August 28, 2023
With many teachers stretched to capacity and feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are thinking about a change in careers. Pressure is mounting on teachers to do more with less, and salary increases are struggling to keep up with inflation.
If you’re thinking about leaving the teaching profession, you’re not alone. From 2021 to 2022, one in ten teachers left the state-funded education sector. An ever-growing workload is often cited as the main reason for leaving the profession.
If you’re thinking about jumping ship and starting a new career, here are some of the options available to you. We’ll also share our top tips for moving careers.
Curious about what career paths might be available to you after teaching, here are some of the most popular routes ex-teachers take after giving up the classroom. These career paths will allow you to put your training and experience to work in a new setting.
If teaching is your passion but you don’t want to be confined to the classroom anymore, you could consider a career as a private tutor. As a private tutor, you will work with pupils one-on-one, which will enable you to put your skills to the test.
Private tutors may be self-employed and set their own schedule, or they might work with an agency. If you work with an agency, you’ll have the benefit of their support, but you will also be limited by their pay scales. By choosing to go self-employed, you can set your own rates and decide who you work for.
In the UK, tutors charge anything from £15 per hour to £45 per hour. The rate you charge will be dependent on things like your location, your experience and the subjects you are teaching. The average private tutor salary in the UK is around £48,750.
Put your academic knowledge to work in a publishing role. This could be in writing, editing or project managing academic textbooks. You’ve been working with them for your whole career, so why not contribute to them and help bring new textbooks and learning resources to classrooms?
The average salary for an academic editor in the UK is around £29,338. As a textbook author, you can expect to earn royalties from all sales, which could be from around 40% to 50% based on your publishing deal.
If you’re interested in helping people in need, your experience with young people could be put to use as a social worker. Social workers are employed by the NHS and help to support people in crisis. They work with families and vulnerable people to help them find solutions to their problems. They also advise when it’s time for the authorities to intervene to protect people.
A social worker starts on Band 6 of the NHS pay scale, which is £35,000 per year. This can increase to £42,000 for more experienced case workers.
Another key area where teachers can put their skills to work is in library and museum settings. You could be working behind the scenes to archive collections, or you could be in a public-facing role helping to share your knowledge about history, art and literature with visitors.
Librarians make an average of £29,675 per year while museum curators can earn between £26,000 and £35,000 per year.
You’re an expert in navigating complex relationships between individuals, so why not put this to work in a human resources role? You’ll also have the administrative experience to help you in this type of role.
HR managers can earn between £35,000 per year to £55,000 per year when working with larger organisations.
If any of these career paths have piqued your curiosity, you might be wondering how to make the switch. After all, a career in teaching is thought to be very stable and secure. So before you make any big moves, you want to be confident you’ve covered your bases. These are the general steps you will need to take before changing careers from teaching.
Start by looking at the skills you have gained during your teacher training and your career. These will form the basis of your job search, as you need to find a career path where these skills will be transferable. Make a list of your key attributes and what makes you good at your job. Perhaps you’re good with people, you’re great at planning, or you are adaptable in the face of last-minute changes.
You should also consider any additional skills gained during your time as a teacher. This could include expanding your creative skills or undergoing additional training such as first aid or sports coaching. You’ll be surprised at just how diverse your skillset has become.
There might be gaps in your knowledge and experience that could hold you back from achieving your goals. To close these gaps, you might need to invest your time and money in additional training. Training could include:
Fitting in training alongside your existing commitments as a teacher can be challenging, so use your holiday time wisely. You could commit more time to learning during half term and the summer holidays.
If you have a financial buffer, you might leave the teaching profession and focus on retraining in a new career. This is a luxury not available to everyone, but you could accelerate your training if you are able to focus on learning new skills for a while.
It’s probably been a while since you updated your CV and cover letter for any new roles. Your CV will need some sprucing up as you will no longer be focusing on teaching roles. You’ll need to spend some time thinking about how you can make your skills and experience stand out to hiring managers.
Your cover letter also needs to explain your motivation for switching careers and how you will put your existing experience to work in this new role. If you’re struggling to articulate your motivation for switching careers, ask friends, family and colleagues for their input. You could also speak to a recruitment consultant in your chosen sector to get more insight into what hiring managers are looking for.
Interviews for teaching positions are typically very different to jobs in other sectors, so you might need to brush up on your interview skills. Read some practice interview questions and answers related to your chosen sector and then practise answering them for yourself.
You will also need to prepare how you will discuss your career change and the motivation behind it. You need to be able to show the hiring manager that you aren’t simply flaking on your career path and that you are switching directions in order to further challenge yourself. They don’t want to hire someone who might be looking for another career challenge in six month’s time, so think carefully about how you will convince them this is the right path for you.
You don’t have to manage all of this alone. Seeking out guidance and support from teachers who have made the switch before can be a huge source of encouragement. You could also find a mentor who works in your newly chosen field to help guide you through the interview process. Job shadowing is also a great way to gain hands-on experience and learn if your newly chosen career path is the right one for you. It’s better to find out now that you would be happier staying in a teaching role than six months down the line when you have already given up your job and invested in training.
This is certainly a lot to think about, but that’s simply because changing careers is not something that you should do lightly. You need to think carefully about why you want to leave the teaching profession and determine if you would really be happier switching to a new role.
If there are things that bother you about teaching, it might be a good idea to find out if you can fix these before you jump ship. But if you’re confident you’ve reached the end of the road in your teaching career, there are still ways you can put your skills and experience to work in another career path.
Teaching will give you plenty of transferable skills that other employers would love the opportunity to utilise. You might need some additional training to prepare yourself for a new career path, but your time will be put to good use if you can find a career path that makes you truly happy. It’s far better to take risks and follow your dreams than to stay in a safe and stable role and always wonder, “what if”?Back to Blog