Education Degree Careers: It’s Not All About Being a Teacher
Most people assume an education degree only results in jobs as a teacher. While this is predominantly the case, there are other positions that you can qualify for with an education degree.
Many of these roles involve working in schools, just not in a teaching capacity. These professionals use the knowledge acquired from their collegiate studies to support students and the educational process in other ways, such as counseling, curriculum building, and administration.
Other education majors take their skills outside of educational settings. Employers value their expertise with specific subjects or age groups and their ability to convey information in ways others can grasp.
What are some alternate jobs available if you get an education degree? Whether you don’t want to spend time with kids all day or teaching just isn’t your thing, here are 10 possibilities beyond working as a classroom teacher.
10 Career Options Outside the Classroom for Education Degree Holders
Virtually every elementary, middle, and high school employs one or more school counselors. These professionals provide an array of emotional, social, academic, and career services that boost student achievement. An education degree is an excellent start to building this career.
School counselors meet with students individually or in groups to discuss problems. For example, they may strategize ways to improve academic performance, direct students and their families to therapists or social service organizations, or hold seminars on topics such as bullying or stress. Many times, school counselors help with post-secondary planning. They may walk students through the college application process or present vocational options.
School counselors need to hold a Master’s Degree in School Counseling or a related field. Some graduate programs in school counseling only accept applicants with teacher certification and prior classroom experience. The master’s degree is one component for becoming licensed or certified as a school counselor. The process can also involve:
- A supervised internship
- A passing score on a comprehensive test (such as Praxis)
- A successful criminal background check
School counseling can be a rewarding career option for someone who enjoys helping others, feels comfortable interacting with a variety of people, and possesses great listening and communication skills.
Demand for school counselors is expected to rise during the next decade, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting 11% job growth from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, the median annual pay for this occupation was $58,120.
People often associate the word “librarian” with a school setting. While this environment certainly is an option, there are many different types of libraries. A person with an education degree and training in library science may opt, for instance, to work at a medical, legal, or corporate library.
Modern librarians help people to find information and learn via many different types of media. Yes, they still can recommend a good book, but they also know how to guide individuals through vast amounts of material online and elsewhere to find answers to questions. Depending on where they work, this might involve assisting a student with a research paper or a lawyer with finding details on a specific Supreme Court decision.
Librarians commonly hold a Master’s Degree in Library Science or information studies. Some school librarians possess a bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Education along with coursework in library science.
Many states require librarians in public schools to hold teacher certification. Librarians employed in special settings usually have a graduate degree related to the institution’s purpose. For instance, a law librarian commonly has a background in law.
Organized individuals who enjoy problem-solving often make good librarians. The BLS projects employment of librarians to grow 9% between 2020 to 2030. Librarians earned a median annual salary of $60,820 in 2020.
3. Technical Writer
Skills learned in an education program can be an excellent base for becoming a technical writer. During your schooling, you learn how to share information and convey it in ways others can understand. Technical writers perform this action every day, just not in a classroom.
Technical writers put complex or potentially confusing information into plain language that readers can comprehend. Employers hire them to create instruction manuals, how-to guides, FAQs, and other written material.
In addition to possessing a Bachelor’s Degree in Education or a communications-related field, technical writers often have a background in a technical subject such as science, engineering, or computer science. This knowledge helps them personally understand the material, which then enables them to convey it more effectively to others.
Detail-oriented individuals who can look at information from a common person’s perspective might do well as technical writers. In our increasingly info-heavy world, demand for their services is expected to remain high. BLS projections show job growth of 12% between 2020 to 2030. Technical writers posted a median annual wage of $74,650 in 2020.
4. Textbook Editor
Textbooks influence what gets covered in a classroom. Good ones explain concepts well and hold student interest. A degree in education provides someone working in educational publishing with insight on crafting quality material.
Textbook editors guide a book from idea through completion. They work with authors and illustrators on things such as what to include, how to say it, what pictures or charts will assist with comprehension, and how the book fits into market demand. Editors understand factors such as reading level and preparing students for standardized tests. They also ensure the final product is thoroughly fact-checked and error-free.
Education majors who become textbook editors often have either a strong background in a particular academic subject or substantial experience working with a particular age group. Good communicators who pay attention to details and are highly organized often make outstanding editors.
Editors (all fields) earned a median salary of $63,400 in 2020, according to the BLS. The job outlook is modest, with projected growth of 5% between 2020 to 2030.
5. Education Product Sales and Textbook Sales
Who better to sell education products than someone who has first-hand experience? Your education degree can be a great foundation for a career in sales, especially when it comes to selling textbooks. You will be in a unique position of understanding how to demonstrate different materials and promote their value in the education world.
Effective sales representatives understand the needs of their customers and the challenges they face. As a fellow educator, you can talk to teachers, administrators, and other school decision-makers in ways they understand.
You may, for instance, explain how your company recently redesigned its history books for greater coverage of women and minorities. Or, you might present eye-opening stats on how a client’s school improved standardized test scores after adopting your reading series.
In addition to an undergraduate degree in education, prospective educational sales reps may want to take some business classes. These courses help develop a better overall understanding of the buying and selling process.
Educational sales representatives average a salary of $55,611 per Salary.com. Job prospects are difficult to determine, because demand for educational products depends heavily on the budget situation of school districts.
