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Alternative Careers for Teachers (What else can I do?)

Alternative Careers for Teachers (What else can I do?)

There are some unique aspects when it comes to teachers rethinking their careers. So I have invited my career coach colleague, Laura Litwiller, to share her insights because she specializes in helping teachers at a career crossroads.

I once longed to be a teacher myself and I even started out in health education and loved it in many ways, but I burned out after two years and later realized I didn’t account for my energy needs as an introvert and highly sensitive person dealing with people all day. I’ve heard this same story from other teachers too. So I’m personally excited to share Laura’s inspiring message with more teachers.

Laura Litwiller career coach for teachersWith a background in education, Laura now helps teachers make a confident choice about the next step of their career. Whether they choose to stay in the classroom or head down a different career path, they can do so with hope, clarity, and purpose.

I believe they can do so in alignment with their personality needs too. There are many options.


Career Alternatives for Classroom Teachers

By Laura Litwiller

“But I don’t even know what else I could do!”

I’ve heard this sentiment tumble out of teachers’ mouths many, many times as they consider career change. It’s a desperate plea for alternatives to a career that isn’t really working for you anymore, and it’s full of doubts about whether you qualify for anything other than classroom teaching.

I’m here to tell you that you actually do have options. I’ve got proof! (If you’re wondering why it’s hard to believe in or imagine that you have choices, read this blog post: You might feel stuck, dear teacher.)

10 Real-life Career Transitions by Former Teachers

Here is a list of 10 jobs that former teachers have gone on to do. I’ve worked with or know all of them personally.

  1. Director of Administrative Operations for a university provost
  2. Area Director for Campus Ministries for a group of universities
  3. Operations Coordinator at a transportation company
  4. Makerspace Educator for a neighborhood center
  5. Warehouse operations for a robotics company
  6. Program Consultant for an ecotechnology firm
  7. Teen engagement coordinator for a local synagogue
  8. Customer Success Manager for a modular homes company
  9. Program Coordinator for a study abroad program
  10. Manager of Outreach Partnerships at a STEM nonprofit
  11. Director of Instructional Technology for a public school district

How does it make you feel to see this list? I hope it gives you a little more confidence that change is possible.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

stress and balanceAt the end of the day, you might decide you do want a career change. Or you might decide you don’t!

Either way, knowing that change is possible and that you have options beyond the classroom gives you a CHOICE.

You can stay in the classroom and find ways to refresh and revitalize your experience. You can find other opportunities to stay in the field of education. Or you can leave education altogether to pursue a totally new career experience. The choice is yours!

I created a quiz to help you begin the discernment process:
>> Quiz for Teachers: Should I Stay or Should I Go? <<

Why career lists give me pause.

I’ve actually thought about creating a list like this for a while. As a teacher exploring career change, you’re dying to know what else you can do other than teach, right? You’re not alone.

What has stopped me from making a list like this is that I worry it will limit you. I don’t want you to see this list and all the other lists out there of career alternatives for teachers and assume that they are your only choices.

I also worry that lists like this one will encourage you to approach your career exploration from a deficit point of view.

These career ideas lists are created based on the question “what can I do?” versus “what do I want to do?” Do you see and feel the difference here? The first says, “I’m not qualified for much, so what can I get?” The latter says “I’ve got all kinds of amazing skills and experiences to bring to the next chapter of my career, so what do I want?”

There’s no list out there to tell you what you want to do, but that’s actually the most important question! And a better starting place.

How to use a list of career ideas like this.

Despite my concerns about leaning too hard on a list like this, I also think that it will help you start believing you have career choices and give you some initial ideas to consider. Here are a few tips for how to use this list.

DON’T box yourself into just these options. This list is just a small sampling of all the careers that teachers go on to do after they leave the classroom. There are so many more.

DON’T assume the jobs on this list are a good fit for you just because other teachers have them. These particular jobs might be a good fit for you but they also might be a terrible fit for you! These teachers got these jobs because of their own unique set of interests, skills, strengths, and experiences.

DO use a career ideas list as a starting point for inspiration and possible career ideas. If one of them intrigues you, you can start learning more.

DO start building your own list of career possibilities that excite you. Google search phrases like “best careers for introverts,” “careers for people who enjoy writing,” “careers in the outdoors,” “fun jobs no one has ever heard of,” “jobs where I can use my creativity,” etc…

Making Your *Own* Career Possibilities List

If you’d like help making your own list of career possibilities that light you up, one that’s customized specifically to your interests, skills, strengths, and values, I’ve got an option for you.

My online course, Teachers at a Crossroads: Exploring Career Change, will help you find your way, and it’s nourishing along the way.

Teachers at a Crossroads - career course
Teachers at a Crossroads: Exploring Career Change

Help me add to this list of career ideas for teachers!

If you know of a former teacher who is now working outside of the classroom, share it in the comments below. It might intrigue a teacher reading this, and they can add it to their own list of careers to learn more about.


About the Author, Laura Litwiller

Laura is a career coach for educators who want to explore possibilities beyond the classroom. Whether they choose to stay in the classroom or head down a different career path, they do so with hope, clarity, and purpose. She offers career coaching and career courses for educators.

Laura is also the creator of this awesome free tool:
Quiz for Teachers: Should I Stay or Should I Go? 

Laura lives in Massachusetts (though she’s a Midwesterner at heart!) with her husband and two young daughters. Her own work has run the gamut in education: teaching high school Spanish, advising college students, directing a study abroad program, and instructing an urban cycling course.

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Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

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