Some teachers are torn between their desire to leave the classroom and their passion for education. Sound like you? Luckily, there are several non-teaching jobs in the industry. (And I’m not talking about traditional admin roles either.) I’m talking about the variety of non-teaching roles within education companies that impact students and help other teachers.
Now, if this sounds like the best of both worlds, keep reading. Learn more about the top non-teaching jobs in education. Who knows? You might just find the next step in your career.
Why Non-Teaching Jobs in Education?
Many teachers face a big problem when considering leaving (aside from the frustrating stigma): they truly want to make a difference for students. Maybe you can’t see yourself in any field but education. (However, if that’s more to do with imposter syndrome or self-doubt, I encourage you to read this.)
On the other hand, you might feel burnt out. Perhaps you’re overwhelmed by the demands of the classroom despite your love for education. If you’re looking for a change, it’s easiest to pivot into an industry where you already have experience and a strong network. Those can both come in handy as you pursue non-teaching jobs in education.
For starters, you’ve earned recognition as a subject matter expert, or SME. Hiring managers will recognize that as well. (Trust me. Not only have I personally worked for some of the top education companies after I’ve left teaching, but I’ve asked hiring managers and can confirm.) But that’s only part of it. You also need to know how to translate your experience and leverage yourself as the best candidate for a non-teaching role in education. Truthfully, some of these roles are highly competitive now that many teachers are looking to transition.
Getting Started With Your Teacher Career Transition.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, check out my free quiz to find out what career is best for you here. It is a great first step to help you start to envision what alternative careers might be the best transition for you based on your skills, passions, and preferences.
Maybe you know you’re set on staying in education, but are ready to say goodbye to the classroom. (Or are even just considering the possibility.) If you want to learn more about what non-teaching jobs in education are out there, keep reading. You might even be surprised by how qualified you are for some of these roles.
Top Non-Teaching Jobs in Education.
Customer Success roles are great positions for those looking for non-teaching jobs in education. That’s because you were the target customer for education companies. You have insider insights into their wants, needs, and potential objections. However, a Customer Success Manager, or CSM, is more than simply answering questions and putting out fires. At its core, it’s about building relationships with other schools and districts.
The specifics of a CSM role will vary from company to company. Generally speaking, it’s a proactive role that ensures customer satisfaction and success. Tasks range from onboarding new clients to securing renewals of current ones. A big part of CSM is ensuring the customer is using the product to its full potential. That might involve running training or providing support during onboarding. Or it could mean securing customer renewals or upselling satisfied customers with new features or additional products. Closely read the job description or ask the hiring manager about the specific role and responsibilities.
Many teachers are intimidated or simply turned off by the idea of a sales position. The truth is, sales departments are where many educational companies are hiring right now. That means missing a BIG opportunity while many teachers struggle to land a position in more saturated roles.
These roles are less sales-y than you may think. They involve building relationships with schools and districts. That way you can earn their trust so they will come to you for product recommendations that meet their needs. Sales roles at education companies are all about identifying problems, gaps, or needs and posing a product as the solution. Other responsibilities include doing demonstrations, answering client questions about the product itself, and making sales calls. Sales positions are a way to take your passion for education beyond the four walls of your own classroom. And if you feel icky about the idea of being a “pushy” sales rep, far not. Sales Representatives at many education companies are more focused on picking the RIGHT product for the customer based on factors like data and demographics.
Some teachers love diving into creating lesson plans and matching learning materials with objectives. If that sounds like you, curriculum writing might be a good non-teaching career move within the education sector. Curriculum writing can be full-time, part-time, or contracted work with various education companies, allowing for the flexibility to meet your needs.
Curriculum writing roles are pretty much exactly like they sound. They involve writing curricula, including researching and developing lessons, materials, activities, and assessments. Don’t be fooled. Curriculum writing roles may also be labeled as educational writers, curriculum specialists, curriculum design, or instructional coordinators. Regardless of the title, these roles might require updating old curricula or creating something brand new. You already have experience teaching, writing, and implementing curriculum in your own classroom. With your knowledge of K-12 pedagogy and classroom experience, you’ll find a rather seamless transition into this non-teaching role. Beyond that, a career in curriculum writing within education can open the doors to various opportunities in other industries.
If you are a tech-savvy teacher with a passion for designing learning experiences, Instructional Design is definitely a path to consider. In fact, ID is a booming career segment for former teachers – but that means it’s one of the most competitive as well. Instructional Design is all about designing learning experiences, resources, and materials that help bridge any gaps in the performance, skills, and knowledge of a specified audience. While education companies certainly look for teachers to help design eLearning experiences, outside of education, more corporate deliverables include training materials and online courses. Regardless of which industry you’re working in, Instructional Design is all about identifying a learning or performance gap, determining an object, and figuring out what you need to create to help achieve it.
As a teacher, you already know a lot about designing and implementing effective learning experiences in your classroom. YOu have experience breaking down large and complex concepts into bite-sized chunks. While you might have a leg up above someone with no teaching experience, it’s important to realize that might not be enough. You’ll need to learn the industry-standard methodologies and tools. Luckily, many teachers find the ID models used for creating corporate training materials parallel the pedagogies in K-12 education. Even better? You can start building skills essential to Instructional Design in your very own classroom.
More Non-Teaching Jobs in Education.
