What are the best jobs for former teachers?
Today, you’ll learn what the best career for former teachers is, along with 50 career ideas for people with a teaching background.
Want to learn more? Read on!
If you are reading this article, then there is a good chance that you are thinking of breaking away from teaching and looking for a new career.
Fortunately, you’re in luck. Teaching is a versatile job that helps you develop various skills that employers in different industries are looking for.
At the same time, teaching is a demanding job that takes its toll. According to the National Education Association, 55% of teachers are thinking of prematurely leaving their jobs. In other words, you’re not alone.
Maybe you want more flexibility, a remote job, and less stress? You’re in the right place.
So what can a former teacher do?
There are plenty of alternative jobs for teachers. Below, we’ve listed 50 of them. But first, let’s take a look at what industries hire former teachers.
Various sectors need your teaching skills.
Many transitioning teachers prefer instructional design. As an instructional designer, you teach and train people in the workforce, primarily through digital learning experiences (think Khan Academy, but for a specific company or program).
You can work as an instructional designer in multiple industries, including the corporate, governmental, and educational sectors. Apple and Amazon are just a few Fortune 100 companies hiring former teachers as instructional designers.
For example, my student Joanna left her teaching job to become an instructional designer at Amazon Web Services. You can read her story here.
Of course, this isn’t your only career option (as you’ll see below). But you can successfully use your teaching experience to build a thriving career in this space.
Now that you know what types of jobs you should be on the lookout for, let’s explore 50 jobs for former teachers you could focus on. Here’s what you need to know:
Average salary: $81,685
One of the best careers for former teachers? Instructional design.
You see, your teaching experience transfers beautifully into the world of instructional design.
After all, something made you want to become a teacher, which means you aren't looking for just any alternative job. Whether it was because you enjoyed helping people learn, designing lesson plans, or developing yourself, you chose to teach for a reason.
You have a wide-ranging, complex skill set, and there is no reason to abandon it simply because you need to step away from teaching and find a second career.
Fortunately, that skill set fits perfectly with a career as an instructional designer. The similarities between instructional design and teaching mean that you already have a core understanding of how to convey complicated information to an audience.
But there’s a major difference; according to our research, 94% of instructional designers report a healthy work-life balance. The same can’t be said for teachers working in the classroom.
Plus, you don’t need a master’s degree to become an instructional designer. The majority of instructional designers don't have a degree in instructional design or a certificate. Many of the people who end up as instructional designers actually come into the field when they are given training responsibilities in the workplace.
While these credentials can help you land a job, they are far from necessary. So long as you are willing to put in the work, learn the required skills, and create a strong portfolio, then you are likely to find a job.
In this short video, I talk more about instructional design as a career choice for former teachers:
If you’re interested in getting started as an instructional designer, get my free checklist that shows you the steps you need to take to become an instructional designer:
Average salary: $68,877
An educational consultant helps schools, organizations, and/or businesses by consulting on curriculum, school management, socioeconomic factors, and so on. As a teacher, you have immediate experience and understand different sides of the equation–teachers, students, and other stakeholders.
Average salary: $72,681
A college consultant helps students get admitted to college. For instance, if someone is pursuing a degree at an Ivy League, a college consultant often helps them tailor and submit their application. You as a teacher understand how the world of academia works. Plus, maybe you’ve even helped students get admitted to colleges in the past.
Average salary: $74,941
As a Human Resources (HR) manager, you can work in various types of organizations and companies (from non-profits to startups to corporations). Some HR positions are more administrative, while others are more about team building and management. Typical job tasks include interviewing and assessing candidates, developing a work culture at your organization, answering questions, onboarding and training employees, developing employee performance, and so on.
Average salary: $41,688
After-school directors create after-school programs for children and teens. You develop curriculum and programs for kids in after-school settings. Some tasks might include community building, fundraising, and organizing events.
Average salary: $50,477
Maybe you want to continue working with students in an educational setting, but just not as a teacher. Another option is to become an academic advisor. This role entails answering questions about internships, jobs, future prospects, majors, schedules, and so on, depending a bit on which type of educational institution you work at.
Average salary: $60,710
If you’re all about changing and improving the educational system, becoming a curriculum developer might be something for you. As a curriculum developer, you develop materials and activities for students and share instructional guides with other teachers. You can work in the educational sector or at organizations or corporations. Curriculum development goes hand in hand with instructional design, and the terms are often used interchangeably in the corporate setting.
Average salary: $117,075
A communications manager develops and executes communication strategies for businesses and organizations. As a teacher, you have relevant skills; you know how to collaborate and communicate with different stakeholders (parents, children, and school administration). You also know how to hold presentations and make your arguments heard.
