also developing new skills.
Mention 'admin' and you will likely be met with negative reactions including views about the lack of variety involved in the work. Some even may go as far as to tell you it's 'boring'. However, working in administration involves far more exciting things than paperwork!
As a profession which is all about organising, ex-teachers are perfect candidates who can bring skills as well as years of relevant experience.
So, what does working in administration mean?
Administration isn't just about logging details, creating excel spreadsheets and organising data. Working in administration can mean anything from business administration, where you would likely be in charge of a group of employees, to being a personal assistant to a CEO, where it would be up to you to organise their appointments and be in-charge of their daily schedules.
8. Youth Worker
Knowing how to interact with children and pique their interest by making learning fun is a fantastic perk for ex-teachers who want to impart their wisdom outside of the classroom.
Youth work is all about making sure that children and young people feel supported in their local area, as well as giving them new opportunities to blossom and discover what really interests them.
Becoming a youth worker is a great option for teachers who still have a sense of childhood curiosity and want to be able to get involved with young people on a different level than at school. This means teaching young people whilst leaving the automatic authority that comes with being a school teacher and instead befriending young people in a more casual way in a way that they will look up to you for guidance.
But kinds of activities do youth workers lead?
Although youth work is about helping children to learn, it's primarily about making sure that they are fulfilling their potential and preparing them for the future.
As a youth worker, you not only be expected to participate in the running of youth clubs and centres, but also in the organisation of community projects and outdoor activities.
These may include:
- Leading hikes
- Community gardening projects
- Helping in the running of an operatic society
Youth work is a demanding job, however, if you're passionate about helping young people to get the best possible start in life, it could be the perfect role for you.
9. Academic Adviser
For school-age children, especially those choosing their GCSE subject and thinking about further education, making decisions about the future can be daunting.
This is exactly what makes the role of academic advisers so vital.
Academic advisers work in schools, colleges, universities and in the local community to provide academic guidance to those in education.
Their wealth of experience working in education and advising students themselves is what makes ex-teachers perfect candidates for advisory roles.
If you enjoy getting to know students one-on-one, academic advising provides a fantastic opportunity to listen closely to students' current dilemmas, hopes and aspirations before helping them find the ideal path towards their goal.
So, if you think that sharing your experience with young people who may be anxious about the future will provide the basis for another fulfilling career, becoming an academic advisor will let you use your expertise in the education system to its full potential.
10. Museum Work
Teachers are usually the kind of people who are always interested in learning new things for themselves as well as sharing their knowledge with others.
This is exactly why working in a museum is a great fit for former teachers looking for an intellectually stimulating career.
Museum work can involve anything from being a curator, where you would be responsible for the management of artefacts and collections at the museum, to being an educator, where you would work on the visitor experience and making information accessible to people of all ages.
Another reason why museum work suits ex-teachers, in particular, is that each museum usually closely matches a specific school subject. This means that if you're a former biology teacher, working at a museum of animals or nature is right up your alley. And if you're a history teacher, well, you probably have the most choice!
If you're wondering about how much you could expect to earn in each of these alternative professions, we've put all relevant information together in a handy table:
|Job Title||Average Salary/Hourly Pay|
|Learning Support Assistant||£17,000|
|Teach First Local Area Director||£50,000|
How Can I Retrain 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.
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 counselling-based role in student support, this will rely on certain personality traits and interpersonal skills, along with a training course to work in counselling.
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.
So, say you wanted to leave your teaching job to kick-start a new career in HR management, where would you start?
Because of the nature of human resources, you'll need to find a role which will enable you to learn the ins and outs of the running of a particular company.
The best way to get into HR management is to look for a vacancy and apply for jobs in HR with an open mind. If you have no experience in HR at all, like any new employee, you'll be expected to spend some time in a certain role before being able to take on a management position.
In order to make your transition from teaching to human resources as smooth as possible, and to give yourself a better chance at working your way up the career ladder, taking courses in HR is a great idea.
For those with a bachelor's degree, studying for a masters degree qualification in Human Resource Management will give you the most comprehensive adult education in the field. However, if you're looking for something more short-term while you also learn on the job, taking a course from the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) could be a better option for you.
The CIPD offers three levels of qualification in HR management:
- Foundation (Level 3)
- Intermediate (Level 5)
- Advanced (Level 7)
The level of HR certification you choose to pursue as well as whether you choose to go for a diploma, certificate or award, depends on your individual skills and experience in the field.
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.
As the number of former teachers representing their constituencies as members of parliament is falling, there is a need for more hands-on experience from people who have worked at the heart of the communities they represent - and this means that teachers looking for a career change are ideal candidates.
The unique perspective that teachers bring to the forefront of the national debate is arguably one of the most valuable in the chamber. As professionals who have not only worked with the UK's children but also with their parents, former teachers who become members of parliament, or even work for their local government, are able to view issues from the point-of-view of their constituents and their children.
However, if 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.
So, as a former English teacher, while you may find that your BA in English Language comes in handy, you may need to gain particular qualifications which are specific to a certain career path.
For instance, if you're a former teacher who has always considered law as a possible career path, taking a law conversion course can help you get where you need to be.
Conversion courses are vocational postgraduate qualifications which train people from all degree backgrounds for certain careers. As a teacher, you'll have had to complete a type of conversion course already: the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).
Law conversion courses are slightly different in that they act as a foothold to a range of legal careers.
Firstly, you'll have to complete the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), which will give you access to the higher qualifications such as the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and the Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) - which can both lead you to a career as a law professional.
The GDL typically takes around 18 months to complete and is usually offered by universities. You can expect to pay up to £11,500 for your course, however, with the skills you gain throughout your study and the opportunities that will follow, this cost will appear minuscule compared to the skills and opportunities you gain.
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