A qualification in education is traditionally associated with teaching or lecturing roles, but the options for jobs in education in the UK are actually far wider than that. Such qualifications could lead to roles in education administration, as a researcher or within a community in a supportive capacity. Here, we explore just a few of the opportunities for specialist education careers.
This position in schools often involves management in addition to teaching duties, so it could be perfect if you want to expand your experience but still keep teaching. Normally associated with a specific subject area, duties include raising standards in that field through the setting of targets, and monitoring teacher and student performance.
Part of the role normally includes leading other teaching staff and, if it's a role in addition to continued teaching duties, your own teaching time would necessarily have to reduce. With all subject areas requiring constant updating as a result of ongoing research, this role is likely to continually evolve and challenge.
Research staff can be employed within higher education. In both cases, the role involves working on projects either individually or collaboratively. Whilst the majority of research work is within the sciences, there are also opportunities within the humanities and social sciences, so it is worth considering, whatever your discipline.
Whilst contracts are often temporary, the work can be flexible and include a wide range of responsibilities, such as research and the recording of results, the presentation of findings, seeking funding, managing budgets, supervising PhD students in a university setting and some administrative duties.
The teaching assistant role is crucial in modern classrooms to support teachers. Responsibilities include leading or assisting with learning activities for both groups and individually, supporting the development of students and some administrative tasks, such as the preparation of essential resources. It is a job with a lot of scope as there are roles in both nurseries and schools, so it can involve working with a range of ages.
The abilities of students will obviously vary and some teaching assistants specialise in working with those pupils with special educational needs (SEN). As more experience is gained, teaching assistants can take on more responsibility and even coordinate areas of teaching.
These roles are wide-ranging and often have a different title, depending on the specialist area. Whilst administrators are needed in schools, most roles of this sort are found in further or higher education settings. Essentially, this job is critical to keep universities and other such institutions running.
Administrators are required in areas such as admissions, data management, finance, careers, exams or quality assurance, so there is certainly scope to find the best fit for a certain set of skills.
Community Education Officer
Often working in diverse and underprivileged communities, this type of role increases participation in local education. Working with both course providers and partners, such as Jobcentre Plus staff, the role requires group and individual interactions to overcome any barriers to learning.
Working with students aged 13 or older, right up to adults, a career adviser provides information and guidance to help steer people towards a suitable career. The work can range from identifying career options and advising on CV and covering letter composition, to assisting with applications or interview practice.
Museum Education Officer
This role could be perfect for someone who is passionate about a specific area and keen to bring it to a wider audience. Museums can be a fantastic learning resource and a job of this sort could entail the development of a programme of learning or events for individuals, groups or classes, together with devising a learning scheme to fit in with the character of the museum.
A career in education is about much more than teaching and it may be worth exploring some of the other options out there to find the perfect role. Once you have the right specialist experience and a dedicated education qualification then you will be well placed to be selected ahead of those holding more generalist qualifications.