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Making Education Your Encore Career

Decades ago, you couldn't wait to get out of school. Here's how you can work your way back in.

4. School Administration: Encore careerists who don't have and don't want to acquire classroom teaching experience can use their experience in a behind-the-scenes capacity, such as in finance, management, and administrative support. Openings for these types of jobs are typically listed in the employment section of a school system's website. The website has information about both teaching and nonteaching job openings in education.

Retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata (see "A Soldier's New Mission") trained for his career transformation at The Broad Superintendents Academy, which is unique in that the program seeks out career reinventors who have the talent and drive for turning around troubled urban school districts. Other nonteaching jobs that schools can use second careerists for include community liaisons, program managers, event planners, fundraisers, grant writers, and volunteer coordinators.

5. Become an Educational Aide, Tutor, or Specialist: The credentialing requirements for teaching assistants and other types of in-school tutors are typically less stringent than what is required of a full-fledged teacher. These types of positions can help you develop a specialty, such as in reading, math, or special education. Similarly, you can gain teaching experience—or simply even do a good deed—by becoming a literacy volunteer or an ESL (English as a second language) instructor. To learn how to help in your area, go to (formerly Literacy Volunteers of America) or do an Internet search specific to your location.

Another route to take is one in which you zero in on your talents and offer just those services. If you were a soccer star in college, offer to coach a school soccer team. If you're an artist or a writer or have stellar foreign language skills, offer to teach a lesson or assist a general education teacher. If you're a scientist or computer programmer, you can pursue becoming a project coordinator (such as for a school's science fair) or a content or curriculum advisor.

Volunteering or working part-time are ways in which you can gain experience and show potential employers what you can do—as you decide whether a later-in-life career in education is really for you.

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