Try an experiment. Go ask 10 professionals you know what they majored in as an undergraduate. I’ll wait.
Okay, you’re back? I bet you found that while some people are doing exactly what they planned when they graduated with their Bachelor’s degree, a lot of people ended up doing something either tangentially related to their undergraduate field, or completely unrelated. That’s not a bad thing! Life is unpredictable, and careers tend to take exciting turns as we follow our interests. It’s the same with an education degree.
Photo by Kate Jewell
After you earn your degree, you can of course become a classroom teacher, assistant teacher, or another related position. If you take a year or two to work in the field but decide classroom teaching is not for you, there are so many directions you can go! Having a couple years of experience will give you valuable skills, connections, and experience that you can use to pursue a different path.
There are hundreds of education-related non-profits. These organizations are a natural step for service-minded individuals who are devoted to a particular cause. Non-profit organizations relating to childhood include literacy organizations, mentorship organizations, child welfare organizations, and just about anything else you can think of.
Museums and parks are also non-profit organizations or governmental organizations. They often hire educators part-time to work with school groups, among other positions. If you are interested in a particular cause, there is probably a non-profit that lines up with your mission.
If you are interested in a more “active” job, you might consider pursuing coaching or instructing. Often these types of jobs are part-time and may require additional certification, but kid’s ski instruction or teaching yoga classes in schools might be the perfect fit for you! If you have a particular hobby, for instance, photography, teaching that skill to youth might also be a viable career path that you could transition to over time.
Tutoring is a flexible role to take on. It grows with your available time, so it can be done nearly full-time or to earn some extra cash as a teacher. You can either tutor through a company or organization, or you can go it alone through advertising.
Most curriculum development positions require several years of experience in education, but then you can help design curriculum or textbooks for your area of expertise. This is a great option if, after several years in the classroom, you want a less physically-demanding position or you want to take a more active role in making sure classroom curriculum is the best it can be.
After gaining ample experience, you can use your education degree to move into a position as a school administrator (principal, vice principal, director, or similar). Depending on your setting, you could also move into a position as a coach. Or, you may choose to pursue a position as an office manager if you like the school setting, but not the classroom experience.
Pursue a Master’s Degree
With a Master’s Degree, you can use your education background to pursue a related career. Here are a few career options that are available with a Master’s degree:
• Grant writer
• Guidance counseling
• Social work
• Teaching at the college level
An education degree is a wonderful opportunity to pursue your passion, be that classroom teaching or something else entirely. This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Enjoy this time to build your career and have fun!