11 Jobs for Former Teachers

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Former teachers who are ready to explore new non-teaching jobs have options both inside and outside the field of education.

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Although teaching once seemed like a lifelong career, that's not how many teachers currently approach the profession. Forty-three percent of new teachers do not plan to teach for the entirety of their professional lives, according to Harvard Graduate School for Education [1]. And for those currently teaching, 48 percent are thinking about a job change [2].

Thanks to responsibilities like lesson planning and classroom management, teachers have a range of valuable skills and experience they can apply to non-teaching roles—both within education and beyond. In this article, we'll discuss a mix of jobs current and former teachers can explore when they're interested in transitioning out of the classroom.

5 non-teaching jobs in education

For many teachers, education is a passion. But just because you're ready to move beyond the classroom doesn't mean you have to give up on that interest. There are a number of non-teaching roles within education that may allow you to leverage your skills, experience, and certifications.

Below, we've compiled a list of non-teaching educational jobs that may be suitable for former teachers, with salary data sourced from Glassdoor (as of June 2023).

1. Curriculum specialist

Curriculum specialists know a lot about a given subject in order to select the best materials to teach it. In this role, you’d be responsible for designing and overseeing new curricula while figuring out which resources teachers should use to convey the most important information to students.

Average annual salary (US): $55,172

2. Admissions counselor

In this university-based position, you'll work as part of a team to review undergraduate applications and ensure the appropriate materials have been submitted. You will likely assist your team in making final decisions and may have to contact students to follow up on matters.

Average annual salary (US): $42,467

3. Academic advisor

Another university-based position, academic advisors typically work with students who attend a particular school or college within a larger university, like the School for Public Health or the College of Arts & Sciences. They meet with a range of students daily to review any requirements they need to fulfill, discuss class scheduling, and make sure each student is on track to graduate.

Average annual salary (US): $42,289

4. School compliance officer

As a school compliance officer, you’ll primarily keep schools within a district aligned with state, local, and federal standards. You may also be responsible for keeping complete and accurate compliance records while performing data analysis on the compliance status.

Average annual salary (US): $79,747

5. Director of school transformation

This role can be summed up in two words: change agent. It would be your responsibility to drive institutional change by improving school culture, introducing and nurturing efforts to increase student achievement, and prioritizing initiatives focused on faculty and staff development.

Average annual salary (US): $149,875

6 non-teaching jobs outside of education

Some former teachers are ready for a big change. Below, we've compiled jobs outside the field of education that are ideal for teachers based on their skill set and experience.

6. Project manager

There’s no shortage of companies needing project managers to help keep their teams on schedule and on the same page. Organizations across industries can benefit from your time as a former teacher since many of the role’s skills match the ones you developed during your teaching years, including curriculum mapping, time management, problem-solving, strategic planning, and effective written and verbal communication.

Average annual salary (US): $78,449

7. Copywriter/ copy editor

Your time assigning and evaluating writing assignments will come in handy as a copywriter or copy editor. In a writing role, you can help shape a company's brand voice and creative messaging, while as an editor you'll help refine those messages.   

Average annual salary (US): $47,267

8. Grant writer

Grant writers conduct research to build arguments about why a program, event, or organization deserves funding from various sources. Because of the intricate nature of grant applications and the often strict deadlines, this job requires not just writing prowess but sharp attention to detail.

Average annual salary (US): $49,724

9. Paralegal

Paralegals play a vital support role in the legal industry. You'll use research skills to support the legal documents you draft, and need to be highly organized and attentive. Your ability to manage an entire classroom of students may translate to the demands and needs of your new legal environment.

Average annual salary (US): $49,998

10. Translator

If you taught a foreign language during your time as a teacher, you can use those abilities to work as a translator. In this role, you'll need to provide accurate translations of text, audio, and video materials, ensuring that everything is accurate and clear.

Average annual salary (US): $43,348

11. Human resources specialist

Human resource specialists work in one (or a few) of the important areas that lead to a company's success: hiring, onboarding, and employee engagement. They may be called upon to identify talent for open roles, help new employees get started in their role, or work to come up with processes that keep employees feeling seen and engaged. In thise role, you'll use several skills you developed as a teacher, including conflict management, communication, multitasking, empathy, and negotiation.

Average annual salary (US): $57,826

Leveraging your teaching credentials for a new job

When you’re considering a different type of job than teaching, you’ll want to have a clear idea about what makes you a good candidate. First, let's go over why your degree and transferable skills will be worth highlighting on your resume and cover letter, and then we'll discuss how to integrate these factors into your application materials.

Degree: Your teaching degree says a lot about you. In the eyes of an employer, a person with a teaching degree may be qualified to nurture and maintain orderly environments. On a more academic note, it says that your intellect and knowledge in a certain discipline are well-developed and intact.

Transferable skills: Most former teachers possess transferable skills, also known as skills that can be applied in a variety of roles and professions. In most cases, the transferable skills you have may greatly benefit both your employer and the workspace. Some of the more important transferable skills that former teachers have include:

  • Active listening

  • Problem-solving

  • Adaptability

  • Leadership

  • Independent and collaborative working

  • Team coordination

  • Critical thinking

  • Decision-making

  • Conflict resolution

Being able to feature and format these skills on your resume will go far, helping explain what you did, the impact you made, and how you hope to apply your talents to the next phase of your career.

Developing your application materials

Take the factors above—your degree and transferable skills—and begin to think through how they align with the responsibilities of the jobs you're applying to. These will be important to touch on in your application materials, including your resume and cover letter.

In seeking what is essentially a career change, it's also helpful to explain your career goals. When it comes time to interview, you'll want to go into more detail about why you're interested in making a change and how you hope to keep growing. Review the articles below for helpful age-contingent advice about making a career change.

Learn more: How to Get a Job: 10 Effective Tips to Land Your Next Role

Making the change

Your experience and skills as a former teacher can lead to new career opportunities. Get job-ready for your next role by enrolling in a course on Coursera and gaining important skills. Or jump into a Professional Certificate, like the Google Project Management Professional Certificate, to earn a credential you can feature on your resume.

Article sources


Harvard Graduate School for Education. "Research on New Teachers Shows a Changing Profession, https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/01/08/research-new-teachers-shows-changing-profession." Accessed May 30, 2023.

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