What Can I Do with a Teaching Degree Outside of Teaching?

Khristina Russell
Khristina Russell
Exceptional Children's Facilitator in English and Social Studies Departments; Ed.S. in Teacher Leadership from Thomas University, GA

Education Jobs in Schools Utilizing Teaching Degrees 

During my third year in the classroom, teaching as an official educator with a teaching degree, I can recall trying to consider if I wanted to do something other than teaching. I was completely burnt out, struggling through an M.Ed. program, and feeling stuck.  

I loved what I did, I loved working with the kids, I loved sharing literature, and I loved collaborating with parents. However, I detested grading papers, annoyed with the inequities of discipline, and I couldn’t figure out how to find a work-life balance without feeling guilty. Ultimately, the sky is the limit for a professional with a degree in education/teaching degree. And that’s not just a metaphor. Education is not just the key for students to open the doors to their future; education is also a master key that will allow access to all the other doors as well.

School Counselor/School Librarian 

A couple of options to consider are a school counselor or a media assistant (school librarian.) This would require acquiring an additional certification/degree to hold these positions permanently, however it is something one could transition to seamlessly from the classroom.

Instructional Coaches/Educational Consultants 

Another viable option to consider is the idea of teacher support. Instructional coaches and educational consultants offer supports through experience, curriculum building, observation, and data tracking. These positions, however, don’t get the opportunity to work with students as closely. They also require the skill set of working with adults at various career stages who may not always want support. This can be a challenge, especially for an educator that had a strong grasp of classroom management. Although, when considering the big picture, any endeavor or individual that supports classroom teachers, supports students. 

Administrators 

For some educators, it is also worth contemplating going into administration and leadership. As a building manager, an administrator could find solutions to the issues that are ailing teachers. Further, administrators work with all stakeholders, students, teachers, parents, custodians, paraprofessionals, office and cafeteria staff, community partners, etc. Going into administration requires a master’s degree; Georgia assistant principals have a Tier I certification and principals have Tier II certification.  

Principals

Principals don’t grade papers, but they do complete a lot of paperwork and spend a lot of time in school buildings. They work more hours and days than the average teacher and have additional duties that deal with sports, field trips, and any other type of support that keeps a building running.

Paraprofessional/Substitute Teacher 

The final and probably less popular option to consider with a teaching degree would be to be a paraprofessional or a substitute. These are options that some educators with degrees choose for a variety of reasons. They may need a lighter load, job, and time flexibility or want to spend more time with their children.  

They may be retired and want to return to the classroom, but not full-time or may be new to the area and don’t want too much responsibility. They may just want to make a little extra money. These reasons are much more varied but mostly centered around having job flexibility while still being able to work with children. 

Jobs Outside of Education Utilizing a Teaching Degree? 

The pandemic was the catalyst for many educators. Suddenly the always lingering questions of what to do with a teaching degree outside of the classroom were answered. Educators went into ed tech, they opened and contracted with tutoring businesses, or worked at centers like the Boys and Girls Club of America. They also went back to school and earned degrees in nursing, certifications to become therapists and life coaches, and supported and started small businesses of every kind.  

Suddenly major companies were noticing that educators have a valuable skill set. They work well with various people, are quick learners, and aren’t afraid to ask a question while paying attention to detail. Further, teachers have excellent organizational skills, the ability to multi-task, and many are better than average writers.

Educational Technology 

A job that many teachers found attractive is anything in ed tech. Any online learning platform needed teachers. So often, these positions were traditionally filled by well-meaning and educated folks who had never actually been in education. Now so many popular sites have the support of seasoned classroom educators to refine their work. Teachers also earned certification in various online educational programs and then developed programs to deliver to counties on the parts of the program that would best benefit students and teachers.

Professional Writing 

Some English teachers turn into writers. They write grants, tests, articles, and more. Grants make a significant difference when businesses or even schools have a special project they are attempting. Grant writing is challenging because attention to detail is paramount; the need must be clearly outlined and met to obtain and maintain the funds.  

If the funds are used irresponsibly, it’s possible that the receiver could have to return the money. So, grant writing requires the eye of someone who doesn’t mind looking back over something multiple times, which is a practice that English teachers do regularly. 

 Managerial Positions 

Many of those with a teaching degree and experience turned to the private sector and took on managerial positions. Truthfully, managing anywhere from 15-150 students a day has prepared most teachers to be able to work in positions where they facilitate and oversee many people at a time. They have an eye for efficiency, so once they learn the culture of a place, they not only have the skill to measure and monitor growth, but they also know how to encourage employees towards improvement without berating them and putting them down. Most teachers have incredible patience and empathy and can ascertain that fine line between giving someone another chance or letting them get away with something that deserves criticism or discipline. 

Then there are those educators who have completely re-arranged their lives and decided to stay home and school their own children. They have created homeschool networks where they can work with other home school parents to be compensated for their time and experience.  

Psychology/Mentoring 

Some educators took to heart all that their colleagues across the world had endured for the past two years. They acquired licensing so that they could become therapists and began practicing and supporting teachers as they try to work through what the pandemic has revealed about education as a whole.  

Teachers have endured unimaginable abuse, heightened expectations, and so much loss, all while attempting to support our future. Therapists who have an educational background can provide insight and attention to the specific needs of those that work in school buildings.

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