By: Whitney (an actual Education major!)
Did you know that you could do more with your teaching degree? Like most degrees, there are several other areas that as a licensed teacher you can work in other than a classroom. When I tell someone that I am going to school for Integrated Elementary and Special Education they automatically assume that I am going to school to be a teacher, which I likely will do, but what if I want to do more? What if I decide that I teaching isn’t for me or if I can’t find a teaching job right out of college? Are there other fields that I can be working in and still feel like I am using the $100,000 degree I am getting? The answer is yes.
Earning a teaching degree teaches people many valuable skills that many employers are looking for. It teaches organization, epic planning skills, social skills, critical thinking, the ability to solve problems quickly, assessment skills, and behavior management skills. All of these are great when it comes to being in the work force. I decided to look up different types of places that would hire an education major if they were to decide that the classroom is not their best fit or if they can not find a job in a school when they get out of college, which is a scary reality for many college graduates. To find my information I used the “What can I do with this Major?” link on our Career & Internship Services website. I have selected just a few of the opportunities in areas other than in a classroom to talk about in this post.
The first field I will describe is business and communication. Who knew that businesses wanted to hire teachers? Different places of employment under this category are bookstores, publishers, test-preparation companies, toy retailers and educational supply companies, and software companies. These companies hire teachers for curriculum development, publishing, editing, technical writing, management, and training. There are some steps you can take in order to achieve a position in this area. Like in any area you may be interested in, it is very important to stay up to date on technology and business trends in the field. Part-time jobs and internships in the field are always a plus because they give great experience that will help you meet job qualifications. If you are looking into publishing, test-preparation, or working for a software company it is important to become at a minimum familiar with the software you will be using. Another way to one-up the competition is to get a second degree or minor in business or communication.
There are many government agencies that also hire teachers. A few of these include the Department of Education, Educational Resources Information Center, Library of Congress, National Science Foundation, or social service agencies. Again these are not the only areas that the government will hire teachers for. They hire for positions such as planning, management, teaching, community affairs, and administration. If these are areas that you are interested in, get involved in student government or political groups, civic organizations, and community service projects as soon as possible as a great way to gain knowledge. Experience can be gained through these activities or volunteering at a government agency. Networking and conducting informational interviews are also a great way to gain information.
Nonprofit organizations love teachers. There are many service organizations, youth organizations, community recreation centers, adoption agencies, and immigrant and refugee service providers that hire teachers for positions such as programming, public relations, fundraising and development, and research. An important part of working with a nonprofit is to make sure that you are all in on their mission and their values. For most people, you have to be passionate about what they do in order to really enjoy working for them. It could be helpful to volunteer at different nonprofit organizations in order to get an idea on what it is like. Skills that one looking for a job in a nonprofit field should work to be confident in are: presenting, fundraising, grant writing, public speaking, and the ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds. Other areas that are helpful to have knowledge in are business, human services, counseling, or psychology.
Who says that if you get a degree in teaching that you have to be a teacher in a school district in order to use your degree!? There are so many opportunities outside of the classroom that you can incorporate your skills. With teaching comes strong communication skills, various strategies to solve problems or look at things from different angles, and knowledge of technologies. Employers also love the enthusiasm of teachers, which will help you to obtain a position or internship in a field other than teaching. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be in a classroom, teaching while it seems like a very narrow field can open the door for so many opportunities.