Highest-Paying Alternative Careers for Teachers 

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Teaching is a noble profession that has long been seen as a calling for individuals passionate about shaping young minds. However, there may come a time in a teacher’s career when they start considering alternative paths outside of the classroom. Whether it’s due to burnout, desire for new challenges, or simply wanting to explore different career options, transitioning out of traditional classroom teaching can be an exciting and rewarding journey.

We understand that making the decision to leave the teaching profession can be daunting, but it is crucial to remember that educators possess a unique skill set and valuable experience that can be applied in various industries.

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Top Alternative Teaching JobsSalary
1. Administrator$115,000
2. Educational Consultant$107,000
3. School Psychologist$95,000

By exploring these alternative paths and discussing the possibilities of transitioning out of teaching, we aim to provide guidance and inspiration for those who are contemplating a career change. Let’s embark on this journey together and discover the myriad of opportunities awaiting educators beyond the traditional classroom setting.

What Makes Teachers Leave Teaching?

The issue of teacher exhaustion and burnout is unfortunately all too common in the teaching profession. However, it is often not spoken about openly due to societal taboos. When teachers dare to voice their concerns about why talented educators leave the field, they are unfairly labeled as complainers. Even those who stand up for their rights by striking or advocating for unionization risk facing professional consequences such as being blackballed.

The statistics on teacher burnout are alarming and demand our attention. It is concerning that over 25% of schools in the US are dealing with overcrowding, a situation that is predicted to worsen as the population grows. This issue requires urgent action to ensure that teachers have a supportive and conducive environment to carry out their invaluable work of educating our future generations.

Over half of teachers are burdened with work hours that are simply not sustainable. These dedicated professionals go beyond the standard school day, sacrificing their evenings, nights, and weekends to ensure the best education for their students. It is high time we recognize and address this issue to support our hardworking teachers.

The causes of teacher burnout are well-documented and undeniable. Overcrowded classrooms, long working hours, and financial pressures (often leading teachers to dig into their own pockets for supplies) all contribute to this issue. The evidence leaves no room for doubt. Sad as it is to see that

  • 40% of new teachers leave their profession within just five years
  • more than 50% contemplate quitting and just feel they have no way out

The reasons behind this trend are not at all surprising, as the challenges faced by educators can be formidable. However, it is important to remember that these talented individuals have the potential to explore fulfilling opportunities in alternative careers where they can thrive.

How Can Experience Transferable Skills Benefit Alternative Careers?

Teaching is a profession that equips individuals with a wide range of transferable skills that can be valuable in alternative careers. Your bachelor’s degree might have given you some technical skills, but the skills acquired through teaching extend beyond the classroom and can be applied to various industries and roles.

  • Communication
  • Organizational abilities
  • Problem-solving
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills

One of the key transferable skills from teaching is effective communication. Teachers are adept at conveying complex information in a clear and concise manner, adapting their communication style to suit diverse audiences. This skill is invaluable in any role that involves interacting with clients, colleagues, or stakeholders.

Another valuable skill gained from teaching is strong organizational abilities. Former educators are skilled at managing multiple tasks simultaneously, creating lesson plans, and organizing classroom materials for educational programs. These organizational skills translate well into roles that require project management, event planning, or administrative responsibilities.

Problem-solving is another skill honed through teaching experience. Educators are constantly faced with challenges such as adapting lessons to meet individual student needs or finding creative solutions to engage students. This ability to think critically and find innovative solutions is highly sought after in many professions.

Furthermore, teaching cultivates strong interpersonal skills. Teachers regularly collaborate with colleagues, parents, and other professionals to ensure the success of their students. These collaborative abilities are vital in team-oriented environments where effective teamwork and relationship-building are essential.

Lastly, teachers often possess exceptional leadership qualities. They have experience leading classrooms of students towards common goals and motivating individuals to achieve their best potential. These leadership skills can be applied in managerial positions or when taking on projects that require guidance and direction.

