How to Make a Teaching Career Change in 5 Easy Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Teaching can be a rewarding and interesting career, but there are various factors that might influence a teacher to consider changing their job. Given the adaptable nature of this profession, teachers typically possess many transferable skills, which create various career change opportunities. If you're a teacher who's considering a career change, understanding how such a transition works can help you decide if it's the best decision for you. In this article, we provide several steps to help you change careers, outline career paths you can consider and show you some benefits of a career change.

How to begin your teaching career change

If you're considering a teaching career change, here are some steps that might help you begin this transition:

1. Evaluate your transferable skills

Evaluating your strongest transferable skills might help you identify which career to pursue outside of teaching. For example, if you have exceptional skills in data management and organisation, you might choose an administrative role. Similarly, if you're passionate about mentoring students, you might consider careers in counselling or tutoring. Here are some of the common skills teachers can apply to other roles:

  • Communication: Teachers acquire strong written and verbal communication skills through teaching lessons and working with individual students. Learning how to work effectively with diverse personalities in different scenarios through active listening and clear communication can be crucial in other roles.

  • Problem solving: Problem solving is the ability to think of solutions and develop potential outcomes based on decisions you make. This can be a necessary skill in areas like human resources and counselling, as it can enable you to help others solve unique issues.

  • Flexibility: Flexibility is the ability to adapt to different situations, personalities and responsibilities. As teachers often work with a limited number of resources and manage unpredictable behaviour, these developed adaptability skills can help them adjust to the needs of other companies, colleagues and supervisors.

  • Classroom management: Classroom management requires leadership and coordination skills to ensure that each student learns efficiently. This can be an effective skill if pursuing a career in corporate training where you might oversee adult learning and development for organisations.

  • Multitasking: Multitasking is the ability to manage several responsibilities at once, like grading, lesson planning and organising staff meetings. Learning how to adapt quickly to various tasks is a skill necessary for performing duties in many other jobs.

  • Time management: Time-management skills include prioritising tasks, creating schedules and negotiating deadlines. Teachers often use this skill when working with students and other colleagues.

Related: 13 Transferable Job Skills That Employers Love

2. Research different careers

Once you've established your strongest transferable skills, you can explore what roles you could pursue. You could work independently in careers like tutoring, counselling or writing. You might also consider positions at different companies or learning facilities. Browsing different opportunities can help you specify what role might interest you when choosing your new career path. Consider reviewing the preferred skills and qualifications listed on job descriptions to understand which ones you might want to improve or develop for a particular role.

3. Pursue further education

Once you've determined the industry you'd like to enter, find out which courses are necessary and available to you. It might be necessary to pursue further education or certifications to start in a new role. The amount of additional study is likely to depend on the industry. If you hope to stay in the education industry but explore other roles, you might consider administrative or leadership certifications. Many institutions offer certification programs online so you can work full time while earning the necessary education for your new career.

4. Create a resume

Though you might already have a resume, you can create a new one for roles outside of teaching. Include a professional summary near the top of your resume, where you can state why you're applying for the position and why you consider yourself a qualified candidate. An effective resume typically highlights your skills relevant to the role. You can review job descriptions to see their required and preferred qualifications and include the common keywords in your resume. This can show that you know how to apply your transferable skills and experience to the new role.

Related: How to Create a Stand-Out Resume (With Template and Example)

5. Start networking

Networking can be crucial to pursuing a career outside of teaching. You can start from informing your friends or colleagues that you're hoping to change careers. They might already know of opportunities and recommend positions to apply for. You could also formally network with instructors or industry specialists in other areas. For instance, if you hope to start a writing career and decide to take a writing course, you can discuss your position and career goals with your instructors to see how you could best pursue this career change.

7 career change options for teachers

If you're planning to make a teaching career change, there are various options you can choose from. Here are seven positions to consider:

1. Writer/editor

National average salary: $74,841 per year

Primary duties: You might wish to share your knowledge by pursuing a career in writing or editing. There are many diverse opportunities within this industry. Someone with teaching expertise might find they have transferable skills to become an educational writer. An educational writer or editor typically works on education-related articles, textbooks, assessments, reading guides and curricula for teachers and students.

Related: How to Start a Freelance Writing Career: Steps and Tips

2. Corporate trainer

National average salary: $68,445 per year

Primary duties: Another position that might allow you to use many of your transferable skills is a corporate trainer. In this role, you typically provide training for employees in a company. The training might be for a variety of topics related to the organisation and its daily procedures. A career as a corporate trainer might consist of developing training programs, analysing and monitoring their effectiveness, working with management to identify training needs and providing support to employees who are undertaking training and education.

3. Administrator

National average salary: $64,819 per year

Primary duties: Administration roles can include a broad range of career opportunities. An administrator provides support to a company and typically uses exceptional organisation skills. An administrative role can include customer service, data entry, financial management and maintenance, file organisation, shipment processing and inventory maintenance.

4. Youth leader

National average salary: $68,921 per year

Primary duties: A youth leader manages the organisation and planning of activities and programs for young people. They're involved in coordinating these activities to aid the young persons in their emotional, educational, psychological and behavioural growth. A person who has worked as a teacher can communicate effectively and empathetically with young people. This might be an exceptional transferable skill if you're thinking of a career in this field.

5. Counsellor

National average salary: $82,982 per year

Primary duties: A counsellor is someone who helps others manage mental health and emotional stress. They use counselling strategies to develop plans and coping methods and monitor their patients' well-being. A counsellor might work in a school, hospital, group home or private practice. Communication and interpersonal skills a teacher might have developed during their career can be useful for this role.

6. Customer service representative

National average salary: $56,885 per year

Primary duties: A customer service representative is a customer's first point of contact with a company. This career often includes answering incoming calls and enquiries, processing requests and maintaining customer satisfaction. As a customer service representative, you might also receive compliments, complaints and concerns and distribute them appropriately. A teacher's empathy and patience might aid this career change.

7. Personal trainer

National average salary: $59,696 per year

Primary duties: A personal trainer uses motivation and encouragement to help their clients reach their health and fitness goals. They might build individualised programs for each client, supervise workout regimes, conduct fitness assessments and deliver engaging workouts and classes. The emotional intelligence a former teacher has likely developed might aid in this career change. This skill can help them inspire clients who sometimes lack motivation.

Benefits of a teaching career change

Changing careers can present a variety of benefits. Here you can find some of them:

  • Inspiration: A career change in an industry that interests you can create inspiration and passion. This might help to keep you engaged and motivated for success in your new career.

  • New challenges: Challenges that are unique to a career change can be exciting and satisfying. Overcoming new obstacles and developing different skills might be a beneficial way to move away from your comfort zone and feel accomplished.

  • Improved work-life balance: Changing careers to one that drives your passion can help to improve your work-life balance because you can learn and utilise skills you enjoy. A career change might allow you to work fewer hours depending on where your interests lie.

  • Room to grow: If you feel you've reached the highest point of success within your teaching career, a change might allow you to create more room to grow. It can provide you with opportunities to pursue career development and progression in a different industry.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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