Last updated March 14, 2024

Are you teaching in a school, college, or university (or another academic setting) and interested in a career change? The great news is that there are many job and career opportunities that will draw on your teaching experience and interpersonal skills. So, in this post, are 29 ideas for a career change for teachers.

Career change ideas for teachers and academics

Becoming Self-Employed or Freelancer as a Career Change

1. Become a Corporate Trainer

One popular idea is to move away from teaching in a school or college-style work situation and to become a corporate trainer.

As a corporate trainer, you will provide training to adults in businesses, in companies and to business groups.

This can be done either as a freelance trainer hired in, or working directly for a company as their trainer, if you prefer.

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 is that you will likely not have a steady income, whilst first building your business.

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

Work as a freelance trainer as a new job self-employed
>> How to become a freelance trainer

2. Start Your Own Business Coaching Business People

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:

  • 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.

Going from teacher to busines coach or mentor as a career change for teachers

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

  • Develop and build an online presence and start branding yourself as a life or business 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 relates to your expertise on your ‘About Me’ page on your website.
  • Also, start 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 meetup.com 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. 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. Start a Career as a Virtual Assistant or Writer and WFA (Work as you Travel)

Working by a beach as a teacher as a career change

You might have left (or be looking to leave) teaching because you 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 as it’s one of the biggest sites worldwide for freelancers. Other handy sites that connect freelancers with companies include:

With the sites mentioned above, there are 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

4. eLearning Online Course Designer

As an Online Course Designer, you would be involved with creating dynamic and accessible online courses for educational platforms.

Your responsibilities will usually include:

  • designing course structures
  • developing engaging content
  • ensuring accessibility
  • integrating technology

Typically, you would manage the entire course development process, collaborating with stakeholders to deliver high-quality learning experiences that meet educational objectives and engage learners effectively.

5. Job Application and Interview Coach

Being an interview coach can be a relatively simple and fun way to build a business.

This role involves assisting clients in crafting compelling CVs or resumes, cover letters, and job applications tailored to specific positions.

Additionally, you can offer personalized coaching and preparation for job interviews.

Skills you can focus on helping them develop include how to:

  • Communicate effectively
  • Answer common interview questions
  • Make a positive impression

You can also provide feedback on professional presentation, body language, and overall confidence to help clients make a positive impression during the job search process.

Working in a Company Using Your Teaching Experience and Skills

6. Become an HR Manager or Human Resources Employee

Starting a career in human resources as a career change for teachers

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.

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

Working as an EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) manager as a career change

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 movement, 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.

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.
  • EDI Basics – to provide a general understanding for all level employees with a standard short course on equality, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Inclusive Management – Many new managers (and existing ones too) benefit greatly from understanding how to manage in a way that makes all employees feel included and valued.

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.

Equality training and diversity training materials
>> Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion training materials

Working in the Education Sector

8. 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 in providing 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 an 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.

9. Academic Researcher Career Change for Teachers

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 and:

  • Have an inquisitive mind
  • Are good at writing reports
  • Have great organizational and time management skills
  • Have the 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.

10. Educational Consultant

As an experienced teacher looking for a career change, you already possess valuable insights and expertise that can benefit others in the field of education.

What are your strengths, areas of expertise, and the specific skills you can offer as a consultant?

Identify your niche within education, whether it is:

  • Curriculum development
  • Instructional strategies
  • Teacher training
  • Or another specialized area, i.e subject specific

Next, leverage your existing network of contacts within the education community.

Reach out to colleagues, administrators, and educational organizations to let them know about your interest in consulting.

Offer your services on a freelance basis initially, and be prepared to provide examples of your past successes and contributions as a teacher.

Educational-related events such as conferences can be particularly good for building a network of contacts for developing your professional development to connect with potential clients.

Stay current with trends and best practices in education by reading industry publications, attending workshops, and participating in online forums and discussions.

By continuously honing your skills and knowledge, building relationships, and positioning yourself as a trusted expert in your field, you can successfully transition into a rewarding career as an educational consultant.

