So long, academia: Exploring new career paths for former teachers

Teaching can be a rewarding professional path, but make no mistake, it’s a tough career. Essential to the very foundation of society and community, teachers are selfless by definition, dedicating themselves to their students. Put another way, the teacher puts their present moment aside to focus on the future of their students. Confoundingly, however, teachers across academia are habitually overlooked, under appreciated, and underpaid.

There’s a reason teacher shortages continue to plague U.S. schools; close to 9 in 10 public school districts struggled to fill all their vacancies ahead of the 2023-2024 school year. More and more educators are simply saying substandard compensation and near non-existent recognition isn’t worth all the stress. One study published in The Journal of Social Psychology just a few years ago found an astounding 94% of middle school teachers are stressed out, and another survey from 2022 concluded teachers are twice as likely to be stressed out as other working adults.

Burnout is troublingly common among teachers nowadays, but many educators are choosing to switch out careers before they find themselves overloaded on lesson plans, homework, and letter grades. Per the National Education Association, over half (55%) of teachers considered leaving the profession in 2022. On a related note, the same skills necessary to succeed as an educator also lend themselves nicely to countless other professions and jobs. Here are 7 new potential jobs for former teachers.

Event planner

The majority of teachers are responsible for planning events day in and day out for their classes to take part in and learn something from. Thus, event planning can be a great fit for former teachers. From weddings and reunions to conferences or conventions, the world of event planning is an avenue for teachers to take what they’ve learned about driving engagement and capturing attention spans, and apply it to more leisurely activities as opposed to educational. 

Grant writer

Pivoting to a career in grant writing may be a seamless transition for many former teachers. Considering countless educators are already forced to petition their school districts for extra funding and supplies, the responsibilities of a grant writer will likely feel familiar. Moreover, grant writing requires a number of skills that are synonymous with academia; tons of research, writing acumen, attention to detail, and the capacity to meet tight deadlines.


There are plenty of benefits tied to bilingualism, but don’t sleep on the career perks that come with speaking a second (or third) language. If you’ve taught a language besides English in the classroom, you’ll likely be able to find work as a translator in some capacity. Translation jobs can range from freelance gigs to rewarding careers in publishing, government, and even finance.

Academic advisor

While this position still certainly falls within the realm of education, working as an academic advisor and helping college students acclimate to university life and choose the right major represents a less stressful way for overworked teachers to continue making a difference in academia. If you’re passionate about your students but could do without the daily rigors of teaching, academic advising may be a smart choice.


Best reserved for those with a passion for all things literary, life as a librarian can be a welcome change of pace for many teachers looking to explore new job opportunities. Librarians are primarily tasked with the administrative duties that come with running a library, such as selecting, cataloging, and tracking all books, newspapers, etc. Teachers who want to continue their bookworm ways while moving away from education and closer to an administrative role should explore librarian positions at both public and private libraries, as well as schools, businesses, and hospitals.


A position as a museum curator is a fantastic example of continuing to teach while shutting the proverbial door on the classroom. As a museum curator you’ll be tasked with bringing educational content, exhibitions, and artifacts to life for visitors, as well as the acquisition of new historical items for display. Succeeding as a teacher is all about knowing how to present new information in a fun, easily digestible manner. Those same skills gel perfectly with museum curation.

HR coordinator

While imparting knowledge is generally seen as the main task on any teacher’s to-do list, every seasoned educator will agree that true learning starts with control over the classroom. Fostering a positive atmosphere among students, while also maintaining authority, is perhaps the most complex problem all educators face each new school year. A career in HR is characterized by many of the same challenges. HR coordinators work to create fair, equitable workplaces. Of course, while teachers rarely get to choose their students, HR coordinators are firmly in charge of hiring and recruitment processes at their organizations.