Despite a career in teaching often being personally rewarding, the day-to-day reality for a qualified school teacher is that the job is stressful and can impact on your personal time and your mental health.
It could be that the ever-increasing expectations placed on teachers are weighing you down, or you feel you've lost some of your passion and the job no longer meets your needs. It doesn't matter if you've been teaching for five years or twenty-five, there are many considerations to work through before you make the decision to leave the teaching profession.
You run the risk of losing a range of benefits when you resign. These include your guaranteed salary, superannuation benefits, holidays and the security of permanency. Of course, other jobs have perks as well, they may just be different to what you're accustomed to.
If you have teaching experience and a relevant degree in education, you will find many alternative jobs for teachers. The skill requirements and personal qualities needed for many jobs are similar to those used in classroom teaching.
We have put together a list of ten new career paths commonly followed by ex-teachers. All of them are related to teaching in some aspect or have skills that are transferable.
The Best Jobs for Teachers Who Still Want to Work with Students
The following career paths will keep you in the education sector and make the most of your teaching credentials as you can still be involved with students — but on a different level.
Learning Support and Assistance
As a teacher, you may have had a particular ability to motivate students and assist them to navigate their learning experiences. If this is what you still want to do, there are several options open to you as a learning support assistant, which will also maximise the skills and knowledge from your education degree.
Learning support jobs are not limited to the school setting — there will be vacancies for support assistants in community youth centres, before-and-after-school care, universities and in the field of guidance counselling. The primary role involves providing support to students with academic, personal or social issues that are affecting their educational achievement.
As with teaching positions, learning support roles are very hands-on. However, you are able to more effectively build rapport with the individual students you work with, as well as their parents and their teachers. This allows you to know them at a deeper level and help them achieve their goals.
Facilities and networks providing student support are also found at higher education institutions, such as universities and TAFE Colleges. Working here, you would be involved in the provision of information and advice or perhaps running workshops on different aspects of student life.
In any learning support role, your main focus is to support the learning and development of individual students. You need to be able to identify the social, emotional and academic needs of each student you work with, and support them accordingly. It would also be your role to assist students to overcome challenges and develop their talents by facilitating learning environments that best provide for, and support, individual students.
Are you still passionate about teaching? Do you still want to teach, but just can't face a traditional classroom with unmotivated students anymore? You might want to consider the option of working as a private tutor in Sydney, or elsewhere in Australia.
Private tutors enjoy flexible working conditions — you select your work hours, set your hourly rates and work from locations that suit you.
Your classroom experience and knowledge of pedagogy will be valued and sought after. Tutors need exceptional communicative and organisational skills, and the ability to devise engaging and creative lessons which are relevant to the needs and learning styles of each of their students.
Private tutoring means you are usually working with motivated students who have a desire to learn. Your passion and expertise in your subject area will help you steer your students towards success.
The first decision you need to make is whether you want to work for an agency, if you want to source tutoring jobs online, or if you want to work for yourself.
Tutoring agencies can be great as they find your clients and have public visibility. However, they do take fees and commissions.
There are many online opportunities for tutors, such as tutoring jobs in Melbourne and other locations near you. Agencies also offer online tutoring, however, platforms such as Superprof allow for more flexibility in that you can set up your personal profile, you communicate with students directly, and you set your working hours and rates. There are often no commissions or fees payable either.
Setting up your own business and working for yourself is also an option. You do your own marketing, set your conditions, and find and manage your own clients.
In the latter two cases, you also need to check with the Australian Tax Office to clarify your employment status so as to pay tax accordingly.
Whatever you decide to do, private tutoring roles are among the best alternative jobs for teachers who remain passionate about teaching.
Roles in Community Youth Work
If you are after a job that is rewarding and where you can assist our younger generation to explore their potential and make the most out of life — youth work may be for you.
You do need to be resilient yourself, though. While a large part of the job involves running creative workshops, concerts and performances, and sports days, there will also be times you'll need to help young people through tough times — something that be personally draining.
However, youth work offers many great jobs for ex teachers who feel they want to keep making a difference and are comfortable with continuing to be a role model and mentor in their community.
Our youth experience a range of pressures and issues in their lives, from family to social and academic. As a youth worker, you'll be expected to provide guidance and support to the young people you work with. This will only happen if they trust you, so you'll need to work hard to develop a rapport, and show you genuinely want to help them.
Be mindful of slipping into teacher mode at this point. Your role is to interact with youth at their level and build a relationship with trust at its core — your role is not to be a figure of authority. The difference is minor but significant.
If you crave variety and challenge in your career, youth work is perfect. Apart from connecting with your local youth and community, you may also be responsible for the organisation activities like these (and many others):
- encouraging youth involvement in clubs and workshops
- school and police liaison
- running fundraisers for the community
- counselling to support local youth
- developing education programs and outdoor events
What certification or qualifications do you need for youth work?
