9 Post-retirement Careers for Teachers Who Only Want to Retire from Teaching

It may seem like an oxymoron to talk about retirement and post-retirement careers in the same article. But it’s also not uncommon for people to retire from one career field only to transition into another.

One day you might choose to retire from teaching, but not retire completely.

Even apart from retirement, a study found that 17% of teachers leave the field within the first five years of entering. We can presume that a higher percentage leave sometime after the first five years.

The point is, there may be a career change in your future. And that change may happen once you retire. At that point, you might be done with teaching, but you might want to try your hand at something different.

post retirement careers for teachers

Why You Might Want to Retire Only from Teaching

There are all kinds of reasons why you might only want to retire from teaching. Here are some I was able to come up with, but I’ll bet you can come up with a few more.

Greater financial independence. If you have a pension and a well-funded retirement savings plan, you may feel empowered to try a different career field. After all, you won’t have the same financial dependence on your career that you have right now, so you’ll be free to try your hand at anything that you want.

You’re retired, but you’re not “finished“. This is not an unusual situation at all. Many people simply want to retire from the career they’ve been working at all their lives. But it’s not to retire to the beach and play golf. You may feel that you have a lot to give in a similar or even totally unrelated field.

You may want to work at something. Some people can’t wait to retire to a life of blessed nothingness. But others enjoy work, and can’t imagine living life without it. You may want to give up the rigors of teaching, but continue to work at something that’s equally satisfying, but less stressful.

You may find your passion late in life. Or you may have been aware of your passion all along, but you have been afraid to pursue it for fear of financial difficulties. But once you reach the point where your children are grown and the heavier obligations of life are behind you, you may want to finally pursue your passion, at least on a part-time basis. Once again, having a pension and retirement plan will make the jump easier.

What kind of post-retirement careers might you want to take a shot at?

1. Professional Speaking

This field is a natural for teachers. After all, as a teacher, you regularly stand up before a group and give a speech. In fact, it’s what you do on most days during your career. You’re probably more accomplished at it – and more confident with it – than the average person.

This isn’t a small point either. Most people rank public speaking as one of their greatest fears, right up there with the fear of venomous snakes. An article in Psychology Today even makes the bold claim that people fear public speaking even more than death!

The reason I point this out is because, as a teacher, you need to understand that what is a basic skill for you in your career is terrifying to other people. Your ability to speak before groups is unique and has market value.

You can turn your public speaking skills into professional speaking, by entering a career or business where you will be presenting to groups. That could involve doing presentations on important issues, providing group training, conducting seminars, or even doing group sales pitches.

If you can stand to do an all-day presentation to a room full of kids, spending an hour or two in front of a group of adults should be a piece of cake!

2. Anything Involving Research

Research is another part of the job for teachers. But like public speaking, it isn’t something that everyone is comfortable with. As a teacher, you’re familiar with the methodology of research, as well as with determining what’s relevant, and learning how to package and present it.

Since research is necessary in so many areas, there’s almost no limit to how and where you can apply it as a post-retirement career.

There’s medical research, legal research, scientific research, technical research, social research, political research and marketing research – just to name a few.

Research would probably be one of those career transitions that will be very short for a retired teacher. Since you already know the basics of research, it would just be a matter of learning to apply those skills to the discipline at hand. And if you’ve been teaching multiple subjects during your career, transitioning from one discipline to another shouldn’t be all that hard either.

3. Writing and Editing

As a teacher, you learned how to write before you even got out of college. And since you spent a career correcting papers, you’re also thoroughly familiar with editing. Even if you’ve never done writing or editing professionally, you already have the basic skills required to do either. That will give you a leg up in entering either as a post-retirement career.

There are so many different ways that you could make freelance writing a career. You could try your hand at writing under your own byline. This could be done on blogs (or even on a blog of your own), in written publications, and online publications.

Technical writing is also an extremely broad field. For example, you could write articles, marketing pieces and research papers for law firms, medical practices, marketing firms, small, medium and large companies, municipalities and nonprofit organizations.

You can also ghostwrite. There are many business people and executives who need to publish content on a regular basis, but don’t have time. You can take the writing skills you learned as a teacher, and use them to become the written voice for other people.

You can also do editing work in any of the above capacities. There are many people who write in today’s world, particularly because of the Internet. But not everyone knows basic grammar or sentence structure, or knows how to organize their work in a cohesive manner. You can.

With both writing and editing, you have the ability to work as an employee or as a contractor, or even to run your own business providing the services. There’s a lot of flexibility in this career field. You could even find yourself writing a book or an e-book for substantial compensation. Writing or editing can be a perfect work-at-home situation, too.

4. Corporate or Government Trainer

If you’ve been teaching kids for years, you’ll be a natural in training adults. The big advantage here is that adults who are undergoing career training are usually more attentive than a room full of highly distractible kids. The adults want to learn, because they need the information and knowledge for their jobs.

As a teacher, you’re well qualified to make this transition. Once again, you’re very familiar with standing up in front of a group and making a presentation. You’re also comfortable creating and using visual aid presentations.

