How hard is a career change for teachers? Is it worth it to make a move or better to stick it out? If you’re currently working in a toxic school environment, battling burnout, or just realizing that teaching isn’t the right fit for you, a career change is a viable option.
If you need help leaving the classroom, check out theÂ Teacher Career Coach Course.Â This step-by-step guide has helped thousands with a transition from teaching. Save time and get support with every step of picking a new path, rewriting your resume, and answering tricky interview questions.
It’s an option that many consider, but not many openly talk about. When you are thinking of leaving teaching, it’s common to feel discouraged.
I was in this exact position, looking to transition out of the classroom for any position that would take me (without a pay cut). I was miserable as a teacher, and I knew I couldn’t continue in the same direction. There are teacher self care strategies that can alleviate the symptoms of burnout, but that can only help so much.
Teachers considering a career change feel not only isolated but guilty about leaving the classroom. I’ve heard hundreds of stories from transitioning teachers that feel demoralized by their job, however continue to be unsupported in their desire to quit.
Teachers Considering a Career Change
There is opportunity outside the classroom. Making the transition out of a career that leaves you uninspired or, especially, an unhealthy workplace can lead to better health and more security. For many, stepping outside the classroom is without a doubt a step in the right direction.
One myth I’ve found is that other careers don’t take teachers seriously – that no one values teaching experience. Many teachers worry that they’ll have to start all over again, heading back to school themselves before they’re qualified for a new career.
This is false.
Teachers have many valuable, transferrable skills that can help you transition to a variety of positions. A career change for teachers, whether continuing to work in education or transitioning into an entirely new field is an option.
Education Career Changes for Teachers
Firstly, many teachers consider a career change within education. Educational companies value teacher experience, so one of the smoothest career changes for teachers is to continue in this line of work.
Teachers often think of Curriculum Writer as their only option, but many of the other positions at educational companies can be filled by former teachers as well. Educational companies are often looking for sales positions, Educational Consultants, and Professional Development Trainers.
Teacher to Educational Consultant
I left the classroom for a role as an Educational Consultant for a large educational technology company. After that, I was offered a position as an Instructional Designer for another company. You can do this too!
Educational companies value your experience because you can support with great insight of how teachers think. You may develop their marketing materials, professional development resources, or pinpoint flaws in their products based on first-hand knowledge. Many educational companies value teachers as SME (Subject Matter Experts).
Advice for Working in Education
Teachers looking to make a career change into a new aspect of education can find a variety of in-person and remote work. Start by using the following search tips to help you locate companies that are hiring:
- Think of the products you use in your classroom.
- Consider other large brands that you are familiar with in education, that you’ve seen at conferences.
- Search your hometown with “education companies” to see what is available.
- Search phrases like “Top Curriculum companies for K-6” or “Top Ed-tech companies in California”
These companies will be a good place to start – but there are many more out there! If you can focus your search to an area you are passionate about in the classroom (social studies, project based learning, etc.), you may find yourself even happier and better paid with a new position outside of the classroom.
Working Outside Of Education
Moving to another job in education may seem like the best option, however there are many companies that hire teachers for non-education related products and services. Many companies have a team of specialists that design and deliver training related to new and rising employees. While others have continuing education programs within their own companies.
These type of jobs suit teachers seeking a career change. You may find designing training or delivering training is a particularly a good fit for someone with your experience. Some job titles that naturally fit well with a teacher’s experience to note:
- Instructional Designer
- Corporate Trainer
- Implementation Specialists
Additionally, if you’re not interested in working on a corporate level, there are many positions available to you. Many former teachers excel in office management, human resources, real estate, and sales as well.
Making a Career Pivot
It is possible that you’re looking for a COMPLETE change. In this case, you’ll want to consider the following questions when pinpointing a new career direction.
- Pinpoint things that you enjoy doing. Are there jobs that support these passions? Do you enjoy working outdoors? With a lot of people? Just a few? With animals? What careers align with these activities or passions?
- What do others often ask you for help with?
- Identify any skills that come naturally easy to you. What jobs are specific to these skills?
This is oversimplifying this process a bit. However, finding out what opportunities are out there for teachers making a career change is a great place to begin. Get to know your options!
Deciding What is Next for You
My best advice is to pinpoint the three jobs in which you are most interested. In addition, you’ll want to focus all of your attention on networking, gaining experience, and creating transition resumes for these three positions.
If you plan on making a career change at the end of your teachers contract, you’ll want to aggressively start applying two months before your contract expires. You’ll only have a short window of time to find your new job, so you’ll want to have all of your ducks in a row ahead of time.
Take the next step: Career Transition Guide for Teachers
If you are undecided on a career change, I have a resource to support you where you are today. The Career Transition Guide for Teachers is a digital resource with 40 pages of resources to help you get started.
When I was leaving teaching, I remember asking myself â€œWhere do I even start?!â€ After years of working in as an educational consultant and instructional designer, I vowed to create resources to support teachers making their own exit strategy.
In this eBook, Iâ€™ll walk you through the factors to consider. Iâ€™ll answer those first-step questions, and help you start on the path to a new career.
I hope this post has helped you understand my mission. My goal is to help bring clarity to any teachers who are suffering from the pain I experienced during my own career transition of leaving teaching.
Check out how Claire scored a position with an Ed Tech company after completing the Teacher Career Coach Course.
But if you’re on the fence or not sure what to do next, I understand. Check out the free quiz below to get a better understanding of what careers are out there for teachers and what might be the best fit for YOU.