To become a youth worker in Australia you need an Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma level qualifications in youth work, counselling or community services. Depending on your background, three years of on the job training, or a VET qualification may be suitable. Obviously, you will also require Working with Vulnerable People check.
Youth work positions are available in a range of settings, including secondary schools, community centres (including churches), clinics, corrective and juvenile centres and rehabilitation centres. Jobs may be advertised online, or you may find them through your local council.
Work may involve counselling, child and disability services, rehabilitation and welfare support or school guidance work — whatever your role, the importance of developing and maintaining a strong community rapport cannot be over-emphasised.
Apply to work as an Academic Advisor
As far as alternative jobs for teachers go, finding work as an academic advisor is a great way to still make the most of your teaching degree by focusing on the educational aspects of schooling over the behavioural ones.
Academic advisors use their extensive curriculum and career path knowledge to advise students who are weighing up their future education options.
Often you will find academic advisers, also known as careers advisors, in secondary school settings. Careers advisors help students select subjects for their senior secondary years, with the student's future career goals or university degree course in mind. Career advisory services are also available outside of the school setting for both students and others who need to update their CVs with a view to changing careers.
In Victoria, for example, you can access the Australian Centre for Career Education (ACCE) who provide free e-newsletters and a range of consultancy and career counselling services to the community.
ACCE supports individuals to become successful career managers. Along with this, ACCE also works in schools, with parents and with community, running workshops and conferences for young people and other community members.
While your classroom teaching job may be rewarding, it can also be constraining and repetitive. The role of an academic advisor, on the other hand, is ever-changing and provides challenge and variety.
Other Jobs for Teachers that Will Still Make Use of Your Teacher Education Degree
The following career paths may appeal if you feel you need a break from face-to-face contact with students but still want to be involved in education.
Writing or editing for the educational publishing industry
Face-to-face teaching (and dealing with parents and admin) can lead to stress and damaged mental wellbeing. For many teachers, the idea of replacing the chaos with peace is highly appealing, yet seems unattainable.
Educational publishers are often on the hunt for teachers with experience in primary or secondary education, who also have proven skills in editing and/or writing. Trying your hand at educational writing is a great way to allow new teachers (and experienced ones) to benefit from your ideas, experiences and expertise.
Follow your interests. There are opportunities out there to write for classroom resource packs, textbooks, national curriculum resources and teacher education materials. Explore the 'about pages' of different education publishers to see what they publish and what roles they might have.
You are not limited to traditional publishers either — consider starting out with newspaper or magazine articles, educational blog posts (either start your own blog or ask to be a guest blogger), or subject association publications, such as ALEA or ASTA.
Look up tutoring jobs Brisbane.
If you feel you might be more suited to editing or proofreading, there are plenty of jobs for ex-teachers available if you ask around. Alternatively, for those with the skill of oral communication and persuasion, marketing and sales promotion would be perfect alongside your education insight.
The writing and publishing community regularly employ freelance workers, who offer short-term services for writing, editing and targeted marketing. A quick internet search will reveal multiple agencies and freelance communities — and you can search for jobs or post your own advertisements.
Education-based liaison and consulting
If you are still passionate about education as a process but have realised you need a break from the demands of classroom teaching, you might want to look for a liaison-style role.
Consulting or liaison jobs in education allow you to work in the background, rather than in front of students. One of the best jobs for teachers who want to share their love of the education process could lie in teacher training and development — working in the preservice student teaching area in a mentoring or tutoring role.
You might also want to consider doing panel training for the teacher transfer and recruitment rounds. Alternatively, you might be interested in working with organisations, such as Teach For Australia, who focus on recruiting, training and supporting individuals thinking of becoming a teacher, and who strive towards educational equality and outcomes for all.
If you still want to be involved in a school setting, there are various liaison jobs available. Consider working between campuses, across sectors and liaising between school levels, such as primary school to secondary school to advanced education, or potential employers.
Students who have reached the end of compulsory schooling and looking at their options post Year 10 or Year 12, need advice in many areas. In a liaison role between secondary school and university or TAFE, you would provide guidance on pre-requisites and other admission requirements, and application writing, or trade and apprenticeship courses or other vocational training programs.
Liaison roles are not limited to education and schools. Consultancy work is available with institutions or organisations, such as research, tourism or cultural groups, who have direct educational links or an education market.
There are many roles where your teacher certification will be highly valued, and your associated skills will be put to great use. Your classroom experience will be an asset if not a requirement!
If you've been teaching in the public system, with the benefit of job security, you may be apprehensive about leaving the public sector. However, there are other jobs for teachers in the public sector that aren't directly related to teaching.
Museum or gallery jobs
To become a teacher in the first place, you obviously have a love of learning — and probably a specific interest. Imagine working in a place where you're surrounded by new information every day. A museum or gallery job could be what you're looking for.
