The 10 Best Jobs for Former Teachers

Teaching can be hard, leading some instructors to change careers. Discover the top jobs for former teachers and what you need to do to get them.
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Updated on December 7, 2023
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Hannah Muniz is a managing editor with BestColleges, specializing in college planning, test prep, student life, and sponsored content. She previously worked as a freelance writer, composing articles on the SAT/ACT, higher education, language learning...
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In a 2020 survey by the National Education Association, 55% of educators said they're considering leaving teaching earlier than they'd planned.

Pandemic fatigue and staff shortages have put a lot of strain on educators over the past few years. Now, many teachers are considering pursuing different career paths — some with their teaching degrees and others with more specialized certificates or advanced degrees.

So what are these jobs exactly? Here are our picks for the top 10 jobs for former teachers.

1. Education Administrator

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

Want to advance within the field of education? Then consider becoming an education administrator. You can pursue work as a principal and supervise an elementary, middle, or high school. Alternatively, you can become a superintendent and manage an entire school district.

These professionals focus on creating an effective learning environment for students. Though administrators work mostly at the macro level, they also have some hands-on responsibilities at schools. For example, you might observe and evaluate teachers and organize budgets.

To become an education administrator, you'll typically need a master's degree in education administration, a master of public administration, or an advanced degree in a related subject.

Featured Online Master's in Education Administration Programs

2. Training and Development Manager

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

Corporate training is all about educating workers, making it one of the top jobs for former teachers. These professionals oversee employee training, from managing training budgets to creating training programs.

Training and development managers often work in corporate and tech settings but may work at places like healthcare facilities and nonprofits.

To become a manager, you'll normally need a bachelor's and relevant work experience or a master's in training and development, human resources, public administration, or business administration.

3. Education Consultant

Average Annual Salary (November 2022)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

As an education consultant, you can put your teaching skills to work in a broader capacity.

These professionals advise schools or school districts on a specific topic area. For example, a consultant specializing in technology might guide schools on how they can integrate technology into their curricula.

Some education consultants work for education companies, helping to design classroom products and tools. Many consultants are self-employed and work on multiple projects at once.

You must typically have a bachelor's degree in education or a related field.

4. Postsecondary Education Administrator

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

Prefer to work in higher ed? Then consider becoming a college education administrator. In this role, you'll oversee student services, faculty research, and all things related to academics.

You can work in a variety of departments, including student affairs, admissions, and the registrar's office — at both public and private colleges and universities. Some administrators even take on leadership roles as academic deans and provosts.

While some postsecondary education administrator positions are available to those with just a bachelor's degree, you'll often need a master's in higher education administration or public administration to qualify. For an executive role, such as dean or provost, you may need a doctorate.

5. Museum Director

Average Annual Salary (November 2022)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)
(all museum workers)

Many museums offer educational programs, which may feature activities like performing science experiments, hosting art workshops, and running summer camps for children.

A museum education director coordinates these education programs and departments. Common duties may include preparing lesson plans and developing new educational programs, making it a great job for former teachers.

While you may be able to land a role as a museum director with only a bachelor's degree and several years of teaching experience, some museums prefer you to have a master's degree in education, museum studies, or a related field.

6. Human Resources Manager

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

Successful HR managers have several of the same skills as teachers. They work with people daily, handling employee relations and conflicts — just as teachers do in the classroom with students. As an HR manager, you must understand the importance of communication and interpersonal skills.

HR managers perform various functions, including figuring out how to best use employees' skills in a company, overseeing benefits and hiring, and addressing staffing issues.

To become an HR manager, you'll need a bachelor's degree and several years of related experience. A master's in human resources, business administration, or public administration can make you a more desirable candidate.

Featured Online Master's in Public Administration Programs

7. Instructional Coordinator

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

Instructional coordinators — sometimes called curriculum specialists — set teaching and curriculum standards for schools and districts.

These professionals develop and implement general curriculum plans and evaluate their effectiveness. Teaching plans must prepare students to meet federal, state, and local benchmarks.

In general, you need a master's in education or curriculum design to become an instructional coordinator — often in addition to getting state licensure. Check your state's board of education to learn more about licensing requirements.

8. Education Policy Analyst

Average Annual Salary (November 2022)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

Education policy analysts typically work for nonprofits, think tanks, lobbies, and government organizations with the aim to help shape and improve the public school system. Common duties include researching how education policies affect students and how educators can improve them.

Most education policy analyst positions require you to have a master's in education, public policy, or child development.

9. School or Career Counselor

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

If you still want to help students succeed (just not as a teacher), you might be interested in becoming a school or career counselor.

School counselors often work with students who have behavioral, mental, or emotional conditions that impact their ability to learn and do homework. Career counselors, in contrast, help high school and college students decide what career to pursue after graduation.

To become a counselor, you usually need a master's in school counseling or educational psychology. You may also need to obtain a license, depending on your state.

10. Project Manager

Median Annual Salary (May 2021)

Projected Job Growth Rate (2021-2031)

Project managers oversee projects for large corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, healthcare organizations, and educational facilities. Typical responsibilities include strategizing and planning, supervising employees, setting deadlines, securing resources, and outlining budgets.

Project management can be a great job for former teachers. After all, teachers must know how to manage many moving parts in their classrooms! The most effective project managers are highly organized and skillful communicators.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jobs for Former Teachers

Do you need to get another degree to change careers after teaching?

While former teachers can benefit from earning an advanced degree in a field like education, communication, public administration, or business, it's not always necessary to do this for a successful career change.

If you need to pursue an advanced degree, such as an MPA or MBA, for your new career path after teaching, be sure to weigh the costs and benefits. It's best to prioritize graduate programs that offer a lot of financial aid, a high return on investment, and flexibility for working adults.

Alternatively, you can attend a trade school. These schools offer a variety of programs and can help you jumpstart a career in a well-paying trade. Programs often last a few months to a year and are generally cheaper than degree programs.

What jobs besides teaching can I get with a teaching degree?

Educators can pursue a variety of careers besides teaching. Many companies hire people who are responsible for training and educating workers.

You can also consider jobs that are in the education sector but not in the classroom. For example, schools always need administrators, counselors, curriculum developers, and instructional coaches.

Educators with lots of classroom experience under their belts can train future teachers or work to improve the educational experience through policy analysis or leadership.

Why are so many teachers quitting these days?

Teaching has been particularly hard for many educators in the last few years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many teachers have been forced to adapt to virtual learning and manage students from a distance while continuing to shoulder other job responsibilities.

With more and more educators leaving the profession, schools are noting growing staff shortages, placing further strain on existing teachers.

Along with COVID-19 burnout, a 2022 Bloomberg article reports that other reasons for the teacher shortage crisis include worsening student behavioral issues and pay that isn't keeping up with inflation.

What kinds of teachers are in demand?

Some of the teachers in the highest demand include science and math teachers. According to U.S. government data, only 2 in 5 fourth graders and 1 in 3 eighth graders are proficient in math.

English as a second language (ESL) teachers are also in demand due to the growing number of students in the U.S. whose first language is a language other than English.

Special education teachers are also experiencing increased demand.

Editor's note: The salary numbers in this piece are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) or Payscale, while the growth rate projections are from the BLS. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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