1. High School Teacher Job
You’ll need a talent for dealing with teens and a keen interest in teaching at least one specialized subject if you’re going to be a high school teacher (also known as a secondary school teacher). Teachers at this level specialize in subjects such as English, math, chemistry and art. Typically in a large suburban high school where the student body circulates among five or six classes, you could teach more than 100 different students every day. Beyond the curriculum, you’ll also have a counseling role, helping students with adult issues they are experiencing, and advising them on college and career plans. Additional responsibilities can include supervising study hall, organizing field trips and leading extracurricular activities.
Between 2016 and 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates nearly 8 percent employment growth for high school teachers. Overall, 76,800 new jobs will be created in this period, but growth is expected to vary by region. The demand for high school teachers mirrors projected increases in student enrollment in the next decade.
2. Elementary School Teacher Job
Elementary school teachers build a special bond with their students as they watch them grow and learn throughout the year. With little kids constantly on the go, jumping, playing and laughing, this line of work requires boundless energy. These educators are knowledgeable about a variety of subjects, as many design lesson plans across subjects to teach their students the basics of reading, writing and mathematics.
They also frequently work one-on-one with students to assess their abilities and challenge them to overcome any weaknesses. Many elementary school teachers take a playful approach, using props, games and songs to actively engage their students. It’s their job to not only create an academic and fun environment for the kids, but to also interact with the parents to communicate the students’ progress.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects job growth of more than 7 percent for the profession between 2016 and 2026. During that time period, about 104,100 jobs will be added to accommodate an expected increase in school enrollment.
3. Teacher Assistant Job
Teacher assistants play a pivotal role in providing much-needed attention and instruction to students. Teachers can’t do it all. As they scribble math formulas and compound sentences onto chalkboards, teachers might need an aide to float from desk to desk and answer students’ lingering questions.
These educators also provide what Ruth Cole Burcaw, former executive director for the North Carolina Association of Teacher Assistants, calls the “warm fuzzies.” “Teachers are focused on lesson planning, test scores, paperwork and administrative stuff, and the teacher assistants sometimes feel like they have the luxury to love those little kids,” she says. “They make sure those kids have somebody at school who cares about what happens to them.”
Many teacher assistants are employed by public and private schools, and others might work at child care centers. Unlike child care workers, teacher assistants in private and public school settings don’t usually attend to young children’s basic needs, like bathing and feeding.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1.3 million teacher assistants in 2016, and one in three worked part time. These workers should see their profession grow about 8 percent between 2016 and 2026, spurred by increases in student, child care and preschool enrollment.
4. Middle School Teacher Job
Middle school teachers generally work with students in grades five through eight, and teach subjects like science, math, English, social studies, music, foreign language and physical education. A bachelor’s degree is typically required, and those working at public schools need to be licensed or certified.
The transition from primary school to middle school is abrupt for students. Math problems requiring simple addition and subtraction suddenly become geometric theorems and algebraic equations. And the sufficient readying of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade minds for the rigors of high school academics emerges as a major point of emphasis. This is just one reason a middle school teacher’s job is so crucial.
Effective middle school teachers spend significant time planning for the upcoming school day, says Nancy Poliseno, a middle-level educator for more than two decades and former president of the Association for Middle Level Education. “They put in long hours preparing quality instruction and activities that engage their students in learning. And in addition to that, they spend long hours grading and assessing,” she says. “Middle school educators put in a lot of time before kids arrive in the mornings, and their time after school and on the weekends is extended as well.”
Middle school teachers work in both private and public secondary schools, and most follow a 10-month schedule with two months off for summer break.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 8 percent employment growth for the profession by 2026, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This increase should translate to 47,300 new middle school teacher jobs. The positive job outlook is fueled by higher student enrollment, but growth depends on the region, since the amount state and local governments budget for new positions varies significantly.