Museum and gallery work is not so different from teaching.
As in your teaching career, jobs in other education-based institutions require you to be on top of the latest knowledge and be able to communicate and present this in a variety of ways to suit a range of audiences. You might be responsible for explaining the displays and their stories to visiting groups, or you could be involved in curating and looking after different collections. Either way, you'll be able to combine your two loves — learning facts and sharing knowledge.
Regardless of your previous role — history, art or science teacher, special education teacher, teaching assistant or substitute teacher — beginning your job hunt by looking at museum and gallery roles could win you a perfect career match.
Jobs for Ex Teachers Who Need a Break from the School/Student Environment
So, what if you've really had enough of the traditional school environment and working with students? (It happens.) There are other jobs for teachers out there.
Training and development at a corporate level
Don't get stuck thinking 'I'm only a teacher'. With your experience, your skills are immense — public speaking, people skills, communication, organisation, leadership...
An effective educator, with all their skills, can tailor their teaching to suit the needs of individual students and groups because they understand learning styles and strategies to promote development.
Learning doesn't stop after compulsory education — even executives in the adult world of business need assistance and guidance to learn.
Teaching adults can be very different from trying to deliver the curriculum to young people. There are numerous roles available in private enterprise requiring the provision of targeted staff training and development. They fall into several categories, including personal and business training.
Jobs you may be responsible for include:
- taking on individuals or groups in a mentor or coach capacity
- implementing engaging and innovative strategies
- planning and running courses and workshops
- facilitating cohesive team relationships and communication.
The role you do will depend on your strengths, so work out what they are and promote them.
Workforce and personnel management (human resources)
The training you complete to obtain and maintain your teaching certification also provides you with an extensive, transferable skill-set that is valuable in a range of settings.
What this means is that, with your experience, you are well set up to forge a career pathway, and progress upwards if that is what you desire. One area you can do this is in Human Resources (HR).
HR departments are involved with recruiting, training, paying and promoting the employees of an organisation. The role of the HR staff is to improve the overall value of their company's personnel by assisting each employee to achieve skill growth and development.
The ability to assist other people to identify and make the best use of their skills, interests and traits is at the core of teaching and of HR management, which is why ex teachers are the perfect fit for HR roles.
What do you need to do if you want to pursue a career in HR?
The first thing to do is to update your resume. This won't involve a complete rewrite, but you will need to switch the focus from school-based education to HR positions.
You will also need to look into relevant, alternative certification. Your Bachelor degree is a given, and you may also have some post-graduate qualifications. However, another credential in the field of HR would be beneficial.
If you have the time, a university-level Master of Human Resource Management would be outstanding, but there are shorter qualifications available which are just as valuable for people wanting to become certified in HR Management.
There are many organisations offering qualification courses in HR throughout Australia. TAFE is one place you can look, offering both face-to-face and online courses as follows:
- Double Diploma: This course allows you to specialise in HR in addition to one other field, including areas like business administration or leadership and management.
- Diploma: You will focus on performance management systems, industrial relations, positive employee relations and so on.
- Certificate IV: Generally shorter courses with more practical skills, including customer service standards, payroll and employment management.
The type of certification you choose depends on your prior experience and future ambitions. If you want to move into a management role, a double diploma might be where you want to head, while a Cert IV would be suitable for assistant-level roles.
If salary is a key consideration for you, this useful salary calculator can give you an estimate of your gross salary in different positions.
Personal drive, commitment and organisational capacity will go a long way to progressing you along your chosen HR career path, but the relevant qualifications will get you where you want to be faster.
The key to being a successful administrator is having the ability to organise — which makes administration one of the best jobs for teachers.
An administrative role is more than data, filing and spreadsheets.
Working in office management and on the front reception desk are your traditional jobs in administration. However, these days, being an assistant to a higher authority, such as a CEO, is also considered to be 'administration'.
If working in the school environment is all you've ever known, you can ease into your new career by looking for administrative opportunities, such as assisting a Principal or putting in a Deputy Principal application.
Gaining administrative experience in a familiar setting has another benefit in that when you are ready to move on, your administrative experience in your educational role will be enticing to potential employers.
Again, it is essential that you revise your CV to ensure it reflects your new experience and is targeted towards the jobs you are interested in. It may be the difference between your CV going to the bottom of the pile and catching the attention of a potential employer.
We have listed only a small selection of the wonderful alternative jobs for teachers. Whether you're leaving your teaching career after five years, twenty years, or want something new post-retirement the process is the same: identify your key interests, strengths and qualities and make them work for you. There are plenty of roles in a variety of settings, many may only require minimal, or no, retraining and be the perfect positions for skilled ex-teachers. Take your teaching degree, focus on your interests, and start the search.
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