Passionate about education but NOT interested in teaching? It’s true that the face of education seems to be teaching in a traditional classroom setting, however, there are so many more options to explore if you are interested in education.
Where to start? Take some time to reflect and understand your interest in education more deeply. Ask yourself about your…
- Interests: What is it that draws you to education? What do you like about it? Are you excited to share a certain topic or subject matter with others? Do you like working with people and helping them grow?
- Values: What is important about education in your eyes? Is it that you care about equal and equitable access to education? Certain types of experiences?
- Skills: What skills do you like using? If you aren’t interested in teaching, you may not love presenting or public speaking, but perhaps you enjoy working with people one on one, mentoring, coaching, and/or building relationships.
Now that you have a more nuanced understanding of your broad interest in education, here are some ideas of education-focused position that don’t have you running a classroom:
Academic Advisors are on the frontlines for communicating with students, helping students choose courses, stay on track to graduate, and more. This kind of role is great for anyone who wants to be involved in the education sphere, particularly at the college level, and enjoys that immediate level of connection with students.
These professionals, among them guidance counselors and school psychologists, serve as a crucial support system for students at any age. Depending on the age and school setting, responsibilities could range from meeting one-on-one regarding college applications, necessary disciplinary measures, or discussing mental health matters with students. Becoming a school counselor could be worth exploring if you love working people, and are comfortable providing that level of support to students.
Countless student services exist at the college level in order to supplement the courses students take, providing experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom and preparing them for life after graduation. Professionals that work at this level are career counselors, program directors, and other coordinators working in areas such as residential life, student engagement, and event planning. In a role like this, you can combine a number of interests and work collaboratively toward the goal of enhancing students’ education from outside the classroom.
If you enjoy working in clinical settings, or have a passion for learning outside of an office or classroom, conducting research could prove to be a very successful and exciting career for you. This could also translate into a career in writing and publishing books, textbooks, and scholarly articles. Sharing your research with a community of educators and other researchers allows these studies to develop steadily.
Education-Related Nonprofit Organizations
There are many incredible organizations with a variety of education-related missions. Nonprofits have all kinds of roles, so whether you like working with students, adults, or behind the scenes (think marketing, communications, or fundraising) you can find all types of roles at nonprofits doing meaningful work you can get behind. www.Idealist.org is a great search engine for identifying nonprofit organizations you’re interested in. You can also explore these five education nonprofits working with schools directly.
If you’ve been to a museum, then you hopefully have noticed how much effort goes into making your visit and interactive and meaningful learning experience. Ultimately, museums are public educational organizations, and roles there span from working with children and educational programs, to curation, communications, collections, finance, and management and administration. Learn more about working in museums here.
Corporate Learning and Development
Understanding how people learn can also be used to support those who work in corporate environments. Learning and development in organizations can include everything from in-house training courses for staff and employees, to coaching and mentoring.
If there’s a need for information, there’s a need for a librarian. Libraries have been empowering people by offering resources, services and training to expand their knowledge for years. Libraries work with schools, both K-12 and colleges and universities, public communities and even specialized communities, like corporations, hospitals, prisons, and government entities. Learn more about the various library jobs here. As library services become more varied, so do the jobs in libraries. Librarians are no longer the only professionals working in libraries. Libraries employ web developers, knowledge managers, and IT professionals. Youth workers, security officers, archivists, book conservators, school liaisons and social workers are a few of the unique positions you might find in libraries.
Health educators teach people how to live healthy lifestyles. They work in schools, at nonprofits, in hospitals and in government offices. If you are interested in and/or enjoy public and community health, this could be a meaningful intersection to explore.
Instructional Design involves creating learning experiences based on the unique needs of a specific audience or topic. Instructional designers develop courses, curriculums and training materials. These jobs vary depending on the employer and the exact position, and can include anything from writing training for hospital staff, to designing curriculum for adult remote online education. Anywhere there’s a need to teach or train a group of people on a topic, an instructional designer could be involved.
Education Technology is the practice of introducing information and communication technology tools into the classroom to create more engaging, inclusive and individualized learning experiences. There are many companies and start-ups with new innovative EdTech products today, and jobs in this field can vary by workplace, product, and/or specific role.