High-Paying Teacher Career Change Ideas (And How to Evaluate Your Skills)

Teachers acquire a vast number of skills during their careers that are easily transferable to alternate jobs if they wish to change careers for better prospects.
Teacher burnout is a very real phenomenon that causes many teachers to leave the industry each year. You might be surprised to hear that there are many skills obtained while teaching that can be transferred to alternate careers. After all, what is a teacher if not an all-encompassing project manager, HR representative, life coach, motivational speaker, and creative entrepreneur? We cover a slew of new career options for educators, both within and outside the education system. Read on to find out.
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You likely made the decision to become a teacher for compelling reasons. Perhaps you've always enjoyed working with kids. Perhaps a teacher's flexible schedule suited your other objectives and obligations in life. Perhaps a teacher from your own past inspired you to pursue this highly coveted profession.

So why would you contemplate changing careers? It's possible that your daily teaching activities don't center as much on working with kids as you'd intended, and the pressure of planning lessons for standardized testing has sucked the fun out of your lesson plans. 

Your aspirations of going home by 4 o'clock and taking the summer off may have been dashed by the amount of time you need to spend after work preparing for teaching. Or perhaps the demands of the contemporary classroom prevent you from inspiring your own kids the way your favorite teacher did when you were in middle school.

You don't have to become just a teacher because you have a degree in education. In truth, there are many excellent public and private sector jobs for teachers, whether it's climbing the corporate ladder or looking into positions in fields related to education other than teaching.

Download Checklist " 10 Simple Steps to Smooth Job Change"

Can teachers easily change careers?

There are many positions available for ex-teachers and as they say it’s never too late to change careers.

With your teaching degree and the transferable abilities you've developed in and out of the classroom, you could be a strong candidate for a variety of second professions.

All you need to know is what to aim for, when to seek out additional training, and how to promote your incredible skills. Teachers in schools are exceptional professionals. After all, only a select few are qualified for careers in education that involve working in classrooms. 

The fact that you have taught speaks volumes about your character, heart, and a vast range of skills developed over your teaching profession. You can create a career that more closely satisfies your needs by utilizing your professional strengths.

If you have entrepreneurial aspirations you might want to read our special guide on 10 Essential Career Change Tips to Becoming an Entrepreneur

Let’s start by looking at your skills that can be transferred to other professions.

Man Writing on Black board
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Transferable skills you acquired while teaching

Most teachers underestimate their own potential. Don’t believe us? Well here are 13 skills every teacher has that can be transferred to many alternate career options. Read on to see for yourself.

1. Decision-making

Making decisions for many different people each day is part of being in charge of a classroom of students. It needs agility and subtlety to be flexible and be able to modify a lesson plan or classroom discussion in light of recent developments. Excellent educators are quick thinkers.

Planning and decision-making are necessary for creating a syllabus as well as for establishing expectations and accountability for the classroom's general culture. The choices a teacher makes show their keen judgment and breadth of knowledge. These abilities are in demand and easily transferable.

2. Communication

Strong communication skills are a need in teaching and a valuable asset in almost all workplaces, whether you're discussing a student's development at a parent-teacher conference or working on a curriculum with others on your team. 

A teacher's background in leading a classroom makes them particularly skilled at disseminating knowledge in an engaging manner.

3. Writing

Success in practically every field depends on having strong writing abilities, and for teachers, this ability is cultivated early and improved via the pursuit of a master's degree. 

Everyone you work with and the pupils you teach benefit when you write thoughtfully and clearly. Any subject or field, from history to the natural sciences, needs proficient writers. 

This might be the most straightforward transferrable talent to display during a job hunt and the one that employers value the most!

4. Assessing another's work

No matter the grade level, a teacher's ability to efficiently and objectively evaluate their pupils' work is one of their greatest strengths. 

The assessment process takes up a significant portion of a teacher's week, whether it be grading tests, revising essays, or giving feedback on an oral presentation. 

The ability to clearly identify someone's strengths, limitations, and areas for improvement is extremely valuable and may be used in a variety of other situations.

5. Leadership

The teacher maintains the leadership position as the figurehead of the classroom. The structure for the material the instructor will give is created during lesson planning. The leadership abilities required to create and provide these resources go beyond this—they also include coaching, research, mentoring, career and personal counseling, and the execution of ideas and policies.

6. Training

Since teaching is a teacher's main responsibility, being able to communicate ideas clearly and effectively is a crucial talent. 

Teachers are experts at making people understand concepts and ideas whether he/she is teaching proper scissor-holding to preschoolers or discussing String Theory in a university lecture hall.

This ability to train can be a valuable transferable skill when looking at alternate careers.

7. Negotiations

Teachers are expert negotiators who mediate disagreements over a wide range of issues, including grades, deadlines, and extra credit, as well as strive to establish the culture and importance of classroom contributions. 

Teachers operate at the nexus of the two, ironing out the specifics, and trying to balance the demands of the classroom with the requirements of each individual student.

Any seasoned teacher's talents will continue to be honed by the administrative and contract negotiations that take place outside of the classroom.

