Career Options in Education

Career Options in Education 

Regardless of your current career stage, these steps may help you succeed faster. 

Part-time or Volunteer Work Enhances Résumés, Answers Needs

As an undergraduate, use summer jobs to work with youth the ages you want to teach and volunteering with youth organizations. If you are seeking to re-enter teaching or transition into teaching from another career, it is vital to get experience working with youth the ages you want to teach. You can do that through part-time jobs and volunteering. These lists are also good for teachers who are retired, only want to work part-time, or want non-school work to consider. 

Summer or part-time job ideas: 

  • YMCA: All offer childcare, camps, and a variety of lessons and always need paid workers and volunteers. 
  • Schools: Apply for paraprofessional, library helper, or school bus monitor. 
  • Daycare centers: Many daycare centers run programs in the summer for school-aged children. 
  • Camps: Were you a scout, in 4-H, or another youth organization? Find local camps. They are always short-handed. 
  • Public library: You’ll work with all ages and learn all about the best books. 
  • Be a private tutor or nanny: Let schools know that you are available. 
  • See the 25 best jobs for teachers: Some of these are not education-oriented, but are worth considering. 
  • Look on for “Summer Education Jobs” or “Summer Education Internships” 
  • Museums, outdoor education centers, and parks hire summer help and love education majors. They also need help throughout the year with programming. 
  • Substitute teacher (in a variety of settings): This shows you are flexible, willing to do what is necessary, and have acquired classroom management skills. 
  • Literacy tutoring organizations need certified teachers to train volunteers and lead programs. 
  • Corporations need people with teaching skills to do training or write manuals. 

Volunteer Position ideas: 

  • Teach a children’s program in your place of worship. There are Vacation Bible School opportunities, Awana, Pioneer Girls and Boys, and other programs run by churches. Many offer a Parents Day Out program. 
  • Volunteer for a church-based or community-based English as a Second Language program.  
  • Volunteer with organizations that provide free tutoring for low-income students, homeless students, or as part of after-school programs. 
  • Public libraries have story times and love extra help. Adolescent areas of a public library may need someone to help students find materials. 
  • Museums, parks, and outdoor education centers love volunteers. Tell them you want direct contact with children and specify an age group if you have one in mind.  
  • If you have skills or knowledge to help local Girl or Boy Scout troops with badge-winning content, this is a great way to work with students. 
  • Schools welcome volunteers to work with individuals who are struggling. If they know you are an education major seeking experience, you are more likely to work within a classroom or to work with a small group of students. 
  • Literacy programs are wonderful ways to hone your skills. 

No Teaching Job, But School Has Started 

Many new teachers are hired after the start of a school year for a variety of reasons – more students than anticipated in a grade level, teacher whose spouse is being transferred, maternity leave, etc. 

Here are things you can do: 

  • Call schools where you applied. Ask if all positions have been filled or if you might be hearing from them soon.  
  • Visit school sites for new job listings. Schools or districts may require you “apply” for each individual job listing 
  • Decide where you most want to teach and introduce yourself to the office staff. Ask about part-time positions (library aide, playground monitor) for which you could apply. These will pay and give you experience working with the kids. It will also help you become known in the school and give you opportunities to meet the teachers and principal. Tell them you really want to teach there.  
  • Offer tutoring should a parent request it for their child. 
  • Apply at charter or faith-based schools. Apply to online schools.  
  • Look for part-time jobs and volunteer positions to get experience. 

Not Able to Get Into the School You Want 

This is fairly common. You finally landed a job, but it isn’t your dream job.  Don’t wait to start the application process again for the school you want. 

  • If you are presently teaching, have someone video you teaching, working with students in small groups, and other situations.  
  • Add an introduction to each video (after editing) and a reflection at the end.  
  • Share videos with your résumé and cover letter (or e-portfolio), three recent letters of recommendation, your philosophy of education, and lesson plans you were teaching.  
  • Use a letter to introduce yourself and why you want the principal to watch the videos. Triple check spelling and grammar – misspellings or poor grammar are deal breakers.  
  • Hand deliver materials to the school and ask that the principal sees it.  
  • Follow up with a call to the school and ask for the principal. If you can’t speak with him or her, leave a voice message. 

Whatever happens, do the very best you can where you are. You need good evaluations and evidence. Also, ask your present colleagues for letters of recommendation. 

Want to be a Teacher Leader or Administrator

There are many ways to become a teacher leader. Most schools have team leaders and, in many cases, it is a position you apply for within your building. Many buildings have their own professional development. If you feel like you have something other teachers need to know, offer to present it at a faculty meeting or staff training time. Watch The Art of Self-Mentoring: Creating Teacher Leaders for more advice and information. 

Becoming a principal, assistant principal, or curriculum director usually requires more education. This varies by state, so check your state requirements. And see your state’s department of education website. To learn more about becoming an administrator, see Administration. 

Considering Further Education

If you are considering  a Master’s or Doctorate, see Considering Grad School.  

Community colleges usually hire adjunct faculty with a master’s degree, but to teach in a four-year college requires a doctorate. Get more information at Securing a Teaching Position at the Post-Secondary Level.