It takes someone special to work with children. Someone who’s patient, caring and open-hearted. These are qualities that are hard — if not impossible — to teach. This is why many ECE teachers say that it was a calling that led them to a career in the classroom.
But not everyone who feels compelled to work with children wants to become a teacher. Some of us aren’t at our best in front of large groups of people, let alone children. Some find it hard to focus in the chaos common in many classrooms. Some simply want to make more individualized connections with children.
If you consider yourself one of these people, you should know that teaching is just one of many education careers that can play a critical role in the lives of children. Read ahead to learn about some enriching career alternatives that are based outside of a classroom.
1. Instructional coordinator
One role that has a huge influence on the well-being of students and their academics is that of an instructional coordinator. These professionals work behind the scenes with principals and teachers to regulate teaching standards and curricula by implementing and assessing curriculum effectiveness. They also recommend education techniques, conduct training workshops and serve as mentors and coaches to teachers.
How to become one: If you think you’re cut out to be an instructional coordinator, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. Depending on the state in which you live, you may also need a teaching or education administrator license.
2. School librarian
School librarians work with children and fuel their desire to learn, providing students and teachers with the literature and resources they need to thrive in the classroom. School librarians plan programs in collaboration with teachers, select new materials to add to library collections and train students on using library resources. If you feel called to help empower children through educational resources, perhaps a career as a school librarian is right for you.
How to become one: Most school librarians possess a master’s degree in library science (MLS). If you plan on working in a public school, you’ll also likely need to obtain a teacher’s certification.
3. Afterschool program director
Afterschool program directors work with children to provide enriching opportunities and academic support outside of school hours. These directors design and implement safe, engaging programs and activities for children to partake in after school while parents finish their workdays. They manage staff and work with affiliated schools, organizations and parents to structure the program to meet the individual needs of the students involved.
How to become one: Afterschool program directors typically have a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field.
4. School counselor
Working with children to develop life skills and help them succeed in the academic setting is the role of a school counselor. These professionals assist students in building the valuable life and academic skills they need to achieve success in life. School counselors are centric leaders in the education system, collaborating with teachers, administration and parents to help provide students the support they need. They assist students in overcoming social or behavioral problems and identify issues that may be negatively impacting school performance.
How to become one: If a career as a school counselor sounds like the right fit for you, you’ll need to plan on earning your master’s degree in school counseling or a related field. You will also need to obtain a state-issued certification.
5. Speech therapist
Speech therapists help children develop strong and healthy communication abilities. Sometimes known as speech-language pathologists, these professionals work with students in schools or other places to help address a wide variety of disorders. They may work with children who have speech and language problems, voice disorders, speech impediments or other social communication struggles.
How to become one: If you are interested in a career as a speech therapist, you should plan on obtaining at least a master’s degree. You’ll likely also need your license and a teaching certification to work in schools.
6. Museum educator
Some careers in education are even found outside of school. For instance, this particular position brings the students directly to you. Museum educators work in museums, bringing exhibits to life with visiting groups of children. These professionals are responsible for developing programs and teaching relevant lessons to the groups attending. They also work to provide educational resources for museum visitors and special interest groups.
How to become one: If a museum educator career sounds intriguing, you generally need at least a bachelor’s degree. However, you may find a master’s degree in museum studies to be more advantageous.
7. Educational consultant
Educational consultants provide guidance to educators on academic matters. They work with teachers and school boards to address areas of improvement, such as classroom structure, student activities, curricula and utilization of technology. They also assess educational policy at the individual subject or grade level. They may work with educational institutions to improve drop-out rates, academic intervention strategies and even social learning plans. While this role doesn’t necessarily include working directly with children, its behind-the-scenes efforts can make a significant impact on a student’s experience in school.
How to become one: You will need at least a bachelor’s degree in order to be an educational consultant, though a master’s degree is sometimes required. Prior experience in education is typically preferred as well.
Change Comes in Many Forms
Just because you’d prefer not to be leading a large classroom as a teacher doesn’t mean there’s not a critical place for you in the education field. As shown above, there are many careers in education that will allow you to make a deep impact in the lives of children and their families.
The world needs tough, passionate people like you supporting its teachers, educational institutions and, most importantly, its students. Learn how you can partner with Wheelock College to help change the narrative for children in need in our communities. Check out our Educational Studies degree page to find out more.