In this blog, I’m going to cover the top 5 writing jobs for teachers who are looking for work outside of the classroom. If you love writing and are looking to either transition into a new career, freelance for some extra cash, or build your skills and resume, read on for a few of the most popular options for teachers.
Writing Jobs for Teachers: Your Translatable Skills
I used to point out to my students all the time – words are all around us. Behind many of those words is a writer and sometimes an editor, as well. Businesses need writers for everything from social media to website copy as well as writing technical manuals and more.
As a teacher, you most likely have many skills related to the writing jobs we’ll talk about below. Teachers are effective communicators, able to break down and expand on concepts as well as empathize with a variety of people. These kinds of skills can be applied to informational and technical writing, copy, content, and even marketing. But you don’t have to have a degree in English to break into these roles (although that doesn’t hurt either!).
Roles for Specialty Teachers & Subject Matter Experts
Our team frequently hears from a variety of educators with a very specific specialty. Teachers who have only ever taught history, music, or art, for example. We also hear from school counselors, early childhood educators, OTs, SLPs and more. These educators want to know – What else can I do?
If you’ve only ever taught within your specialty, you might find you are uniquely qualified for roles as a subject matter expert. There are a variety of positions related to writing in the education space that might appeal to you, such as writing or editing curriculum and/or other educational materials.
But there are also roles outside of K-12 education where you can apply your knowledge. Niche content developed for websites, shows, magazines, and even social media are often developed with the help of a writer with the background knowledge and authority to speak in depth on a topic and communicate in a comprehensible way to an audience of non-experts. Sound familiar?
Building Your Skills and Experience
Whether you’re an excellent writer or a subject matter expert (or both), if you’re looking to make a career pivot, it can be helpful to build on your classroom experience. Building some additional skills outside the classroom can help you fluff up your resume as well as put together a portfolio of samples that demonstrate your writing prowess to hiring managers.
You may already have experience in writing in-depth lesson plans, creating curriculum, and differentiating materials. This is excellent, especially if you are staying in the K-12 education or edtech sector. However, if you plan to take a step away from K-12 education, it may be time to start upskilling to gain some additional experience.
You can get started with many of the roles, below, by offering your services in a freelance capacity via sites like Fiverr or Upwork. For other areas of focus, such as marketing, editing, or writing website content, it may be helpful to take an online class in the basics of editing, marketing, sales copy, or SEO to understand the ins-and-outs of what will be expected in this type of role. You can learn more about upskilling on this blog.
Top Five Writing Jobs for Teachers
Now, let’s take a look at the top five jobs for teachers related to writing. However, first I will point out that this is far from a comprehensive list, and many of these jobs may be presented on job listings with a variety of titles. If one of these roles is appealing to you, I’d recommend researching further by looking into job descriptions, related titles, freelancing opportunities, and even salary ranges to see if this is the right direction for you.
1. Curriculum Writing Jobs for Teachers
Do you have a knack for writing outlines and technical writing, as well as supreme time management and organizational skills? You may be able to easily transition into curriculum writing. Companies are continuously writing and revising curriculum to stay on top of trends and changes in education as well as new technology.
Curriculum Writers are tasked with researching and developing lessons, including materials, activities, and assessments. Your work may contribute to the structure of programs for early childhood, K-12, or higher education. A career in curriculum design can easily translate into various opportunities, including companies, organizations, and government agencies.
Whether you have one, specific area of expertise or have been teaching in general education, you have a deep understanding of how students learn, the needs of both teachers and students, and how curriculum is used on a day-to-day basis. This experience will be essential in your role as a curriculum writer.
2. Copy and Content Writing Jobs for Teachers
As a teacher, you already have experience in the area of children and education as well as any subject matter expertise. However, you may have a depth of knowledge in other areas you haven’t considered. Like knowledge of niche but popular topics like parenting, personal finance, organization, food/cooking, books/reading or other hobbies.
There is a huge volume of content being published every day on product websites, blogs, and visual media like TV and YouTube, and behind much of that content is a writer. Content and copywriters work in a variety of writing styles such as descriptive and informative writing about products and persuasive sales copy. Additionally, in this role you may be writing blogs, sales pages, proposals, pitches, reviews, ebooks, and much more. Some writers are credited as contributors and others are ghostwriters who customize their writing to represent an individual or brand.
Sarah Mill is a former educator and freelance copywriter with an understanding of what it’s like to be a teacher leaving the classroom. Her experience and empathy for this audience made Sarah a perfect fit as a contributing author and editor for Teacher Career Coach. You can hear her story and more about her new career in on the podcast: EP 35 – Sarah Mill: From Teacher to Freelance Copywriter
3. Writing Jobs in Marketing & Social Media
There is a lot of crossover between content writing and jobs in marketing and social media. When pursuing a writing job in this area, teachers will additionally need to show they can capture the voice of a company, empathize with the brand’s audience, and understand the balance of delivering value and selling – most often without being “salesy.”
These types of writing jobs may include planning and writing content, optimizing and revising website copy, developing copy for advertising or email campaigns, writing scripts, and creating social media graphics and captions. Working in marketing can be highly collaborative. Often the marketing and sales departments in a company work together to develop content and timelines, get feedback on progress and results, and make adjustments and improvements moving forward.
Natalie Ziemba was a high school English teacher for ten years when she stepped away to pursue a new path in marketing. Since then, she has leveraged her BA in English and MA in Teaching, growing in marketing roles both in and out of the educational ecosystem. Natalie shares her tips for breaking into marketing as well as her journey on the way to her current role as Senior Marketing Manager: 67 – Natalie Ziemba: From Teacher to Senior Marketing Manager
4. Careers in Editing for Teachers
There are a variety of part-time and freelance editing and proofreading jobs that can help you get a foot in the door and build skills toward a career in writing. Full-time positions are out there as well, and many companies are offering remote opportunities.
Editing and proofreading jobs come in many forms from proofing product or job descriptions for grammatical errors to editing instructional materials for clarity. If you love to read, there are also positions for book editors including developmental, line, and copyediting roles as well as proofreading.
Depending on your specific role, some hiring managers are looking for editors with a strong understanding of the writing process, including editing and revision, the ability to evaluate story pitches, and develop your own ideas in relation to your audience. For any editing or proofreading role, you’ll need a solid understanding of grammar and structure and a great attention to detail.
Former teacher, Lacey Smith, says that while editors don’t have to be experts in every area, the ability to learn quickly, be resourceful, and make quick decisions is key. Listen to her story on the podcast: 69 – Lacey Smith: From Teaching to a Career in Editing (Episode coming March 17, 2022)
5. Technical Writing Jobs for Teachers
Teachers are experts in giving clear, concise, step-by-step directions and explanations that can be understood with limited prior knowledge. If this type of instructional writing is your area of expertise, a job in technical writing may be worth looking into.
Technical writers create materials related to specific topics such as guides, instructions, and manuals to be used in a wide variety of settings. A technical writer may be in charge of putting together onboarding materials for a company such as internal FAQs and the company handbook. Or they may be creating specific materials for a company’s clients such as a how-to, operating or instructional manuals, or a concise getting started guide for a particular product.
While some teachers may find this style of writing a bit dry, there can be a lot of variety in technical writing, especially when it comes to subject matter. You don’t have to be an expert in one, particular area. In fact, in many cases, technical writers have very limited experience in using the products or services they’re writing about. Instead, you’ll be learning as you go and devising a plan on how to most efficiently and effectively communicate to your readers.
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.