If you’re studying for an education degree but you’re not sure you want to be a teacher, there are many career options open to you, from other roles in education to careers in local government or the Civil Service, or outside the public sector in business or consulting.
Teaching is a tough profession, and it’s not for everyone. Newly qualified teachers often find the first year in the job particularly hard going. If you’re in this situation, and are thinking about a career change, remember that you’re not alone and many others have found it difficult at first, before gaining confidence with experience.
Skills for your CV
Skills you will have gained from your degree include the following:
- time management
- problem solving skills
- communication skills
- management skills
- lateral thinking
- ability to cope with stress
- working effectively as part of a team
You will also have developed an understanding of education policy and practice. Our advice on alternative careers related to education lists a number of career options that do not involve classroom teaching but are related to education, such as careers guidance and family support work.
Job roles and career areas you could work in
Other job roles you might be interested in include the following:
- social worker
- museum education officer
- community education officer
- academic librarian
- careers adviser (higher education)
- education administrator
- teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) or teaching English as a second language (TESL)
You could consider a range of career areas both in the private and public sector, as well as charity work:
- Civil Service
- local government
- human resources
- charity and not-for-profit
If you decide you want to pursue a career in teaching, our advice on how to get your first teaching job will help you get started.
How many graduates go into careers in education?
Education is an important area of employment for fresh graduates, though several other career areas provide even greater numbers of those leaving university with their first jobs. According to the 2018 What do graduates do? report, 5.8% of graduates who finished their degrees in 2017 were working in education six months later. The report defined education as a broad area, including roles lecturing in higher and further education as well as primary and secondary classroom teaching.
If you are keen to explore industries and careers outside education, you may be reassured to see the high proportions of graduates who found employment in areas such as business, human resources (HR) and marketing.
|Areas of employment||Percentage|
Business, HR and finance professionals
|Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff||10.4|
|Marketing, PR and sales professionals||
|Arts, design and media professionals||6.5|
Source: What do graduates do? 2018
Which careers attract education students?
Working for the public sector was the most popular career choice for students on education and teaching courses, according to a 2019 survey of more than 74,000 undergraduates carried out by Trendence UK, a GTI business. The most popular careers for education and teaching students were as follows:
|Public sector||3.2% expressed an interest|
|Charity and not-for-profit||3|
|Media and advertising||2.6|
|Logistics, transport and supply chain; IT and technology||1.6|
Source: Graduate Survey 2019
Famous people who have worked as teachers
Teaching is also a common starter career for the stars. The following people have previously been teachers after studying a range of undergraduate subjects:
- Greg Davies – switched from teaching to acting and is now known for his role as fictional teacher Mr Gilbert in The Inbetweeners.
- Hugh Jackman – was briefly a PE teacher before acting in films including the X-Men series and The Greatest Showman.
- Stephen King – worked as an English teacher before his first horror novel Carrie brought him success.