8. Motivating

Although the enthusiasm required to teach a group of students is in and of itself motivating, pupils need also be motivated outside of the classroom. 

People can become lifelong learners and be motivated to succeed in numerous ways if you push them to push themselves in their writing and research. 

The most difficult pupils who might require an extra push to take the initiative and advance are those who a great teacher seeks to inspire.

9. Listening

Excellent listeners make for the best teachers. They are aware of how instruction and learning interact. Open ears and the ability to hear students' worries about the teacher and themselves are valuable skills that teachers acquire naturally. 

Effective teacher-student communication is facilitated by having teachers who can listen well and not just speak. This ability to listen creates a more meaningful engagement.

10. Organizing

Developing a semester's worth or a year's worth of coursework takes incredible planning and organization. To keep on track, educators must decide on and set standards, then plan months in advance how to meet them at a particular time. 

They must also keep track of who has advanced to what stage in the course and modify the material for students and classes at various levels.

11. Scheduling

Effective teachers structure their calendar year around planning and scheduling. Teachers must conduct lessons and deliver pupils to their next class on the schedule. 

This requires planning on a daily basis as well as mapping out the full school year. Scheduling takes up a large amount of any teacher's planning when staff and curriculum meetings, parent-teacher conferences, and office hours are accounted for.

12. Record-keeping

Teachers are superb record keepers, monitoring everything from progress reports, test scores, and report cards to students' reading and writing development. 

Accuracy and thoroughness enable tracking of each student's personal growth and development as well as follow-up with those who need additional support. 

In addition to the benefits to the kids throughout the course of a school year, good record-keeping has long-term benefits for the teacher as well because of the patterns and lessons they can learn.

13. Time management

For classroom teachers, time management is a fast-paced and challenging balancing act. 

In addition to the after-school time required to grade papers, follow up with parents, write letters of reference, or give additional support to kids who need it, there is the at-class pacing of finishing up lesson plans in the right place at the right time. 

Being on top of the day typically entails extensive planning for the upcoming week because a teacher's day is hectic and deadline-driven.

14. Social skills

Teachers must possess strong social skills that represent the classroom's culture. From early childhood education through the top levels of academics and higher education, flexibility, sensitivity, and respect for others are taught by example. 

Relationship management is helped by adaptability and conflict resolution, which also enable a lively and courteous teaching environment. 

To collaborate with students and faculty in groups and one-on-one settings in constructive and positive ways, teachers need to have strong social skills.

How can you transition to something new, then, after tallying up all the teaching abilities you've accumulated over the course of your career and figuring out why you want a change?

The ideal strategy is to overlay potential careers and transferable skills, then figure out how they relate to your interests. 

For some people, this means leaving the field of education and academics; for others, it can mean going beyond a master's to pursue a doctoral degree and transition into administration or adding a psychology or counseling certification to their skill set.

A teacher standing in a classroom
Photo by Max Fischer


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High-paying career change ideas for teachers

Unmudl focused on careers that benefited from teachers' unique abilities, knowledge, and experience while compiling this ranking of the highest-paying alternatives to teaching.

We also highly recommend that you go through our guide on 7 Short Courses for a Rewarding Career Change

Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals

It could be time to step up and become an administrator if you enjoy supporting children's learning and are prepared to advance your career by looking for opportunities in education other than teaching. 

You can be in charge of numerous facets of your school or district's success as an administrator, or you might be in charge of only one (like operations, instruction, or culture). 

Throughout the day, an administrator may visit with parents or assist instructors in honing their educational strategies. When you go into administration in a school where you previously taught in the classroom, you have the advantage of having a deep understanding of the students, faculty, and staff that will earn you respect right away.

Most administration positions require a master's or doctorate degree in addition to principal certification. The requirements for school administrators vary based on your state and whether you work in a public or private school. 

Median Pay: $98,420 per year

Salary range: $61,480 to $153,520

School/Child Psychologist

Looking at professions in education other than teaching in the area of student psychology might be a terrific way to move out of the classroom if you love trying to help children reach their potential. 

You will get to spend your time working one-on-one with pupils as a school/child psychologist, getting to know them on a deeper level than you were able to while you had a classroom full of children. 

Additionally, you might run group therapy sessions and work in classrooms where bullying and/or social problems are prevalent. You'll either work from an office at the school or you might visit different schools to see students.

A doctorate is required for school or child psychologists, and your state will require you to be licensed.

Median Pay: $81,040 per year

Salary range: $47,850 to $133,890

Download Checklist " 10 Simple Steps to Smooth Job Change"

Standardized Test Developer

One of the many fantastic career changes for teachers is becoming a developer of standardized tests. 

Creating quality standardized test questions can help students, parents, instructors, and administrators identify where kids are achieving and where they need extra help.

Not only will you need to be an expert in your field, but you'll also need to be skilled at developing high-quality tests with questions of varying degrees of difficulty. You could work at a school or an office for this position (especially if the school is large, and creates its own periodic assessments to prepare for state testing).

You'll probably require a master's or doctorate in your field of expertise to work as a standardized test developer.

