Change of profession as a teacher? Out of the teaching profession

For many a dream job, for some not…but there are alternatives.

Those who decide to study teaching often no longer have to worry about their professional future. Although it is no longer possible to obtain civil servant status in many German states, employment is also often open-ended.

But the job as a teacher brings many challenges with it and the study prepares despite everything only in a certain measure for the professional everyday life in a school. In addition, the teaching profession is associated with great stress, so that a not insignificant proportion of teachers retire early or seek a change of profession.

Beware of false expectations

A teacher training course takes several years and yet contains only a few practical phases. After the one to two year preparatory service, the so-called Referendariat, the normal work as a teacher begins. Graduates then take on full responsibility for their students independently. The ideas and plans that emerged during the studies are then usually quickly caught up with reality.

Everyday life as a teacher turns out to be quite different than desired, hoped for or expected. But the opportunities to change careers seem to be limited for teachers, and employment is secure, so resignation is obvious. In addition, there is an income that is unlikely to be earned as a teacher in any other profession.
The longer a profession is performed, the more difficult it is to change. Long-serving teachers in particular often suffer from psychological problems and risk their health in the long run. An early retirement must be however also then by no means the only alternative.

If you want to make a change from teaching to another profession, the first step should be to answer the following questions honestly:

  • What specifically stresses me about the job of the teacher?
  • How different is the working day in my dream job, so that these burdens there could not also come to me?
  • Could I improve the negative aspects of the teaching profession without giving up teaching??
  • What do I really appreciate about being a teacher and wouldn’t want to miss it in my future profession?

Out of the teaching profession?

A second education, a second degree or a retraining is always associated with a high energy and time expenditure. First, try to clarify for yourself whether there is also an opportunity for you as a teacher to improve your satisfaction at work.

Transfer instead of giving up the teaching profession

The first option of a change is to be transferred to another school. Gymnasium and high school teachers can also teach at other types of school. Switching to an elementary school is also possible in many cases. Changed working conditions lead to new challenges that can possibly be better managed.

Different working conditions at private schools

Another way may be to stop serving at a regular school and instead work at private educational institutions. The conditions are often better there. This applies to both the materials and the composition of the student body. However, there is also pressure to perform at private schools, and the atmosphere is sometimes more relaxed. but even higher.

However, anyone who is no longer employed in the public sector or. is a civil servant teacher, can alternatively work as a freelance teacher and thus avoid being tied to only one school. Above all, activities outside of the classroom can be made possible with them. Freelance teachers can also teach classes at several educational institutions, so working at several types of schools (vocational schools, adult education centers, etc.) is also possible.) comes into question.

What profession to change to: Making the most of specialized studies

A teaching degree usually consists of two subjects. Added to this is the pedagogical training. Classic combinations include mathematics and physics, German studies, history and philosophy, or biology and chemistry. Those seeking a career change should take advantage of this circumstance.

Above all, pedagogical training can be helpful, since teachers naturally also have a lot of practical experience in this area. This is a great advantage when working with children and teenagers. An application in the field of children and youth work is always recommended if pedagogical knowledge is required above all else. The two subjects that every student teacher takes also help with career change.

How can teachers become vocational school teachers?

If working with children and young people is particularly stressful for you, but you would like to continue working as a teacher, then a change to adult education or to a vocational school is an option. To become a vocational school teacher, you first have to complete the preparatory service. Since vocational schools also teach subjects such as German, English, etc. are taught, a change is easier with a corresponding subject combination.

You can find more information about becoming a vocational school teacher here.

Another option would be to switch to adult education at adult education centers or a training academy of the Armed Forces. To begin with, working part-time at an adult education center is usually not possible for civil servant teachers. Employed teachers should also first get permission from their employer.

Become a tutor

You like to teach, but suffer from the noise in the classroom? Many teachers find in their occupation only in the "1:1" situation as Nachhilfelehrer their calling. As a tutor you teach only one student or only a small group of students. Children and young people experience a life-changing experience: finally a teacher who listens to them. Finally, a lesson that is tailored to their pace and their needs. Finally the possibility to ask questions without fear of embarrassing yourself.

