Career Change For Teachers: 22 Ideas For Your Next Career Move

Teaching is one of the most challenging and rewarding professions. This means it’s not for everyone and it might only be for you for a short period of time. 

Despite being a popular career choice for many graduates in the UK, teaching also has one of the highest turnover rates. According to the EPI, 20% of teachers leave the profession within their first two years and 40% exit within five years. As a former teacher myself, I fit in the 20% statistic having left after my first full year of classroom teaching. I’m now a professional full-time writer.  

So, if you’re considering getting out, this career change for teachers guide is for you. We’ll explore the signs that it might be time for a new career, the valuable skills you can bring to a new role and some of the most promising career change options for teachers. Whether you’re looking for a better work-life balance, higher pay or simply a new challenge, this article will help you in your potential transition to a new career.

Signs you need a career change as a teacher? 

There are a few telltale signs as a teacher that a new career may be needed. Those who are thinking about a change are often feeling one or a combination of the following issues:

  • Workload – According to the Government’s 2022 Working Lives of Teachers survey, an overwhelming 92% of teachers cited workload as a reason to leave the profession. If you find yourself constantly overwhelmed by tasks such as data recording, behaviour management, lesson planning, marking, plus a load of other out-of-classroom activities that you’re expected to do, it may be a sign that it’s time for a change. The non-stop nature of the work for no extra benefit was my main reason for quitting.
  • Pay – In the same survey, 57% of teachers mentioned pay as a reason to quit. If you feel that your compensation doesn’t reflect the effort and dedication you put into your work, it’s understandable to consider other career options.
  • Passion – If you’ve lost the passion you once had for teaching and find yourself dreading going to work each day, it’s a clear indication that a career change might be necessary for your well-being and job satisfaction.
  • Burnout – Teaching can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Even more so in the modern world we live in. If you’re experiencing symptoms of burnout, such as exhaustion or a sense of ineffectiveness, it’s crucial to prioritise your health and consider a career that allows for a better work-life balance.
  • Long-term prospects – If you can’t envision yourself teaching until retirement, it’s worth exploring other career paths that align better with your long-term goals and aspirations.

teacher career change teacher in front of class

Teaching skills you can bring to a new career?

You might be thinking what can I bring to the table in another industry and job? 

As a teacher, you’ve developed a wide range of valuable skills that can be applied to various careers. The skills you’ve acquired as a teacher are not limited to the classroom, so don’t underestimate the transferable nature of your abilities. As you can see below, there are lots:

  • Communication – As a teacher, you’ve honed your ability to convey complex ideas in a clear and engaging manner. This skill is highly valued in many industries, such as marketing, sales, public relations and training roles.
  • Leadership – Managing a classroom requires strong leadership skills. You’ve learned to guide, motivate and inspire others every single day. These can be invaluable in roles such as project management, team leadership and coaching.
  • Adaptability – Teachers often have to think on their feet and adapt to unexpected situations. This flexibility and problem-solving ability can be an asset in fast-paced, dynamic work environments.
  • Organisation – Juggling multiple, wide-ranging tasks on a daily basis has made you a master of organisation. This skill is essential in careers like event planning, operations management and administrative roles.
  • Interpersonal skills – Building relationships with students, parents and colleagues has strengthened your interpersonal skills. This emotional intelligence is highly sought-after in all sorts of people-based jobs.
  • Public speaking – As a teacher, you’re no stranger to presenting in front of an audience. Whether this is in the classroom or during assemblies. This confidence and ability to engage a crowd is extra valuable as it’s a skill and experience that a lot of people don’t have.
  • Creativity – Developing engaging lesson plans and activities requires constant creativity and innovation. These skills can be applied to careers in design, marketing and entrepreneurship.

career change ideas for teacher in front of whiteboard

Best career change for teachers ideas

When considering a career change from teaching, there are endless paths you can take. Some options allow you to stay within the educational field but move out of the classroom, whilst others involve transitioning to a completely different industry. 

