If you’re looking for a career in education, teaching is just one option of many.

Teaching and education are so intertwined that you can be forgiven for thinking that there are no other jobs in education, but this simply isn’t true.

Even if you are interested in becoming a teacher, you might be pleasantly surprised to realise how many different ways that can take shape.

First we’ll explore the most popular teaching roles that you can assume at a school, and then we’ll move on to less common jobs in education which can be equally as important.

The Different Types of Teaching Roles

Teacher in a classroom full of students.
There are many different teaching roles in education.

As far as teaching roles go, there’s plenty of options to consider. Depending on the level you want to teach and your experience level, different positions will be viable for you to apply for. Teacher training is necessary for these positions, and to be accepted you will have to pass a job interview.

Headteacher

At the top of the chain and requiring the most teaching experience is the position of the headteacher.

Of course, this position is reserved for those who have been working as teachers for a long period.

The responsibilities include overseeing the management of the school, setting goals for the teachers, and instilling a good work ethic in the students through various means.

To excel as a headteacher, you need to have great management skills, excellent communication, and an ability to work in a high pressure environment with a weight of expectation.

EYFS Teacher

An EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) teacher is responsible for leading classes with children between the ages of 3-5 years old.

In this role, you will teach the EYFS curriculum. This is the first of the Key Stages, and provides children with the basics to equip them for their first few years of primary school.

The position of EYFS teacher requires patience, and the ability to manage classrooms of younger children.

Primary School Teacher

Primary school pupils working.
Primary school students get a bad rep, but they can be a joy to work with!

As a primary school teacher, you will be responsible for leading classes of students from the ages of 5-10 years old.

You will have a curriculum to follow, and a textbook with supplementary resources to work through with each class you teach.

You will need a well-rounded knowledge which covers all of the subjects taught at primary school level, which includes science and geography.

If you enjoy working with younger children, and can work with interactive materials and props to make classes entertaining for the students, then this could be a great fit for you.

Secondary School Teacher

Secondary school teachers take care of classes of students from the ages of between 11-16.

As a secondary school teacher, you will have a broad curriculum and likely one main subject to teach.

This position requires a comprehensive knowledge of at least one subject offered at GCSE level, and the desire to work with teenagers.

This role can be both challenging and rewarding, and if you are passionate about a certain subject then it could definitely be a position to strongly consider.

Higher Education Teacher

The higher education teacher will either be a university lecturer position, or a posting at a higher education college.

In these roles you will need a keen appetite for a specific subject area, since you will be required to teach it in great depth.

A career as a higher education teacher is well suited to anyone who wants to be at the cutting edge of their field, teaching their most interesting findings to eager undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Special Educational Needs Teacher

A special educational needs teacher (SEN) is a profession in education which involves working with students that have learning or physical disabilities and require special assistance.

If you like the idea of working with special needs students to create a work environment that works for them, then this could be a very rewarding position.

Tutor

Stepping outside of the classroom environment, there’s the role of the tutor.

A tutor can work with students face to face, or through an online platform like Superprof.

One of the interesting routes into teaching, being a tutor allows you the freedom to go off curriculum and help students with tailor made study programs.

The position of tutor allows you to teach a subject how you see fit, and largely removes the issues of the traditional school environment such as a lack of attention or troubles with class management.

TEFL Teacher

If you fancy something altogether different, you can pursue a career in teaching abroad.

As a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) qualified teacher, you will be able to teach your native language in institutions outside of the UK.

You will teach English to non-native speakers, so you need to approach English as if it were a new language to you. Getting to grips with all of the technical terms, the grammar, and how best to break it down for someone unfamiliar with its structure.

One of the best things to do if you want to be a TEFL teacher is learn a foreign language yourself, so you can better empathise with your students. You could also apply for a position as a teaching assistant abroad with programmes like the one offered by the British Council.

Other Teaching Roles

A librarian working in the library.
Most educational institutions will have a librarian on staff.

Teachers aren’t the only people you see working in schools though, there are other jobs in education that aren’t directly concerned with the studies of the pupils.

Student Admissions Officer

The first port of call for students arriving at university, the student admissions officer will also assess applications.

Your main responsibility in this role is to know the university inside and out. You’ll need a thorough knowledge of all of the courses and their prerequisites so that you can accurately inform prospective students.

You will also have to be heavily involved with university open days and make sure everything runs smoothly, to attract as many students as possible.

Careers Adviser

One of the most common non-teacher roles you’ll find in a lot of schools is that of the careers adviser.

It’s the responsibility of the careers adviser to inform the students at various stages of their education what careers are open to them and which makes the most sense to pursue based on various factors.

This can be a very fulfilling job as you can potentially help young students reach an important decision about what they want to do in the future.

The role requires you to research information on different roles as well as helping the pupils to create compelling CVs and realise what their strengths and weaknesses are in an academic context.

Counsellor

While not all schools offer the role of counsellor, a lot do.

This role is becoming more important in a society that is becoming more aware of big issues that impact young people such as mental illness. It’s crucial that everyone feels heard, and the role of counsellor can prove comforting for a lot of students.

The responsibilities of this role are to provide the student with the same attention and respect you would a peer, and to help them come to decisions on important topics.

Librarian

This is largely a secondary school profession, but is also available at higher education institutions. It requires a keen interest in books and management of resources - both offline and online.

As a librarian, you won’t just supply books to the students, but also help track down reading list materials and organise information using online software.

The extent to which you are involved in online software and need to have technical knowledge will depend on whether you work at a secondary school or university.

Ofsted Inspector

If you attended school in the UK, you’ll likely be familiar with the role of the Ofsted inspectors.

To give you a clearer idea of what it is they do, other than have teachers and students on their best behaviour, is visit schools and other educational institutions to assess them according to various criteria.

This position isn’t available to everyone in a teaching role, and requires a minimum of 5 years working as a headteacher or other senior role in education.

As you can imagine, this role requires an in-depth knowledge of what makes a school thrive and what makes an optimal learning environment for the students.

Educational Resource Creator

In the sector of education publishing, there are roles for creative candidates who can come up with curriculums and engaging resources for educational institutions.

This role is one which is well suited to someone who both knows the education system very well, but also has strong writing skills.

In order to land such a job, you’ll need to have a graduate degree in a related subject, and show that you have a passion for education which goes beyond the classroom.

This is an especially good role if you are a competent writer with knowledge of a particular subject and familiarity with how it’s currently taught. For example, if you have a keen understanding of chemistry and feel like you could contribute thoughtful lesson ideas and textbook exercises then this role could be a great fit for you.

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Samuel

Sam is an English teaching assistant and freelance writer based in southern Spain. He enjoys exploring new places and cultures, and picking up languages along the way.