Median Pay: $80,589 per year

Salary range: $24,000 to $145,000

Educational Consultant

Working as an educational consultant can be a fantastic way to continue to positively influence young minds if you're an educator seeking alternate careers in the education area.

You'll probably work as an educational consultant for a district that has a number of schools. Most educational consultants move from school to school over the course of a week while maintaining an office in a district building.

While the precise qualifications vary from district to district, the majority call for at least a master's degree and some even a doctorate. 

Many school systems additionally demand that educational consultants hold a current teaching certificate and complete continuing education requirements in order to keep their certificates current.

Median Pay: $67,288 per year

Salary range: $38,000 to $104,000

Curriculum Designer

Perhaps you are knowledgeable about your subject matter since you are a current or former educator who is contemplating retirement. 

You have a great understanding of how a curriculum should be created to best fit the demands of students, from typical misconceptions that pupils already had when you started your courses to tactics and recommendations to make learning stick. 

Teachers may want to consider changing their careers to become curriculum designers. In addition to teaching, the discipline of curriculum design offers many careers in the education industry to former teachers who are experts in their subjects. 

In this role, you'll collaborate with district instructional leaders to develop a curriculum that's ideal for students. The majority of curriculum design positions call for at least a master's degree in education as well as previous teaching experience. 

Depending on the policies of your school or district, you might need a teaching license to work as a curriculum designer. 

Median Pay: $66,756 per year

Salary range: $18,000 to $106,000

Corporate Trainer

You are skilled at speaking in a way that draws attention as a teacher. You are aware of how to provide teachings in a fun and suitable manner for your audience. 

One of the many fantastic career alternatives available to teachers who are prepared to leave the classroom is working as a corporate trainer. You'll create training materials, interact with workers, and perhaps even instruct managers on how to better communicate objectives and themes to their staff. 

You might travel between the company's many locations or work at one specific location. To work as a corporate trainer, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree, and in some cases, you might also need a master's degree.

Median Pay: $57,897 per year

Salary range: $42,000 to $84,000

Event Planner

This is one of the best jobs for teachers who don't want to teach. With the planning skills you acquired as a teacher this is an ideal exciting profession to get into. 

Weddings, educational conferences, and business conventions are just a few of the social and professional events that meeting, convention, and event planners arrange. 

They plan every aspect of these events, even the budget. For instance, meeting planners meet with clients to predict attendance and decide on the objective of the meeting before scheduling it. 

They manage the event's logistics, such as registering attendees and setting up the audiovisual equipment. They look for potential meeting locations such as hotels and convention centers. 

They take into account the facilities' ability to offer lodging and services, how simple it will be for visitors to go there, and the local attractions.

After deciding on a venue, planners set up the conference room and other amenities like cuisine and interpreters. 

They coordinate arrangements with the venue's staff and negotiate contracts with vendors. Additionally, they might arrange for speakers, entertainment, and activities.

Median Pay: $49,470 per year

Salary range: $30,170 to $96,230

Fitness Trainers and Instructors

Fitness teachers and trainers either work one-on-one with clients or plan and choreograph their own group workouts. 

Along with their fitness responsibilities, they might also manage the front desk, sign up new members, give facility tours, or oversee the weight-training and cardiovascular equipment areas. 

Trainers and instructors in the fitness industry can advertise their studios and classes on social media, via newsletters or blog posts, or by designing flyers and posters.

Personal Fitness Trainers, usually referred to as exercise specialists, work one-on-one or in small groups with clients. They could exercise in a gym or at a client's house. They assess the talents, personal objectives, and degree of fitness of their customers. Then, they create tailored training plans for each of their clients so that they can track their development. 

Group exercise Trainers offer group exercises for large groups that could involve stretching, muscle-strengthening, or cardiovascular activities. Some instructors choose exercises or routines for the participants to perform, and they then select music that complements the movement. 

Some instructors use pre-choreographed exercises designed by businesses or groups that specialize in fitness. They might conduct courses using particular fitness apparatus, like stationary bikes, or they might instruct certain age groups, like the elderly or children, using a particular conditioning technique, like yoga.

Median Pay: $40,700 per year

Salary range: $22,960 to $75,940

Determined plump black woman exercising with battle ropes in gym
Photo by Julia Larson


Final Word

There are a number of occupations in many kinds of industries that benefit from the skills obtained as a teacher, whether you are a retired teacher seeking a new career opportunity or a current teacher interested in changing career paths. 

Finding a meaningful new job path might be aided by being aware of the kinds of roles in which you can successfully apply your teaching abilities. In this post, we cover a variety of positions for former teachers, along with salary information and typical job responsibilities for each.

What choices do you have if you decide to reevaluate your job path? You might not want to stray too far from your current specialty because you are likely still inspired by the same factors that led you to become a teacher in the first place.

Alternatively, you might want something entirely new as a career option. In order to maximize the success of your career change after teaching, we looked at the transferable skills and recommended the best alternate careers for you as a teacher.

We hope that this guide has been useful to you and helps you make an informed decision. Best of luck with your future career.

Frequently Asked Questions

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