The transferable skills gained from teaching make it a valuable asset for alternative careers. Effective communication, organization, problem-solving capabilities, interpersonal skills, and leadership qualities acquired through teaching experience can greatly contribute to success in various professional fields outside of education.

What About Educational Entrepreneurship and Freelancing?

In today’s ever-evolving educational landscape, there are abundant opportunities for entrepreneurs and freelancers to make a significant impact. Your teaching degree can be valuable for more than one career path. The intersection of entrepreneurship and education has opened up avenues for individuals with a passion for teaching and a desire to create innovative solutions.

One avenue that has gained traction is starting an educational consulting business. As an entrepreneur in the education sector, you have the opportunity to leverage your expertise and experience to provide valuable guidance to schools, educators, and parents. Whether it’s curriculum development, teacher training, or implementing new technologies in the classroom, your consulting services can help shape the future of education.

Moreover, teachers who are looking for more flexibility can explore freelance opportunities within the education field. With advancements in technology and online learning platforms, teachers can now offer their expertise beyond the confines of traditional classrooms. From tutoring services to curriculum writing or even creating digital learning resources, freelancing allows educators to showcase their skills while enjoying a flexible work schedule.

By embracing entrepreneurship in education or venturing into freelance work as a teacher, you not only have the potential to shape young minds but also create a fulfilling career that aligns with your passion for education. The demand for innovative solutions in this field is growing rapidly, making it an exciting time to explore these entrepreneurial and freelance opportunities within the realm of education.

Who Hires Jobs for Former Teachers?

If you’re wondering where all the companies that hire teachers are, you’re not alone. It’s true that teachers possess a work ethic that is unparalleled in any other profession. Their dedication and commitment to their students’ growth and development is truly remarkable. Rest assured, there are companies out there who recognize and value these qualities, and actively seek to hire a former teacher for various roles.

Imagine having a team of dedicated individuals who not only handle the challenges of engaging and motivating others for hours on end but also go above and beyond by tirelessly grading, planning, and resolving issues after work. These are the type of exceptional individuals any company would be fortunate to have as part of their team.

Many of the best jobs for ex-teachers – especially math teachers – pop up in the tech world. Teachers combine the power of soft skills, such as effective communication and nurturing, with the hard skills required for coding and software development. The result is a dynamic combination that not only creates skilled individuals but also promotes creativity, innovation, and success in the digital era.

Education is undergoing a significant digital transformation, thanks to advancements in technology. The exciting next step lies in the development of virtual tools that will revolutionize learning. With the active involvement of experienced and knowledgeable teachers, these innovative projects are guaranteed to be both useful and valuable in classrooms everywhere.

In the realm of corporate training and talent development, many small companies have recognized the value of hiring teachers. These professionals possess exceptional emotional intelligence and management skills that are greatly valued within smaller organizations. Their expertise brings a unique perspective to these roles, making them an asset in fostering growth and development within a company’s workforce.

Teachers possess a remarkable talent for inspiring and bringing out the best in individuals, which makes them incredibly valuable in various roles. Even as ex-teachers transition to different careers, they often find that the most fulfilling opportunities still involve working closely with people. Their ability to motivate and connect with others continues to play a fundamental role in these types of jobs.

What Can Retired Teachers Do?

Teachers have the unique opportunity to explore second careers after they retire from teaching. It’s an exciting prospect, especially considering that many public school teachers start their careers right after college and can retire as early as their 50s after dedicating 25 years to their profession. This opens up a world of possibilities for teachers to embark on new career paths and continue making a meaningful impact in different fields.  

Consulting jobs tailored for retired teachers offer a multitude of fulfilling opportunities. With their years of experience, these seasoned educators can return to the education sector to provide invaluable mentorship to aspiring teachers, shape curriculum guidelines for schools, offer expert advice to school districts regarding teacher requirements, and even advocate for the professional needs and rights of fellow educators. This not only allows retired teachers to continue making a meaningful impact in the field they love but also contributes to the growth and success of future generations of educators.