6. Educational Consultant
When individuals, schools, or the government need advice and opinions on specific education-related issues, they seek the services of a consultant. Their in-depth knowledge helps clients explore options and obtain results.
Parents of a child with special needs, for instance, may hire an educational consultant to explore what schools might be the best fit. A school district may bring an educational consultant on board to examine and advise on a certain problem or goal, such as reducing student absenteeism or offering a more diverse educational experience.
An undergraduate degree in education provides a good foundation upon which to build. Because of their role as experts on particular issues, though, educational consultants usually hold a graduate degree. They also tend to possess first-hand experience through a substantial work history in educational environments.
The average yearly salary for an educational consultant is $65,621, per Glassdoor. Future job prospects may be promising as parents desire help in navigating the increasingly complex education system and as schools seek to meet community and governmental demands.
It stands to reason that someone interested in running an elementary, middle, or high school would begin the journey with an undergraduate degree in education. Being a principal requires a solid vision of what you want to achieve at your institution and the steps necessary to get there.
Effective principals are leaders, decision-makers, and problem-solvers who wear many hats. They oversee the work of teachers and others employed at the school to make sure their staff has the resources necessary to do their jobs. They interact with students, parents, and members of the community. Their knowledge and opinions help shape school policies, budgetary decisions, and the overall “feel” of the institution.
Principals usually hold a Master’s Degree in Education Leadership or Education Administration. Public school principals must get licensed by their state. Most principals come to the position with several years of teaching experience under their belt.
With long days and multiple responsibilities, it makes sense that principals rank among the best-paid positions in the education industry. Their median annual wage per the BLS stands at $98,490.The position also enjoys relatively good job prospects with an estimated growth of 8% between 2020 and 2030.
8. College Administrator
Operating a college involves coordinating a variety of activities. College administrators take charge of these elements – housing, course scheduling, admissions, student life, safety, academic policies, and budgets, to name a few.
Specific duties vary by role. An admissions officer might find themselves with the following responsibilities:
- Holding meetings with prospective students and their families
- Traveling to college fairs to promote the school
- Reading through application packets to make decisions about who gets admitted.
By contrast, a provost is more concerned with academic-related matters, like these:
- Oversee faculty research
- Help with decisions regarding tenure
While smaller schools may hire candidates with only a bachelor’s degree, most employers want to see a master’s degree on a prospective college administrator’s resume. Advanced positions such as provost or dean typically get filled by PhDs.
Like principals, college administrators earn a respectable paycheck for their leadership skills. In 2020, the median annual salary for a post-secondary administrator was $97,500. Also like principals, the BLS predicts 8% job growth for college administrators over the next decade.
9. Instructional Coordinator
Are you interested in what gets taught in schools and how well students grasp material? If so, you might enjoy a career as an instructional coordinator. Sometimes called curriculum specialists, these professionals often have the following responsibilities:
- Recommending textbooks
- Training teachers on new methods of instruction
- Evaluating whether or not student scores on standardized tests meet the requirements set by the government and individual school boards
Aspiring instructional coordinators need a Master’s Degree in Education or in Curriculum and Instruction. Many come to the role after several years as a teacher. All individuals going into this job should plan on keeping up with the latest developments in learning standards, teaching methods, and educational technology in order to stay current.
Common employers of instructional coordinators include the following:
- Public and private elementary and secondary schools
- The government
- Educational support services
According to the BLS, instructional coordinators earned a median yearly salary of $66,970 in 2020. In line with demands for improving educational attainment and critically examining curriculum for diversity and equity, employment of instructional coordinators should remain strong – the BLS projects job growth of 10% over the next decade.
10. Training and Development Specialist
School is not the only place in which learning occurs. Businesses hire training and development specialists to work with management in determining what skills employees need to develop in order to keep the organization growing and competitive.
The job involves many of the same types of activities one would perform in a classroom, but with adults in a workplace setting. Training and development specialists do the following:
- Figure out what workers need to learn
- Find the best/most cost effective ways to acquire that knowledge
- Put together training material
- Evaluate online modules
- Lead presentations
Becoming a training and development specialist requires at least a bachelor’s degree. Employers often value job candidates who studied education because of their strong communication skills and ability to teach others.
In 2020, training and development specialists earned a median wage of $62,700. The vital role continuing education plays in the modern workplace should keep demand high for these professionals. The BLS estimates job growth of 11% from 2020 to 2030.
Some remain in the school environment but in other roles, such as principal, librarian, school counselor, or instructional coordinator. Others use their knowledge and experience to sell educational products, edit textbooks, or solve problems as educational consultants.
Some former teachers put their excellent communication skills and ability to teach others to use as technical writers or as training and development specialists.
Administrative positions tend to pay well. In 2020, principals earned a median annual salary of $98,490 and college administrators $97,500, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The “best” degree is the one that helps you to prepare for the career you desire.
1. A bachelor’s degree in education usually suffices for a beginning teacher, though many do go on to earn a master’s degree to increase their knowledge and salary.
2. Principals typically hold an MEd in education leadership or education administration.
3. Instructional coordinators benefit from a master’s in curriculum and instruction.
4. School counselors need a master’s in school counseling.
5. A master’s in library science or information studies looks good on an aspiring librarian’s resume.