The key is to find a role that aligns with your skills, interests and values. Some career changes may require retraining, while others allow you to leverage your existing skills and experience. In this section, we’ll explore a variety of career change ideas that can help you find a fulfilling new path.

1. Personal Trainer

For teachers with a passion for health and fitness, becoming a certified gym instructor or fully qualified personal trainer can be a rewarding career change.

As a personal trainer, you’ll help clients achieve their health and fitness goals through personalised workout plans, nutrition guidance and motivation. As a teacher, your ability to break down complex concepts, provide feedback and encourage others will serve you well in this role.

Being a PT comes with multiple options. You can work in a gym setting as an employee or self-employed, offer private training sessions or even start your own PT fitness business. By working for yourself, you can earn good money as a personal trainer.

Once qualified with your L3, you can access plenty of fitness jobs. You can also specialise further with other options, such as Level 4 PT courses to access further opportunities such as strength and conditioning jobs and become an S&C coach.

teacher career change ideas personal trainer

2. Training and Development Managers

If you enjoy helping others develop their skills and knowledge, a career as a training and development manager could be a great fit. In this role, you’ll design and implement training programs for businesses and their employees, which involves assessing training needs and evaluating the effectiveness of training initiatives. Your teaching experience will be invaluable in creating engaging and effective learning experiences for adult learners in a more commercial setting.

3. Private Tutor

As a private tutor, you can continue to make a difference in students’ lives whilst enjoying greater flexibility and control over your schedule. It’s a good idea to specialise in a particular subject area, like maths, science or languages, to set yourself apart and create a niche.

Private tutoring can be done in-person or online. If you’re looking to start a business from home, there are plenty dedicated online platforms, such as Tutor HuntTutorHouse, or Preply to get you started. This career change option allows you to stay in the education sector and where you can still help learners achieve their academic goals.

teacher career change private tutor

4. Education and Engagement Manager

Museums, zoos and other organisations with an educational element often hire education and engagement managers to develop and oversee educational programs. In this role, you might be creating interactive exhibitions for primary school children, planning out workshops and events that engage visitors and promote learning.

Your teaching experience will be invaluable in designing age-appropriate content and facilitating meaningful educational experiences for diverse audiences. These jobs are quite rare but great if you can get them. 

5. Freelance Writer

If you have a passion for writing, a career change to becoming a freelance writer could be a fulfilling choice. This is eventually what I landed in after I stopped teaching.

As a writer, you can work on a freelance basis or seek employment with a company or organisation. You can specialise in a particular niche, such as educational content, or explore other avenues and possible passions of yours like technology or health. Your ability to research, organise information and communicate effectively will be essential skills in this career.

teacher career change ideas writer

6. Event Planner

For teachers with strong organisational skills and a love for bringing people together, a career as an event planner can be an exciting change and a great one as a career change for teachers.

In this role, you’ll coordinate and manage various types of events, from conferences and workshops to weddings and business functions. Your ability to manage multiple tasks, communicate with clients and businesses, as well as paying attention to detail will be key to success in this fast-paced industry.

7. Childcare

If you enjoy working with young children and want to continue making a difference in their lives, a career in childcare or as a childminder could be a great fit.

In this role, you’ll provide a safe, nurturing environment for children, plan age-appropriate activities and support their development. Your teaching experience and understanding of child development will be valuable assets in this career. It’s also a career where there’s always big demand, especially with nursery fees being so expensive. 

You could even specialise in before-school or after-school clubs and have the rest of the day to yourself!

8. Educational Liaison

Educational liaisons serve as a bridge between schools, families and community organisations. In this role, you’ll work to foster communication and collaboration among these stakeholders to support student success. You may coordinate educational programs, provide resources and support to families, as well as advocating for student needs.

It’s not essential to have extra qualifications here, but it depends on the area. One thing is clear and it’s that your teaching experience and understanding of the education system will be essential in this career.

9. Project Manager

For teachers with strong leadership and organisational skills, a career as a project manager can be a rewarding change. In this job, you’ll oversee projects from start to finish, making sure they are completed on time, within budget and to the required quality standards. Your ability to manage teams, communicate effectively and problem-solve will be crucial in this career.