Education consulting is a highly lucrative field that offers valuable solutions to schools and school systems facing complex challenges. Many educational institutions seek the expertise of external consultants when they encounter problems beyond their own expertise. Moreover, retired teachers have the unique opportunity to leverage their vast knowledge and experience to enhance education for all, making consulting jobs in this domain incredibly rewarding.

Retired teachers have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be put to good use even after leaving the classroom. They can explore fulfilling opportunities such as developing testing material, designing curricula, or providing personalized tutoring for students in need. While some of these jobs may come with attractive pay, others may provide an opportunity for retirees to give back through volunteer work. Regardless, retired teachers have so much wisdom and value to offer, and there are plenty of ways for them to continue making a positive impact in education.

Best Alternative Jobs for Teachers 

An alternative education career can be more lucrative than teaching. The following jobs are presented from highest salary to lowest, according to average national salaries at Salary.com

1. Administrator – Principal, Vice-Principal, Superintendent

If you have a passion for helping children learn and want to advance your career beyond teaching, exploring opportunities in the education field as an administrator might be the perfect next step for you. Elevate your professional journey and make a greater impact by taking on a leadership role in education. School administrators have the important task of overseeing various aspects of your school or district’s success. And with a teaching background, you know what your teachers need as a school administrator. Whether it is managing operations, instruction, or maintaining a positive culture, you play a crucial role in ensuring the overall well-being and achievement of students.

Average Salary: $115,000

2. Educational Consultant

Embarking on a career as an educational consultant offers a meaningful opportunity to positively impact the lives of young individuals. By taking on this role, you will have the privilege of working closely with multiple schools within a single district. This allows you to effectively contribute your knowledge and expertise throughout the entire education system, making a lasting difference in students’ lives.

Educational requirements for teaching positions vary among different school districts. However, it is important to note that most districts typically require a minimum of a master’s degree, while some may even require a doctorate. This emphasis on higher education ensures that educators are equipped with the necessary knowledge and expertise to provide students with the best possible learning experience. Educational consultants play a crucial role in school districts, and many require them to possess a valid teaching certificate.

Average Salary: $107,000

3. School/Child Psychologist

As a teacher, your heart might be with helping the students who struggle, who have trouble at home, or who have disabilities that keep them from making the most of their education. A career as a  school or child psychologist can take you from the classroom and into a powerful position to do the most good. You can work one on one with young people, guide kids through group therapy, or educate children in schools about mental health and wellness. 

Average Salary: $95,000

4. Standardized Test Developer

Embracing a role as a standardized test developer can open up exciting new career possibilities for teachers. This field offers a unique and rewarding avenue for professional growth, allowing educators to make a significant impact on the education system beyond the classroom. If you have a passion for ensuring students meet their learning goals, creating top-notch standardized test questions can greatly benefit everyone involved.

In this role, you have the flexibility to work either in a professional office setting or within an educational environment. This is especially true for larger schools that develop their own assessments in preparation for state testing.

Average Salary: $88,000

5. Curriculum Representative/Salesperson

Although parents might not be aware of it, as a teacher you certainly are – textbooks, workbooks, exams, and other classroom materials are products, and somebody sells those products. If you’re ready to get out of teaching, and have a way with convincing people, you could become a Curriculum Representative or Salesperson. You’ll travel from school to school and district to district to pitch your company’s curriculum. Not only will you get to meet lots of professionals and see lots of places – you might also make rewarding commissions. 

Average Salary: $71,000

6. Curriculum Designer

No one knows better than working teachers what students need to learn – whether it’s clearing up their misunderstandings about science or encouraging them to think critically about a literary text. That makes curriculum design a natural career change for teachers. As an expert in your subject, you can work with teachers and administrators to design a curriculum that actually works for students. 