Customizable training course materials
>> View Our Training Course Materials Packages

11. Courseware or Instructional Designer, or Curriculum Developer

Transitioning from a teaching role to a Courseware Designer role involves leveraging your pedagogical expertise to design engaging and effective educational materials.

Start by familiarizing yourself with instructional design principles and learning theories, which will serve as the foundation for your work.

Consider enrolling in courses or pursuing certifications in instructional design or e-learning development to gain the necessary skills and credentials.

Also, consider seeking freelance or contract opportunities to gain hands-on experience in Courseware Design while building your portfolio.

Next, showcase your teaching experience and subject matter expertise as strengths in your transition to courseware design.

Tailor your resume and portfolio to emphasize projects you have undertaken as a teacher, such as curriculum development, lesson planning, or the integration of technology in the classroom.

Instructional design tips
>> 10 Instructional Design Tips

12. Education Technology Specialist

A nice paying job if you have the experience as a teacher, is to move into an Education Technology Specialist role.

If you have been working in IT as a teacher, then you might well already have a lot of the experience that you will need and that will be useful.

For this role, you will in essence be in charge of:

  • Helping to set up and advise on installing technology in learning centres (this might include within a company in their training department/s)
  • Doing audits to assess existing tech set-ups within companies or places of education to evaluate what can be improved to aid training, learning and development
  • Advising higher management on educational software and hardware solutions including on costs and the best options
  • Being hands-on, i.e. the IT Support person, such as for an adult learning centre where computers and other hardware are needed for classes and workshops to run smoothly in real-time

Businesses where this type of role exists can include:

  • In Universities and colleges
  • for large companies for their training department
  • In government departments or organisations
  • Schools
  • Educational technology companies
  • or consulting firms

To aid your chance of getting such a role, you can supplement your teaching experience by pursuing advanced education or certifications in educational technology.

13. Education Policy Analyst

Another option is to become an Education Policy Analyst who conducts research and analysis on education policies at local, state, or national levels.

You would examine the impact of existing policies on educational systems and key elements of the job would include:

  • Research and Analysis – Conducting in-depth research on education policies, legislation, and regulations to understand their implications and effects on various stakeholders.
  • Data Collection and Interpretation – Gathering and analyzing data related to educational outcomes, funding, demographics, and other relevant factors to inform policy recommendations and decisions.
  • Policy Evaluation – Assessing the effectiveness, equity, and efficiency of existing education policies and programs through qualitative and quantitative analysis.
  • Policy Development – Developing recommendations for new policies or revisions to existing policies based on research findings, stakeholder input, and best practices in education policy.
  • Communication and Advocacy – Communicating research findings and policy recommendations to policymakers, educators, advocacy groups, and the public through reports, presentations, and briefings.
  • CollaborationCollaborating with government agencies, educational organizations, researchers, and community stakeholders to inform policy discussions and promote evidence-based decision-making.

For this role, you have to be someone who is highly organized and who loves policy-making.

It can be rewarding though, as Education Policy Analysts play a crucial role in informing and shaping education policy to improve the quality, equity, and effectiveness of educational systems.

Educational Coordinator Roles

14. Education Program Coordinator

As an Education Program Coordinator, you would plan, implement, and manage educational initiatives within an organization.

Responsibilities normally include several of the following duties:

  • program planning
  • resource management
  • curriculum development
  • participant recruitment
  • staff supervision
  • data analysis
  • partnership development

Overall, your role would be to ensure program effectiveness and alignment with organizational goals while overseeing all aspects of program delivery.

What you might like about this role is that it will take you away from teaching but is very much an educational-based job.

Non-Profit and Community-Based Job Options

15. Youth Program Coordinator

A Youth Program Coordinator typically plans, develops, and oversees programs aimed at engaging and empowering young people.

Your responsibilities may include:

  • organizing activities, workshops, and events
  • coordinating with volunteers and community partners
  • providing support and guidance to participants
  • evaluating program effectiveness

If you enjoy working with youngsters but do not want to directly teach them, this type of role might be perfect.

16. Education Outreach Coordinator

An Education Outreach Coordinator typically works to expand educational opportunities and resources to various communities.

