Education is important, there’s no doubt about that. Its importance is being recognized more and more these days, as increasing numbers of people choose to invest in Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s programs and even doctoral studies. Higher levels of education tend to equal higher salaries and job satisfaction, lower risk of unemployment and even healthier lifestyles. More than that, the field of education is also a great area to carve out a career in.
When it comes to educational careers, the first thing that springs to mind is usually the job of a teacher. However this is far from the only path that’s available to you, if you want to work in the field. Whether you already have a background in education or are thinking of retraining from an entirely different sphere, there are plenty of options out there. From undertaking a Masters in School Counseling to setting up a business as a private tutor, there’s guaranteed to be something that suits you.
In this article we’ll take a look at a number of different ideas to help inspire you towards a career change. The job that’s right for you will depend on a number of factors, including your previous experience, existing qualifications and the environment you enjoy working in. We can’t guarantee that the perfect one will be on our list, but if not then perhaps our suggestions will spark some ideas of your own!
Why work in education?
Education is an area that tends to call to people who are passionate about learning and teaching. It can be a very rewarding sector to work in, as you get to see the difference you are making first hand – whether that’s through inspiring others, helping counsel them through difficult times or to achieve their goals, bringing out the best in people, or creating materials that can be used far and wide by others.
It can also be a very stimulating sector to work in, as you’re surrounded by like-minded people with a passion for education and development. It encourages constant evolution and change, which many people find inspiring. You’ll also most likely be working with people from a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives, which can further help to broaden your own horizons. This is true during your studies too, with classes for programs such as a Master’s in School Counseling usually being equally diverse. Finally, educational roles tend to be dynamic and varied, which is ideal if you like to have some excitement in your work!
Education-related job roles
As you might expect from reading the above, the variety of different job roles in the education sector is huge. These are just some suggestions to get you started.
We often hear about how important teachers are in the lives of their students, and of course this is true. However there’s another role that can be equally influential – that of the school counselor. This job involves providing students with the support and guidance they need to successfully complete their education, have the most fulfilling school experience possible, and develop into well-rounded and productive members of society. It’s an extremely rewarding position that requires technical knowledge from a Master’s in School Counseling, plus empathy, good listening skills, patience, integrity, flexibility and compassion.
As a school counselor you will help those students in your care to set and achieve academic goals, develop good study habits, apply for college and scholarships, and decide what career they want to work towards. You’ll also be the first port of call for students who want to talk about their worries or concerns when it comes to social and emotional issues such as bullying, relationships, drug misuse, and problems at home. At times this may involve group sessions, liaising with family members, or mediating conflicts with teachers or other students. To undertake this role you will first need to complete a Master’s in School Counseling and relevant work experience, before sitting an exam to get your license.
Whilst studying for your Master’s in School Counseling you’ll cover topics such as adolescent psychology and psychopathology, counseling techniques and theories, the roles and responsibilities of the school counselor, theories of personality, developmental psychology, group counseling, counseling for college, mental health and substance use, and many other fascinating courses.
For those who enjoy teaching but would prefer to have more control over their schedule, exactly what they teach and how they teach it, setting up your own business as a private tutor could be ideal. It’s also a great option for those who would rather teach students in a one-on-one scenario than run large group classes like in most schools. The possibilities here are pretty much endless. You can choose the precise age you’d like to teach (including adult classes) and the subject. For example, you could work with over-achieving kids who want to be challenged further or help those who are struggling at school to catch up. Alternatively you could focus on exam preparation or coursework or even subjects that are not on the standard school syllabus.
These days it’s very easy to get started, as there are a multitude of online platforms to facilitate such private teaching services. These help to connect tutors with potential students and also handle issues of payment. Thanks to the range of technology available these days, you can choose to run a tutoring business entirely online. This dramatically increases the number of students you can reach – one especially popular option is to teach English as a Foreign Language to adults and children abroad. There’s also no requirement to have a Master’s in School Counseling or any other subject to be a private tutor, as long as you’re honest with students about the experience and qualifications you do have.
