Once you've made the decision to change careers, you will discover there is no single, 'right' way to approach the task. If you are serious about looking for alternatives to teaching positions, however, detailed planning and targeted research are vital.
One thing to be wary of in your quest for a new job is to not apply for every vacancy that looks like it might be 'okay'. Odds are you will end up in another job that is not fulfilling because you didn't adequately research the details of the job, and haven't considered how your skills and interests will match the requirements of the job.
People who have moved into perfect jobs after teaching will tell you they benefited from a considered, logical approach to their career change. They knew precisely what they wanted, what their interests were and what they were heading into. They probably accessed resources, such as careers support and online advice, to help navigate the process.
If you look for job vacancies that relate to your hobbies or areas of expertise, you are more likely to end up in the right job for you. The other benefit is you may not need to spend as much time retraining for new jobs if you already have the skills, background knowledge and experience required.
You might be ready to pursue a lifelong dream, or turn your hobby into a business. Either way, the stepping stones to success lie in thoroughly researching the market and careful preparation to ensure you know what you are getting into.
Changing careers can be straightforward for some people, but fraught with complications, time commitments and expense for others. There are no guarantees, but if you do your homework, find out everything you can and invest a little time and effort into the process, you should be on your way.
The required training or qualifications will vary according to the job — sometimes, you won't need anything new at all. In many cases, you can do on-the-job-training. Other employers might pay for courses, or allow you to complete flexible online learning during, or outside, work hours.
If you've been working in the school system for a number of years, the idea of being a job seeker again can be terrifying. Take the time to think things over. Consider where you will start your search. Really analyse your skills and expertise so you know how to best present these to potential employers. Moving slowly also means you have the time to be positive these changes are right for you, both professionally and personally.
Other Jobs for Teachers: Take Everything Step-by-Step
The first thing you should do is evaluate your current teaching role. Make a list of your skills, achievements, qualifications and strengths, then consider each credential individually in regards to its relevance to any new jobs you might be thinking about. You might be surprised. Above all, the more you know about the relationship between your teaching experience and your new career path, the easier your job interviews will be.
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If you need a quick way to find details about the careers you are considering and what they involve, platforms like My Skills and O*Net can be very useful. These websites allow you to browse different industries and specific jobs, explore available courses and assess your job-relevant skills.
It is important to be clear about what you want in a job when you don't want to teach anymore. General statements, like 'I need less stress' or 'I want a job in the creative industry' is going to make the search process harder. Talk to people, seek formal career advice, look at job websites — doing all of this will help you narrow down the field of alternative jobs for teachers that are available.
As a rule, people are not good at self-promotion. To overcome this, sit down and list all of your personal USPs (unique selling points) — your qualifications, specific subject knowledge, communication and relationship skills...don't leave anything out. Once you're finished, work out the different professional environments they apply to.
Once you've identified all your qualities and skills, both personal and professional, you'll be on your way to making that career move. When you have a clear idea of which skills can be transferred to a specific job, you can work on promoting your expertise on your CV, and in interviews with your new employer.
Never lose sight of your personal aims and career goals, and how these will help your professional and personal development. If you are clear about the aspects of your present job that you don't enjoy, you'll be in a better position to move to a career that is personally satisfying. Consider what you want, and don't want, with regard to company structure, advancement opportunities or salary and perks.
Be honest with yourself. If it's just the setting, the colleagues, or your current teaching position that's getting you down, leaving your teaching career may be a drastic solution. It could be you really only need a new school, a different role, or new teaching opportunities.
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Alternative Jobs for Teachers: Don't Jump into Retraining Immediately
Spontaneous decisions fuelled by emotion, rather than thought, rarely end well. Following the suggestions above until you are certain of your decision is not a waste of time. When you are sure a career change is the right move, then you can think about how to retrain and prepare for the next stage of your life.
If you are uncertain the type of career that will fit your interests and skills, there is no harm in taking a personality indicator test or similar job-matching quiz to give you some ideas. You might find something you'd never considered.
Depending on the job, especially if it's very similar to, or in the same field as, your current role, you may be able to start working without the need for retraining or new certification. For example, if you move from being a primary teacher to teacher recruitment, you won't need to upskill.
Some of the best other jobs for teachers, allowing you to get out of the classroom but still indulge your teaching passion, is private tutoring. Tutoring as an experienced music teacher or science teacher is rewarding as working individually with students means you can better cater to their needs.
There is no legal requirement for private tutors to have an education degree, however, former teachers are more highly sought after and can start straight away with no additional training.