Project management opportunities can be found in various industries, from technology and construction to healthcare, digital marketing, education and much more. Lots of opportunities here. 

project manager as a career change idea for teachers

10. Teaching English Abroad

If you’re looking for an adventure and want to continue teaching, consider a career teaching English abroad.

Many countries around the world have a high demand for English language teachers, and your teaching experience will make you an extra competitive candidate. Teaching English abroad allows you to immerse yourself in a new culture, travel and make a difference in the lives of students from diverse backgrounds. To teach English abroad it’s likely you’ll need an ESL teaching qualification, like a TEFL certificate. 

11. Social Worker

For teachers with a passion for helping others and advocating for social justice, a career as a social worker can be a really fulfilling change. As a social worker, you’ll assist individuals and families overcoming challenges and improving their well-being. In this role, you’ll provide counselling, connect clients with resources and work to promote positive change. Your teaching experience, empathy and communication skills will be valuable assets in this career.

For this career you’ll need a specific social work qualification, such as a degree or masters in social work.

12. Child Psychologist

If you’re interested in supporting children’s mental health and development, a career as a child psychologist could be a great fit. Child psychologists work with children and their families to assess, diagnose and treat mental health concerns – which as we know are becoming a bigger and bigger issue.

They may also provide counselling, develop treatment plans and collaborate with other professionals to support children’s well-being. Your understanding of child development and experience working with children will be beneficial in this career.

You’ll certainly need the right qualifications for this role, including a degree and post-graduate degree, plus some form of internship and practical experience.

13. Entrepreneur

teacher career change ideas entrepreneur business

Have a passion project or business idea you’ve been dreaming about? A career change for teachers as an entrepreneur is a popular and massively exciting leap.

As an entrepreneur, you’ll have the freedom to create a business that aligns with your values and interests. Whether it’s starting an educational technology company, opening a tutoring centre or launching a creative venture that’s completely separate from teaching, your educational skills, such as communication, problem-solving and adaptability, will serve you well in the entrepreneurial world. It’s definitely a rollercoaster, but it can be extremely rewarding.

14. Education Consultant

As an education consultant, you’ll provide guidance and support to schools, districts, and educational organisations to improve their programmes and practices. You may conduct research, analyse data, develop curriculum and provide professional development for educators. Your teaching experience and knowledge of best practices in education will be invaluable in this role.

You don’t need a specific education consultancy degree for this role, but practical experience, knowledge and contacts will help you to go far with this career.

15. Life Coach

Feel like you’ve got a lot to offer after a career in teaching? As a life coach, you’ll help clients identify their goals, overcome obstacles and create action plans for personal and professional growth.

Your teaching experience, ability to motivate others and skills in active listening and providing feedback will be valuable assets in this career. Life coaches can work on a self employed basis or for coaching organisations, and many offer online coaching services. Personal branding will be key here to get yourself out there and make a good name for yourself. 

16. Therapist

For teachers who want to help others feel their best, a career as a therapist, such as a beauty, well-being or massage therapist can be a rewarding change. In these roles, you’ll provide treatments that promote relaxation, stress relief, and overall well-being.

Your ability to create a nurturing environment, listen to clients’ needs, and provide personalised care will be essential skills in these careers. You may need a qualification depending on the therapy route you go down. For example, you can get complete sports massage courses to get your level 3 and level 4 qualifications. A good massage therapist is always in demand! 

teacher career change sports massage therapist

17. Teaching Assistant

For teachers who want to take a step back from the full responsibilities of a classroom teacher, a teaching assistant role could be a great fit. Firstly you’ll know the role inside out, understanding exactly what is expected of you.

This career change allows you to continue working in schools and education whilst enjoying a much less demanding and less stressful role.

18. Lecturer

If you’re passionate about a particular subject area and enjoy teaching at a higher level, a career as a lecturer in higher education could be the change you need.

Lecturers teach courses at colleges and universities. For example, the obvious route would be to support the next generation of teachers on undergraduate and postgraduate teaching degrees.  Some lecturers also conduct research and contribute to their academic field, but not all do do this. Additional education may be required depending on what type of lecturer you want to be and in what subject area. 