If you’re passionate about history, art, science, technology, culture, archaeology or similar subjects then a job as a museum educator is hard to beat. These days museums are far from stuffy buildings full of static displays – they are vibrant, lively and interactive places where visitors can connect with exhibits and artifacts on a much deeper level. Most also have special areas for children, where they can engage in hands-on activities to better facilitate learning. All of which means that these institutions have a need for educators who can fire up the imaginations of those who visit, and get them excited about exploring what’s on offer.
As part of the job you may find yourself leading tours for groups of school children on trips, giving lectures to older groups, or running practical demonstrations for parents and their kids. You may also get to have input on the types of activities to run and the design of the exhibits, as well as help to develop community outreach programs. These can be effective ways to both publicize the museum and encourage underprivileged groups to visit. As you can see therefore, this can be an exceptionally rewarding role.
The requirements for this position will vary depending on the exact job, plus the museum, stately home or gallery you’re applying to. A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant area will likely be needed, with a Master’s being advantageous. Again this can be education-related, like a Master’s in School Counseling, or specific to the subject of the museum. Relevant experience of teaching or other education-focused roles will also be very helpful and of course you’ll need in-depth knowledge of the relevant topics.
The role of an educational consultant can be another good choice for those who want more control over their schedule and who they work with. As the job title indicates, it’s a very broad field, so the first thing to do is work out exactly what aspect of education you are interested in and would be able to consult on. For example you could focus on the use of technology in schools, or how to work with students who have learning disabilities, or a specific method of teaching. You could also work directly with families to help them understand how to help their child succeed academically.
As with the private tutor role discussed above, there are no specific requirements you will need to get started in this role, like a Bachelor’s degree in Education or a Master’s in School Counseling. However, you will find that the more experience and relevant qualifications you have, the more credible you will seem to those who might want to work with you. Having a professional website, plus a strong social media presence and a blog, can also be a very helpful way to add to your credentials and increase your visibility. Networking will be key, especially when you’re first getting started, to enable you to make a name for yourself. Try attending lots of relevant conferences and other events – perhaps even presenting at some – to help with this. Alternatively you could work with a consulting company that will find and negotiate contracts for you, making your life a bit easier!
Administration roles within the education sector are great for people who wish to move on to a position that focuses more on management and leadership than teaching. The term actually covers quite a broad range of jobs, but essentially it refers to those that are involved in the successful running of a school, college, or other educational institution. This could be as the director of a specific program, head of a department, or even a school principal.
Your tasks and responsibilities might include staff recruitment and supervision, budget management, student admissions, purchasing of equipment, and creation of policies. You may also find yourself handling public relations, student services, quality assurance, and social activities. Administrators also tend to sit on many committees, draft and interpret regulations, and liaise with other institutions and agencies.
Many education administrators begin as teachers, but depending on the exact role you’re interested in this may not be necessary. A Master’s in school counseling or a field such as educational leadership or school administration can be helpful, and possibly required in some cases. The latter cover relevant topics such as school finance, policy implementation, organizational behavior and educational law. Key skills and traits you will need include organization, time and people management, leadership, problem solving, financial planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to excellence. Some states will also require you to pass an administration exam at the relevant level, so be sure to check what’s necessary in the area where you intend to work.
For those who prefer the creation of a curriculum rather than the actual teaching of it, a position as a curriculum designer could be just what you’re looking for. This role involves developing an education program and the instructional materials to go with it, which can then be used by schools or other organizations to teach their students. It might also require liaising with teachers about how best to use the materials or implement the curriculum, and evaluating how well what you have made performs in the real world.
Alternatively you could design and create materials to be used in preparation for specific exams, such as college admission tests, or for students who are studying independently. For example you could create materials for adult learners, such as those who are studying English as a Foreign Language. There might also be opportunities to work on materials for use in professional development courses. It all depends on where your interests, knowledge and experience lie.
The job requires a deep understanding of the relevant subject, plus strong written communication skills. However teaching experience is not usually a requirement, which opens the role up to a wider talent pool. Having a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in a relevant area will be extremely useful, and some experience of graphic design may also be helpful in order to create materials that are aesthetically pleasing as well as informative. This role is particularly suited to creative and innovative people, who are passionate about their subject.
So hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration for your education-related career move. Just remember, age is no barrier and it’s never too late to go back to college for a Master’s in School Counseling or something else you are passionate about!