Alternative Career Paths for Professional Educators
Information compiled by the GradSchools.com team - last updated August 2010
You may think that a professional degree in education would lead you down a narrow, pre-determined career path, forever confining you to the classroom. Of course, most teachers welcome this prospect, and flourish in a classroom setting. But you can take comfort in knowing that with the career skills of a teacher, you have a world of options available to you.
There is a broad range of careers that you can pursue with a background in education, many of which you may never have thought of. You can use your teaching skills for career opportunities in higher education
, childcare administration, publishing
, information science, journalism
, sales, marketing
, human resources
and much more. And this is by no means an exhaustive list; this is just the tip of the iceberg. And it stands to reason that if you can wrangle a gaggle of kindergarteners, seventh-graders or first-year college students, you have many of the skills necessary to manage employees in various settings.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the career options mentioned above to get you thinking in some broadening directions:
Do you feel drawn to the world of academia and higher education? Educators and teachers are able to transition with relative ease into jobs in higher ed— college administration, student affairs, curriculum development, alumni relations and development, human resources, you name it. Having a master’s degree in education as your foundation, your teacher skills are quite transferable in the higher education workplace, both in faculty and administration. You can work toward becoming a professor, perhaps a dean of a department, a director of financial aid; the possibilities are endless. The Chronicle of Higher Education, the go-to publication for Higher Education professionals, can better help you get a grip on the ins and outs of academia.
Curriculum specialist / Instructional coordinator
As a teacher, you’ve probably been (or will soon be) intimately involved in planning, preparing coursework and developing syllabi for your classes. If you enjoy that aspect of teaching and want to shape the student learning process on a grander scale, think about becoming an instructional coordinator, or curriculum specialist. You’ll train other teachers, choose textbooks, coordinate the implementation of technology, evaluate existing programs for suitability and success or even develop a unique curriculum to be used by teachers. This is an exciting and creative field, and for many, as rewarding as teaching.
As a direct result of the digital revolution, information science is one of the most exciting fields emerging today. Information scientists attend to how people present, access and use information of all kinds. The amount of data and information available is ever expanding, and is increasing across fields and contexts—from the natural and social sciences, to the humanities, to private and public sectors alike. Educators play an important role in how this information is presented and how we access it. Digital libraries, websites, blogs and all types of online user services are emerging that rely on knowing how a person learns and accesses information, and how others respond to it. Opportunities in new media, online publishing and distance education—just to name a few—abound for students trained in educational practice and theory.
Do you enjoy forging professional relationships and team building? You may want to consider human resources development, perhaps as a personnel or labor relations specialist. Human resources, as a job field, is ever-evolving—pulling together elements of psychology, management, financial planning, economy and development to help steer and guide a company toward shared goals. While it’s true that human resources professionals are commonly thought of as bridges between the management and workforce, it can be so much more. So do some investigating yourself; check out this broad and informative overview of careers in human resources, training and labor relations management.
Are museums your cup of tea? Have you ever read a museum mission statement? They are, fundamentally, educational institutions; New York State even recognizes them as such officially. It should come as no surprise then, that they often employ those with education degrees. Museum jobs offer an educational and fascinating alternative to the classroom. Museums are the educational cornerstones to our past and future, and museums are always in need of emerging professionals, so check out the American Association of Museums career page to learn more.
You’ve just had a look at a very small slice of the career options available to those with master’s and professional degrees in education. With the ways in which we interact, learn and work changing so rapidly, entire industries are being built around emerging technologies and new economies. Perhaps the wheels have started turning for you and you’ve begun to realize that a master’s degree in education is in no way a limitation on your career options, but instead can prepare you for a whole world of exciting work opportunities. Do your own research, delve deep into your own interests—work will never feel like work as long as you’re doing what you love.
Check out: Programs in Education & Teaching
Photo by Teep & Rach