TEACH.org Logo
Smiling confident woman in blue blazer with her hair up.

Find Your Teacher Career Path (Guide)

Learn how your decision to step into education sets you up to pursue varied and exciting career paths.

Many people don’t realize that becoming a teacher can be the first phase of a career with many options and opportunities. We break down the different jobs teachers can fill into five main categories with examples of each and what the position entails. Where will teaching take you?

5 Career Paths for Teachers

Educators have great careers in more roles than many people realize. Here are the diverse jobs you could get with a teaching degree or certification.

Master Teacher


School Leadership


Education Products


Policy & Advocacy


Higher Ed

Become a Master Teacher

Photo of teacher calling on a student in class

“I would get to dance in a flash mob, attend Malala Yousafzai’s speaking tour, soar across fields on a zipline, scale a high-ropes course, write scripts for and perform in awareness-raising cabaret shows...Who knew that this was a part of teaching?”—Meghan Hatch-Geary, English teacher

Roles in the Classroom

Hone your skills, build expertise and help fellow educators in their journey. As you become a seasoned teacher with skills to share with others, you can grow professionally without having to fully give up the opportunity to remain in the classroom working with students directly.

Lead a School or District

Math student at the white board

“Because colleges value high school performance above all else in admissions criteria, I want to make sure minority and low-income students get the mathematics instruction that allows them to enter higher education, no matter their background.”—Amanda Guy, math teacher

Roles in School Leadership

Thrive in leadership roles at your school. The opportunity to grow beyond your classroom responsibilities are numerous. Your professional path may expand into positions where you oversee everything from the budget to the performance of the entire teaching staff.

Develop Education Products and Services

Photo of a female teacher with a young student

“My teacher experience has helped me as an organizational leader, too. Teachers fundamentally care about developing their people—their students. I do that now, but it’s with my staff not students. You need to grow your people if you want to grow an organization.”—Ellen Moir, founder and executive director of New Teacher Center

Roles in Education Services

The skills you learn as a teacher can prepare you to develop products and services for teachers and schools. Whether you balance multiple ventures while teaching or decide to apply your skill elsewhere, teaching will prepare you to excel. Consider these few paths as a sampling of possible opportunities.

Work in Policy or Advocacy

Photo of Dr. John B. King

“I'm optimistic that, as a country, there is a realization that the success of our public education system is so central to our long-term future that we cannot afford to slide backwards.”—Dr. John B. King Jr., former teacher, principal and U.S. Secretary of Education

Roles in Advocacy

Further your commitment to education by sharing what you know with new audiences. Your career may naturally lead to a role where you are advocating for an issue, pursuing policy positions and/or moving into academic research. Here are a few opportunities that you may consider.

Become an Education Leader

Photo of Sharif El-Mekki

“I knew I wanted to dive into activism, but I didn't necessarily look at education and teaching as activism. Now, I know better. It is the best way to demonstrate activism in a sustained way in a pervasive way.”—Sharif El-Mekki, Founder and CEO, Center for Black Educator Development

Roles in Higher Education

Many teachers move on from K-12 classes to teach higher ed courses at colleges and universities.

Job Prospects

Male teacher helping student

Teachers are always in high demand, regardless where the job market stands. Education Corner states overall teacher employment is expected to increase by 5% across the U.S. in 2018-2028 (3). Post-secondary teachers are expected to see the highest growth in job opportunities, with a projected 11% increase during the same time period.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, public schools are especially in need of teachers to fill “shortage areas” like math, special education, science, foreign language and English as a Second Language (ESL).

All of this means you’ll have countless job opportunities throughout your career. Learn more about the competitive salary and benefits that come with teaching by clicking below.

Learn More


  1. Higher Ed Live, Keep Calm and Let the Dean of Students Handle It
  2. Forbes, How This Former Elementary School Art Teacher Launched A Multimillion-Dollar Startup
  3. Education Corner, Job Outlook for Teachers through 2020