Teaching

7 Unexpected Jobs You Can Get with a Master’s in Teaching

7 Unexpected Jobs You Can Get with a Master’s in Teaching
Given the high rate of teacher turnover, it’s only natural to want a degree with the potential to open doors to new opportunities down the line. Image from storyamour.com
Mairead Kelly profile
Mairead Kelly December 4, 2019

While working in the classroom may be the obvious path with this degree, it’s also one that can help you shift to other jobs in education and even roles outside of it. In all of the careers on this list, a master’s in teaching is extremely beneficial, if not required.

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While becoming a teacher in most states doesn’t require a master’s degree in teaching, many school teachers still pursue the option to boost their salary prospects and gain new skills to impact their classrooms, colleagues, school system, and community. It’s a degree path that allows current and aspiring teachers to bolster their practice with expertise in teaching methods, lesson plans, student learning styles, and education issues like linguistic and cultural diversity.

While a master’s in teaching is typically sought out by those who want hands-on teaching experience and eventually to work directly with students, the degree may be more flexible than you think, especially for those who have experience in the educational field. It’s true: a master’s in teaching—along with the transferable skills you’ve gained in teaching positions inside and outside the classroom—can make you a great candidate for all kinds of alternative careers.

Say, for example, you’re pondering an exit from the profession. A common occurrence, one the Learning Policy Institute estimates to be approximately 8 percent of teachers every year. It’s not just retirement that causes teachers to leave, either, but dissatisfaction—the lack of opportunities to advance, inadequate administrative support, or burnout. Many teachers shift to other education jobs and even take on roles outside of the industry.

It’s also possible that you’re reading this article precisely because you’re considering a master’s degree in teaching. Given the high rate of teacher turnover, it’s only natural to want a degree with the potential to open doors to new opportunities down the line. The good news? These are just some of the career paths that will make the most of the skills and knowledge you’ll earn in your graduate degree program. In each, a master’s in teaching is extremely beneficial, if not required.

1. Corporate trainer

These educators are hired by companies to provide professional development and teach new skills, strategies, or systems to employees in a particular industry. While corporate trainers typically work in office settings, they can also be found onsite in restaurants, hospitals, retailers, and schools, collaborating with leadership teams to develop training courses that align with their organization’s culture and strategic goals. They must be well-versed in public speaking, how to create and implement training materials, and also student evaluation—the last of which tends to involve professional development and people in suits.

Since corporate trainers are considered top experts in their fields, employers may prefer to hire candidates with previous work experience in the industry in which the company operates. However, some employers may hire candidates with a master’s degree in place of work experience.

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2. Educational consultant

Looking for flexibility to choose when to work and whom to work with? Educational consultants typically function as independent contractors, pursuing short- and long-term assignments, full or part-time, with government agencies, private schools, charter schools, public school districts, and various types of education-related companies and non-profit organizations. Consultants serve as education specialists and offer essential insights and recommendations about educational policy, instructional design, curriculum development, administrative procedures, and other areas that are relevant to the organizations they serve. They can also work with families by offering guidance on educational changes, like finding the right high school for a child or helping with the college application process.

It’s a field that requires professionals to be detail-oriented and organized and have excellent communication skills that they can tailor to any audience. In most cases, employers need candidates to have a master’s in education.

3. Instructional coordinator or designer

Thanks to your advanced degree, you likely have a knack for designing teaching materials and developing curricula. As an instructional coordinator, you’ll find that a wealth of companies, school districts, government agencies, and educational and cultural institutions need your expertise in curriculum development to create effective courses, lesson plans, learning materials, tests, and teaching guidelines.

From teachers, school counselors, and managers to government boards, you’ll observe how employees do their jobs and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, while showing them new instructional methods to shape their educational programs. This position usually requires teaching or school administration experience—and almost always a master’s degree.

4. Life coach

As a teacher, you help students understand what’s most important to succeed academically, be present in their learning, and help them to achieve their goals. As a life coach, the work is somewhat similar—and the mindset remains the same. You’ll have daily goals, whether you’re working as a career counselor with business executives to improve their work-life balance or providing emotional support to a person in crisis or outlining new career options. It’s an occupation that’s described as a part counselor, part teacher, and part guide.

After taking stock of their goals, you’ll design a realistic plan to help clients’ achieve success, while providing them with the perspective they need to stay motivated. And since each client is different, you’ll need the ability to adjust quickly to each individual’s personality, fears, and weaknesses. It’s a career that doesn’t require any specific level of education or an advanced degree. However, many find training in counseling, higher education, or teaching helpful.

5. Education policy analyst

The role of education policy analyst tends to ignite passion and attract controversy because so much is at stake—the future of our children, our country, and even the world at large is at stake. These analysts work to answer the most pressing questions facing our education system, from the connection between primary health issues and chronic absenteeism to the impact that behavioral health services can have on education goals and outcomes.

By examining education systems, processes, relationships, and structures, education policy analysts determine whether an education administration’s legislative and institutional guidelines are serving students effectively. They may work on policy at the local level with schools and school boards or tackle nationwide educational challenges by recommending solutions to lawmakers, the media, and the public. When they succeed, more students get a chance to fulfill their potential—and the future becomes a bit brighter for everyone.

While there is not a specific degree required to enter this profession, most employers expect candidates to hold an advanced degree and have extensive experience in education. Senior policy analysts frequently have a PhD in public policy, child development, or another educational field.

6. College or university academic advisor

As a teacher, you’re well-versed at looking at the big picture when it comes to helping students succeed—both academically and personally. It’s a skill that directly translates to the work of an academic advisor, who helps students choose their area of study, and ensures that they meet all the requirements of higher education to graduate with a degree in their field. Advisors must know what classes students need to take, which classes count towards their majors and minors, and what students need to do to maintain grades high enough to remain in their programs. They may also help students enroll in study abroad programs and apply for graduate school.

The profession is often a good match for people who want to leave their full-time teaching career, but don’t want to depart from the education sector altogether. Employers tend to look for candidates with master’s degrees in fields highly relevant to the job, such as education or counseling or another related field. Those seeking career opportunities at community colleges or vocational schools may need a teaching license.

7. Standardized test or textbook developer

These professionals typically work for publishing or assessment companies and are tasked with developing content for standardized tests or writing lesson outlines and content for educational textbooks for elementary schools through the high school level. As a textbook developer, you’ll follow guidelines set by publishers and will be tasked to compile research on topics in an informative and easy-to-read format. As a result of your work, conducting interviews and traveling also may be required.
Instead of a basic point system, standardized test developers use sophisticated statistical models to create assessments that accurately measure and score student achievement. While each model distributes scores differently, the purpose behind each remains the same: To reduce the margin of error and provide a more accurate representation of both individual and aggregate student scores.

A master’s degree is not always a requirement for either industry, but experience in teaching almost always is. Those who want to work as textbook developers, specifically, will more than likely need to have a master’s degree coupled with subject-specific experience in the teaching field.

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Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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