It might seem obvious — if you get a teaching degree, it’s because you’re going to wind up at the chalkboard in front of a classroom full of kids. While becoming a teacher might be the traditional path but the skills you learn getting your teaching degree are coveted in a wide range of industries and roles. Let’s take a look beyond the chalkboard at some of these alternatives.
1. Childcare Worker
If you think working as a nanny or a daycare assistant is a step down for someone with an advanced degree, think again. More and more, families are looking to give their kids a head start in education and look for nannies with a degree, especially one in early childhood education, and they’re willing to pay handsomely for it. Having CPR training or a Child Development Associate credential from the Council for Professional Recognition can net you even more.
We’re not talking top executive salaries but you probably didn’t get into teaching for that; a role like this one lets you touch children’s lives without being in the educational system.
2. School Counselor
School counselors get to help kids and young adults figure out who they are, choose an educational path that’s right for them and find future careers in which they’ll excel. While some people become school counselors by getting a degree specifically in counseling, others go the teaching route. In fact, some states even require their school counselors to have teaching licenses or get 1-2 years of experience teaching under their belts before getting certified.
According to 2018 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), school counselors make a median salary of $56,310. Those in elementary and secondary schools made $63,280 and the top 10% made over $94,690 a year.
3. School Librarian
Public school librarians often need to be certified teachers to work in the role. For many, it’s a perfect blend of elements — you’re facilitating learning rather than directing it from in front of a class, you’re connecting kids to materials that will have a huge impact on their lives and, best of all, you get to lead storytime.
Librarians working in elementary and secondary schools earned a median salary of $60,780, according to the BLS and the field is expected to grow by a little over 3% between 2018 and 2028.
4. Adult Educator
If working with children isn’t really your thing, teaching adults might be a better fit. And there’s plenty of opportunities for this. There are adults who have different learning abilities and need specialized attention to learn the basics like math, reading and writing. There are adults who want to knock out their GED and teachers help them ace the test. And, there are learners from other countries who are trying to integrate and need instruction in reading, writing and speaking English.
Adult educators in public schools need a bachelor’s degree while those in community colleges typically need a master’s and some training in English as a Second Language (ESL). These professionals bring home a median annual salary of $53,630.
5. Museum Educator
Museum educators have the chance to light the fires of curiosity for visitors from all age groups. They might design displays, help create interactive exhibits, lead learning opportunities and give tours to offer guests a deeper experience. Here’s the best part — there are traditional museums that let you dive into art and history and there are off-the-wall museums where you can become an expert on 17th-century dolls or the Idaho potato.
As you can see, the skills you learn in a teaching degree program — organization, leadership, effective communication and a love of knowledge — open up a diverse range of careers that let you be an educator without confining you to a classroom.