10 Career Paths in Education That are Outside the Classroom
This list is for those who want to make an impact in the education sector but for different reasons can’t work in the classroom. The ten clusters are not exclusive and the lines between them are at times extremely fine.
K12 & Higher Ed Support Staff
Type of Work: These staff members work to enhance a student’s in the classroom experience through additional support (i.e. social, emotional, etc.) and extra curricular engagement. Support staff can play a significant role in shaping institutional culture.
Best Suited for: The counselor type who enjoys building relationships with students
Organizations: Schools and Post-secondary Institutions
Type of Work: Education consultants can do a range of activities from helping an institution drive down cost to helping teachers become more effective in the classroom. At the core of education consulting is understanding problems and delivering solutions — solutions will vary depending on the type of firm (written brief, technology, etc.).
Best suited for: Problems solvers who can investigate details and see the big picture
Organizations: Huron, EAB, Art & Science Group, FSG, School Works, PCG, Deloitte
Type of Work: Similar to consulting, edtech is focused on improving old processes or creating new ones from the ground up. The difference is that in edtech the solution is always a technological tool. Edtech work spans a range of activities from software development to account management.
Best Suited for: Forward thinking individuals that enjoy collaboration and constant change
Organizations: Khan Academy, Coursera, Blackboard, Hobsons, Interfolio, Dreambox, IXL
Type of Work: Educational nonprofits focus on improving educational outcomes on specific groups or areas of education (urban schools, college access, STEM, etc.). Within the field there are various types of roles that one could pursue — direct service staff, development, marketing etc.
Best suited for: Socially justice minded that’s in pursuit of equity in educational outcomes
Organizations: Teach for America, KIPP, College Advising Corps, Posse Foundation
K12 and Higher Ed Administration
Type of Work: Administrators make decisions at the highest levels of education by creating budgets, setting enrollment priorities, and creating long term institutional strategy.
Best Suited for: Leaders that can guide large bureaucracies towards achievable goals
Organizations: Schools, Districts and Post-secondary Institutions
Government, Policy and Advocacy
Type of Work: Focused on setting the agenda for funding priorities, these professionals work across organizations (private & public) to drive any change that a politician or advocacy group is aiming to achieve.
Best Suited for: Silo-busters who can drive the adoption of practices and policies
Organizations: City, State and Federal Governments, American Council on Education
Research and Think Tanks
Type of Work: These organizations are considered thought leaders and usually set the parameters around which educational theories/practices actually work. Findings are commonly disseminated through writing and presentations.
Best suited for: Academic types that enjoy research and discovering new ideas
Organizations: Lumina, Aspen, American Institutes of Research, RAND
Foundations & Philanthropy
Type of Work: Centered on funding other organizations and as such these professionals are extremely important within the field. These professionals work to decide which practices, organizations, etc. are worthy of growth.
Best Suited for: Objective thinkers that can spot potential
Organizations: Gates Foundation, Zuckerberg Foundation, New Schools Venture Fund
Training and Development
Type of Work: T&D professionals work across all sectors as trainers, recruiters, HR professionals and instructional designers. They leverage their understanding of learning theory, technology and business strategy to help an organization develop the skills of their staff.
Best Suited for: Teachers who enjoys the challenge of delivering personalized learning
Organizations: HR division within most companies, Educational institutions
Curriculum Development, Publishing & Test Prep
Type of Work: Focused on creating materials to both teach and test understanding. These professionals conduct research and use learning theory to create age appropriate educational content and tests.
Best Suited for: Pragmatic thinkers who can see things from multiple perspectives
Organizations: ACT, Princeton Review, Pearson, College Board, Kaplan