Most people that choose to study education go on to become teachers. It’s something many of us are drawn to, and the idea of being involved in shaping the future of society, helping the future doctors, teachers, lawyers, and police people to find themselves and their way in the world is appealing. It’s certainly a fulfilling career path, which might be full of challenges, but is also extremely rewarding, and it’s easy to see why it attracts so many graduates every year.
But when you work in education it can be easy to feel trapped in. You might feel as though teaching is your only option with an education qualification, and even if you love to teach you might feel like there’ll be a long wait for openings in your school, as promotions are slow to come by. Teaching is often a profession for life, and many people stick to the same establishment for a long time, which can make progress slow.
If you feel as though you are ready for more responsibility, to take on new challenges, or to seek leadership roles, here are some of the things that you can do to boost your career prospects in the education sector.
Explore Your Options
Most people study education intending to become a teacher. From there they might focus on developing their skills, building a reputation, entering more specialist areas of teaching, or taking on a more senior role within a school. It might feel like there’s a very clear path laid out in front of you. But if you want to boost your career prospects, a great way to do it is to look at a wider range of options.
Certainly, schools are great settings for people working in the education sector, but your skills and experience could be invaluable in other locations. Career options for people with a background and qualifications in education include:
- Schools – from early years to college
- Curriculum development
- Education Departments of local and national governments
- Training and development
- NGOs – such as youth charities and other youth-based non-profit entities
- Youth work
- Education Policy development
Some fantastic ways to find out about possible opportunities are to check job sites, LinkedIn, and set up job alerts to keep an eye on future openings.
Start Your Own Business
Another option if you are looking to expand your options within education is starting your own business. You could use your skills, knowledge, qualifications, and previous experience to start up on your own.
One popular option for self-employed educators is working as a freelance consultant or starting a consultancy business. Education consultants often work with schools or governments to make improvements to the curriculum, or to find ways to improve education, and opportunities to improve settings.
Another option is starting a tutoring business working with children looking for some extra help. This would allow you to set your own hours and teach only your fields of interest and the age groups that you enjoy working with.
Go Back to School
As someone who works in education, you are sure to value the importance of learning. But have you given much thought to your own education lately? Often once we’ve settled into careers, we start to take learning for granted. But there are always opportunities to advance your knowledge and it can be a fantastic way to boost your career prospects or even open up some brand-new avenues.
Before considering learning more, think about what you want and which direction you would like your career to move in. If you are a teacher wanting to take on a leadership role in the same school or move into a more specialised area, then it can be a good idea to talk to a more senior teacher about any courses or learning programmes that might be available to you.
If you’d like to further broaden your horizons, seek new challenges, or even pivot your career slightly then you might be interested in studying for a ma education degree. You can study an ma education from the University of Exeter online, which can be ideal if you can’t take time out from your job to study.
Gain Experience Out of the Classroom
If you’ve always worked as a teacher, gaining experience outside of the classroom can be invaluable when it comes to boosting your career prospects. The good news is, you don’t have to take on volunteer work or take time away from your job to gain this experience. Instead, look for opportunities within your setting. These could include running after school clubs, leading field and residential trips, starting extracurricular groups and classes away from traditional academic subjects and helping with the SENCo. Things like leading and organising residential trips show your leadership skills and your ability to budget and plan, and it gives you a chance to work with different people.
Ask for Feedback
Whether you are looking to stay in the same setting, or move on to something different, the best people to tell you how you are doing, to share your strengths, but also give you tips on improving, are the people that you currently work with. Ask colleagues, both peers and those in leadership roles for feedback and advice and encourage them to be honest with you.
Learn from Others
At the end of the day, the best way to grow in any career is to improve. When it comes to education, chances are you have contact with people in similar positions, and plenty of opportunities to learn from them. Learn from peers and leaders but also new graduates who may have learnt new things. Learn from things that people do well, but also from their mistakes, and don’t be scared to ask people for tips, or to ask people to explain to you why they do things a certain way, to help you understand the benefits.
There are plenty of opportunities to boost your career in the education sector. Just be prepared for continued learning, and to take some risks.