Educational consulting is an umbrella term for a wide variety of roles and responsibilities, making it a bit hard to define. However, in general, an educational consultant is sort of like an advisor in all things education. Broad, I know. Some education consultant positions combine teaching and administrative skills to provide qualitative advice on school policies and procedures. Others advise and conduct professional development opportunities or hold online webinars. They can advice projects and product development at educational companies .. Others work with anyone from administrators and teachers to parents and students for 1-on-1 coaching regarding anything from professional development to educational planning.
And while the specifics vary from position to position, teachers can bring a lot of value to these different roles. At the core, hiring managers are looking for experts in education to help lead others through educational-related concepts or projects. Education Consulting is a great transition for teachers looking to continue their passion for helping others through education-based processes and experiences. Learn more about educational consultant jobs here.
Professional Development Trainer.
Professional Development Trainers and Training and Development Specialists focus on delivering engaging and relevant teacher trainings. At an educational company, your job might entail working with a team to develop and modify training resources to help teachers implement a product or system in the classroom. Often, PD Trainers spend their time working on-site giving presentations and leading training activities to help teachers understand how to effectively use a tool or resource in the classroom. You might lead teachers or administrators through systems and processes or teach them new tools and skills for the classroom. With that said, you should be comfortable with creating and presenting using digital media. PD Training is a lot like teaching. It just involves teaching different content to an audience of teachers and admin rather than students.
If you ever find that you want to break out of the education sector, businesses are always in need of corporate trainers. Think about it. In the ever-evolving world we live in, corporations are always looking for ways to keep their employees at the top of their game with the best tools and practices.
You’re more qualified for (and experienced in) the world of marketing than you may think. As a teacher, you’re always striving to capture the attention of your target audience– your students. At times you’re working to convince them that what you’re teaching is significant to their lives. That, my teacher friend, is marketing in a nutshell. Marketing is all about engaging a target audience and building strong relationships with the promise of delivering value. When it comes to marketing for educational companies, you already know a heck of a lot about their target audience– school districts and schools. Like marketing efforts, sometimes lesson plans flop. But you have experience with using that data to reflect and revamp your approach for success the next time around. That too is an essential component of marketing.
Yes, you will need to learn some industry-specific skills required for success. But you have an invaluable asset that non-teaching candidates don’t. You know how to speak to their target audience because you were their target audience. You know their pain points and desires and can help integrate those into a successful marketing campaign. If you can begin building your knowledge and skills in the realms of graphic design, copywriting, and social media, you’ll be a powerhouse candidate for any educational company.
Project Managers delegate responsibilities, help everyone stay on project timelines, and guide people to the tools they need to meet their company objectives. Additionally, they often keep up communication with key stakeholders. Sound vaguely familiar? While your tools are lessons and stakeholders include students, you’re no rookie to project management.
Project Managers oversee a variety of projects from design to final deliverable. Therefore, this role requires strong organization and communication skills. Not only do you have to manage your direct team, but you’ll likely need to collaborate with various departments. It’s also useful to be comfortable with (or willing to learn) new technology. Project Managers rely on productivity software to help them set goals, determine timelines, delegate responsibilities, and manage tasks and deadlines. Like a team leader or department head, Project Managers don’t just oversee workflow but offer support to their team when issues arise. Look into this position if you are highly organized and love planning big projects (like curriculum mapping), creating structured timelines, and leading others.
Tips For Landing a Non-Teaching Job in Education.
Maybe you’re just considering a career change. Or perhaps you’re actively applying for non-teaching jobs in education. Regardless, I have some tips that can help.
1. Understand the difference.
Yes, teachers are some of the most skilled and versatile candidates in the workforce. However, the corporate world has its differences from a school setting. Even if you’re looking to work within an educational company, you need to understand how a corporation functions. Trust me. It’s not as intimidating as it may seem. Listen to this podcast episode about transitioning from teaching to the corporate world.
2. Do your research.
There are a lot of non-teaching roles in education that are perfect for teachers. But, it’s important to understand what the roles and duties are. Start by looking into real job descriptions at educational companies to learn what they’re looking for. And job postings aren’t the only thing you can research. Research your favorite education products. Then, practice how you would leverage yourself as a SME for them. This will help build your confidence as you consider other career paths in education.
3. Build transferable experience.
Teaching in the classroom gives you valuable experience that will carry over into non-teaching roles in education. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t build specific skills geared toward your desired non-teaching career path. In fact, I recommend that you use this year to do just that. For example, if you are looking for curriculum writing positions, learn how to start your own TPT store. If you are leaning towards roles in sales or customer success, watch tutorials about Salesforce. Want to snag a position as a social media manager? Create your own teachergram while learning Canva designs. If you’re thinking about instructional design, you can learn video editing and online authoring tools popular in the industry.
4. Rewrite your resume.
You don’t want to be sending out the same exact resume you used to land your classroom teaching role. And believe me, this is a mistake that MANY teachers make. Instead, rewrite your resume to match each type of position you’re applying for. There are ways to translate your skills and experiences in the classroom to better fit your desired role. Read my tips for writing your teacher transition resume here. You can also listen to an HR expert share her resume writing tips on this podcast episode.
Next Steps to a New Career
One of the biggest mistakes that I see teachers make is that they try to navigate this process alone. Often, they put off “researching” until the very last minute. Which sets them up for a very stressful application season. I want to help you get some clarity in the options available to you. To know EXACTLY what you need to do (and not do) in order to get your foot in the door.
You don’t have to do this on your own.
With the help of an HR expert with over 10 years of experience and a team of former teachers, I’ve created a guide to support you in the early stages of your transition out of the classroom. Tap the button below to learn more.