Page Updated on February 22, 2023

If you have been teaching in a school, college, or university (or another academic setting), you might be ready for a change. A career change for teachers is often a very positive one in that there are numerous skills you will have developed as a teacher that you can use in other areas of work. So, in this post, let’s take a look at some career change ideas where you can use your teaching and interpersonal skills to great effect.

1. Go from Teacher to Corporate Trainer

Perhaps one of the more obvious and natural ideas for moving away from teaching in a school or college-style work situation, is to become a corporate trainer.

As a corporate trainer, you would be providing training to adults in businesses and companies and you can work directly for a company or work freelance.

The benefits of being a freelance trainer are that you can choose your clients when to work and generally have much more freedom.

The downside, on the other hand, is that you will likely not have a steady income whilst first building your business (unless you work as a corporate trainer for a company).

These resources can be useful if you are interested in starting a career as a freelance trainer:

2. Going from Teacher to Business Coach

Going from teacher to busines coach or mentor

Although quite similar to being a freelance trainer in terms of teaching adults, being a business coach is different in that there is more emphasis on working with individuals.

You have two main options as a business coach and these are to:

  • Set up your own small business working for yourself offering business coaching services
  • Work within a company in a mentoring role.

The first option can be great in that, just like being a freelance trainer, you can build and develop your own client base.

Imagine being able to choose the clients you want. Choose people you would like to work with and build a working relationship.

The steps towards building your own coaching business essentially can be:

  • Develop and build an online presence and start branding yourself as a life coach. Make the type of coaching or mentoring that you offer clear, on your website or blog. (Starting and managing your own website/blog these days can be easy and here’s how).
  • Make sure you include any experience on your website that in some way relates to your expertise on your ‘About Me’ page on your website.
  • Also start really making yourself known on at least one social media platform, i.e. start using LinkedIn, and Facebook and find some clients based on existing contacts. LinkedIn can be very good for business networking.
  • Consider also using tools such as to offer group workshops (on the back of which you can often find one-to-one clients)
  • Reach out to potential clients both online and offline. You might even want to start offering free taster workshops to start off. By offering free taster (sample) workshops of your longer 1 or 2-day workshops and private 1-to-1 coaching, you can often find your first one or two clients this way. These first couple of clients will also help you develop confidence and experience, and tweak your service/s.

3. Become an HR Manager or Human Resources

Starting a career in human resources

As a teacher, you will have some core skills that are also essential in the area of human resources. Are you good at the following:

If these are skills that you possess and have developed as a teacher, working for a company in human resources might be worth considering.

4. Become a Workplace EDI Expert (Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion)

EQI (equality, diversity and inclusion) manager

A trend that we are seeing is a move understandably towards more and better workplace training in the area of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).

To match this trend, there is an increasing need for EDI experts and trainers and it can be a rewarding and worthwhile career opportunity for you if this topic interests you.

As you move away from teaching in academia, building expertise in a niche as a trainer can be a smart way forward.

Example topics that you can provide training for in EDI include:

  • Inclusive Leadership – to train managers in techniques to ensure that they include all employees and team members they manage, whatever the dis/ability, race, age, and background of the employees they work with.
  • Intercultural Communication – to help managers and employees understand how to improve communication in what these days, is a global work environment. We work with and deal with people from various cultures and with customers and colleagues from different locations. There are different ways in which various cultures communicate and this course aims to help provide training in how to understand intercultural communication.
  • Disability Awareness – to help workplaces and managers better understand how we can help staff with disabilities and provide a better working environment for all.

Helping to improve workplace equality and diversity, and helping to make a workforce more inclusive by providing training to managers as an EDI specialist trainer is certainly worth considering. It can be highly rewarding.

5. Start a Career as a Virtual Assistance or Writer and WFA (Work as you Travel)

Working by beach as a teacher

You might have left (or be looking to leave) teaching because you really want to completely change your existing lifestyle.

One such trend is the move towards WFA (Working From Anywhere) and this includes working from Home (WFH) or working as a Digital Nomad (working online as you travel).

One role you could do as you WFA is to work as a virtual assistant.

One of the best sites for starting off is Upwork, one of the biggest sites worldwide for freelancers. Other options include:

With the sites mentioned above, there are actually numerous opportunities to work online from anywhere.

Apart from being a personal assistant and doing admin work, jobs can also include being a:

  • web designer
  • programmer
  • graphic designer
  • content writer

6. Become an Academic Advisor and Consultant

Becoming an academic consultant is not as easy as the previous ideas simply because there tend to be fewer job vacancies for this type of role.

If you have several years of experience working in academia though and you manage to find such a role, then the salary can often be attractive.

Tasks in such a role can typically include having to:

  • Keep up to date on the latest legalities, policies and requirements in academia so that you can be the expert to provide advice and guidance
  • Create teaching plans for modules and courses
  • Explore, develop and assess student needs and build a working relationship with the students to help provide the right learning environment
  • Keep up to date on the latest resources in education including software, learning techniques, and ideas, to help guide others.

There are various tasks that an academic advisor can do and this can be really a quite interesting role and one in which you will have a certain amount of freedom also.

You can read more about this type of role here.

7. Researcher

Working as a researcher is a role that can also often be suitable and match the skill set of an ex-teacher.

These skills can be especially good if you are interested in research work:

  • Having an inquisitive mind
  • Be good at writing reports
  • Enjoying learning and pushing the boundaries of academic knowledge
  • Being well-organized and able to manage your work time effectively
  • Having an ability to be open-minded and to see things from different perspectives

As a teacher, you probably have the core skills you need to be a researcher and with some basic training, you could certainly consider being a researcher.

Dr Valeria (Lo Iacono) Symonds