Well, you can teach in a classroom - but there's a lot more you can do with a Teaching degree (sometimes referred to as an Education degree) if you put your mind to it. Here are some other career options that open up when you focus on teaching as the core of your professional life.
Someone has to write all of the standardized tests people are taking - and writers who know the material are desirable for tests given in every grade. Writing standardized tests gives you the opportunity to reach a much wider audience and help ensure that children are studying material that will be genuinely useful throughout their lives.
There's no sign that these tests are going to stop anytime soon, and if you're less than satisfied with how we currently run them, you may be able to make a more significant impact by changing them from the inside.
Some Standardized Test Developers also spend time outside of public education by writing material for other industries and trade groups who want to create certification exams. Many of the professionals in these groups know their subjects, but they don't know how to create tests that are appropriately challenging for their goals. By offering to help with that, you could pick up a lot of extra work.
Have you ever found yourself frustrated with the equipment used in classrooms? You're not alone - and companies that make these products care about your views. As an Educational Product Consultant, you will provide guidance and advice on the real-world use of their products to make them more attractive to teachers.
This position is easiest to get after you've spent a few years in a classroom. Most companies making educational products want people with experience, so instead of looking at this for an entry-level job, consider it an option you can take when you're ready to leave the classrooms.
If you like electronics, this may be the position for you. Most modern classes depend on technology, but schools don't always know what technology they need or where they can get it at a budget-friendly price.
As a specialist, you can help school districts obtain and integrate the technology they need to provide a high-quality education for each student that passes through their doors. You may also spend time working with teachers to develop curriculum using that technology. In some cases, districts will rely on you to solve software and hardware problems, so you need to be quite familiar with everything you suggest buying.
In some positions, you may need to work overnight and sleep during the day. School districts, in general, don't like to work on their systems when school is in session (which, in this context, includes the administrative work that happens hours after students have gone home). If you can handle flexible working hours, most districts will consider you far more helpful.
Want to stay in a school but spend a little less time with the kids? If so, becoming the School Librarian could be a great career choice. In recent years, this position has evolved from solely running a school library to helping manage computer labs, which is excellent if you enjoy technology.
In some schools - particularly High Schools - you may have the chance to teach a few students the ins and outs of running a library. This is a semi-professional position where they'll get real, hands-on experience with the work involved in keeping a school library running, but it's a lot easier to look after two or three students than twenty or thirty. For that matter, kids who work in libraries tend to be quiet and dedicated.
Being a substitute teacher is great, and you don't need much more than a Teaching degree to become one. Most of the preparation for a lesson is done for you, so as long as you can follow the various plans of teachers, you can get through the day's classes with quite frankly minimal effort.
Schools need substitute teachers on a frequent basis - because they don't have the option of leaving a full class of children unsupervised - and forming good relationships with a school district will ensure a steady supply of work.
On rare occasions, substitute teachers are called in for long-term assignments. The shortest of these is spending a whole week with the same class. In other situations, you could spend up to several months creating material and teaching a class, essentially acting like a regular teacher.
This usually occurs when something unexpected happens at a school, such as a surge in enrollment or too many people signing up for a class. The school will eventually bring on a regular instructor (or even offer you the job), but until that happens, they need someone who's available to get things done.
This isn't as scary as it sounds like - especially if you work at a prison for non-violent offenders who are just trying to get their lives back together. Many prisons offer educational opportunities and can help inmates earn degrees to prepare them for life outside of bars, and they need qualified teachers for these classes.
Some prison educators work with juvenile offenders. These students tend to be headstrong and determined, but many genuinely want to change their lives for the better and avoid falling behind.
Prison educators don't have to maintain order in their classes. Instead, you can leave the security to others and focus on what you know best - imparting knowledge to those who want to learn. Prisons don't change locations or shut down very often, so this is also an extremely stable position to have.
Exact requirements vary, but qualifying for a position with the Federal Bureau of Prisons is enough for most areas.
This position is especially appropriate for history buffs. As a museum curator, you'll manage a collection of items (usually historical artifacts and art), deciding what to display for a given audience. You'll also clean and care for these items, and in many cases, you'll even get to choose which items the museum acquires next.
In larger museums, curators have less interaction with the public and spend more time researching items. You may spend time planning special events and exhibitions, writing bids, negotiating loan items, and training other staff members. You can expect to work with the public, with clients, and with stakeholders, and may participate in fundraising activities for the museum.
Curators tend to be good managers - just like teachers are - and you may be called on to guide a frequently-changing group of volunteers. This job gets much simpler when you start writing down what they should do instead of personally guiding them through every step of the process.
If you enjoy technology, you may focus on becoming a curator of digital data objects instead. This is an unusual position focused on the maintenance, collection, preservation, and archiving of various digital items like music or architectural designs. In many cases, these databases are accessible for free or at a low cost and offer references for researchers, scholars, scientists, and historians.
Educational nonprofits are a significant component of nonprofits, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that it's behind only health care and social assistance (which, admittedly, dwarfs even educational nonprofits in its sheer scale).
Due in no small part to their scale, educational nonprofits have opportunities for almost every relevant position you can think of. This ranges from directly working with students to providing administrative support to organizing events or lobbying on behalf of schools. If you have a passion for education and can do anything besides teach a classroom - and you can - educational nonprofits are a great place to begin looking.
Believe it or not, an HR department at a large corporation could be the perfect place after you earn your Teaching degree! This falls into two categories.
As a recruiter, your job will be to understand the needs of people from varying backgrounds and determine how they could be an asset to the company. If you've taught groups of children from wildly varying backgrounds, most companies think you're a natural fit for quickly understanding a job applicant.
Alternatively, you could provide employee education. Many companies find it cheaper to give lessons internally. The actual material you'll need to teach changes on a regular basis, and could range from working with new electronics to educating employees about workplace policies. At times, you may be asked to help as part of a disciplinary effort.
When you're not teaching, you may spend time producing new material for use when you are asked to teach. Some companies will ask you to review past material and decide whether or not it matches the current state of an industry - in these cases, you may find and teach the newest practices for any given field.
Regardless of what you end up doing, it helps to be able to quickly learn new information and determine the best way to communicate it to others. The job is a little less predictable than structured lessons at schools, and you may be asked to provide some lessons on minimal notice.