1. Career Advice
  2. Career Change
  3. Career change for teachers: transform your path now!
Career change for teachers: transform your path now!

Career change for teachers: transform your path now!

  • Transferable teaching skills for a career change
  • 8 Alternative careers for teachers looking for a change
  • 1. Principal
  • 2. Board-certified behavior analyst
  • 3. Registered nurse
  • 4. Sales manager
  • 5. Realtor
  • 6. Psychologist
  • 7. Standardized test developer
  • 8. Human resources director
  • Tips for transitioning to a new career after teaching
  • Key takeaways

Teaching can be an extremely rewarding field, but what should you do when you’ve decided it’s not the right career for you? Explore some top tips regarding career change for teachers and discover how to make a fresh start by reading this article.

Burnout, low salaries, lack of career advancement, and a shift in passion are just a few of the reasons why teachers may decide to make a career change. Whatever the reason, a career change for teachers doesn’t have to be scary. There are many options available for those hoping to secure employment outside of the classroom.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • Transferable teaching skills for a career change

  • 8 alternative careers for teachers looking for a change 

  • Tips for transitioning to a new career after teaching

Statistical Insight

As of January 2024, 59,000 teachers and other educational staff members have quit their jobs in the US. This is the highest number since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transferable teaching skills for a career change

You may think that your current skill set only works within the teaching industry, but that’s not the case. Teachers have many skills that are valuable in a variety of industries. In fact, many of your current skills are highly sought after in other careers.

Taking the leap from teaching into a fresh, new industry starts with a self-assessment. You should know  your skills, career goals, and passion. Then, use that information to decide which career path is right for you.

These are five skills that you may not even realize you have:

  • Communication. As a teacher, you communicate clearly in writing and verbally. You also know how to adapt your communication patterns to different audiences while keeping your ideas clear and concise.

  • Leadership. You’ve built a career on motivating and inspiring your students, collaborating with your colleagues, and facilitating group discussions. These are all key qualities of a good leader.

  • Time management. Teachers spend their days juggling schedules, making lesson plans, and organizing the day. That means you are an expert in time management.

  • Adaptability. You probably won’t ever have a consistent day as a teacher, and you never know what to expect. That keeps you flexible and adaptable. You know how to quickly make decisions and adjust to challenges.

  • Problem-solving. Teachers deal with their share of problems throughout the day, finding creative solutions efficiently. As a great problem-solver, you get a team to work together for a common goal.

8 Alternative careers for teachers looking for a change

Whether you’re seeking a new challenge, want a better work-life balance and better pay, or are a burned-out teacher, there are countless alternative careers to explore.

For the best career change for teachers, we listed eight alternatives below: :

1. Principal

If you want to stay in the education industry but are ready to move out of the classroom, becoming a principal may be a great step to take. Since you’ll know what policies are needed to make a teacher successful, you’ll be in a prime position to drive a school’s success. Some of the top skills you will need include instructional leadership, advocacy, and crisis management.

2. Board-certified behavior analyst

This is a specialized role, so you will need additional certifications and training if you want to make the switch. BCBA professionals work with those who have behavioral challenges and developmental disabilities. The goal is to assess behavior patterns and develop strategies to make the individuals successful. You will need to know how to work with families, conduct behavior assessments, monitor progress, and collaborate with others in your field.

3. Registered nurse

Vital for the healthcare industry, registered nurses are responsible for providing patient care and preventing illness. This is also a specialized role, so additional licenses are needed for teachers pursuing a career in this field. However, some of the skills you’ve gained, such as your empathy, compassion, adaptability, and attention to detail will prove invaluable.

4. Sales manager

One career change for teachers that won’t require much additional training is making the switch to a sales manager. It will be your job to motivate your sales team, achieve revenue targets, gain new customers, and maintain existing relationships. This is one role where your former leadership, communication, and motivation-related skills will come into play. Teachers can be successful sales managers because they know how to work with many different types of people while navigating challenges.

5. Realtor

Along the same lines as a sales manager, becoming a realtor may be an ideal career change for teachers. Realtors need great attention to detail, and strong communication and organizational skills. These are all skills you have as a former teacher. There are additional requirements you'll need first, but a realtor job offers flexibility in your career, high potential earnings, and variety in your work.

6. Psychologist

Becoming a psychologist will require a significant amount of time and investment, yet it can be worth it if you have a passion for human behavior and mental processes. Those in this industry find they can make a positive impact on their patients’ lives, which makes it highly rewarding. It is also a career that could see you still working within a school setting if you choose to work with children. As a psychologist, you will need to practice the empathy, critical thinking, and ethical skills that you gained as a teacher. 

7. Standardized test developer

This is a perfect role for a teacher because it allows you to put your specific skills to work in a new and exciting way. You’ll also know how to take what is being taught in a classroom and create standardized tests that work with teachers instead of against them. In this role, you’ll need subject matter expertise, an ability to analyze test items and scores, and the know-how for designing and developing test questions. Essential skills include content knowledge, research, and writing and editing.

8. Human resources director

As a former teacher, you probably love working with people. That’s why a human resources director role may be perfect for your next career. Every industry and company needs someone in this role, which makes the work versatile, no matter which company you work for. You already have the skills that will be helpful in this position: communication, training, leadership, and strategic planning.

Tips for transitioning to a new career after teaching

Finding the right career after you’ve decided to end your teaching career isn’t the final step in the process of transforming your new path. There are still other things you will need to do to prepare for a new role.

Here are three tips to keep in mind:

  • Research certification/education requirements. Since many new roles require fresh certifications and training, it’s best to research what it will take to transition into that role. Consider how long it will take for you to make the switch and what type of investment (both financial and time-based) you’ll need to make.

  • Know your reason. Transitioning to a new career always comes with lots of questions. Some questions you ask yourself and some are asked of you. You should have an answer prepared for when a hiring manager asks why you are transitioning to a new career.

  • Continue learning. Even after you’ve successfully made the move from being a teacher to your next career, don’t give up your desire to learn. Remember, you’ll be learning in your new role, so be patient with yourself as you start this new journey.

If you are ready to start a new career, Career.io’s Career Pathways tool can help you decide what path is best, what skills you need, and how to get started.

Key takeaways

  1. Teachers have numerous transferable skills that are highly sought after in numerous industries, such as communication, leadership, and time management.

  2. Since teachers are so skilled and talented, a variety of career options are available for teachers, many of which come with high pay and a better work-life balance.

  3. The most important thing to remember when transitioning from a teaching career is to prepare for the future by researching certification and education requirements.

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