What Skills Do Teachers Have That Employers Want?

Exploring a potential career change

Do you dream of doing something different? 

Are you considering alternatives to teaching but unsure of how to transfer your teaching skills to a different job?

Successfully engaging a class full of students and helping them achieve their potential is no mean feat. Teachers are often nothing short of superheroes, equipped with many positive attributes in their skill set. These include highly sought-after skills beneficial to various employment roles outside of teaching.

If you’re currently considering your employment options and wondering what transferable skills you have to offer, perhaps some of these ideas will resonate with you.

Even if you’re happy in your current role, this list can serve as a confidence-boosting reminder of some of the many important skills you’ve acquired as an educator.

Transferable Teacher skills

Teaching

Okay, this might sound obvious, but teaching others how to do something is an incredibly valuable skill. This might equate to communicating how to perform a task to a new employee or showing a customer how to use a particular product. 

Versatility

Every teacher will know that thinking on your feet is often a vital aspect of the job. With a class of 30 or more students, all with different needs, there will always be unforeseen situations that require a quick, creative response to address. In fast-moving environments, the ability to respond to changes or challenges quickly and effectively is a must.

Empathy

Teaching involves understanding your student’s needs and responding to them in a way that is empathetic and in their best interests. A good degree of empathy can help nurture workplace relationships with colleagues and customers. In sales roles, understanding your customers’ needs is a crucial issue.

Conflict resolution

Teachers are adept at diffusing conflicts within the classroom and maintaining an environment of respect and cooperation. This highly valuable skill can be practised in leadership roles and in situations where you must deal with a customer’s problems or complaints calmly and efficiently.

Planning

Developing lesson plans and individual student learning strategies can highlight a teacher’s strategic thinking and planning capabilities.

Communication

Teachers are adept at standing in front of a class and conveying complex ideas and concepts in a clear and engaging way that is easy to understand. This makes teachers invaluable in roles which require ideas to be conveyed articulately to an audience.

Multi-tasking

Juggling planning, teaching, marking, and liaising with parents shows how teachers can manage multiple projects effectively in fast-paced environments.

Working within guidelines 

Educators are well adapted to working within specific guidelines and adhering to educational standards and policies. This can make them well-suited to structured environments governed by strict guidelines and regulations.

Patience

Teachers are often required to exhibit high levels of patience and understanding when dealing with students of varying educational abilities and emotional needs. This can be useful in customer service-focused environments and leadership or coaching/mentoring roles.

Time management

Teachers are highly skilled at time management, having to prioritise their actions to fit in with a highly structured schedule. Time management can be a valuable asset within project management, event planning and consulting roles, to name a few.

Honestly, teachers have so many transferable skills that this list could go on and on! Maybe a reminder of how many transferable skills teachers have can help motivate you to find your dream job.

Next steps…

Create a checklist

Moving from teaching to another job is an important decision that requires careful planning and preparation. A checklist helps streamline the process to prepare you for the transition. Here are some of the things you might want to consider:

Define your dream job

Be specific about what you want to do and why. Reflect on your passions, skills and interests to see how they might align with this new role in a way that would fulfil you.

Create a skills inventory

Using the above list as inspiration, identify your transferable skills and any particular strengths or weaknesses. If required, consider a plan to fill any skills or qualification gaps with work experience or courses.

Consider your wants and needs

This might cover salary requirements, location, hours, work-life balance, potential growth opportunities and more.

Research the industry

Try to gain an understanding of the industry you want to enter. Identify any current trends, opportunities or challenges. Explore industry blogs and professional associations related to your chosen career.

Understand the requirements

Does the role require any specific qualifications or courses to be taken? Are there any additional qualifications you may need to acquire to be considered?

Networking and support

Who could you engage with to get support and information on your decision (both on a personal and career level)? Is there anyone within your current network who could offer support and advice? Are there any industry-specific groups or communities with which you could engage?

Use AI

Use chatbots like ChatGPT to roleplay interview questions and provide an analysis of your responses.

Alternative career ideas for teachers

Whilst there are roles with clear links to education, there is no need to feel limited to these. The extensive set of skills and attributes that teachers posses can open the door to a wide variety of opportunities. The following list is for inspiration but there will be many more less obvious ones.

Roles for ex teachers closely linked to education:

  • Educational content creator / editor.
  • Museum educator / curator.
  • Librarian.
  • HR / Corporate trainer.
  • Supply teaching / International teaching.
  • University lecturer.
  • Extra-curricular activity coordinator.

Jobs for teachers to explore beyond education:

  • Event planner.
  • Activities director.
  • Counsellor / Social worker.
  • Art therapist.
  • Sales representative.
  • Freelance writer.
  • Marketing manager.
  • Speech therapist.
  • Public speaking coach.

These ideas only scratch the surface of potential opportunities for teachers thinking about a career change. As a starting point a key factor will be in finding something which aligns with your particular interests and passions.

Summary

If you’re considering a career change, simply acknowledging these skills and understanding how to best leverage them is the first step toward successfully moving towards a new role.

Use the checklist above for ideas on how you can start planning this transition with confidence and hopefully end up landing your dream job!

Useful links:

The National Careers Service website has some useful information and tools for those seeking career advice. (UK)