Although teaching can be a meaningful and gratifying career, sometimes the reality of being a certified teacher can be more stressful and tiring, and doesn’t always feel rewarding.

You might find that you’re fed up of the demands of the job, and you need a fresh start in a new job role that excites you and fulfils your needs. If you’ve been wondering how to get out of teaching, there are lots of factors to consider before taking the leap. 

Resigning from education means taking certain cuts. You might risk losing perks such as job security, school holidays, annualized salary and social protection to name a few. But that does not mean to say that you can’t find similar perks elsewhere, or that you will be at a great loss if you change careers.

Career paths for ex-teachers
Transfer your teaching skills to a new profession. Source: Visualhunt

There are many other jobs for ex teachers, particularly with an education degree. In many ways, these jobs are similar to teaching in what they fundamentally entail.

These ten careers are based on common professional changes made by teachers, and are tailored to the transferable skills from teaching:

Learn about tutoring jobs here.

Jobs in Education: Student Learning Support

If you feel as though your passion is getting students motivated and helping them through their education experience, then there are various roles available within the world of learning support.

This is a very broad career path, and can range from non-profit youth groups, after-school clubs, guidance counselling, and university support. These are all aimed at supporting students with their homework, exams, and aspects of home or personal life that might affect their studies.

This is a hands-on career path, much like teaching is, but the outcomes and rewards can be vastly different. You would work more closely with students, and often their teachers and parents too, in order to bring out the best in them and guide them to success.

Student support can also be explored within higher level education. Universities usually have large student support networks, for which they offer workshops, counselling, advice and general information.

In learning support, you would focus primarily on enabling students to learn and develop on an individual basis. It’s also about recognising when students need support outside the classroom, such as emotionally and socially as well as academically. It would be your task to create a caring and supportive learning environment, to help students with their particular challenges and encourage their talents.

What you need to know about teaching English as a second language.

How to Become a Private Tutor

Maybe it’s teaching that is your one true passion, it’s what you’re best at. If you feel completely fed up with the classroom environment and students who simply don’t have the motivation to learn, flexible home-based private tutoring jobs could be the best option for you!

Being a home tutor means you can pick your own hours and your own hourly rates. You can work from your own home, in your student’s home, in a professional office or in an agreed public place.

You will still be able to put your skills and experience as a teacher to good use. Your strengths in communication, listening and organisation will allow you put together lessons that are thoughtful and creative, and tailor them to your student’s individual needs and way of learning.

You will be able to really help students who want to learn, and use your talents to provide an individualized learning environment for each student and help them achieve academic success.

There are different options for starting up as a home tutor. You might choose to work through an agency, which can provide excellent visibility for tutoring in your local area and also online – but can also often entail fees and commission.

There are tutoring jobs available online, and most likely in your local area or nearest city too. Some online platforms, such as Superprof, allow you to create your own profile and communication with prospective students – but also allow you to organise your own schedule and payments.

If you do choose to work for a website like this, you may not pay any fees or commission. You must check if you are classed as self-employed, and if so you will need to register as such with the tax office.

You could also look into starting up your own business as a self-employed private tutor, whereby you will advertise yourself and be completely your own boss. This entails a bit more of a business-mind, as you will have to market yourself and find your own clients.

Advantages of becoming a private tutor

Life after Teaching: Publishing

One of the main complaints from teachers is the stressful working conditions and the chaotic classroom environment. Why not replace this hectic atmosphere with one of calm and quiet?

Get into publishing as an ex-teacher
Why not try your hand at writing! Source: Visualhunt

If it’s writing that you love, you might want to continue sharing your expertise and interests with others, but just through a different medium. And your writing and editing skills, along with your teaching background, could be just what publishers are looking for.

Maybe you wish to stay within the realm of secondary or college education. If your interest lies in education and national curriculum, you could explore the options of exam publication or writing textbook and classroom resource content. You might like to have a look at jobs with education publishing houses to see what roles exist within this career in general.

Your writing and editing skills could present you with all sorts of job opportunities outside of education too. Between books, newspapers, magazines, and blogs, you are tonnes of choices, so you could land yourself a great job in the world of publishing.

It could be that you find your calling in editing or copywriting for educational publications. Or you might find a new interest altogether within the realms of sales and marketing. Your knowledge of education, communication and reaching an audience could make you the perfect candidate.

You could also look at what freelance options are available in the world of publishing. Using agencies or freelance websites is a great way to start, and you can start exploring the various writing or editing jobs that are involved in publishing.