Average salary: $47,892
An event planner plans and manages events, from weddings to corporate meetings and parties. Most teachers have plenty of planning experience and understand what it takes to keep people interested and engaged.
Average salary: $54,257
Social work is all about focusing on supporting those who struggle, especially those from underprivileged groups. Clinical social workers can diagnose and treat behavioral and mental health disorders.
Average salary: $69,862
The role of a marketing manager is varied. You might specialize in marketing a company with a specific platform or tool (Instagram, Meta, TikTok…). Or you might focus on a specific marketing strategy (PPC, SEO, social media). Either way, teachers are pros at keeping organized, coming up with fun, creative ideas, and engaging people–a perfect fit for a marketing role. Granted, you might need to reskill and acquire more marketing expertise, but you probably don’t need to worry too much about your lack of a degree. After all, modern marketing develops very fast and most of those who work as marketers have had to at least partially learn their skills on the job.
Average salary: $165,840
Are you looking for a role where you can work in a leadership role in a school setting? As a school principal you are the leader of the school; you manage personnel and staff, security procedures, budgets, and other school functions.
Average salary: $95,933
This might come as a surprise, but as a teacher, you’re a master seller. You see, you sell your ideas in a classroom–every day, including your ideas of learning, work, success, personal development, and so on. And what you need to do as a realtor is to switch to selling houses instead of your ideas. Your job is to build trust with buyers and sellers, present the property in the best light, and help both parties find a great outcome. Note that you might need a certification to become a realtor.
Average salary: $61,435
As an educational sales representative, you help schools find the best software, consulting services, remote learning tools, supplies, equipment, and logistics services. Obviously, your background as a teacher makes your experience invaluable–you know what schools and teachers want and need.
Average salary: $60,028
A learning specialist can work with different types of institutions, such as government agencies, financial organizations, and universities. You might help people get up to speed in their roles, teach them about new technologies, or understand the products and services your organization offers. You might have already completed similar tasks in your teaching job if it included drafting lesson plans, adapting teaching approaches, and helping students learn new tools and software. If you’re interested in this, then you may be even more interested in instructional design.
Average salary: $76,764
As a speech therapist, you help people communicate, as well as swallow, drink, and eat. For example, you might help adults who have lost their ability to speak due to an illness or accident. Or you might help kids whose speech is slow to develop. Keep in mind that speech therapy does require a degree in speech and language therapy that’s approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Average salary: $32,825
Maybe you want to continue working with children, but focus on individual children rather than groups of them. In that case, you can become a nanny or babysitter, depending on how flexible of a schedule you want. There are also various types of nannies; live-in nannies, night nannies, and so on.
Average salary: $77,535
A sales manager can work in different types of settings and help sell products and services. You might either work in a business and sell everything from software to consulting services. Or you might help a non-profit grow. This is a great career for you if you enjoy the interpersonal skills you’ve developed as a teacher. Just remember that a sales manager is often paid a base salary and can then earn commissions and bonuses for every sale they make.
Average salary: $45,959
What does a fundraiser do? As a fundraiser, you help organizations (such as universities, non-profits, and community centers) raise money. Your tasks might include community building, speaking, cold calling, and partnership building. If you’re passionate about a cause or want to work in higher education, this might be something for you.
Average salary: $54,081
A publicist helps individuals and companies polish their brand and public image. You might work with artists, writers, corporations, financial institutions, government departments, or schools. Tasks often include handling social media, creating press releases, and coordinating media and speaking gigs. If you enjoy communication and the organizational aspects of your teaching job, this might be it.
Average salary: $37,134
Don’t want to leave teaching, but you’re eager to find a different type of teaching job outside of the educational sector? In that case, becoming a guide might be something for you. As a tour guide, you might be working independently and showing people your city or taking them on new experiences in your area. Or, you might be employed by a museum or institution and guide groups on a specific collection.
Average salary: $88,625
Do software development and teaching experience go hand in hand? Well, it can. Sure, you need to acquire software development skills (unless you already have them). But thanks to your teaching skills, software development can be a highly rewarding job. Software developers are analytical and detail-oriented. What’s more, a great developer also knows how to communicate with stakeholders, and that’s where you excel as a former teacher.
Average salary: $52,818
If you love coaching students, you might enjoy coaching as your next career. As a public speaking coach, you use public speaking, one of the skills you’ve already developed in your classes and teach that to people who want to improve their own speaking skills.
Average salary: $36,919
Maybe you love teaching students… But you don’t love the other aspects of your teaching job (such as your stressful work schedule and work after hours). Well, in that case, private tutoring might be something for you. You can either reach out to parents locally and provide your tutoring services or sign up on a tutoring platform and teach kids flexibly around the world.