5. Sports Coach Job
Sports coaches train amateurs to compete in a sport – either individually or as a team. This can be invigorating as well as frustrating for the men and women on the sidelines. Most coaches do not have the luxury of recruiting the best talent; they work with the players enrolled at their school. At its most basic, coaching is teaching, except in an athletic venue instead of a classroom. As fans of “Friday Night Lights” will attest, coaches can also be pillars of the community and builders of character: “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”
Building a successful team can be rewarding, but for every winner there is at least one loser. A coach with a poor win-loss record must remember that while he or she remains as a fixture of the athletic program year after year, the players, the true products of his or her labors, continue to move on. Success in this profession is not always measured by the number of wins tallied or defeats suffered.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects nearly 13 percent employment growth for sports coaches between 2016 and 2026, which would add 35,100 new positions to a profession already boasting 276,100 professionals. The main driver of this growth is the projected rise in high school enrollment over the next decade. With more high school students packing classrooms, a greater number of student athletes are expected to flood athletic fields and courts to participate in sports programs such as football, volleyball and basketball.
6. Preschool Teacher Job
Preschool is the only school environment where play and creativity are more important than worksheets and homework. Preschool teachers use play time and story time to encourage social development and teach problem-solving skills. The supplies of a preschool teacher are quite different from those of other teachers. They use crayons and puzzles instead of dry-erase markers and overhead projectors. They host story time and monitor sandbox play but don’t assign homework or act as detention monitors. If you choose this field, you’ll probably hear plenty about Dora the Explorer and Doc McStuffins. You’ll come home covered in glue and papier-mache, but without papers to grade. Regardless of how infantile your days may seem, your investment in this career will be just as meaningful as the time elementary, middle and high school teachers spend with their students.
Preschool teachers come up with imaginative ways to engage their young audience and prepare them for the structure of future school years. They employ what might seem like a simple curriculum to assess the social and mental development of their students, and they help both children and their parents prepare for the school years that lie ahead. Most preschool teachers work with kids ages 3 to 5, but they’re trained to relate to children from infancy to age 8. Since there will be an increased number of schoolchildren ages 3 to 5 in the coming years, more qualified professionals will be needed to teach preschool. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10 percent job growth for preschool teachers by the year 2026, which translates to nearly 50,100 new jobs.
7. Health Educator Job
The job of a health educator includes assessing the community’s needs; developing effective programs or curriculum to address those needs; teaching; evaluating and analyzing the effectiveness of programs; and advocating for the community.
Deborah Tackmann, who has worked as a health educator and physical education teacher for more than 30 years, also works for the Eau Claire City-County Health Department in Wisconsin as a health educator with its Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention. In this role, she works with public school advisers, students and community members educating, advocating and developing programs.
She goes to work each day with the hope of empowering students. At the end of one school year, a high school student walked up to Tackmann and handed her a bullet. Tackmann will never forget his next words: “I was going to put that in my head because I didn’t think I had value. But you taught me I had value.”
When Tackmann was an undergraduate, in the wake of Title IX legislation, she studied physical education with the hopes of becoming a P.E. teacher. But her interests widened. Knowing a high school student’s frontal lobe (the part of the brain that is associated with reasoning skills and decision-making) isn’t fully developed, she wondered, “How can we create lessons that not only engage the learner but also empower them with the knowledge and skills needed to choose healthy lifestyle behaviors? How do you help students use effective decision-making skills, create smart goals and demonstrate the ability to use interpersonal communication skills to enhance health and avoid or reduce health risks?”
To answer those kinds of questions, she went on to get a master’s degree in professional education with an emphasis in effective teaching methodology. And today, she spends long days in Wisconsin’s Fall Creek school district giving kids the life skills and knowledge they’ll need to flourish, or in her words, “improve the quality of their life and the quantity of their life.”
Being a health educator is “a lot more than pits and zits,” she says.
As both the need and cost of health care is on the rise, governments, insurance companies and other organizations are looking for cost-efficient ways to reduce health care costs and improve health outcomes. Because of this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that health education will experience some significant growth between 2016 and 2026. Across this decade, positions in this profession should proliferate at a rate of 14.5 percent, resulting in 8,800 new jobs for health educators.