22 Unconventional Careers for Unhappy Math Teachers

Teaching math can be incredibly rewarding, offering the chance to shape young minds and instill a love for numbers. However, it’s also a profession that comes with its challenges. It’s not uncommon for educators to reach a point where they’re ready for a change. If you think, “I don’t want to teach math anymore,” know that a world of opportunities awaits you outside the classroom. Transitioning to a new career might feel hard, but you can smoothly navigate this change with the right approach. Here’s how to start your journey.

Understanding Your Transferable Skills

Before diving into job descriptions, you must recognize the valuable skills you’ve honed as a math teacher. Skills such as problem-solving, analytical thinking, communication, and breaking down complex information into understandable parts are highly sought in many fields. These transferable skills are your ticket to transitioning smoothly into a new career.

Reading Job Descriptions with a New Lens

When exploring job listings, it’s important to read descriptions not just for the responsibilities and qualifications but to identify where your skills and experiences as a math teacher could apply. For example, roles that require analytical thinking, data analysis, or training and development might be a perfect fit.

Tailoring Your Resume for a New Path

Your resume should reflect your most relevant skills and experiences tailored to the job you’re applying for. Start with a compelling summary statement highlighting your transferable skills and how they work for a new role. Instead of focusing solely on your teaching experience, emphasize achievements and responsibilities that demonstrate your broader skill set, such as curriculum development (which shows project management skills) or student mentoring (which showcases leadership and interpersonal skills).

Gaining Additional Skills

If you’re eyeing a career that requires specific knowledge or skills you don’t yet have, numerous resources are available to help you bridge the gap. Online platforms like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning offer courses in various fields, from data analytics to project management. Additionally, local community colleges often provide certification programs that can bolster your resume and make you a more competitive candidate.

Exploring Alternative Careers

As a math teacher ready to explore new horizons, you possess a unique set of precious skills in various fields, many of which don’t confine you to a desk or involve endless spreadsheets. Whether you’re seeking adventure, creativity, or simply a change of pace, a world of opportunity awaits you. Let’s dive into 20 unconventional career paths, including potential salaries, for those with a knack for numbers and a passion for more than just traditional teaching.