Note: You can start teaching English as a second language here.

Jobs in Education Liaison

Perhaps you feel as though education is where you truly belong, and you enjoy this area of work best. However maybe it’s teaching itself which has become too strenuous and demanding.

If this is the case, you might feel more comfortable in role that works more behind-the-scenes, and not at the head of a classroom. There are many jobs available that are more in the line of teaching recruitment or development - maybe teaching teachers could be the right role for you!

Organisations such as Teach First work on elements that are crucial to national education, such as teacher recruitment and training of new teachers. Student support, innovation in teaching, and encouraging equality in education are areas that you might feel passionate about.

Liaison roles come in various shapes and sizes, and can still entail working in the school environment if that’s what you enjoy. You could consider working in a liaison role between different bases, bridging the gap between other schools, higher education and with employers too.

Roles like this often involve post-16 and post-18 options for students such as admissions advice and applications, apprenticeships, training courses and vocational training. It could also, at a higher level, involve liaison with universities and UCAS.

It doesn’t need to be restricted to national education – liaison roles are available in all sorts of companies and organisations, particularly those with links to education, such as research or cultural organisations.

There are various roles available in these areas, for which teaching experience is a huge advantage and sometimes even a requirement. So how about putting your teaching degree, communication skills and experience in education to great use in a liaison role?

Perhaps leaving the public sector seems quite daunting to you. There are many other roles within the Public Sector available not directly involved with teaching. Read more about alternative career paths in the public sector here.

Corporate Learning & Development Jobs after Teaching

As a teacher you have many skills. Among these will likely be high levels of communication, listening, management, public speaking and organisation, to name a few.

Teachers have transferable skills
Explore roles of leadership in a business environment. Source: Visualhunt

With these skills you are able to understand how people learn and develop, and you are able to bring out the best in people by paying attention and listening to individuals and groups.

It’s important to remember that teaching doesn’t need to stay within the confines of national education. There are ample jobs that don’t restrict you to school pupils or the classroom environment, but still allow you to help people learn.

You might find, therefore, that the change you crave is in the people you are teaching. Providing learning and development within an organisation could be the difference you’ve been after. There are various roles within the private sector that involve teaching in some form. In this way, teaching becomes more about both personal and corporate development.

There are all sorts of tasks involved in corporate learning and development. These generally include things like:

  • Coming up with innovative learning strategies
  • Mentoring and coaching people as individuals and groups
  • Designing development and training courses
  • Managing communication and relationships

Maybe that your strengths lie in managing relationships and personal progress within a team, and so you might consider roles that allow you to mentor and advise a company team on how to work together.

Working in Human Resources Management

Working in human resources is a great alternative career for teachers. Source: Unsplash

Teaching is a rare kind of career which enables you to pick up valuable, transferable skills that can be used elsewhere both in your personal and professional life.

Although there are not many careers that have this quality, the ones that do often offer a good scope for career progression. One such sector is HR.

Human resources departments deal with the organisation of a company's employees. Day-to-day work can include recruiting, organising training sessions, helping employees in their career progression and organising the payroll and taxation of employees. The overall role of HR management departments it to maximise the value of an organisation's workforce by helping individual employees to enhance their skills.

The organisiational and interpersonal skills acquired from a career in teaching are what makes former teachers highly suitable for roles in HR. Where teachers help students to recognise and utilise their personal skills and attributes, those working in human resources management help employees to do the same.

So, what should you do if you're serious about a career change to HR?

The first step is to re-write your CV. You won't need to make any major changes, but you will need to target it toward HR roles rather than teaching posts.

Next, you're going to need some relevant qualifications.

As a teacher, it's likely that you'll have already completed a Bachelor's degree and a PGCE, however, if you're looking to go into HR, you should try to get qualified to some level.

If you like, you could study for an MSc in Human Resource Management at a university, however, if you're thinking more short-term, the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) offers three types of qualification at three different levels for those looking to become certified in HR.

The qualifications are as follows:

  • Diploma: You can choose to take the HR Practice, Learning and Development or Applied Human Resources option. The diploma covers a range of topics and looks at some areas in detail.
  • Certificate: You can earn a certificate in Human Resources, HR Management, HR Practice or Learning and Development. CIPD Certificates offer the study of the building blocks of HR as a discipline.
  • Award: Awards are less detailed and focus on the must-know aspects of working in HR. CIPD offers awards in HR Essentials, Learning and Development and Human Resources.

