Education is a broader field than many people realize. If you have decided that work as a classroom teacher just isn’t the right fit for you, there are many other career paths, both within and outside the field of education, that you could move into with a master’s degree in education. If you want to continue to work in a school environment, you might choose a career as a school counselor, principal or instructional coordinator. Some former teachers move on to better-paying roles in higher education administration. You can also pursue jobs farther removed from the existing educational system, such as educational consultant, education policy analyst or educational coordinator at a museum, zoo or cultural institution.

School Counseling Roles

Becoming a school counselor is a popular career shift for those who enjoy working in the elementary or secondary school environment. School counselors work with students to improve their academic and social performance, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. School counselor is part of the community and social service occupations. Providing counseling services to students who are struggling with academic, social or personal problems sometimes falls under the job duties of this profession.

Much of your work will depend on the grade level of students you work with as a counselor. At younger grades, you may implement programs designed to improve basic skills like time management and introduce students to age-appropriate information about important issues such as drug abuse. In high schools, counselors often help students choose classes that will benefit them in the future and prepare for college and a career after high school graduation.

In a Master of Education in School Counseling program, your coursework might include lifespan development, career development, family and social support systems, multicultural counseling, school consultation and counseling theories in one-on-one and group settings.

School Leadership and Curriculum Creation Jobs

Master’s in education programs also prepare you for roles on or approaching the administrative side of education. A master’s degree in education administration or education leadership is the typical education required to become a school principal, the BLS reported. Classes in a master’s in education administration program may include studies in the foundations of principalship, management strategies for school resources as well as human resources, education law and data-driven leadership practices. he goal of a graduate education administration program is to equip students with the skills they need to manage the operations of schools, from recruiting staff and managing budgets to representing the school in the community.

For those who no longer want to teach in the classroom but still enjoy the focus on learning, a career as a curriculum and instruction coordinator may be a more appealing choice. In this position, you would focus less on the act of teaching and more on developing the curriculum standards, lessons, course content and instructional strategies and technology used in teaching. Instructional coordinator is a great role for someone who has an interest in technology’s role in education and in multimedia educational materials. A graduate degree, such as a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, is the typical education needed for this career path, the BLS reported.

Both principals and instructional coordinators observe and evaluate teachers, though principals do so for staff purposes and instructional coordinators for curriculum planning and training purposes. For both roles, you usually need teaching experience.

Administration Roles in Higher Education

It isn’t only in kindergarten through twelfth-grade school districts that administrators are necessary. Colleges and universities have plentiful roles in administration across numerous departments, divisions and functions within the institution. Often, higher education administration roles also pay well, with average salaries for some of these high-level administrator roles climbing well into the six-figure range.

A master’s degree is usually required for many roles in higher education administration, according to the BLS. For the most relevant education, look for a program specifically tailored toward higher education administration

Job Opportunities in Consulting and Analysis

You may think that consultants only play a part in the business world, but some education experts earn a living by consulting. Which type of Master of Education degree is the best choice for educational consultants depends on how you want to leverage your knowledge of the field.

I Don't Think I Want to Actually Be a Teacher. What Other Jobs Can I Get With a Master's in Education? 

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Consultants who work with private educational companies to develop educational materials may benefit from graduate studies in curriculum writing, while those helping school systems solve problems might be more inclined to study administration and leadership. Some educational consultants work with students and parents to provide private assistance in choosing career paths and applying for college. If you want to consult with families, you might want a background in school and career counseling.

As a teacher, you make a difference in the life of every student who comes into your classroom – but what if you want to do more? One way you can create a bigger impact on students across the state, or even across the nation, is by helping to influence and craft the laws and policies that pertain to education as an education policy analyst.

Politicians and lawmakers rarely have a real background in education. They rely on professionals who have studied the principles of teaching and learning and managed classes full of students to use their firsthand knowledge to research, assess and offer data-driven recommendations on how to solve educational problems or improve proposed policies. If this path interests you, a Master of Education in Education Policy can help you become familiar with the politics, laws, economic and social factors and methods of research and data analysis needed to succeed in the field.

Both consultants and policy analysts need skills in research, analysis and decision-making. Whether you’re evaluating potential solutions to school problems, colleges for prospective students or a complex policy proposal, you must have strong analytical abilities.

Educational Coordinator Roles Outside of School Systems

Every teacher knows that learning doesn’t occur only in the classroom. A role as an educational coordinator in a museum, zoo or science center – the kind of places where classes often go on field trips – can offer you a fresh challenge and a welcome change of scenery. Whether you end up in an aquarium, a botanical garden, an art museum or a science museum, you can devote your career to developing effective educational materials and programs that relate to a topic you are passionate about, rather than managing classrooms of unruly students and, too often, having to teach to the content of a standardized test instead of covering truly valuable lessons.

You may need different degrees for educational coordinator roles in different cultural institutions, like a Master of Education in Environmental Education for a career in a zoo or a degree in museum education for art or science museum environments. 

Additional Resources

What Other Kinds of Jobs Can I Get With a Master’s in Curriculum Creation?

What Areas in Education Have the Greatest Job Growth?

What Are the Most Important Factors When Considering an Online Master’s in Education?