Not only is it personally satisfying to see growth in your tutoring students, being able to leave full-time work and set your own hours could also be enticing, particularly if your Department of Education employer will not allow you to work part-time.
In Australia, new tutoring agencies and private tutors seem to appear setting up tutoring businesses on a weekly basis. So much is the industry booming, that several high-profile people, like mathematician Eddie Woo, and other industry experts are now warning parents to carefully check the qualifications of private tutors. If, in the near future, tutors are required to have education degrees, ex-teachers may be extremely well placed for a career shift.
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Perhaps you still love teaching but want new experiences — if so, consider teaching abroad.
There are many jobs for teachers overseas. International schools often want native English speaking teachers, or you could take a casual job as an English teacher at one of the many English language academies in countries like Japan and China.
Combining work with travel and cultural discovery is a rewarding break, or it could be the start of a new career. ESL teachers are in high demand overseas, particularly East Asia. Your teaching experience, even if it's not in teaching English, combined with TEFL or TESOL certification, and a visa that allows you to work, are all you need.
What if you want to leave education completely? Don't worry — this is not uncommon and there are plenty of alternative jobs for teachers out there. The effort required to reinvent yourself and rebrand your skills will be incredibly rewarding.
Time is everything! Give yourself time to adapt to your new life, to transform yourself, and to learn to use your teaching skills in other ways.
If you're experiencing a negative mindset, and are desperate to get out of teaching, you might make the mistake of taking the first job that comes up. Wait! Take the time to carefully research the career path you want to take, and make informed decisions — even down to choosing between private sector teaching jobs and the government sector jobs.
Changing careers may mean you need to start looking for jobs from scratch. This can be a scary thought but career websites, such as Job Outlook, can give you some pointers.
Along with the personal benefits of pursuing your ideal career, there will be things you need to sacrifice as well. One of these might be your ranking (and associated salary). Teaching full-time for ten years will likely see you at the top of the pay scale or in a level 2 position; starting a new job in a company, however, will probably see you at entry-level and needing to start climbing the promotion ladder all over again.
If you think you'll find it unsettling to be working alongside new graduates, while your colleagues of the same age are further up the hierarchy, you might want to consider options for gaining experience before you start a new job. Looking for retraining or bridging courses will not only give you a head-start but give you the opportunity to learn more about the career path you've chosen.
Before you make any decisions, investigate every aspect of your chosen role — the daily expectations, the workload, the tiny details. Is it what you really want? Will it be rewarding? Does reality match your expectations — or surpass them?
As an ex-teacher, you understand there is more to teaching than being in front of the children from 9am until 3pm. The same applies to other jobs — what we see on the surface is only a small portion of what goes on behind closed doors and the responsibilities that need to be undertaken. Look at these to help you decide if this career change is the right one for you.
Make the most of networking with colleagues and friends to discover as much as you can before you make a decision. They may have extra information sources or perspectives you haven't considered. Research and read everything you can find. Consult careers counsellors. Attend careers fairs and expos. Search and ask questions with an open mind and you will soon discover there are plenty of other jobs for teachers that will suit you.
If you're looking at medical or law careers, hospitality (such as cheffing) or technology-based jobs, you are going to need to complete specialist training. There are different training courses available, from degree-level to certificate and apprenticeships, so make sure you research these to find out what you need, how long it will take and the cost.
Time and expense are the two key considerations for most people considering a new career requiring extra training. Investigate to see if your chosen career offers government-provided training, (saving you money) or on-the-job-training (saving you time and money).
It is not necessary to fully resign from your job straight away, there are other options that will impact less on your life. For example, reducing your work hours to part-time while you study or retrain could be a solution that works for you. Evening courses and online study are other possible options if they are available for the job you are seeking.
There are a wide range of courses offered in the evening, which is useful if you are unable to resign or work part-time. If you look around, you should be able to find the course you require, whether it's writing, computing, language, horticulture or nursing.
If you're struggling to balance your day job, or family commitments, with retraining, night courses could be just what you need to get started on your new career.
Remember, too, with your teaching degree and experience, you may be able to obtain credit in your chosen course, or even apply for a shorter conversion-style course.
Once you have the time issue sorted, you may also need to think about money as many retraining courses can be expensive.
The Australian Government offers a range of support schemes and grants to eligible people who want to retrain, upskill or start their own business. Funding is limited and criteria is tight, but it's worth investigating. There may also be scholarships or subsidised tuition available from certain institutions, or through business sponsorship. Potential employers may also be willing to sponsor your training if they see your value in other areas.