Each of these qualifications is offered at level 3 (foundation level), level 5 (undergraduate level) and level 7 (postgraduate level). The level of the qualification you choose to pursue will depend on your current experience and career aspirations.

The CIPD suggests that a level 3 Certificate would qualify you for a role as an HR assistant, whereas a level 5 Certificate would give you the expertise to become an HR Manager.

They also have a handy salary calculator so that prospective students can see how a CIPD qualification might influence their earning potential.

While you may have the organisational skills and the drive to go for a career in HR, being able to climb up the career ladder is all about knowing your stuff. With the right qualifications, you can soon be on your way to a fulfilling career in HR!

Find a Career in Administration

Administration is all about being able to organise - something which will surely come naturally to former teachers.

The term 'administration' is quite broad in the sense that it encompasses a wide range of professions, and while it may sound like you'll be stuck staring at Excel spreadsheets all day, there is far more to jobs in admin than meets the eye.

Traditionally, being an administrator includes office management jobs and monitoring reception desks, however, acting as an assistant to a manager or CEO is also classed as an administrative role.

If you're unsure about making such a dramatic change to your working life, working at a school is the perfect way to test the waters when it comes to administration. As a teacher, you may find it helpful to seek out and take on more administrative responsibilities, such as aiding a headteacher or even applying for a role as a deputy.

Being able to cite real-life examples of administrative responsibility from your teaching career will be crucial to your success in job interviews for administrative roles, especially given the fact that other candidates may have more experience in the field.

As with any job, it is critical that you refresh your resume and tailor it to suit each of the roles that you are applying for, rather than creating a general copy which risks losing the attention of employers who may help you break into a career in administration.

Get Involved in Youth Work

In order to become a Youth Worker, you have to be a particular kind of person.

Youth Work is all about helping young people to fulfil their potential and live life to the full - this is what makes it such a rewarding job.

However, although youth workers spend a lot of time organising and participating in fun activities such as community sports days, craft workshops and live music performances, the job also involves dealing with some of the harsh realities of life.

As a former teacher, you will have experienced what it is like to be a key figure within the local community who is involved with youngsters on a personal level as well as a professional one.

This is exactly what makes ex-teachers great candidates for youth work.

Being a youth worker is all about offering guidance to teenagers and young people who may be struggling with family or academic pressures when growing up. This means that you will need to be able to earn their trust by befriending them and displaying a genuine desire to help them - and this is where former teachers should be careful.

Although your classroom experience may come in handy when interacting with young people, be careful that you don't present yourself as an authoritative figure when doing so, as this will act as a barrier to a constructive relationship.

Youth work is a perfect career for anyone who likes variety. In your role as a youth worker, not only will you be expected to make connections with the youth in your community, but you will also be tasked with organising and leading various activities.

Here are just a few examples of the responsibilities which you may take on as a youth worker:

  • Organising community fundraisers
  • Leading educational outdoor activities
  • Getting young people involved in clubs and other activities
  • Liaising with schools and the police
  • Supporting young people in the form of counselling

So, how do you become a qualified youth worker?

The National Careers Service details the requirements for becoming a youth worker. Before you begin, in addition to the crucial experience with youngsters and a DBS check (both of which you'll already have gained as a teacher), you'll need to obtain an NYA-approved qualification in youth work (such as a degree in a related subject).

When it comes to finding a job as a youth worker, there are many avenues to explore. Youth work jobs from various organisations are advertised online, whereas if you see yourself working for a local authority, you can approach your county or city council's website directly.

As a youth worker, it is likely that you will be attached to a local community centre, school or faith building (such as a church or mosque), so establishing strong ties within your school district is an absolute must if you want to be successful in your work.

Become an Academic Adviser

For teachers who are looking to spend more time on the educational side of teaching and less time on playground politics, becoming an academic advisor is a great option.

As an academic adviser, your responsibilities will include discussing potential career paths with students and advising them on their educational decisions accordingly.

Academic advising takes many forms. For instance, the careers advisers who work in schools provide academic advice to students who are choosing their A-level subjects or searching for their perfect degree course. There are also academic and careers advising services stationed within the community which are open to school pupils as well as those looking for a career change or trying to enhance their CV.

One such example is Inspira, a careers advice and development organisation which provides guidance for teenage students in the North-West of England.

