It’s time. You are starting to ask hard questions about transitioning out of the classroom and out of a school. However, you want to stay involved in education. Many teachers feel there aren’t many options for using the full repertoire of their experiences and education. However, there are many state position jobs for former teachers, and I can help you identify them.
Have you considered looking to your state’s Department of Education for positions there? It may be the place to look for a career change for teachers. The people from the Department of Education use their knowledge of pedagogy, curriculum, laws, and child development to help keep education working in your state.
Below are a few positions at the state level that support educators, districts, and families. You may find them interesting and a good fit for your skills. Each position generally looks for a Bachelor’s Degree and three to five years of professional experience.
For people who love content
If you really love your content (elementary literacy or math, STEM subjects, middle or high school subject teachers), then you may be interested in a position like a Content Specialist. These positions can work leading the development of curriculum and frameworks in your state. They can work in supporting the development of district programs, rely heavily on the content expertise of the Content Specialist. They can be tasked with researching, developing or disseminating resources, tools, or professional development opportunities in schools and districts.
Testing Development Associate
Not every state will have positions that develop testing, as many states outsource the testing to private companies. But, some states do develop and administer their own assessments to measure student progress. If you enjoy developing tests, examining them for bias, and working in committees, then you may like working in Testing Development. These positions also involve writing and revising procedural manuals, and soliciting and reviewing proposals from vendors. As well as providing feedback to reports from stakeholders.
For people who love Research and Data
Were you “bit by the research bug” during your graduate years? Then a Research Associate position might be a fit for you. State Departments of Education have a tremendous amount of data to sort through on a regular basis. There are teams of research associates who organize and analyze data. Research Associates may analyze data from charter schools, districts, or state level academic data. They also develop reports based on their findings. They can be tasked with developing publications for schools, and internal or external stakeholders. In some cases, Research Associates may participate in school visits for evaluations and training on data compliance.
Another one of the state positions for teachers is grant management. A significant portion of school budgets are based on grants received from the state or federal government. People who work in Grants Management are generally responsible for developing, reviewing and overseeing the grant application process. Each grant must be established and published, and applications need to be reviewed for completion and award. Grant Management involves reviewing and analyzing data, then making recommendations based on that analysis. Many grants will involve coordination of statewide efforts to provide Professional Development offerings and opportunities for teachers, related service providers, families, or other interested parties.
For people who love developing Programs and People
Educator Preparation Effectiveness Associate
As new research continues to study the effectiveness of educator preparation programs, states are examining the educator preparation programs offered to ensure the programs are doing their best to train teachers to be ready for a classroom. An Educator Preparation Effectiveness Associate can work to support initiatives both internal and external. They can conduct and present research on educator effectiveness policies. They also can become an important point of contact for inquiries about best practices in educator preparation.
Early Childhood Licensing
Early Childhood Education is a growing field. As more programs seek licensing to provide services, states need Early Childhood Education professionals. They are needed to lend their expertise to developing and licensing these programs. This position could include consulting with and assisting programs that are seeking licensure; designing and/or delivering workshops, seminars or conferences for internal and external stakeholders; visiting, inspecting and interviewing locations to assess the care being received by the children; or providing input on statewide policies.
For people who love Special Education
Special Education Programming Reviewer
Special Educators have a high rate of burnout, and when they leave special education, they often take a wealth of information with them that can’t be used in many other settings. Most special educators know the records review conducted by their state to ensure compliance with special education laws and regulations. These reviewers visit districts and audit their special education records along with the district personnel. These teams develop a report of findings on where the district was in compliance. And, areas where the district needs to make changes. The reviewers then work with the district to develop and implement a plan to make those changes.
States provide a mediator to districts and families who can?t reach an agreement on a student’s IEP. These mediators travel to the district and meet with the district and family and try to work out an agreement for the IEP. Mediators can often find the common ground that districts and families have trouble finding. And, can be an effective way to getting services for students. A mediator needs a thorough understanding of disabilities and special education law, and skills for building consensus.
For people who love working with Families
Family Support Specialist
A position as a Family Support Specialist can work directly with families. Or with schools around developing ways to include families in the child’s education. This position will primarily support the implementation of statewide initiatives around family engagement. The support could include developing marketing materials like websites, emails and social media postings. It could include direct family engagement by interacting with the community and sharing resources at events.
If you are ready for a change, there are opportunities for teachers looking to move out of the classroom, which includes state positions for teachers. To help you gain confidence in your qualifications, I recommend you learn what transferable skills teachers have. One of the benefits of moving to a state-level position is most states will allow you to transfer your years of service to their pension program. Depending on the position, you may even continue to work a school-year schedule. Be aware, state level positions can take a long time to move through the hiring process. Therefore, apply early, and be patient. If a state position doesn’t sound right to you, you can also start your own business in teaching.
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.