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6 Different Careers in Education

February 17, 2023

A wide variety of education professionals work together to keep the education system in this country going each day. Of course, many of those positions are held by teachers—and by the expected supporting roles of principals, counselors, and administrative staff—but several of the education system’s crucial positions are not quite as familiar to the average person. 

Knowing more about these positions may be particularly relevant for those who are considering a transition out of teaching but want to stick around in education. It could also be intriguing for those interested in working in education after earning an advanced degree like an online Master of Education (MEd) in Education Policy and Leadership but who want to learn about roles outside the classroom. Read on for a few of the careers in education you may not have heard as much about.

6 Overlooked Careers in Education

While the classroom may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about a school, there are several other critical jobs performed by professional educators behind the scenes. The impact of the following roles is equally important, as they can play a vital role in providing the best student learning experience possible.

1. Education Policy Analyst

If you’re interested in considering the big-picture view of education and how it might be changed from that level, this may be the role for you. Education policy analysts are typically employed by government agencies or connected organizations, such as lobbyists and think tanks, to make changes to the education system through policy. These are the folks wrestling with the big questions, such as how to address inequality in education, increase teacher salaries and retention, improve academic outcomes, and boost funding.

A policy analyst needs to have a knack for conducting independent research and clearly communicating and synthesizing the results. A master’s degree or PhD is typically required to work in this field. According to Payscale, the median annual salary of an education policy analyst as of January 2023 was around $62,700.

2. Ed-tech executive or employee

More and more stories are emerging about former teachers taking the plunge into the world of education technology, or “ed tech.” Some of them are designing the sorts of apps they wish had been available to them as teachers and refashioning themselves as tech company CEOs; others are selling such products. 

As tech plays an increasingly larger role in the classroom—as evidenced by the increasing prevalence of online and hybrid learning models—more former teachers will be needed to develop, consult on, and discuss the teaching technology of the future. This makes roles in ed-tech among the more intriguing careers in education to consider.

As is the case with the rest of Silicon Valley and the tech industry, specific education credentials are typically not as important as experience, big ideas, and software development know-how. lists the median annual salary for ed-tech roles at around $109,000.

3. Lead teacher

Though most people are aware that teachers regularly attend career development seminars, conferences, and other events tailored to improving their skills in the classroom, far fewer consider the details of what it takes to become one of the trainers facilitating such events. But such people are not only necessary in our education system—they’re devoted to constantly making it better.

Lead teachers work with new teachers or those brushing up their skills to teach them the latest research and innovative classroom techniques. Some certificate programs focus specifically on training education experts for this role. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), kindergarten and elementary school teachers make an annual salary of $61,350, and high school teachers make an annual salary of $61,820, as of 2021.

4. Instructional coordinator

An instructional coordinator is tasked with developing school curricula and teaching standards. They also coordinate the implementation of new teaching standards or new technological innovations that can help teachers improve learning outcomes. They work for local governments, in professional schools, or within schools themselves. 

A master’s degree is often necessary for this role, but it’s likely to be a good investment, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that instructional coordinators will see demand for their services increase by 7 percent between 2021 and 2031. The BLS reported the role’s median annual salary was $63,470 as of 2021.

5. Intervention Specialist

Academic intervention specialists work with students with learning and social challenges to develop educational strategies meant to optimize their classroom performance. The foundations of these strategies are typically individualized education programs (IEPs), which are specialized learning pathways tailored toward the student based on an assessment of their needs. Intervention specialists can collaborate with teachers and special education teachers to develop IEPs. In some cases, they may also work with counselors and behavioral therapists. 

An intervention specialist’s primary goal is to help students meet academic goals as mandated by their state. Payscale listed the median annual salary for an intervention specialist at around $38,900 as of January 2023.

6. Education Director

An education director oversees a school’s educational program to ensure it aligns with federal and state standards for teaching performance and student performance. They assess standardized tests to identify students that may be falling behind and develop creative solutions to boost performance. They may even have a hand in school policy development, organizing various programs, and staff hiring. 

Education directors should hold strong communication and leadership skills, and most often need advanced education, such as a master’s degree. According to Payscale, the median annual salary for an education director as of January 2023 was about $69,100.

Take a Unique Path Toward Shaping the Future

Professionals interested in making a difference in the field of education are not limited to the roles of teacher or school administrator. The wide range of careers in education means there’s a role to match almost any set of skills and interests—and if you’re willing to look, you may find the right one for you.

American University’s online MEd in Education Education Policy and Leadership program can prepare you to make a difference in the field of education, regardless of the path you choose. Our program is specifically designed to help you cultivate strong knowledge of the elements that allow a school to function properly and efficiently through a curriculum that focuses on law, leadership, economics, administration, and more. 

Learn how we can help you impact the next generation in a unique way.