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The Best Non Traditional Teacher Certification Career Roles

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There are 85 million teachers, and by 2030 the world will need another 69 million teachers. Have you considered a career as a teacher?

Teaching doesn’t currently rank in the top 40 jobs, according to USNews. However, a high school teacher job ranks #46 out of the top 100 best jobs, which may surprise teachers as they would say teaching is rewarding.

In this business blog post, we look at the best roles you can get with a non-traditional teacher qualification which fast-tracks graduates into teaching careers.

What Is a Non-Traditional Teacher Certification?

Non-traditional teacher certification came about as a much-needed solution to a critical shortage of qualified teachers.

The alternative certification program, also known as ACP, is a program that gives people the ability to earn a teaching certificate without having to complete a traditional teacher certification program. Programs like these take far less time and can put candidates on the fast track to gaining certification.

While a typical teacher certification program requires an educational background with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in education and years spent earning those degrees, this approach is designed for those without prior academic experience.

What Is the Timeframe For Earning Certification?

Generally speaking, an alternative certification program can take 1-2 years. However, the curriculum allows you to complete the course at your own pace, leaving it up to you how long the process will be, sometimes in weeks or months.

How Do I Get A Non-Traditional Teacher Certification?

Although the process differs from state to state, gaining acceptance to one of these programs is the first step in most cases. It’s important to note that the non-traditional teacher program you apply to is state-approved. Upon gaining admission, there is coursework that must be completed before taking the teacher certification exam and stepping into a classroom as a teacher.

After completing these prerequisites, you may be responsible for completing other safety and situational courses before seeking your teaching certificate.

Can I Earn A Non-Traditional Teaching Certificate Online?

Several states have permitted programs to be taught either partially or entirely online. This option is great news for anyone currently working full-time or experiencing extenuating circumstances.

Other certification programs help with the transition process by allowing candidates to work full-time as a teacher while completing the requirements needed to earn the alternative certification for teachers.

What Can I Do With My Non-Traditional Teacher Certification?

An alternative teaching degree allows you to work in the same positions as teachers with a standard certification. However, obtaining your first job as a teacher can be challenging because some institutions believe traditionally certified teachers have more experience from the start.

So, while you can apply to any teaching job that you would with a traditional certification, here are a few options that might be worth focusing on, especially if you are just getting started.

1. Teach a Subject Specific to Your Degree

It goes without saying that you should teach the subject you are knowledgeable about. But this statement also means that you should look for classes as specific as possible to your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. For example, while you would likely be able to teach Math in middle school if you have a degree in Physics, it might be better to aim for high school Physics.

Sometimes, it’s a requirement to have a degree in the subject you are going to teach rather than a certification in education. So, it makes sense to seek a teaching job related to your area of expertise. Even if a degree in that area is not an exclusive requirement for the job you are applying for, it will undoubtedly be beneficial.

2. Work as a Substitute Teacher

While it usually makes sense to aim for a long-term position, substitutions are an effective way to gain experience. You can get plenty of references in a relatively short time. Additionally, you can learn the nuances of working with students by teaching in different institutions and grades.

3. Work as a Teacher Aide

A teacher aide usually assists a teacher in the classroom or with tasks such as grading homework and exams. This position does not always require a certification, and the pay may be low; however, some states require certain qualifications (which, in turn, result in higher pay).

Working as a teacher aide is another way to familiarize yourself with the job and get to know people in the education field.

3. Work as a School Counselor

While guidance counselor is the term most of us are familiar with, school counselors can help shape students’ minds without stepping foot in the classroom. This job also requires supplemental training, allowing you to stay in the educational orbit.

Career Roles Outside of Education

The business world is another option for those with an alternative certification for teachers. Interpersonal skills and the dedication needed in a classroom are also sought after in the business world. Here’s a look at a few fields where educators can thrive.

1. Marketing Executive

Whether you enjoy traditional or online marketing, the research and organizational skills which made you a successful teacher will also help you succeed as a marketer. For example, with digital marketing, there are many strategies you can use. However, not all marketing will deliver the best ROI for your business.

Ongoing research and analysis of marketing strategies and campaigns may include banner advertising, content, video, mobile marketing, and social media marketing. Planning and project or campaign management will need your organizational skills to weed out the resource-draining initiatives that don’t deliver results.

The role of a marketer gets more complex if you’re working for a service provider where you are tasked with assisting companies with their marketing, including customer discovery, campaign development, management, and reporting.

2. Technical Writer

Though technical writing will require some additional education, it is an essential and financially fulfilling occupation. Companies of all shapes and sizes always look for talented writers like you to create user guides, manuals, and white papers.

3. Paralegal

Once again, you will need to complete a certificate program which is usually inexpensive, and the time to complete it is short. Working with and assisting attorneys while helping clients can be rewarding, and paralegals can earn a nice yearly income.

4. Human Resources Manager

Commonly referred to as HR, human resources is the heartbeat of a company’s workforce, ensuring all employees are cared for and the place to go to address concerns. Whether working as a recruiter or in conflict resolution, many of the skills required to be successful in HR have their roots in education.

5. Management

Teachers lead by example, which is crucial in a managerial position. Although a degree in management will require heading back to the classroom, a job in management offers an excellent salary and the ability to make decisions beneficial to all.


When you’ve already spent a few years at university, choosing a non-traditional certification program is an intelligent alternative to a traditional teaching pathway.

There are many rewarding career roles within academia and attractive careers in business.  You may wish to initially secure a position within the education sector and then change careers later in your work life.  Or start out in the business and continue your learning, then join academia later.  However you mix it up, there is plenty of choice of roles when you have completed an alternative teaching program.