The potential list of income generating opportunities here is also limitless. Companies need trainers, whether on an occasional basis or continuously. We live in a world where technology, regulations and consumer preferences change regularly. All that requires ongoing training.
In most cases, you wouldn’t have to prepare the training material, but just present it.

Training opportunities can also exist in governments. This is particularly true since government employees often need specific training to deal with the many changes in laws and regulations, and how to carry them out in their jobs.

5. Tutoring

Every post-retirement career idea that we’ve discussed so far is a natural fit for teachers. But tutoring is a virtual glove fit. That’s because you’re taking your skills as a teacher, and moving them from a group situation to an individual one. It’s a potentially lucrative field, too.

Tutors working with high school and college students can easily earn between $30 and $50 an hour. The better pay tends to be in the tougher subjects, like math and science, or prepping for high-stakes exams. As a teacher, you’ll know exactly what to do in each case.

A big advantage of tutoring is flexibility. Though there are certain jobs for tutors, most work independently. They develop their own client bases, either by advertising in local publications, or offering their services through schools, colleges, houses of worship, and government agencies.

Apart from school students, there are all sorts of opportunities for tutoring at the adult level. English as a second language (ESOL) has become a very popular study program for recent immigrants. You could also help to prepare people for the general equivalency diploma program (GED), or the SAT and GRE exams.

If your teaching background does include math or science, you’ll have a big, high-paying client base. But just about any subject you can think of has plenty of room for tutors.

6. Career Coaching

This is a more limited field, since you will most likely be coaching students on how to prepare for careers in teaching. It’s not as common as career coaching and other fields, since teaching has a specific career path.

But a potential market are people who are looking to transition into teaching from other fields, or even new teachers who are looking for coaching to advance their careers.

7. Consulting

This is a much more open-ended career field than the others, only because it’s typically less well defined. For teachers, there may be a limited number of specializations, but those could be lucrative.

One obvious consulting area is in the profession itself. You may be able to work as a consultant for underperforming school districts, or those that need help in a very specific area. As a career teacher, you may be able to offer hands-on skills, as well as the kind of perspective that only a well experienced outsider can provide.

Another area is working with companies who sell to school districts or the teaching profession. With your lifelong experience in education, your consulting skills may be a valuable addition to a business that is looking to either enter that field, or expand the business they already have.

There may also be government agencies or nonprofits who are working with children, or plan to do so soon. As a teacher, having spent a lifetime working with kids, you may be uniquely qualified to come on board as a consultant in some capacity.

Consulting is mostly about identifying niches, and then tailoring your skills to fill the need.

8. Paralegal

One of the factors that makes former teachers naturals paralegals is the discipline that you acquire with technical material. Paralegal work involves a great deal of research, which teachers are fully trained in. Your ability to access information sources, and organize technical information in a readily usable form will be a huge asset.

Since it involves the law, paralegal work requires a great deal of accuracy. But again, your training as a teacher has made this a part of your career already. You already understand the importance of being complete and readily presentable. And as a professional yourself, you should be well able to work with other professionals, such as lawyers in the parallel professionals that they deal with.

There paralegals in different fields, since lawyers have different specializations. You could work with a law firm that specializes in criminal cases, or one that handles civil cases. There are also divorce lawyers, family law practices, and others that specialize in disability claims.

The corporations often have a need for paralegals as well. Since many companies are engaged in highly regulated industries, they need to perpetually research regulations and changing laws. Even if you don’t have a specific legal background, your research skills gained from years of teaching, to make you a valuable asset in this capacity.

Becoming a paralegal usually requires obtaining a state-sponsored certificate. Since you’re a teacher, you almost certainly already have the education requirement covered, whatever it may be in your state of residence.

9. Sales

This is a career field that most teachers probably don’t think of. And in truth, people in general tend to shy away from sales. But if you’re people oriented, sales can work well for you. And once again, if you have a pension from your district, and distributions coming out of your 403(b) plan, you won’t have to deal with the income insecurity issue that plagues most commission-only salespeople.

While the idea of sales itself may not be terribly appealing, it may be a good fit if for you if it involves selling a product or service that you truly believe in.

One other major advantage of sales is that it is often the first step into a new career. After all, if you can be on the front lines selling a product, you could eventually move up the chain and into something totally unrelated within the field.

Once again, your ability to present before groups will be a definite advantage. But like tutoring, you’ll have to refine that down to a one-on-one presentation process. That’s because most of your sales presentations will be either to an individual, or to a very small number of people at the same time.

You may also find that your research skills will help you to gain product knowledge. Though we often think of sales as being the ability to out-talk customers, it’s really mostly about overcoming objections. If you have strong product knowledge, gained from research, you’ll be able to overcome those objections with little trouble.

Final Thoughts on Post-Retirement Careers for Teachers

If you decide that you want to retire, but only to retire from teaching, you have plenty of options. Your lifelong career as a teacher is giving you the kinds of skills that can easily move you into closely related- or even entirely different-career fields.

You could very well become a four-income person in retirement, benefiting from your pension, Social Security, retirement plan distributions and the income from a post-retirement career.

That’s more income potential than most people have going into retirement.