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What to Do With a Degree in Education

Alternative Careers

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Librarian helping student find books
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A bachelor's degree in education will prepare you for a job as an elementary or secondary school teacher. What should you do, however, if after completing your degree you decide you don't want to teach children or you come to that conclusion after spending time teaching? Or what if you can't get a job in a school or you get laid off from your current one? That's certainly not an unlikely scenario as school budgets are tightened and teachers—even those with experience—are excessed. Fortunately the training you receive as an education major can prepare you for other careers.

Librarian

Librarians choose materials for public, law and business libraries, as well as for school media centers. They then instruct people to effectively use these resources which include print and online media. In general, librarians need a Master's Degree in Library Science (MLS). To be admitted to an MLS program you need a bachelor's degree which can be in any subject you choose. A natural trajectory for someone with a degree in education is to specialize in school media since some states require school media specialists to also be certified teachers. You don't have to do this, however. There is no reason you can't choose to study another area of library science.

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Writer or Editor

Writers produce material for print and online media while editors select the material that will be published. To be a writer you must be able to express yourself well verbally. Editors must be able to guide others. You can use the skills you have as a trained educator to succeed in either of these occupations. You are able to convey complex information and are creative. If you have expertise in a particular subject matter, for example science or history, you can specialize in those topics.

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Manager

Managers supervise other workers in a variety of occupations. Not everyone is cut out for this career but those who are must be good at delegating work to others, assessing performance, giving constructive feedback, setting one's personal feeling aside when making decisions and saying no when necessary. As an education major you are trained to do all those things.

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Textbook and Instructional Materials Sales Rep

Text book and instructional materials sales representatives work for publishers and book wholesalers. Education majors and teachers can utilize their subject knowledge to sell products. Additionally, experienced teachers know how school systems function and can use this knowledge to their advantage. One of the most important skill sales reps need is the ability to establish rapport with their customers. This shouldn't be a problem given the common background you would share with yours.

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Guidance Counselor

Guidance counselors assist students with any school-related issues they have. This includes selecting classes, dealing with academic difficulties and social problems, and applying to college. A bachelor's degree in education, particularly if that was followed by a stint working in a school, will provide you with a great background for this occupation. You will also need to earn a master's degree in school counseling.

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Instructional Coordinator

Instructional coordinators develop curricula for school systems. They help teachers develop new strategies and techniques. This career is good for someone who wants to continue to impact childrens' education but prefers to no longer have direct contact with them by remaining in the classroom. All employers require a master's degree in curriculum and instruction or in a related field of study. You will also need to have either a teaching license or an education administrator license, depending on what the requirements are in your state.

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Training and Development Specialist or Manager

Training and development specialists design and implement instructional programs for companies' employees. Training and development managers, who oversee them, plan, coordinate and direct these programs. Their goal is to improve workers' skills and knowledge, and in turn their and the organizations' performance. As a teacher or as someone who has trained to become one, you have skills that can prove very beneficial in this occupation. You are obviously good at instructing people and have the ability to determine what strategies are appropriate for different situations and subjects. You also have excellent communication and time management skills. Most jobs require a bachelor's degree, but some employers will only consider candidates who have a master's degree. You may want to beef up your background by taking some business classes as well as courses in instructional design.

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Instructional Designer

Instructional designers develop technology-based courses and other educational products. They help faculty implement instructional technology into their courses. Instructional designers often develop distance learning courses. While your training provides you with the ability to instruct others, you will need to learn how to apply your skills to the development of technology-based educational programs. There are certificate programs as well as master's and doctorate programs in instructional design available.

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Health Educator

Health educators teach people how to live healthy lifestyles. They work in elementary, middle and high schools as well as in health care facilities. They must be adept at providing instruction and have good interpersonal and communication skills. As an education major, you already have those skills. Now all you need to do is learn about public health which you can do by earning a master's degree in community, public or school health education.

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Adult Literacy or GED Teacher

You may have discovered you don't want to teach children, but that doesn't necessarily mean you don't want to continue to be an educator. Adults also need qualified educators to teach them basic reading, writing and math skills, often to earn their GED (General Educational Development), or basic English language skills for those who are new to the United States. Licensing requirements for adult literacy or GED teachers vary by state. Some require, at the minimum, a bachelor's degree in education while you must have a master's degree to teach in others. Many employers prefer to hire experienced job candidates but if you spent time working in a classroom with children, you will qualify.

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