Average Salary: $69,000

7. Instructional Designer

Like curriculum design, instructional designers use their expertise to write up lesson plans and assessments that other teachers will implement in the classroom. If you love the nuts and bolts of teaching, but the classroom isn’t your favorite place, you may be right at home designing instructional materials and plans. Working with teachers and leaders to incorporate their knowledge and experience means a better learning experience for kids all around. 

Average Salary: $67,000

8. Recreation Director

If your favorite part of the day, as a teacher, is still recess, maybe you should look into a new career as a recreation director. It’s definitely a great choice for physical education teachers. Recreation directors develop programs for schools, camps, group homes, and other setting where kids need structured play and exercise. Your classroom experience will bring a whole other level of expertise, since you know how to communicate with kids to find out what really brings them joy and learning together. 

Average Salary: $65,000

9. Education Policy and Research

Education policy is one of the hottest-contested aspects of politics. Nothing gets voters fired up more than talk of educational policy changes. As a Education Policy Researcher, you get to make a difference across schools and districts. As a researcher, you may work for political campaigns, education advocacy organizations, nonprofit groups, or government agencies – federal, state, or local. You’ll need strong writing skills and critical thinking. There’s such a wide range of work to be done, from saving at-risk schools to making radical developments in education. It will never get boring! 

Average Salary: $64,000

10. Homeschool Consultant

Homeschooling parents often need the help of an expert to provide the best possible education for their children. A homeschool consultant can work with parents or homeschool groups to develop their curriculum, assess kids’ progress, and make sure everyone is meeting their milestones. You may work as a freelance consultant, or join the team of an educational consulting company.

Average Salary: $64,000

11. Freelance Writer, Blogger, Podcaster

Today is the age of content, when freelance creators can make their voices heard. Teachers have a lot to say, and if you have a passion for making education better, you can open up all kinds of doors by becoming a writers, blogger, or podcaster. Your writing skills, experience, knowledge, and personality can make you the perfect person to comment on education policy, advise teachers, and open parents’ eyes in a variety of media. You can start freelancing while working, and with success, make it your full-time job. 

Average Salary: $63,000

12. Life Coach

Life coaching gets its share of chuckles – except for the people whose lives have been changed by a good life coach. A life coach works with clients to help them set goals, grow as people, and ultimately feel better about themselves and their lives. And teachers are often exactly the right kind of person – empathetic, genuine, and encouraging. To succeed, you’ll need to have good habits of your own. Working independently as a life coach requires self-motivation and organization. While some work for an agency, most life coaches are entrepreneurs and need that do-it-yourself spirit. 

Average Salary: $61,000

13. After School Program Director

Some teachers love interacting with kids, but not the other responsibilities that go with teaching. An After School Program Director works to create educational and engaging afterschool programs for schools, organizations like the YMCA, or private recreation organizations. You may work with teachers, coaches, and parents to develop and assess your programs. Don’t expect to sit in your office all day! 

Average Salary: $59,000

14. School Counselor

For teachers who want a career change, but want to stay in education, school counseling is a perfect fit. School counselors help students with whatever issues are affecting their schoolwork, from learning disabilities to lack of resources. They help advise kids about their future, and work with parents to help them support their children as best they can. They also lead assemblies and educate students on issues like bullying, studying, and self-acceptance. Many school counselors work in multiple schools in a district, though some may be assigned to one school. 

Average Salary: $59,000

15. Corporate Trainer

School isn’t the only place people learn. We have to learn throughout our lives, and in the corporate world, training is crucial for business success. That’s why corporate training is a big business, and a perfect alternative career for teachers. You develop training programs for employees and managers along with human resources, lead workshops, and build morale and community in a company. You may work freelance, or be hired by a company to travel from location to location teaching their employees. 

Average Salary: $57,000 

16. Adult Educator

You might love teaching, but the kids are wearing your down. Don’t feel bad. Adults need education too! From night classes at community college, to GED prep courses, to career centers and social services, there are many opportunities to turn your teaching skills to helping adults improve their lives. Adult students present a rewarding opportunity to see your teaching make a difference for people and their whole family. 

