Advancement Opportunities for Teachers

Jan 02, 2019

Career Pathways for Teachers

If you're a teacher looking for a different role in the academic community, consider one of the jobs listed in the table. You could extend your education and become a professor, work more intimately as a school counselor, or take on a leadership position as principal of a school. Each option varies in career outlook and salary, but they share similar education requirements.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2016)* Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)* Required Education
Professor $75,430 (for all postsecondary teachers) 15% (for all postsecondary teachers) Doctorate or Master's degree
School Counselor $54,560 (for all school and career counselors) 13% (for all school and career counselors) Master's degree and state-issued credential
Principal $92,510 8% Master's degree

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information


Those who want to teach at higher level of study may think about teaching at a college or university, where one is called a professor. Professors typically specialize in one discipline, so they must be very knowledgeable of the subject, which is why most are required to have a doctoral degree. Master's degrees can be acceptable for community colleges. Many professors also have prior experience teaching in primary, intermediate, or secondary schools. Aside from teaching, a number of professors also perform academic research in their field. Furthermore, one privilege of being a professor is having the opportunity to teach online at one's convenience.

School Counselor

A teacher who prefers to work one-on-one with students could become a school counselor, commonly referred to as a guidance counselor. The goal of a counselor is to help students succeed in their academic lives. School counselors evaluate pupils through aptitude tests, interviews, and assessments to determine their strengths and weaknesses, helping them overcome issues and acquire the skills needed to increase academic performance. They also may talk with parents and teachers so that everyone is on the same page. Counselors periodically schedule appointments for the students assigned to them, checking up on their progress. At a high school level, career planning is another focus of a counselor's agenda as students are expected to pursue further education. To work as a counselor, one requires a master's degree and a state-issued credential, whether a license, certification, or endorsement.


Principals are educational administrators at elementary, middle, or high school levels. Most principals are former teachers since that experience is usually mandatory for the job, in addition to a master's degree in educational leadership/administration. A principal manages the day-to-day operations of a school and oversees the faculty, staff, and students. Duties include developing curriculum, disciplining students, organizing programs, implementing safety procedures, and carrying out business-related tasks. Being the public representative of their institution, principals also meet with other members of their district, such as superintendents and legislators. Unlike the two occupations listed above, principals don't teach but do complete mainly administrative work with a great deal of interaction.

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