Are there careers where I can retrain as I work?
Yes, there are — one of these is in Human Resources (HR). Depending on the position, training in HR can often be done while you're working by being mentored by a co-worker. The greatest benefit of on-the-job training is that you can resign from your teaching job as soon as you gain employment elsewhere.
A Year 12 Certificate is the minimum requirement for many entry-level HR positions, however, with your Bachelor of Education degree, you can be assured of your potential for quick career progression. In fact, according to the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA), many companies value proven commitment to personal growth and career development. Recruiters for HR positions will look at your personal qualities, and may even rank them higher than professional experience.
This is where you really need to use your CV and interview to highlight your teaching experience and promote those transferable skills of organisation, management and leadership.
What do you do when you win that HR position?
Start researching. Work out what your career goal is and how you can achieve it.
The more qualifications you obtain, the better your chances for promotion, and the more likely you are to reach your dream position. There are many courses available in different areas and levels of HR, so all you need to do is choose one, or more, that will help you reach your career goals.
Depending on your goals, you may choose to study anything from an HR Degree or Diploma to a Certificate IV or Single (Award) Subject. Naturally, the length of these courses is governed by the level. They may be as short as 8 weeks, or longer than 2 years.
The average amount of time needed for different courses is:
|Foundation (Equivalent to A-level)||Intermediate (Undergraduate level)||Advanced (Postgraduate level)|
|Diploma (Cover a wide range of subjects)||1 year||18 months-2 years||2-2.5 years|
|Certificate (Learn HR essentials)||9 months||12 months||9-12 months|
|Award (Focus on one subject)||1-6 months||1-6 months||3-6 months|
Obviously, these times will be affected by your mode of study — full-time, part-time, online or a combination of these. Whatever you choose, further qualifications can only enhance your career prospects.
When you're in the process of a career change, speed is not an advantage. Take your time — changes do not have to happen immediately. In fact, it might be better if they don't in order to ensure you can maintain a regular salary, build experience and be confident the change is what you want and is going to be sustainable.
Update your Resume: the First Step when Searching for Jobs After Teaching
Study and skill development are not the only requirements for a successful career change. You need to be able to envisage yourself in your new role and to do this you have to focus on preparing and reconceptualising your image of yourself as a professional.
To do this, you need to match the experience you've gained in the past and in your present position, with the personal and professional requirements of your desired career.
A curriculum vitae (CV) forms the first impression a potential employer will have of you. It needs to be professionally appealing and it needs to present you as the best candidate for the job. So, what if your CV clearly paints a picture of you as a school teacher?
If you've already got a great teaching CV, then you're actually well on the way. The first step is to analyse each section. Examine your skills — communication, self-management, analysis — tweak them slightly to make them applicable to your new career.
Look for qualities and attributes you can adapt or combine to make them relevant. If you're unsure where your skills fit, carry out an assessment of your skills using the Job Outlook or My Future platforms.
Check the work experience section and use it to analyse the progress you've made in terms of achievements and new skills. Consider how this progress has helped you grow in your personal and professional life, then target this to the job criteria.
Make sure you emphasise your adaptability and ability to prioritise tasks and perform under pressure — you dealt with this on a daily basis as a teacher. An ability to communicate to and work with different people, with vastly different needs, and often in trying situations is a huge asset.
Whether you're working in the corporate world or in a trade, all jobs have goals, targets and obstacles. Note down examples of situations in your teaching career where you've managed a tricky event, met a deadline, multi-tasked or completed a major objective while under pressure — these can all be directly related to a variety of roles in any job.
Delete irrelevant information from your resume, and focus on skills, experience and assets that are related to your target job.
You may need to be ruthless but it will be worth it when your job search unearths your dream career, and you are successful in winning the position.
The longer you've been in your current role, the more intimidating the process of applying for new jobs after teaching in the school system will be. Having a carefully revised version of your CV for each specific role you want to apply for is essential.
A great CV is the key to obtaining an interview. The only way to create a great CV is to spend the time researching the role you're applying for and focusing on the skills and experiences which are relevant to it.
But — don't overdo it. A clear and concise CV, which inspires interest and encourages further questions, is a job winner.
When you're undertaking a career change there is a lot to think about and do. It doesn't matter if you're making a sideways step, still in education, or a massive leap in a whole new direction — you have to be prepared.
A seamless transfer out of teaching and a successful entry into a new position requires effort.
Research the role. Retrain. Reorganise your CV.
Present yourself, your skills and your expertise in a way that makes potential employers sit up and take notice.
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