Average Salary: $56,000

17. Admissions Counselor/Recruiter

The competition around getting into college has created a whole professional niche – admissions counselors and recruiters. Recruiters travel from school to school informing kids about their college, showing what that college has to offer and helping them decide whether it fits their life goals. Admissions counselors work within the school to help prospective students through the admissions process. Both can be highly rewarding for former teachers, who already have a good idea of what students want and need in a college. 

Average Salary: $54,000

18. Residence Life Director

Like student life directors, residence life directors can make a college experience memorable – for good or bad. Be one of the good ones and use your teaching experience and soft skills to support students not only academically, but in their private lives. Managing dorms, vetting resident assistants, and coordinating maintenance uses many of the organizational and people skills you developed in teaching. So does disciplining students and keeping order. If you have a gift for leadership and a heart for young people starting their adult lives, you can be a residence life director. 

Average Salary: $54,000

19. Preschool Director

Early childhood education forms a critical foundation for success in the future. Children who go to preschool perform better in school, and that lasts for a lifetime. As an educator, a career change to a preschool director gives you the chance to set the state for those valuable early experiences. You will work with teachers to provide the support that parents and kids need to succeed from the very beginning. The leadership skills you’ve honed in the classroom help make sure the ship runs right. 

Average Salary: $52,000

20. Textbook Author

As an expert in your field, you may consider sharing that expertise with others as a textbook author. Textbook authors have the unique challenge of having to share important, sometimes complex ideas and knowledge in a way appropriate to each age group. Your experience in the classroom gives you an advantage over writers who have never taught – you actually know what gets through to young people. And your curiosity will be rewarded when you get to study the most current information in your area and communicate it to the next generation. 

Average Salary: $51,000

21. Camp Director

Camps are an educational experience all their own, whether it’s a sleepaway camp in the mountains or a YMCA day camp in the city. Becoming a camp director could be a great career change for teachers who like the administrative side of education. As a camp director, you’ll be in charge of a wide variety of tasks, from hiring counselors to developing the schedules to handling the millions of little day-to-day issues that pop up with a gaggle of kids. If you loved summer camp as a kid and want to live it every day, it’s time for a career change! 

Average Salary: $48,000

22. Career Counselor

One of the most in-demand specialties in counseling, career counseling is a perfect fit for many teachers. It’s one aspect of teaching that they don’t teach in education programs, especially for high school teachers. You can take those skills that you developed as teachers and turn them advising students, helping them with resumes, building their interview skills, and more. Whether you’re helping college students prepare for the job market, or helping established adult workers change careers, career counselors make a difference in people’s lives. 

Average Salary: $46,000

23. Student Life Coordinator/Director

A college education isn’t all classroom and homework and tests – social events and student life are often what students remember the most. For teachers who want a job in the education field besides teaching, student life coordinator or director give you the chance to feed the other side of education. A student life coordinator organizes events and initiatives for students that make their life on campus healthier, happier, and more fun. It’s a job that take positivity, social skills, and a vision for what young people want. 

Average Salary: $46,000

24. Tutor

Some teachers are really at their best one-on-one rather than in a classroom. If that’s you, consider working as a private tutor. Many families find they can’t put a price on success for their students, but you can – your hourly rate. Tutors help students work through subject where they may be struggling, and help them adapt to their personal limitations or learning styles. A good tutor doesn’t just get students through a sticky subject, but actually build skills they can use the rest of their lives. 

Average Salary: $43,000

25. Museum Educator/Tour Guide

Museums provide some of the richest learning opportunities in the world, and museum educators and tour guides make it come alive. For teachers, the chance to share your knowledge of a field you love, in an active, hands-on way, could be the most rewarding job you’ve ever had. From art to history to science, museum educators answer questions, give context to displays, and shape the experience of a museum for the visitors. 

Average Salary: $40,000


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Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

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ValueColleges.com 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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