Average salary: $39,105
Do you love history, anthropology, and culture? As a museum or exhibition curator, you get to work hands-on with bringing educational and engaging exhibitions to life. There’s a lot of overlap with your teaching job here–creating an educational exhibition and presenting it in a way that makes it easy to learn from.
Average salary: $43,559
If your teaching job includes languages, a natural fit for you is to build a career as a translator. You might work for the government, international organizations, corporations, or as a freelance translator.
Average salary: $57,187
Want to continue working with students, but not as a teacher? As a school counselor, you get to work more with coaching students and helping them develop themselves and their outcomes. You also create a school culture and work with the school leadership to bring it to life.
Average salary: $54,541
As an editor, you have a varied and interesting job, if you love working with and improving texts. Editors typically develop manuscripts, research, edit pieces, fact check, copy edit, rewrite, proofread, and index. You might work in a publishing house, a business, or an organization.
Average salary: $53,943
As a teacher, you’ve developed great organizational, project delivery, and communication skills. That’s why starting a career as an executive assistant might help you find a fulfilling career. Executive assistants work with executives to support them in their work, whether that’s scheduling meetings, co-managing events, or taking calls.
Average salary: $53,606
A librarian is someone who researches, digitizes archives, connects people to technology, and works with the day-to-day administrative tasks of keeping a library going. Librarians can work in museums, public and private libraries, colleges, schools, businesses, hospitals, or universities. If you want to stay in an educational setting but move to a more administrative and research-based role, this might be the thing for you.
Average salary: $71,300
Do you work with numbers? Then, a career as a financial planner is not too far-fetched. As a financial planner, you help people with their personal finances, give them investment advice, and support them in their financial decision-making. You might want to consider getting certified as a Certified Financial Planner.
Average salary: $62,412
A therapist holds a master’s degree in a field related to psychotherapy. As a therapist, you work with clients to understand their feelings, thoughts, action, emotions, coping skills, fears, and so on. You might work with a specific group of people (such as children or teens).
Average salary: $68,156
Are you passionate about a cause? Then work as a nonprofit manager. You help run and build nonprofits around areas you really care about. For many people, this can feel incredibly fulfilling. Your day-to-day tasks might include team management, fundraising, event planning, and administrative tasks.
Average salary: $53,728
If you teach physical education or work as a sports coach, becoming a personal fitness trainer is a natural next step for you. Help people achieve their fitness goals, such as toning their bodies, getting more energy, and transforming their mindset.
Average salary: $68,501
This one might seem a bit out there, but when you think about it, 3D animation is a great fit for many teachers. It’s a job that lets you be creative and tell stories. After all, as a teacher, you’re a master storyteller with a keen eye for what kids love. That said, you can work in industries other than feature films, such as gaming and the corporate world.
Average salary: $67,188
A data analyst reviews data to identify insights on how to solve problems and communicate that data. There’s definitely some overlap with teaching here because as a data analyst, you present data in a manner that’s easy to understand and tell a story with it. Just like you would with your teaching material at your teaching job.
Average salary: $71,115
If you enjoy coaching people and supporting them in becoming the best version of themselves, leadership coaching might be the right choice for you. Leadership coaches work one-on-one (or in group settings) with clients, helping them improve the way they lead other people.
Average salary: $52,781
Homeschool consultants help people who homeschool their children ensure that their children get the best possible education. As a teacher, you are a pro at creating curriculum and setting up teaching plans–so this job might be a perfect fit for you.
Average salary: $71,477
Corporate trainers are teachers but in a corporate (or other professional) setting. Your job is to promote employee growth and development by creating entire training programs and running training sessions. In other words, your background as a teacher is perfect for this role.
Average salary: $71,005
What does an educational policy consultant do? In this role, you shape education–so if you have a burning desire to change and impact education, this is for you. As an educational policy consultant, you identify, brainstorm, and research key issues in the American public school system and provide recommendations on solutions.
Average salary: $55,718
A textbook author creates educational material. You typically write book outlines, develop content, and add lesson or review questions at the end. If you’re a keen writer, love teaching, and want more flexibility in your work, textbook authoring might be something for you.
Average salary: $51,875
As an adult education teacher, you might work in a variety of settings. For example, adult education teachers work in community colleges, nonprofits, and correctional facilities. Some of the subjects you might teach include English, literacy, and GED preparation.
Average salary: $45,634
Camp directors are responsible for planning and running day camps or residential recreation programs. You develop a camp curriculum, train and manage employees, oversee campers, set up budgets, and more.
