Career Options in Education

Some people finish student teaching or a teaching internship and decide classroom teaching is not for them. Still others have been a classroom teacher but have been laid off and need a job. What are your options?

Other industries love people with education degrees because they are known as hardworking self-starters who are creative and always willing to learn. (So, include those characteristics right on your résumé!)

When preparing your résumé, list your skills at the top and show how you have put them into practice.
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Information, media, and technology skills
  • Life and career skills: flexibility, adaptability, initiative, self-direction, time-management, meeting goals, social skills, cross-cultural skills, working on diverse teams, project management, results-driven, leadership, being responsible

See the Career Change Résumé and the Experienced Teacher Résumé as examples.

A variety of education-related jobs exist for entry-level jobs and for those with a master’s or doctorate. Many companies have training departments or have training or education. Many also work with educating their clients and need people with education backgrounds. Use your networking capacities and craft a broadcast letter to send to every applicable person you know of to learn the types of interesting jobs available. This ideas below can start you thinking.

Remember, if you really want to get a teaching job later, you must show that you were using your education and working with children in some way during this time. That does not have to be your full-time job; it can be volunteer work with Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts (e.g., teaching badge skills), teaching in a church, doing after-school activities or tutoring, being a Big Brother or Big Sister, or even caring for your nieces and nephews on the weekends.

Education-Related Jobs
  • Textbook sales – Visit websites of textbook publishers. This work requires travel to call on schools, set up conferences, and display at sites where teachers and committees gather to learn about choosing textbooks.
  • Textbook writing or editing – Visit websites of textbook publishers or and for freelance assignments. Often, you would be asked to write only a section or chapter.
  • Online teaching – Many courses are being offered online (K–12, 9–12, and college) by a variety of entities, so investigate your state department of education.
  • Tutoring – You can do this in your own home, at a library, or for a company like Kumon or Sylvan Learning. If you opt to tutor on your own, visit local schools and share your résumé and business cards. Most communities have tutoring programs like School on Wheels or Head Start, as well as community centers and churches that offer tutoring. Find out about their teaching styles and expectations and offer to work closely with them when they send you a student.
  • Course design – Usually, designing instruction calls for experience or a master’s degree, but it is something museums need as well as schools. Many colleges offer a certificate you can earn (often online) while working.
  • Course writing – Even if you didn’t design the course, you often can get a job writing parts of it or changing the format for posting online or into a platform.
  • Museums – Many museums have education-oriented programming that you can write, design, or implement.
  • Instructional guides – Most publishing companies have some type of instructional guides (e.g., series of books for “dummies” or “how-to” series), and many companies need instructions written.
  • Public radio and television stations – Education is a major part of what public radio and television do.
  • Nonprofit jobs – Find your local listing of nonprofit job openings; many of these can be filled by an education major.
  • Educational consultant – Check out faith-based educational programs and see how you can become involved. Often, teachers in faith-based preschools or English as a Second Language program have no education background, and you can share learning strategies and support them.
  • Bilingual positions – If you are bilingual, consider serving as a translator for a school district, hospital, not-for-profit, or business. Most cities have a translator group you can join and find jobs through requests to the group. Also consider working elections and other civic events.
  • English as a Second Language positions – With the influx of immigrants, almost every community is answering the need to help people learn English. Look for church-based or community-based ESL programs where you can volunteer. You usually don’t need any background or training in teaching ESL in these programs (and you don’t need to know any other language), and they will often give you some basic training. Then take that training and apply for ESL jobs at immigrant help centers and school systems. This really broadens your horizons!
  • Training – Most companies have a trainer to train new employees, franchise owners, or even customers. Look for “trainer” in job search engines.
  • State Department of Education – If you live near your state department of education, look on their website for applicable positions. They like to hire teachers to do research and work with schools.

Non-Education Related Jobs
  • Sales
    Outside sales – This means traveling to clients and potential clients to sell items or services. This could involve anything from stocking items in stores to talking with highly skilled professionals like doctors and pharmacists.
    Inside Sales – This involves making sales phone calls for much of each day to sell items, make upgrades, or take orders.
  • Marketing – This could be through social media (posting on Facebook and Twitter) or writing copy for advertising.
  • Administrative – There is no end to the variety here as every company has many administrative positions. Search for “Administrative” and “Assistant.”
  • Manager training – Many manager-in-training positions require a college degree but are unconcerned with the major. Most stores and restaurants have these positions.
  • Insurance agent trainee – Find an insurance agent for whom you can get training while being an administrative assistant. You’ll find that what he or she does is almost all educational sales. A few insurance companies will hire you directly and train you; however, securing enough clients to make a living the first few years can be challenging.

See various job resources at:

Other Ideas
What were your jobs during high school, college, or summers? Are you interested and qualified in something related? For example, if you worked at a restaurant, could you be a manager? Or, if you were a sales associate, could you undergo manager training?

If you are a secondary (or middle school) teacher, what is your area of expertise? Science teachers are in high demand as sales representatives for pharmaceutical companies. Math teachers often can find jobs in accounting firms. English teachers can go into editing for nonprofits, newspapers, publishers, and other organizations.

Can you qualify for the new job of your dreams by taking a few more courses? Sometimes a job demands a major in an area and you only have a minor, but by taking 3–6 courses, you could qualify for another area of jobs. Some companies are willing to hire you as a trainee or intern while you take your courses.

Do you want to go into another area entirely? The medical profession is bursting, and many colleges have 20-month intensive programs for nurses to get their RN (Registered Nurse) degree if the person already has a bachelor’s degree. However, before being accepted, you will need to take higher level science and math courses.

Do your research. Learn ways to fund further education using a job, grants, and scholarships.