What Can You Do With an Education Degree

Alternative Careers for an Education Major

Librarian helping student find books
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A bachelor's degree in education will prepare you for a job as an elementary or secondary school teacher. What should you do, however, if, after completing your degree you decide you don't want to teach children after all. Or maybe you've spent years in the classroom and don't want to continue to do it.

Perhaps the choice wasn't even yours. Maybe you can't get a job in a school or you got laid off.

That's certainly not an unlikely scenario as school budgets become smaller and teachers—even those with experience—are excessed. Fortunately, your training as an education major can prepare you for other careers. Here's a look at several things you can do. Some of these occupations may require additional training or even an advanced degree.

Librarian

Librarians work in public, academic, law, medical, and business libraries, as well as in school media centers, also known as school libraries. They select and organize materials including print and electronic resources and instruct library visitors to use them effectively.

You will need a Master's Degree in Library Science (M.L.S.) if you want to become a librarian. A bachelor's degree, such as your degree in education, is required for admission. Once enrolled in a library science graduate program, you may want to study school media. It would be a perfect fit for you since some states require school media specialists, commonly called school librarians, to also be certified teachers.

If you would prefer not to work in a school, or with children for that matter, you should choose another area of library science. Stay away from public librarianship if you would like to be guaranteed a career that doesn't involve children.

More About Librarians

Writer or Editor

Writers produce material for print and online media while editors select the content to publish.

To be a writer, you must be able to express yourself well verbally. Editors must know how to guide writers by doing things like explaining assignments and providing constructive feedback.

Your skills as a trained educator will help you succeed in both these occupations. You know how to convey complex information. You are adept at providing feedback. You are also creative—how else can you find a million and one ways to explain the same concept as teachers often have to do. If you teach, have taught, or have training in a particular subject, for example, science or history, you can specialize in that topic as a writer or editor.

You may have done quite a bit of writing while in college or graduate school, but you should consider taking some professional writing classes. They will help you perfect your skills. Practicing is also very helpful, and you shouldn't underestimate the value of reading a lot.

More About Writers and Editors

Manager

Managers supervise other workers in a variety of occupations. Not everyone is cut out for this career, but those who are must be good at delegating work to others, assessing performance, giving constructive feedback, setting one's personal feeling aside when making decisions, and saying no when necessary.

Sounds like the job description of a teacher!

Unless you want to go back to school to study management, look for jobs that don't require a degree in this subject. While you need a bachelor's degree for many management jobs, they may not specify a particular major.

More About Managers

Textbook and Instructional Materials Sales Rep

Anyone who has ever tried to persuade a child to do anything he or she doesn't want to do can tell you that it isn't an easy task. Yet teachers do that every day. You must be a very persuasive person, maybe even as persuasive as a salesperson.

You can combine this skill with your expertise as an educator to sell textbooks and instructional materials. Education majors and teachers can utilize their subject knowledge to sell some products. Additionally, experienced teachers know how school systems function and can use this to their advantage.

One of the most valuable skills sales reps need is the ability to establish rapport with their customers. It is unlikely this will be a problem given the common background you would share with yours.

There are no formal educational requirements for this career, although some employers prefer job candidates who have a bachelor's degree. You meet that stipulation.

More About Sales Representatives

Guidance Counselor

Perhaps you enjoy working with kids but have had enough of the classroom. A career as a guidance counselor could be a good option for you. They assist students with any school-related issues they have including selecting classes, dealing with academic difficulties and social problems, and applying to college. 

A bachelor's degree in education, particularly if you followed it with a stint working in a school, will provide you with an excellent background for this occupation. You will also need to earn a master's degree in school counseling.

More About Guidance Counselors

Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators develop curricula for school systems. They help teachers develop new strategies and techniques. This career is good for someone who wants to continue to impact children's education but prefers to no longer have direct contact with them by remaining in the classroom.

All employers require a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, or a related field of study. You will also need to have either a teaching license or an education administrator license, depending on what the requirements are in your state.

More About Instructional Coordinators

Training and Development Specialist or Manager

Training and development specialists design and implement instructional programs for companies' employees. Training and development managers, who oversee them, plan, coordinate, and direct these programs. Their goal is to improve workers' skills and knowledge and, in turn, performance.

As a teacher or as someone who has trained to become one, your skills can prove to be very beneficial in this occupation. You are obviously good at instructing people and have the ability to determine what strategies are appropriate for different situations and subjects. You also have excellent communication and time management skills.

Most jobs require a bachelor's degree, but some employers will only consider candidates who have a master's degree. You may want to beef up your background by taking some business classes as well as courses in instructional design.

More About Training and Development Specialists and Training and Development Managers

Instructional Designer

Instructional designers develop technology-based courses and other educational products. They help faculty incorporate instructional technology into their classes. Instructional designers often develop distance learning courses.

While your training provides you with the ability to instruct others, you must have experience working with technology in the classroom. You will need to learn how to apply your skills as an educator to the development of technology-based educational programs. Look for certificate programs or master's and doctoral programs in instructional design.

More About Instructional Designers

Health Educator

Health educators teach people how to live healthy lifestyles. They work in elementary, middle, and high schools but if you no longer want to work in that environment, health care facilities also employ them.

Your ability to provide instruction and proven interpersonal, verbal communication, and listening skills make a good foundation for having a successful career as a health educator. Now all you need to do is learn about public health. You can do this by earning a master's degree in community, public, or school health education.

More About Health Educators

Adult Literacy or GED Teacher

You may have discovered you don't want to teach children, but that doesn't necessarily mean you don't want to continue to be an educator. Adults who want to earn their GED (General Educational Development) also need qualified teachers to instruct them in basic reading, writing, and math skills. People who are new to the United States need individuals to teach them basic English language skills.

Licensing requirements for ESL (English As a Second Language), adult literacy, or GED teachers vary by state. Some require, at the minimum, a bachelor's degree in education while you must have a master's degree to teach in others. Many employers prefer to hire experienced job candidates but if you spent time working in a classroom with children, you might qualify.

More About Adult Literacy or GED Teachers

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