Your responsibilities will typically include developing and implementing outreach strategies to engage schools, educators, students, and families.

Job tasks can include:

  • Organizing workshops, presentations, and events to promote educational programs or initiatives
  • Creating partnerships with schools, community organizations, and stakeholders, and providing support and resources to facilitate learning outside traditional settings.

Additionally, you might need to assess the needs of target populations and develop tailored educational materials and programs to address those needs.

The job also often involves coordinating outreach efforts to engage parents, community members, and stakeholders in supporting educational initiatives and programs.

17. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Manager

As a career change for teachers, this can be an exciting, challenging, and also very rewarding role.

In this role, you would spearhead sustainable and ethical practices within a company.

In this work, you would:

  • engage stakeholders
  • manage sustainability initiatives
  • oversee philanthropy
  • report on CSR activities
  • and ensure compliance with regulations.

In essence, the role is to align business practices with social and environmental responsibilities for long-term positive impact.

18. Special Education Advocate

Another very rewarding job in education can be to become a Special Education Advocate.

In this role you would serve as a crucial resource for students with disabilities and their families, aiding them in navigating the complexities of the special education system.

You would offer invaluable guidance, ensuring families understand their rights and available options within the system.

Advocates actively champion the needs of students with disabilities, advocating for appropriate educational services and accommodations to support their learning and development.

Other Job Roles Where Teaching Experience Is Valued

19. Careers Advisor or Counsellor

I have known a couple of ex-teachers who have taken on roles as career advisors and they have found it extremely rewarding.

As a teacher, you hopefully have great people skills and enjoy helping others to develop.

As a Careers Advisor or Counselor, you would offer guidance and assistance to individuals needing career guidance.

In essence, you would assess their skills, interests, and aspirations, and based on your insights into various career options and educational routes, suggest some options to them.

Help you provide can also include job search strategies, support with CV or resume crafting and interview preparation.

20. Content Writer

Whatever subject/s you taught as a teacher, you will inevitably be an expert of sorts in those areas.

If you have been teaching Maths for 5 years, you will know a lot more than the average person about methods for teaching and understanding Maths.

Likewise, if you teach science and physics then you have the potential to be a good writer for magazines, journals and publications in these areas.

If you enjoy writing, then consider contacting publications in your area of teaching and seeking out opportunities.

As a career change for teachers, this will not perhaps pay what you are used to though.

21. Technical Writer

The main purpose of this role is to make technical information much simpler for non-experts, i.e. understandable in a user-friendly way.

You would achieve this as a technical writer, by creating clear, concise, and comprehensive documentation for technical concepts. The role also tends to include:

  • Research and Gather Information – You would research and gather information from subject matter experts, engineers, developers, or other stakeholders to understand the technical content they need to document.
  • Organize and Structure Content – As a technical writer, you need to organize and structure information logically. To achieve this you would break down complex topics into manageable sections and ensure that the content flows smoothly and sequentially.
  • Write Documentation and Ensure Clarity and Accuracy – Write various types of documentation, including user manuals, online help guides, technical specifications, training materials, and troubleshooting guides. This documentation can come as text, diagrams, screenshots, or videos.
  • Edit and Revise – also incorporate feedback from users or stakeholders to enhance the quality of the documentation.
  • Collaborate with Teams – collaborate with cross-functional teams, including engineers, designers, product managers, and quality assurance testers, to ensure that documentation aligns with the product or project requirements.

22. Educational Podcast Host or Producer

A job that can make you a living but is more likely to be a part-time endeavour is to create educational podcasts targeting teachers, students, or parents.

This is an especially good option if your teaching is on a niche topic and that is well suited to a podcast.

A couple of great examples of educational podcasts include:

23. Museum Educator

A Museum Educator designs and implements educational programs and activities within a museum setting to enhance visitors’ understanding and appreciation of the exhibits.

Your responsibilities in this type of role would typically include:

  • developing curriculum-based tours and workshops for school groups
  • designing interactive exhibits
  • creating educational materials such as guides and worksheets
  • leading tours and presentations

As a museum educator, you would often collaborate with teachers, community organizations, and other stakeholders.

