Whether you’ve been ousted from your position as the result of downsizing, you’re choosing a different path because of issues with the setup of the next school year, or you’re just looking for a way to add income to your salary each month, there are many non-education jobs that seem to work very well with the education and experiences of teachers.
We tried to focus on careers that can be done remotely or face-to-face.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
You might imagine this would only be a good fit for math teachers at the secondary level, but many people for whom math is not the favorite (or even close) actually fit quite well with accounting and bookkeeping as a side gig or second career. There’s something very appealing about the routine, order, and organization.
If you want to be an accountant, you’ll have to pursue more education and certification, whereas bookkeeping does not require further education. There are some certification options, and lots of programs you can use to pursue those options.
Much of these two options currently depend more on the use of technology, specific programs, and apps rather than doing well in math.
Human Resources Manager
Isn’t managing a classroom likely similar to managing people in a company?
Many people imagine HR to be the “hiring and firing” hub, but that is truly only a small portion of the job. Human resources departments take care of all the paperwork required for employment, orienting incoming workers new to the company, answering questions about how the company works, handling data and office work management, creating and hosting events for workers, keeping track of and following hiring/firing/employment laws, and interviewing.
If you love working with people, like routine and office work, and want to help people enjoy their jobs, human resources may be a good fit for you. There are certifications and training available, but specific requirements vary. As long as you have a B.S. or B. A., you’ll likely be able to use that to get into Human Resources.
Becoming a paralegal is a great fit for people who love research, are interested in the law, and want to make a difference in the lives of others. Although this is listed in the “non-education” career article, paralegals are a critical part of the creation and changing of the legal system. Education NEEDS good people on this side of the legal community.
Paralegals do much of the behind-the-scenes legal work. They research existing laws, cases, and rulings. They understand the legal system, help lawyers with their workload, and assist clients at a much cheaper rate than lawyers (although you can still make a very reasonable living - definitely can be comparable to what an educator makes).
You can specialize in a particular field, but overall, in addition to research and information gathering, you’d be working on case management, doing some office work, drafting various legal documents, assisting with trial preparations, checking facts, calculating and keeping track of calendar deadlines for document filings, and occasionally representing clients.
Much of the formal presentation work is done by lawyers, so you’ll lean less on those “teaching” skills than you would on the other strengths you’ve gained.
The hours can be long (comparable to invested teaching), and you will be very busy, but working as a paralegal can be incredibly fulfilling and a great fit for educators looking to transition to a new career.
Grant-writing is another job that can be either an escape from education or, as paralegal work, a job that can be very influential for education and educators. It’s generally not a career in and of itself, although you can do freelance grant-writing and possibly make a very good income once you’ve gained experience.
Most grant writers are self-employed.
The first step people usually take toward grant-writing is to participate in a workshop or class to get a basic understanding of the process. From there, you would research, draft, and submit grant proposals for organizations or individuals to donors who are looking for people or organizations to fund.
You’ll need research skills and enjoyment of doing research. You need excellent writing skills, the ability to respond timely to tasks, and some good interpersonal skills. A good grasp of finance and budgeting is helpful, and excellent communication skills are very beneficial.
Most people see “administrative assistance” and think “secretary” from the 60s, and although there are still some “secretarial” tasks done, much of the job has evolved. One of the most welcome improvements is that of the addition of virtual administrative assistant positions.
This work is a really good fit for elementary educators in particular. There’s a lot of management, organization, and activity. Administrative assistants are often very involved in what the company is doing, and they have to anticipate the needs of the organization. They create, evaluate, modify, and support systems used by executives, managers, and other professionals within the organization or company.
In addition to clerical knowledge and skills, you may have additional duties depending on the field in which you work - legal and medical administrative assistants, for example, have very specific responsibilities. Many administrative assistants have bookkeeping responsibilities, schedule meetings, coordinate those meetings, and lots of varying tasks. You’ll meet and work with lots of different people, and every day is likely to be unique.
Depending on the size of the company, you may do lots of jobs, from human resource responsibility, to data analysis and research, to taking care of your colleagues and bosses (being sure they’ve eaten, getting coffee ordered and delivered for morning meetings, etc…).
Data Analyst and Researcher
If you work in any district with standardized testing, you’re probably eligible for some sort of job as a data analyst.
Data analysts create systems for data collections, compile disaggregated data into reports, look for patterns, collaborate with others in the field, communicate the important facts found, and help set up infrastructures to improve routines, outcomes, and collection in the future.
It helps to have good math and statistical skills. You should definitely be comfortable with technology, although you may be surprised to learn that about half of the tools analysts use are Microsoft Excell and Google products. If you’re an educator, chances are pretty good you’re already a little familiar with the type of technology you would use.
This is similar to human resources in some regards and is part of the human resources umbrella in many cases. Basically, a recruiter finds matches for companies looking for employees, and for job-seekers looking for employment. You generally would work for the company. They would be your client. However, you would be the liaison seeking the best for both parties involved.
Recruitment doesn’t just stop at the hiring of the new employee, though. A recruiter may do everything from finding the right person for the job, interviewing as a preview of the person’s skills, checking references and vetting, setting up formal interviews, prepping the recruit for the interview, negotiation for terms of hire, and then staying in contact for up to a year to be sure both the client and the new hire are compatible and working well together.
If you like getting to know your students and their families, matching people with certain skills to the perfect tasks, and long-term relationship building, this may be the perfect next career for you.
There are lots of ways to use your teaching skills in marketing. Written materials alone can supply you with the bulk of your work. Companies need articles written, ads created, e-mails answered, and all written material edited and revised.
There are other facets of marketing that can be good for former educators to be part of as well, but many teachers transitioning into marketing do well in the creative writing area.
Smaller companies may not be able to afford big marketing companies, but may just need an advertisement, a letter to loyal customers, or an article written that they can display on a blog site that will generate some interest in the community about their goods or services. Try to look for education-related companies or companies that you already love. It’s much easier to work for your favorite company that it is to work for a brand you don’t know anything about and don’t really believe in.