You can make the change to a tutor by contacting tutoring institutes that are interesting for you. There you will learn everything about the conditions and requirements.

Self-employment: founding a tutoring institute

If you would like to become self-employed and actually love imparting knowledge as a profession, but are unhappy with the working conditions, then starting your own institute, tutoring school or counseling center might be of interest to you.

Optimal preparation for the path to self-employment can be obtained from start-up consultancies, where you can also get information on financial subsidies.

From teacher to the profession of lecturer

You are a German teacher and do not want to continue teaching? Small and large publishing houses rely on the competence of Germanists as editors. The profession combines your passion for the German language and literature with relaxed working conditions: You are either employed as a proofreader or self-employed and work mostly alone in a quiet environment. An optimal career change especially for teachers who suffer from psychological consequences of the teaching profession and long for more rest and less contact with people.

Here you experience still more details: Occupation change to the Lektor.

Psychological counselor or non-medical practitioner for psychotherapy

You always have an open ear for your students, but you don’t want to teach anymore? Then make coaching and psychological support of others the focus of your professional activities. The training to the psychological advisor or welfare practical man for psychotherapy places the work with humans, their consultation and support in the center. Instead of working in a crowded, noisy classroom, you’ll help individuals in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.

Teachers are particularly suitable for psychological counseling due to their pedagogical training. Both professions require training, which can be completed flexibly and inexpensively by distance learning. The distance learning courses of the distance learning schools SGD and ILS are particularly popular in this respect. To find the best provider for you, it is best to request information material from all providers:

Retraining by distance learning – the 2022 study guides are here:

From teacher to school psychologist

For all teachers who have a good approach to their students, but no longer want to teach, the profession of school psychologist could also be of interest. The training path to become a school psychologist is not fixed. As a rule, school psychologists have studied both teaching and psychology. Check with your state’s department of education to find out what requirements you must meet to become a school psychologist.

We have summarized details for you here: Further training as a school psychologist.

Desire for something new: Human Resources and Personnel

You enjoy working with people, counseling, and are interested in personnel issues? You move from teaching to human resources. The demand on the labor market for "personalers" and human resource managers is high, because almost every medium-sized company needs at least one HR expert for a functioning personnel policy.

How can teachers change to a human resources department? Further education in personnel management is offered, for example, at the distance learning school ILS. You can get more information here: Information material on personnel management.

The courage to change

Who changes the occupation as a teacher, takes naturally a risk. Whether another job in a new school, adult education, government agency, or youth ministry will provide more satisfaction remains debatable. This doesn’t just apply to teachers, but ultimately to any career change.

Don’t let others discourage you: If you can’t or don’t want to work as a teacher anymore, it’s time to take steps. Do yourself a favor and let go of the idea that "teaching is a safe and good profession" or fears that you might offend others with a career change.

The day job is too long and life is too short for the wrong profession. Ultimately, only you know what career direction is right for you.

Yes to the decision, but do not rush

A career change should be made carefully and prospective employees should be aware of their goals, strengths and talents. Possibly a professional job coach can help identify problems and opportunities and provide more concrete support for all plans.

What professions are suitable for teachers who want to change for mental health reasons??

Quite a few teachers no longer want to work in schools because they suffer from psychological consequences of working conditions: Burnout, depression, sleep disorders, tinnitus, the list of psychological problems caused by the teaching profession is long. If you are one of those affected, then a move into school administration might also be an interesting option for you: secure employment, quiet working atmosphere, but the connection to the teaching profession remains.

How can teachers switch to administration?

In addition, teachers can take on positions in the field of administration. An employment relationship in the public service remains thus. This step is also possible for civil servant teachers. In particular, you do not necessarily have to accept financial losses when changing to the administrative sector or risk your pension / retirement in old age.

In many federal states, teachers switch (sometimes only temporarily) to the administration of social departments of the municipality, to the school board or to a ministry of education. This switch to administration usually requires no further training or retraining and preserves most of the benefits of being a teacher for you.

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