Beyond Teaching: Compare 7 Careers in Education

Before your military service, I bet you can think back to a teacher, counselor, coach or administrator who inspired you to work harder, set goals and reach for the stars. Many who have careers in education influence and impact the lives and futures of their students. While teaching is certainly the best-known career in education, there are many others. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there will be a 6 percent increase in the number of jobs in education by 2024.

Careers in Education

The below list of careers in education will help military students find information about a range of Kindergarten through 12th-grade opportunities beyond teaching traditional subjects. Job qualifications, certification requirements, and pay vary widely from state to state. Use this list to learn general information about the job duties, salaries, and educational requirements for each career.

Special Salary Note: All annual salary and wage information is taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics and shows nationwide median salaries. The salary can be significantly higher or lower depending on the job demand and location of the position. For example, salaries for ROTC senior military instructors vary widely. In the west, some earned $42,000 in California and $25,000 in Hawaii. In the northeast, some instructors made $35,000 in Maine and $48,000 in New York.

ROTC Instructors

Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) instructors train high school students in leadership, critical thinking, and military science. The qualifications to become a ROTC instructor vary depending on the potential candidate’s branch of military service, designation as enlisted or officer, and pay grade. ROTC instructors are selected by the branch of the armed forces they represent and must meet additional state licensing and certification requirements. The qualifications and experience required to become a licensed teacher varies by state. In general, instructors must have at least 20 years of military service. Noncommissioned officers in the Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Navy must have an associate’s degree. All officers and non-commissioned officers in the Air Force must have a bachelor’s degree. As employees of an individual state or district school system, the median salary for ROTC range between $35,000 and $40,000.

Athletic Coach

Athletic coaches teach middle and high school students the skills they need to succeed at their sport. They demonstrate techniques, evaluate athletes’ abilities, and prepare teams or individuals for competition. They offer training direction, encouragement, motivation, and nutritional advice to help athletes excel. Coaches are needed in sports such as football, basketball, tennis, track and field, baseball, and more. Most states typically require a bachelor’s degree, extensive knowledge of the game, and some experience playing the sport. The median annual wage for coaches is approximately $31,000.

School Counselor

School counselors work with students to develop the academic and social skills needed to succeed in school. They provide individual and group guidance services. These services help students choose a career or educational program and connect to support resources. School counselors also assist students with understanding and overcoming personal, social, or behavioral problems affecting their educational or vocational progress. Most school counselors have a master’s degree in school counseling or a related field and have a state-issued credential. The median annual wage for school and career counselors is $53,660.

School Social Worker

School social workers serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics, courts, protective services, doctors, and other contacts to help children who face problems, such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty. In schools, they address additional problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. A bachelor’s degree or master’s in social work is usually required. There may also be additional state licensing required when working within a school setting. The median annual wage for school social workers is $42,350.

School Psychologist

School psychologists apply learning and psychological principles to help address educational problems. They diagnose learning disabilities and other conditions to help students access special supportive services. School psychologists select, administer, and score psychological tests. They interpret test results and prepare psychological reports for teachers, administrators, and parents. Advanced education and training through an internship or practicum is typically required. School psychologists typically hold a master’s degree and additional certification. The Department of Labor has this occupation listed as one of its “Bright Outlook Careers”. Job opportunities are expected to grow rapidly between 2014 and 2024. The median annual salary for school psychologists is $70,580.

School Administrator- Principal and Superintendent

School administrators are educators with leadership experience who plan, direct, and coordinate academic, administrative, and other aspects of a school or school system. Principals handle this coordination at the elementary or secondary school level, while superintendents typically oversee several schools within a district or county. They ensure academic quality by observing teaching methods, standardizing curricula, and determining areas for school improvement. These positions generally require graduate education in the form of a master’s degree, an education specialist or doctoral degree. The median annual salary for school administrators is $90,410.

Career and Technical Education Instructors

Career and technical education instructors equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to enter an occupation. This includes various technical and vocational subjects, such as auto repair, healthcare, and culinary arts. Most career and technical education teachers work in public schools, at the middle, high school, and 2-year community college level. Those interested in teaching in public middle and high schools generally must have either an associate or bachelor’s degree and work experience related to the subject. Additional state-issued certification or licensure in the field and/or in teaching may be required. The median annual wage for career and technical education teachers is $52,800.

Troops to Teachers Program

For military members and veterans considering any of the above careers in education, the Troops to Teachers (TTT) program can help. The TTT program provides counseling, state-specific routes to teacher certification, facilitates employment, and offers financial support to eligible applicants. More than 20,000 veterans have been placed into teaching positions across America. Many have gone on to pursue advanced degrees and positions in school counseling or administration. To learn more about the TTT program visit www.proudtoserveagain.com or email a TTT Program Specialist at TTT@navy.mil.

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Taheesha Quarells

Taheesha Quarells

Education Project Manager at DANTES
Taheesha Quarells is a U.S. Army veteran with more than 15 years of experience in expanding academic and career development opportunities for military members and veterans. With experience as both an active duty military and veteran student while completing her bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, she enjoys sharing her love of learning with others.