What Can I Do With a Teaching Degree (Besides Teach)?

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by All Star Staff

Jul 19, 2019 | Careers

woman doing research on teaching degrees on computer
woman doing research on teaching degrees on computer

It might seem like a no-brainer that if you earn a teaching degree, you plan to work as a teacher.

But after a while, you might be wondering if there are alternative jobs for teachers outside the classroom. The good news is that teachers have many transferable skills that are valued across many industries. Holding a teaching degree may qualify you for jobs in business, non-profit organizations, publishing, government and more. If you’re a teacher who is considering a second career, know there may be companies that are eager to hire you, the ex-teacher.

Put Your Teaching Degree to Work

If you’ve you have ever wondered “What can I do with an education degree?” you are not alone. Many of the skills necessary to become an effective teacher are often sought-after qualities in other careers too. As a person with a teaching degree, you probably have the following skills and qualities:

  • You are thoughtful, highly organized and efficient.
  • You understand the concept of constant improvement.
  • You work well alone, and collaborate well with others.
  • You have great management abilities and leadership skills.
  • You have an excellent understanding of human behavior and a lot of experience interacting with people with different personalities.
  • You are a great writer and effective communicator.
  • You are flexible and willing to change.
  • You have a strong work ethic.
  • You are a lifelong learner, and that’s not going to stop now that you’re on the job market.

In a traditional teaching job, you would use all these skills to maintain an orderly classroom, lead discussions and work with students on a group and individual basis. In other career paths, you may employ these skills in a slightly different manner.

If you’re qualified to teach a certain subject such as art, looking for jobs in a related field could prove worthwhile. For example, a museum might hire an art teacher to teach classes to adults and children, and often museums have a staff position available for an educational programming director. If you teach math or science, there are other jobs that are more appropriate for you.

So, if you’re a former teacher who is considering a second career, see what other fields you could work in with an education degree. Some additional education may be needed, and you may want to pursue an additional bachelor’s or master’s degree. While this isn’t a complete list of potential options, it demonstrates that you may just need to think creatively in your job search.

Education Roles Outside of the Classroom

If you love making educating kids but are starting to feel burnt out from teaching, know there are many other rewarding roles in education that will take you outside of the classroom. Consider these options:

  • School Librarian: Although it will take additional education, some teachers go on to become school librarians. Library science is a hot field, and you can still work with kids without having all the oversight and after-hours work required of a teaching job.
  • School Counselors: School counselors, also referred to as guidance counselors, help students in many ways, and they too aren’t in the day-to-day classroom. Again, you’ll need additional training, but if you want to remain in education and help students in other ways, school counseling is another option for you.
  • Administrator: Consider a position in education administration. If you want to stay in education but don’t want the responsibilities of your own classroom, go to nearby school-district employment pages to see if you are qualified for open positions.
  • Curriculum Design: School districts need experienced educators to improve the quality of education for their students. There are curriculum development experts, school effectiveness specialists and learning coaches who lead teacher training, observe teachers and make recommendations to improve their teaching.
  • Substitute Teacher: Like a traveling nurse, a substitute teacher can decide where and when to work. This won’t work in a state where you’re not licensed, however, you will have the flexibility of working in school districts other than your own. You don’t have all the administrative and preparatory responsibilities of full-time teachers who manage their own classrooms.

The Business World and your Teaching Degree

The world of business and teaching may seem like opposite ends of the spectrum, however, teachers who have an education degree have many skills that are crucial to succeeding in business. Former teachers can transition into several fields:

  • Marketing: Use your business savvy and understanding of human needs and desires to help companies market their products. Remember: traditional marketing is only part of the picture. In today’s Internet-focused economy, there are many good jobs for ex-teachers like you in online marketing: search engine marketing, search engine optimization (you strategically write online articles so that when people Google a term, your website will come up high on the page), email marketing, and more. Teachers are a natural at any number of traditional or online marketing jobs.
  • Technical writer: While you may need to take a course in tech writing, this is a much-needed skill, one where not everyone excels. Use your writing skills to draft user guides, manuals and white papers for companies large and small.
  • Paralegal: There’s more than just one teacher who has made the switch to a career as a paralegal. The certificate programs often required are short and inexpensive, and many of the skills you’ve acquired as a teacher are directly transferable. Working with lawyers isn’t for everyone; however, you might find paralegal work fulfilling, and paralegals do make a good salary.
  • Human resources: Companies usually provide employee education or training, which can be led by a person with a teaching degree. Another option in HR is working as a recruiter. Your ability to understand the needs of people from different backgrounds can make you an asset in a company looking to hire HR people.
  • Management: Teachers are born managers. While you might need additional school or training, some former teachers are able to find jobs in the business world.
  • Entrepreneurship: If you’ve had ideas about products or services that you’d like to pursue, and you think that you can put together a team to pull it off, now might be the time to try. Whether you’re a recent graduate with a teaching degree or an experienced teacher looking for a career change, remember that schools aren’t your only option.

Non-profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations also have many roles to fill. For example, teachers are obviously good at public speaking, so they’re a great fit for organizations that make presentations or speak to groups. Other options include:

  • Grant writer: Non-profit groups typically rely on grants and fundraising to cover their costs. If you have the skills needed to be a teacher, you may be qualified to write grant proposals. Your communication and writing skills will be needed to draft a persuasive argument on why an organization needs funding.
  • After-school programs and youth organizations: Typically run by non-profit organizations, youth-based groups often look for people with a teaching degree. While it’s not always a requirement, these types of organizations might prefer to hire a person holding an early childhood education degree, depending on the age of the children they serve. Some early childhood education teachers might find work at summer camps or at daycare centers and preschools rather than within the elementary school system.


If you’re an English teacher, consider a position in publishing.

  • Writer or editor: The publishing industry is vast. Your writing and editing skills could help land you a job in books, magazines, newspapers, online publications, blogs or newsletters.

Your teaching degree and specialization in a certain subject is a great starting point for a job at a trade publication within your field, such as science, history or business journals.

Or, consider authoring or overseeing the publication of student textbooks. Not only can you use your writing and editing skills, you can remain in the education field and leave the classroom.

Government Organizations

Head directly to where education decisions are made. Government-run organizations like the U.S. Department of Education or your state DOE hires teachers for a variety of roles, including management and teaching.

  • Government agencies: If you’re qualified to teach a subject, such as math, science, or political science, look for government bodies that pertain to your specialty.
  • Prisons: You might know that prisoners can earn degrees while incarcerated. People with teaching degrees are often needed as instructors for classes offered to inmates who are trying to turn their life around. Some people also become online teachers, and that’s the primary way that inmates get their education. You could also work in a juvenile facility where you can teach or mentor young adults.
  • Interpreters and translators: This career path is specific to foreign-language teachers. If you don’t want to teach foreign language in school, your knowledge and skills could be useful to the government as an interpreter or translator.

If you’re ready for a change, use your transferable skills in any number of these fields, and other niches that you find yourself. The skills you acquired during your time in the classroom may qualify you for many jobs outside the classroom too.

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