Inspira focusses on personal development as well as creating networks between employers and the schools in the same area. In addition to its careers services, Inspira also works with other organisations to provide development programmes for young people such as the NCS which aim to guide them towards a career which suits them.

Becoming an academic consultant and advising, like youth work, involves a lot of variety - perfect for any ex-teacher looking to move on from the confines of a classroom.

Work for a Museum

For the former teachers who are crazy about learning, working in a museum environment can quench their thirst for facts.

Working in a museum or for a similar organisation may seem like quite a leap from teaching, however, it's not as different as you may imagine.

Museum jobs, like teaching positions, involve a great deal of learning as well as presenting information in a way that is accessible to a range of ages. Whether you take on a role as an educator, informing visitors on the stories behind the artefacts, or as a curator, where you would be responsible for the collections housed in the museum, your career change is sure to provide constant stimuli for a curious mind - so you'll be a learner as well as an educator.

Become a Textbook Author

As a teacher, you'll know how to describe things in a way that is clear and concise for your students. You'll know how to explain complex concepts in a way that students will understand. You'll know what kind of exercises can help to promote learning and what areas of difficulty you may need to focus on to help your students understand. This is why textbook publishing companies often recruit current or former teachers to write textbooks.

In order to become a textbook author, you'll need to have some degree of specialisation in your topic. Be aware that in general in order to work as a textbook author, you'll need to have at least a Master's degree and potentially a PhD for certain levels. Working as a textbook author is a great opportunity for former teachers as it allows them to stay up to date in the latest research in their field, and also allows them to share both their knowledge and expertise as well as teaching experience when developing educational resources.

Find Fulfilling Work as a Librarian 

Foster your love of learning as a librarian! Source: Unsplash

Finding work as a librarian is another popular alternative career for teachers. It's no wonder as both allow you to foster a love for learning! Teachers may require additional training in library science in order gain more knowledge in the technical side of acquiring, classifying, and cataloguing systems in a library. Teachers may choose to work at a school library, allowing them to work directly with students and directly apply their teaching skills. Alternatively, they may choose to work at a public library or other specialised libraries based on their personal areas of interest. Librarians will be able to work with many different kinds of media and reading material including fiction books, non-fiction books, magazines, videos, movies and online programs.

Develop Curriculum and Standardised Testing

One of the most popular alternative careers by far for former teachers is to work directly in developing provincial curriculum and standardised testing for governmental organisations. As teachers have first-hand experience working with students at every level, they will know what concepts are important and should be added to the school curriculum. Teachers will also be able to determine what kind of test questions and exercises are suitable to be able to evaluate students. This is a great way for teachers to apply their knowledge and teaching skills!

So, regardless of whether you're an ex-science teacher, special education teaching assistant, substitute teacher or further education instructor, looking for vacancies in museums which suit your background is a great start to your job search.

Become a School Principal

One of the most logical steps that many teachers choose to take after  years of teaching experience, is to work as a school principal. When making the career change from teacher to principal, you'll be taking on a great deal of responsibility. As an administrator,  your decisions will have the possibility to have a greater direct impact on the people in your school community.

As a principal your main responsibility is to oversee the operation of the school. You'll have to make sure to set expectations for teachers and school support staff, and provide them with regular support and feedback. You'll also need to remain up to date with any municipal and provincial education standards and make sure that these are implemented in your school. You'll take a strong leadership position and become the public face of the school.

It will require a great deal of experience and transition to go from being a teacher to a principal. Firstly, you'll need to ensure that you have the right level of education. In general, most principals in Canada require at least a Master's degree. They should have completed studies or qualifications in the field of education or leadership. Many teachers also go through a preparatory training, to help them deal with the new administrative tasks. For example, a principal will need to know how to set academic goals, manage teachers and educators, as well as work closely with parents and other members of the school's community. Principals will also continue to work closely with students, becoming involved in disciplinary measures, assessments and mentoring.

This list of alternative careers is by no means exhaustive – there are lots of options available for ex-teachers, whether you are leaving a teaching job or you are retired. Hone in on your main traits – are you creative, caring, business-minded, innovative? Different roles in different sectors, that may not require a great deal of retraining, are accessible for people with teaching degrees and strong interests, so go and explore to see what would suit you!

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Yvette is a freelance Canadian writer living in Paris. She spends her time between Toronto and Paris and likes to travel and learn. She's the proud mom of two strong minded women and enjoys her free time giving back to her communities.