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Exploring Career Alternatives for Educators: Moving Beyond Teaching

Jul 10, 2024
Exploring Career Alternatives for Educators: Moving Beyond Teaching

Are you here because you searched for ideas for career changes for teachers? You wouldn’t be the first. 


Did you know U.S. teachers are more likely to feel symptoms of anxiety than healthcare workers? It’s true! It may be a shock—unless you’re a stressed teacher. Teacher burnout, which causes irritability, exhaustion, sleep issues, and unexplained weight gain or loss, is one of the top reasons why teachers make the career transition.


Maybe you’re experiencing job-related stress and anxiety. Perhaps you no longer feel challenged and want to find more intriguing alternatives to teaching. We can help with that. Explore the many former educator career options available to you.

Reasons Why Teachers Make the Career Change

If you’ve made it here, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that teachers have been leaving their careers at record-breaking rates over the last few years. In August 2020, the peak reached 133k teachers quitting; the second peak came in 2022. 


While some leave for personal reasons, many reported the exact reasons for leaving, including teacher burnout, the search for better work-life balance, and a desire for new challenges. Teachers reported feeling more anxiety due to low salaries, increased scrutiny, and poor teacher-student-parent relationships. To improve their career choices, many teachers searched for alternatives to teaching, landing them in new fields and industries.

Educator Career Options

So many alternatives to teaching allow you to practice the transferable skills learned while working in education. In fact, we wrote an entire blog post about the top 10 best jobs for former teachers!


Some of the best alternative educator career options include:


Making a career change for teachers doesn’t always mean staying in education. Educators have many transferable skills that apply to various industries, making the career transition relatively easy.


These transferable skills include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Active listening
  • Communication
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Customer service and experience


If you find yourself nodding at the list of transferable skills, you’re in luck. Making a career change for teachers doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, we have plenty of resources to help you make the career transition!

Make the Career Transition

If you’re ready to leave the classroom and find a new path, it’s time to explore the vast opportunities. Get started with these four steps.


Step 1: Update your Resume or Portfolio

Make sure your resume has up-to-date contact information and experience. Focus on achievements and list all of your recent awards or honors! If you have a portfolio, include the work you’re most proud of.


Step 2: Network, Network, Network

Start connecting with friends outside of the education field, especially former teachers. Not only can you find camaraderie with them, but you may also find your next career opportunity by catching up with an old colleague. Don’t be afraid to talk about your desire to leave teaching!


Step 3: Apply for Jobs

Search for jobs specific to your transferable skills, and don’t limit yourself by filtering out particular industries. You never know when you’ll find just the right opportunity!


Step 4: Ace the Interview

Practice your interview skills by role-playing with a friend or reviewing standard interview question advice. Focus on exuding confidence—as a teacher, you have a fantastic set of skills that any team would be lucky to have!


Instructional Design Careers for Teachers Leaving the Classroom

Is instructional design the right career for you? We think so, too!


To get the latest tips on leaving the classroom, access our Teacher Ditch Day event recording! This virtual event gathers actionable insights and strategies for transitioning out of teaching from experts who have already made the career transition.


You’ll hear inspiring stories from those who have been in your shoes and successfully made the career change for teachers. You'll learn practical tips to leverage your skills in new industries and get step-by-step guidance for updating your resume, aceing interviews, and making the move.


And if that’s just not enough for you, tune into our Leaving the Classroom podcast for even more resources from teachers who’ve made the switch.


Get started on your instructional design career with a FREE trial of IDOL Academy, which prepares students for a lucrative, long-lasting career as an instructional designer. We help with career changes for teachers daily, making us one of the best choices for those leaving the classroom.


IDOL Academy is a digital, self-paced vocational school for corporate instructional designers. It only takes our graduates about 6-8 months to complete the training program, providing knowledge, experience, and a portfolio to showcase your skills.  And yes, you can do it all, even while working full-time!