19. Administrator

For teachers with strong organisational and interpersonal skills, a career in administration can be a rewarding change. Administrators work in various settings, from schools and universities to businesses and non-profit organisations. In this role, you’ll manage operations, oversee staff, and ensure that the organisation runs smoothly. Your ability to multitask, problem-solve, and communicate effectively will be essential skills in this career.

20. Virtual Assistant

If you’re looking for a flexible career, becoming a virtual assistant, or VA, could a great business from home idea. As a virtual assistant, you tend to be helping business owners on all sorts of tasks. This could be administrative, technical or lending creative support to clients remotely. Anything a business owner can offload successfully is up for grabs. 

Your teaching skills, such as organisation, time management, and communication, will be valuable assets in this career. You can work independently or for a virtual assistant agency, and many virtual assistants have the freedom to set their own schedules.

teacher career change ideas virtual assistant

21. Local Government or Counsellor

For teachers with a passion for public service and making a difference in their community, a career in local government or as a counsellor could be a fulfilling change. In these roles, you’ll work to address the needs and concerns of your constituents, develop policies and promote positive change.

You don’t necessarily have an have additional education to become a counsellor or be in local government. Instead, experience and a desire to work in this area is desired. Your teaching experience, ability to communicate effectively, and understanding of diverse perspectives will be valuable assets here.

22. Wedding Celebrant

Enjoy public speaking? Want to be involved in fun, joyous occasions and celebrate life’s milestones with others? A career as a wedding celebrant could be the one for you.

As a wedding celebrant, you’ll work with couples to conduct their wedding ceremonies, reflect their love story and values with a personal touch. Your ability to connect with people, communicate effectively and create meaningful experiences will be essential skills in this career. You don’t need formal educations here but completing a training course is a good idea to show you are serious.

Steps on how to switch careers as a teacher

teacher career change ideas confident plan

Making a career change is an exciting yet daunting prospect. This is especially true when transitioning from a well-established profession like teaching. To ensure a smooth and successful transition, it’s essential to approach the process with careful planning and a strategic mindset. 

Here are some key steps to help you navigate your career change journey:

Reflect on your motivations and goals

Before making any significant career moves, take the time to reflect on what is driving your desire for change. Are you seeking a better work-life balance, higher compensation or a new challenge? Identify your core values and long-term career aspirations to ensure that your next move aligns with your goals and brings you closer to job satisfaction.

Explore your options

Research potential career paths that align with your interests, skills and values. Take a look at online resources and professional networking sites to gather information about different industries and roles. 

Develop a transition plan

Create a structured plan to guide your career transition. Break down your ultimate goal into smaller, achievable milestones. It’s useful to set realistic timelines for each step. You might want to consider factors such as additional education or training requirements to fill in your knowledge gaps. Also consider financial obligations and personal commitments that may impact your transition timeline. If you can consider volunteering or taking on freelance projects to gain practical experience in your desired field.

Build your network

Networking is a crucial component of any successful career transition. Reach out to professionals in your target industry and make connections. Leverage your existing connections, such as former colleagues or alumni networks, to gather insights and potential job leads. If you want, you can also seek advice and support from mentors or career coaches who can provide guidance and help you navigate the challenges of a career change.

Tailor your professional brand

Revamp your professional brand to align with your new career goals. This might involve updating your CV, cover letter or online social profiles. To stop you attracting too much attention from current employers and nosey colleagues, consider setting this ‘new you’ up as a side hustle. If it’s possible, start freelancing and build from there. 

Be patient and persistent

Changing careers is a journey that rarely happens overnight. Be prepared for setbacks and rejections along the way and maintain a positive and resilient mindset. Celebrate small victories and learn from any challenges you encounter. Stay focused on your long-term goals and continue to take proactive steps towards your new career aspirations away from teaching.

So, good luck in your career change for teachers journey! You can find other career change guides, including our career change at 40 and career change at 50 specials, as well as our career guides page.

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