Additionally, you would potentially need to conduct research, evaluation, and outreach to continuously improve and promote educational initiatives.

24. Grant Writer

For some people, the idea of being a Grant Writer might be a boring job but, if you enjoy researching and writing, then this can be a great job for you.

As a grant writer, you would be responsible for researching and identifying potential sources of funding to support organizations or projects, such as for government agencies, foundations, and universities.

There are tens of millions of funding available for universities, for example, and universities highly value a grant writer who has the skills to get the funding.

In terms of job tasks, you will:

  • Interpret grant guidelines and requirements
  • Develop proposals or applications
  • Develop budgets, monitor progress, and report on project outcomes

For this type of role, you will need to possess strong writing, research, and communication skills to secure funding successfully.

25. Professional Development Coordinator

A Professional Development Coordinator is responsible for organizing and facilitating professional development opportunities for employees within an organization. Their duties typically include:

  1. Needs Assessment: Identifying the training needs of employees through surveys, evaluations, and discussions with managers and team members.
  2. Program Development: Designing and developing training programs, workshops, seminars, and other learning activities to address identified needs and improve employee skills and performance.
  3. Training Delivery: Facilitating training sessions either in-person or through online platforms, ensuring that participants have access to necessary materials and resources.
  4. Assessing training program effectiveness: Analyzing participant feedback, performance metrics, and various evaluation methods to gauge their influence on employee development and organizational objectives.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Analyzing feedback and data to make improvements to existing training programs and develop new initiatives to meet evolving needs and objectives.
  6. Collaboration: Working closely with department heads, subject matter experts, and external trainers or consultants to coordinate and deliver relevant and high-quality training content.

In essence, the Professional Development Coordinator is pivotal in fostering employee growth and advancement, elevating their competencies, expertise, and effectiveness, thereby bolstering the organization’s overall success.

26. Education Program Director

As an Education Program Director, you would manage all aspects of educational initiatives within an organization or institution.

Responsibilities can include collaborating with stakeholders to develop curriculum frameworks and managing program budgets and resources efficiently.

Furthermore, you would likely supervise instructional staff to ensure high-quality program delivery.

27. Educational Tour Guide

If you want to spend more time outdoors or in locations such as museums, historical sites, nature reserves, or cultural landmarks, then this might be a great fit for you.

As an Educational Tour Guide, you will lead groups of visitors, typically students or learners, on educational tours to various destinations.

The primary role is to provide engaging and informative commentary and deliver educational content related to the place you are touring.

It will also normally be your duty to ensure the safety and well-being of tour groups, manage logistics such as transportation and scheduling, and facilitate discussions and Q&A sessions to deepen understanding and foster engagement.

28. Educational Journalist

If you have several years of experience in teaching, then you might be perfectly positioned to try to move into journalism and writing about education.

As an Education journalist, you will be writing reports on news, trends, and issues related to education.

Responsibilities typically include:

  • researching and investigating educational topics
  • conducting interviews with educators, policymakers, and experts
  • writing articles for the media outlet’s website

Topics can be wide and varied given the scope of the field of education.

You could find yourself writing about topics such as K-12 education, higher education, vocational training, educational policy, curriculum development, student experiences, teaching methods, and educational technology.

29. Educational Game Designer

Is your experience in teaching related to computer programming or software development? If so, rather than teaching you could consider educational game design.

Educational Game Designers merge educational objectives with interactive gaming experiences to foster learning in a captivating way.

They conceptualize and design game mechanics and content that align with specific learning outcomes, ensuring that each element of the game contributes to educational goals.

Through collaboration with educators and subject matter experts, you would customize game content for various age groups and subjects, incorporating quizzes, puzzles, and simulations to enhance learning.

Throughout their design process, you would prioritize crafting engaging and intuitive experiences that cater to users’ needs.

Final Thoughts: Career Change for Teachers

Many other jobs also draw on the skills of teachers and there are likely to be many opportunities related to the specific topics and subjects you taught.

If you are adamant that you want to move out of teaching, the great news, as you can see from the list of job opportunities above, is that there are many great career options available to you.

Dr Valeria Lo Iacono