Average salary: $59,483
If you want to work in a preschool setting, then preschool director might be the job title for you. As a preschool director, you’re responsible for leading preschool staff, designing program plans, preparing budgets, and overseeing daily activities.
Average salary: $52,885
Recruiters work in a variety of industries. For instance, you might be a healthcare recruiter, technical recruiter, or executive recruiter. Overall, your job is to find and attract qualified applicants for open positions by reviewing resumes, sourcing talent, and interviewing them. As a teacher, you know how to communicate and understand what makes people “tick”–a perfect fit for a career as a recruiter.
Average salary: $78,967
Project managers plan and develop project ideas by creating and leading teams, monitoring project progress, setting deadlines and ensuring stakeholder satisfaction. There are several transferable skills you can use here as a teacher–after all, you manage entire classrooms every day.
Average salary: $55,766
A child protective services worker advises and counsels parents and children. They often visit children to assess their safety, plan for permanency, and discuss needs and progress. You might also remove children from dangerous environments and place them in emergency shelters.
Average salary: $45,264
Being a graphic designer is a highly creative job. You work on creating visual text and imagery concepts, communicating ideas, developing layouts, and production design. As a graphic designer, you might work independently as a freelancer or as an employee. In general, this is a great career choice, especially for art teachers.
Average salary: $64,128
If you want to have a big impact and work with daily events, journalism might be a good career choice. As a journalist, you can work for local, national, or international media outlets, in a niche that you’re interested in (sports, news, food, and so on).
Average salary: $46,677
Love writing? Then, working as an author might be something for you. Writing children’s books can be an especially great way to merge your past experience with your current job. Other writing positions include freelance writing and copywriting.
Now you know what types of jobs are available to you.
But let’s make sure we cover how you can decide what career is the right one for you.
Your career choices depend on the work you enjoy doing. For example, if you’ve realized that, despite being a teacher, you don’t enjoy teaching, your best bet is to look for a job outside of education.
But if you find teaching to be a fulfilling career choice (but want to leave your teaching job for other reasons, such as an unreasonable workload for the salary you’re being paid, horrible working hours, or the pressure and stress that comes with the job), then look for a career where you can still feel like you’re making a difference.
Think about ways you can leverage the skills you love. For example, after possibly years in front of a classroom, you’re a master at speaking! And if you love speaking, a job where you get to leverage that skill is a match made in heaven.
Similarly, if you enjoy helping people improve their skills or perform better, look at those types of jobs.
Also, consider why you’re leaving the classroom. If your priority is to find a remote job, then make sure there are jobs in the industry you pick that can be performed remotely. In the same way, if salary is important to you, focus on jobs with higher paying salaries.
For instance, instructional design works well for teachers who want more flexibility, as it’s a job that can be done remotely–and plenty of employers are happy to offer such a work environment.
But how do you find a job in a brand new career? Let’s take a look.
There are a few steps you need to do to start your job search.
Depending on the industry you’re entering, you might need to develop new skills. While some jobs might require a new degree, most don’t.
Start by researching your options online to learn how to upskill.
For instance, my free ID checklist is a great starting point, if you’re looking to build a career as an instructional designer:
Plus, you can likely develop the same skills you would develop as part of a degree by enrolling in online courses. There are plenty of courses that help you develop skills and find a job in the industry you’re in.
My own course, ID Bootcamp, helps you become an instructional designer and supports you in your job search.
Concretely, you might need to update your resume so that it’s tailored to your new industry.
Then, it depends on what industry and career you’re looking at. For instance, as an instructional designer, a portfolio will really help you stand out. So one of the first things you can do to further your career is to create a portfolio.
And to find your job, an effective way is to reach out to your network. If someone you know (or their network) is looking for the type of role you want to land, you’re in a much better position to get the job because they already know and trust you.
Of course, finding a job through a job board, LinkedIn, or a similar platform works very well, too.
What it comes down to is that you’re successful at highlighting your strengths.
First, think of the feedback you’ve gotten in the past. What stands out to you as your strengths?
Second, think of your transferable skills. You have a lot of them!
For example, you know how to:
Make sure you tailor your language, though. For instance, a rookie mistake I see many new instructional designers make is to talk in a way that doesn’t resonate with the target audience (whether corporations, educational institutions, or non-profits).
There you have it! These are the best jobs for former teachers. Hopefully, you have a better idea of what you want to do next.
Does instructional design sound like something you’d be interested in?
If so, you can sign up for my free checklist that shows you how to become an instructional designer:
This list will show you the critical steps you need to take in order to become an instructional designer. The checklist covers the most important models and theories of instructional design as well as the technology that will help you get a great start in this field.
Whether you choose instructional design or something else, I wish you the best of luck in your job search!