If you’re looking to make a career change from teaching, there are many great new careers you could pursue. In this article we’ll cover how to start making change from teaching into something new, and some ideas of how you can use your skills and experience in a different job.
I hope this article helps you consider what is driving this desire for a change, and what options there might be for a career after teaching.
Stephen's career change from teaching story
First, I’d like to share a story about Stephen. He’s been a teacher for six years, and while he’s become good at his work, this isn’t the job he imagined when he started out. He loves being on his feet, and can’t imagine being behind a screen all day. He feels he’s making a difference to the lives of the children that he teaches.
But the job is stressful. His workload is off the scale. It’s taken over to the point that work is all consuming, it’s hard to switch off and he doesn’t have a social life any more. He’s living to work, and it’s draining.
He’s been thinking about making a career change from teaching for some time. But he can’t see what other options he has. Teaching is all he knows. Teaching wasn’t his first choice after university, but it felt like a good option and a profession where he could make a difference.
He’s applied for a few other jobs, but that hasn’t worked out and he’s not sure what to do next. Part of him says this feels too hard, is it too late to change now?
But it’s not too late.
‘Stephen’ is a typical client of mine. Have you ever felt like him?
Considering a career change from teaching
Moving on from teaching can feel really difficult. While many teachers are drawn to the profession to make a difference, a third of teachers are leaving within five years. Many feel burnt out, overworked, and drained. I’ve spoken to teachers who said they were anxious and dreading going to work every day.
That’s not to say that all teachers feel that way, many enjoy their work. But if you’re feeling that you want to leave the profession and consider your options, you might be wondering what else you could do? How would you make a change? You’re stepping from a fairly secure job into… what?
We’ll get to some interesting options later in this article. But the important thing I wanted to share is that there is life after teaching.
My client Stephen made a successful transition into a role and type of work he really enjoys. He was able to pivot around his strong interest in e-learning, and now works for a well-known broadcasting organisation helping to create educational content.
I’ve coached, met and worked with former teachers in many different roles. From other roles inside the education sector, to the corporate world, to charities, teaching equips you with some amazing skills which are valuable to other employers in a career after teaching. We’ll be looking at some of these shortly.
How do you start a career change from teaching?
When you want to change career, you might have had the experience of going straight to the job sites to see what the other options are. It’s what many people do. But this often takes you round in circles, seeing a vast array of different options but not sure if you’d like any of them or would be able to do these jobs.
So rather than hitting the jobsites, it helps to follow a process. I use a four-stage process with my clients that helps them to work out what they really want and what they have to offer before moving on to other stages.
Working out what you really want from your career.
Creating options and exploring what your new future could look like.
Which options are best for you and how you can get there
You take positive and supported steps toward your new career.
Start with what’s important to you
There’s a reason why you’re considering leaving the profession. Perhaps more than one reason. Is it the long hours? Workload? Extra responsibilities you’re not really paid for, or have hours to deliver on? Whatever it is, being clear about your reasons is important as you can try to avoid these particular issues when considering your new career direction. When working with clients, this is usually the first part of our work – understanding what you want from your work and career.
At the beginning, it can often feel like a ‘don’t want’ list rather than a list of things you do want. But the things that are wrong often show up as the absence of something, so you just need to flip them round the other way. If long hours are the problem, this is the absence of work life balance. So when writing your ‘do want’ list, good work life balance should be a feature.
Step back from your current role and imagine yourself going to a job you really enjoyed. What would get you out of bed in the morning? What would a really good day look like and why? What makes you feel excited and motivated to work? I appreciate these questions may be difficult to answer right now, but step out of your current job and don’t be afraid to picture the ideal future – however unlikely that seems right now.
I created a career satisfaction questionnaire which can help you explore what you might want or not want in a job. You can download this here.
Create a positive vision of what you’re looking for
Once you have worked out some of the things you would look for and find most valuable in a new role or career direction, try to picture what that could be like for you if you were really there. It can be hard to do this without having a clear job title or sense of what job you are doing, but try to imagine how it would be to have the things you value. Write down as much as you can, this can be a bit like creating a compass to guide you as you move forward and consider all the different options available. Try the postcard from the future exercise to help you do this.
Consider what skills you have gained from being a teacher
Even if you’re fed up with teaching and want out, there will be a lot of valuable skills and experience you’ve gained which will be useful to you in your new career. Being clear on what these are can help you with ideas for other jobs and careers which you will be good at and enjoy. It can also help you communicate your value to a new employer.
Some of the skills you may have developed as a teacher include:
As a teacher you need to communicate effectively with students, parents, colleagues, and administrators. You may also need to adapt their communication style to different audiences and use a variety of media and technology to convey information.
You need to manage multiple tasks and responsibilities, including planning lessons, grading assignments, and keeping track of student records. You may also need to coordinate with other teachers and staff members to ensure that the school runs smoothly.
I’m sure you will have faced a variety of challenges in the classroom, such as behaviour issues, academic struggles, or technology problems. And I imagine you will have needed to step back and understand the situation, find possible solutions, and make sound decisions based on what needs to happen.
You need to develop engaging and interactive lessons that capture your students' attention and encourage learning. You may also need to adapt your teaching style to different learning styles and abilities.
