If you are a specialty teacher thinking about leaving the classroom, you may be asking yourself, “What are some alternative jobs for teachers with my subject matter expertise?”
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Our team receives messages daily from PE, Music, Art, and other specialty teachers who wonder if the alternative careers we recommend could also work for them. The answer is yes! Specialty teachers have the same types of skills that general classroom teachers have, and can apply for the same types of roles. As you begin searching for an alternative job, you can even put “Teacher” on your resume instead of “Music Teacher.”
However, if you are particularly passionate about your subject area and would love a career that utilizes your specific set of skills, you can find that too! In addition to your teaching skills, you also have skills related to your area of expertise, which can actually help you if you are planning to apply for alternative jobs that align with your subject area.
Searching for Jobs and Finding a Good Fit
Google is going to be your best friend when you are searching for an alternative job that fits your specific passion. Think about the different topics within your subject area that interest you most and type them into Google along with other words that describe the roles you want to pursue, such as “curriculum writing” or “human resources.”
Another strategy that could help you find a good fit is to think of companies first and then navigate to their careers page to browse open positions. For example, if there is a certain brand of equipment or supplies you use in your classroom, research the company to see if they are hiring. Chances are they have positions in human resources, learning and development, corporate training, sales, marketing, project management, customer success and other positions you are qualified for. If you have experience using their product and are passionate about their mission, you can talk about that during the interview process.
All of the alternative jobs that are a great fit for former teachers are still a great fit for PE, music, and art teachers too. Just pay attention to what companies you apply to. This is not to say that a PE teacher cannot land a job as an instructional designer at a tech company. It is possible, but many specialty teachers choose their subject area based on their true passion. So why wouldn’t you want to continue to foster that passion?
Alternative Jobs for PE Teachers
So many PE teachers have reached out to us asking for recommendations on what alternative jobs to search for. Teaching physical education to children is such a specific niche that they feel hopeless about finding an alternative career.
Think about the brand of basketballs you use in gym class, or the textbook publisher of your CPR curriculum. Now research those companies, find the careers page, and determine what roles interest you.
Many PE teachers are also coaches, which means you have a passion for a particular sport. Use that passion to fuel your career search! When I was a teacher, I was also a volleyball coach. During the beginning stages of my search for an alternative job, I researched volleyball brands I was familiar with and found sporting goods companies with open positions in a variety of departments.
If you are struggling with where to start, here are some suggestions for companies and roles you can look into as a PE teacher interested in an alternative job:
- PE/ Health professional development companies
- PE/ Health curriculum companies
- Youth sports programs
- Sporting goods companies
- Sports organizations
- Sports camps
- Fitness organizations
- Gym management
- Recreation management
- Higher education athletic programs
- Non-profits concentrated on sports/ physical fitness
Alternative Jobs for Music Teachers
We often hear from music teachers who have the same feelings about being underqualified for alternative jobs. To reiterate what I said earlier, teachers, no matter the subject area, can translate their experience in the classroom to fit alternative jobs. However, if music is something you cannot imagine your life without, then look for roles that include music.
Think about the brand of instruments or sheet music you use in your class, or the company that supplies the virtual music curriculum. Now research those companies, find the careers page, and determine what roles interest you.
If you are struggling with where to start, here are some suggestions for companies and roles you can look into as a music teacher interested in an alternative job:
- Music professional development companies
- Music curriculum companies
- Youth music programs
- Instrument/supply companies
- Music organizations
- Music camps
- Higher education music programs
- Non-profits concentrated on music
Alternative Jobs for Art Teachers
Art teachers searching for alternative jobs also have so many skills to offer in positions outside the classroom. Some of the roles we recommend teachers investigate, such as instructional design and graphic design, usually appeal to more creative teachers. These positions might be a great fit for a former art teacher, but some may be looking for something different that will still support the arts.
Think about the brand of art supplies you use in your class, or the company that writes your fine arts curriculum. Now research those companies, find the careers page, and determine what roles interest you.
If you are struggling with where to start, here are some suggestions for companies and roles you can look into as an art teacher interested in an alternative job:
- Art professional development companies
- Art curriculum companies
- Youth art programs
- Art supply companies
- Art organizations
- Art camps
- Higher education art programs
- Non-profits concentrated on art
Narrow Your Focus First
While finding companies first based on your interests can be a great way to find roles that suit your expertise, keep in mind that narrowing your focus should be the first step to finding an alternative job. Applying to several different types of roles because you are desperate for any job outside of the classroom is not going to impress hiring managers.
Companies want to know that you are excited about the exact role you applied for, and you need to be able to explain to them why that is. Narrowing your focus to what type of role you want to pursue should be the first step.
Market yourself enthusiastically for the job in front of you. Do you love planning and organization? Look into project manager roles. Are you an expert at building relationships and collaborating with a team? Customer success or human resources might be your path.
It is so important as you begin the search for alternative jobs that you do your homework. Determine a clear path you want to take, and then produce a list of all the things you love about the role and why it would be a great fit for you.
Once you know the types of positions you want to look for, then circle back to your passion for a particular subject area and get to work. Happy searching!
Abbey is a former middle school geography teacher, currently working as a Customer Support Specialist at Teacher Career Coach. She enjoys helping teachers find happiness along the path to their new careers. When she’s not answering audience questions you can find her playing sand volleyball & spending time on the lake with her husband and dog.