Adapting to changing circumstances, such as new curricula, new students, or changes in technology. You may also need to adjust your teaching style to accommodate the needs of different students or classes.
You may need to work as part of a team, collaborating with fellow teachers, staff members, parents and others.
Some teachers take on leadership roles within their schools or communities, such as serving on committees, mentoring new teachers, or advocating for education policies and funding.
These skills can be valuable in a variety of industries and can help you successfully transition to a new career outside of teaching.
Career change coaching
Would you like support in working out what career direction is right for you outside of teaching?
I've helped former teachers who feel stuck in their career to find work they love. Find out more about how I can help you.
Options for a career change from teaching
There are many different directions you could go in for a career after teaching. A few examples are provided below for inspiration.
Spend some time looking into the options which appeal to you, so you get a better grasp of what’s involved, why it would be for you, which of your strengths will help you in the role, and what steps might be involved in getting into that type of work.
Before you leave the classroom entirely, it’s worth considering whether switching to supply teaching might help you take the best of what you enjoy from teaching, while not having some of the responsibilities, workload and long hours.
If you still have a strong interest in education you may find work in other capacities, such as educational consultant, academic advisor, school administrator, student learning support, curriculum developer, or teacher trainer.
This can be a great option if you enjoy teaching and would like to work with students 1:1, possibly as an online teacher. You can work through organisations or agencies, or if you prefer, become a freelance tutor with your own business. Typically you will have more control over your working hours which can be a real benefit for some.
Training and Development:
Many teachers have experience developing and delivering training programs, making them well-suited for roles in corporate training, professional development, or adult education.
Writing and Editing
Teachers are typically skilled at writing and editing, and you could use these skills in roles such as technical writer, copywriter, or editor.
Counselling, Youth work and Social Work
Teachers who have experience working with children and adolescents may find that their skills in communication, empathy, and problem-solving are useful in counselling, youth work or social work roles.
I have worked alongside former teachers who moved into being careers advisors. In this role you could be helping students in schools, colleges or universities consider their career options, develop their employability and find their preferred career path.
Government and charities
You could take your interest in the education sector into a role at Ofsted or for your local authority. Or if you are passionate about social justice or public service you may find fulfilling work in the charity sector.
Some former teachers may start their own businesses, leveraging their teaching experience to create products or services related to education or another field.
If you are in a leadership role you may have experience managing people, developing policies and procedures, and communicating with diverse groups, which are all skills that can be useful in human resources roles.
Sales and Marketing
If you feel that some of your strengths are in communicating with different audiences and developing creative and engaging content, you may find that your skills are transferable to roles in sales or marketing.
If you have experience integrating technology into your classroom and using educational software and hardware, you may find that your skills are valuable in technology roles, such as instructional designers, education software developers, or education technology consultants.
Other jobs for former teachers
These are just a few examples of potential career paths that former teachers have pursued. Ultimately, the best job for you after leaving the teaching profession will depend on your individual skills, interests, and goals.
When I’m working with clients, we usually discuss ideas for jobs that link with your existing career. However we also explore your interests, strengths and preferences, and how these link to careers beyond the more obvious options. This is different for every individual, and very often the obvious list of jobs is not where we end up! So don’t feel the list above is all you can aspire to, you have many more options.
Talk to people about your career change from teaching
It would be easy to spend years researching your options on the Internet. There is a huge amount of information out there. So one thing that can really help is to take every opportunity to talk to other people who have made a career change from teaching, to see how they found making the transition. You can also talk to people who are doing jobs you are interested in, get curious about the work they do, how they found their way into that job, and any tips they can share.
LinkedIn is a great place to do this, and many other social media platforms will allow you to connect and strike up a conversation. You can also attend networking events or you might even find an opportunity to visit an organisation (for example if you are a user of their services), and see what you can find out.
Try out new experiences
Researching your options and talking to people can be great together insight about what do you want to do if you change careers from teaching. But it will only get you so far. It can also be helpful to out and gain new experiences if possible, so that you can get a broader understanding of whether it’s for you. For example, you can:
- Take a course
- Subscribe to a new podcast
- Attend an event
- Join a group who have similar interests to you
- Take up a new hobby or pastime
Anything you can do to understand more about the areas which interest you can be helpful.
Would you like help making your career change from teaching?
I hope you’ve found this article helpful in understanding how you can make your career change from teaching possible. Making a career change takes time and dedication, as well as an open mind and belief that you can make it happen – it’s definitely possible!
If you aren’t sure where to start and need some help with making your career change, I provide a career change coaching where I can support you as you work out what you really want, explore your options and what jobs for former teachers are out there, decide which path suits you best, and make your successful transition. You can find out more here on my career change coaching page.
Scott helped me find out what was important to me in my new career, and importantly what kind of organisation I want to work for. His help with my CV helped me land an interview with a prestigious company and after his interview coaching I was able to approach the interview with confidence. I was offered my choice of two positions within the company! I am now much happier and enjoying the work life balance my new career provides, and the future looks bright in terms of career progression. Scott is warm, professional, knowledgeable and reliable. His programme meant that rather than trawling job-sites looking for something I could do, I was instead able to proactively choose what I wanted to do and for whom I wanted to work. thanks Scott!