  1. Postal Carrier
    Becoming a postal carrier is an option that offers stability and the chance to be outdoors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, postal service workers earned a median annual wage of $52,060 in 2022. The transition can be relatively straightforward, with the main requirements being a high school diploma and passing a written exam. Salary $52,060 in 2022
  2. UPS Driver
    Working as a UPS driver could appeal to those who enjoy driving and physical activity. UPS drivers had a median pay of approximately the role, which requires a clean driving record and the ability to handle physical demands. Still, it offers good benefits and union representation. Salary is $45,000 to $55,000 per year, with the potential for higher earnings based on seniority and overtime.
  3. Golf Caddy
    Working as a caddy can be a fulfilling career change if you love golf. This role requires deep knowledge of the game and excellent customer service skills but offers flexible hours and the opportunity to work in beautiful outdoor settings. Salary $100 to $200 per bag, potentially more at high-end courses or through tips.
  4. Educational Consultant
    Help schools and educational institutions improve their curricula and teaching strategies. An educational consultant evaluates and improves educational systems and practices, offering expert advice to schools, institutions, and educators on curriculum development, teaching strategies, and student engagement. They play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of education by tailoring solutions to meet specific educational needs and goals. Salary $is 100 to $200 per bag, potentially more at high-end courses or through tips.
  5. Museum Exhibit Designer
    Design engaging educational exhibits, incorporating mathematical concepts in innovative ways. A Museum Exhibit Designer conceptualizes and creates engaging and informative exhibits for museums, ensuring that displays are visually appealing and educational. They collaborate with curators and educators to develop themes, select artifacts, and design interactive elements that enhance the visitor’s learning experience. Salary: $47,000 – $70,000 annually
  6. Adventure Trip Leader
    Lead groups on educational outdoor adventures, using math to navigate and manage logistics. Think about your local parks and recreation division. An Adventure Trip Leader for parks and recreation departments, plans, organizes, and leads outdoor adventure trips, such as hiking, kayaking, and camping, ensuring participants’ safety and enjoyment. They guide outdoor skill and environmental education and promote conservation while facilitating a memorable and educational experience in natural settings. Salary: $25,000 – $40,000 annually + tips
  7. Educational Toy Developer
    Create toys that make learning math fun and engaging for children. Fisher-Price and Lakeshore Learning Materials often have roles that could involve developing educational toys. Similarly, Lakeshore Learning Materials, a company specializing in educational products for children, schools, and families, offers opportunities for remote work. Salary: $50,000 – $75,000 annually
  8. Science Communicator
    Work at science centers, museums, or media, explaining complex mathematical concepts in understandable terms. Science centers across the United States are actively looking for individuals to fill various roles, from hands-on positions like Preschool Assistant Teachers and Camp Behavior Specialists to more administrative and programmatic roles such as Program Managers and Department Assistants. These institutions aim to inspire curiosity and learning through science, offering opportunities that range from engaging directly with visitors in educational programs to supporting the centers’ operations and outreach efforts behind the scenes. Salary: $45,000 – $70,000 annually
  9. Environmental Conservationist
    Use mathematical models to analyze and solve environmental issues. Various employers, including research firms, governmental organizations at federal, state, and local levels, environmental and conservation organizations, zoos and aquariums, and educational institutions such as colleges and universities typically hire environmental conservationists. Additionally, private sector companies, particularly ecological consulting firms, hire environmental conservationists to conduct biotic assessments and inventories, contributing to preserving natural resources and ecosystems. Salary: $41,000 – $61,000 annually
  10. Sports Analyst
    Apply statistical analysis to improve team performance and strategy. Sports analysts are typically hired by various organizations within the sports industry, including television networks, radio stations, sports teams, athletic departments at colleges and universities, sports websites, and online media outlets. Additionally, professional sports leagues and consulting firms seek sports analysts to provide insights and analysis for enhancing team performance, scouting, and marketing strategies. Salary: $60,000 – $85,000 annually
  11. Culinary Mathematician
    Design recipes and manage kitchen logistics using precise measurements and scaling. Based on the information gathered, individuals with expertise in culinary mathematics can find employment opportunities in various sectors. Notably, retail chains and hospitality establishments such as H-E-B and Baltimore Country Club are among the top employers for roles that require a blend of culinary and mathematical skills. Additionally, companies like Alliance Deli hire professionals in this niche, indicating a demand in the food service industry and places where culinary arts intersect with precise measurement and budgeting skills required for menu planning, portion control, and inventory management. Salary: $30,000 – $50,000 annually
  12. Escape Room Designer
    Craft challenging puzzles and themes for escape rooms. Various employers typically hire escape room designers in the entertainment and leisure industry. This includes escape room businesses looking to create or update their offerings with new, engaging puzzles and themes. Additionally, companies specializing in designing and fabricating custom-themed attractions, such as Blacklight Attractions and Midnight Mansion, also hire escape room designers to craft unique experiences for their clients. Salary: $45,000 – $60,000 annually
  13. Theme Park Engineer
    Design rides and attractions, utilizing physics and math for safety and fun. Theme park engineers are primarily hired by theme park companies and entertainment corporations, such as Disney, Universal Studios, and Six Flags, and are responsible for designing, constructing, and maintaining rides and attractions. Additionally, engineering firms specializing in entertainment projects and manufacturers of amusement rides and interactive exhibits also seek out the expertise of theme park engineers. Salary: $73,000 – $100,000 annually
  14. Fashion Technical Designer
    Apply mathematical principles to pattern making and garment construction. Fashion technical designers are commonly hired by fashion brands, retail companies, and apparel manufacturers that range from high-end designer labels to mass-market clothing retailers. Additionally, they may also find opportunities in design agencies and consultancy firms that specialize in fashion and textiles, working on various projects from technical specifications for garments to ensuring the quality and fit of finished products. Salary: $50,000 – $75,000 annually
  15. Travel Coordinator
    Plan and organize travel itineraries, utilizing budgeting and scheduling skills. Travel coordinators are typically hired by large corporations with extensive travel needs for their employees and by travel agencies specializing in organizing and managing travel arrangements for individual clients and groups. Additionally, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies also employ travel coordinators to manage the logistical aspects of travel for conferences, study abroad programs, and official business trips. Salary: $42,000 – $58,000 annually
  16. Personal Fitness Trainer
    Incorporate measurements and progress tracking into personalized fitness plans. If you’re seeking a job as a personal trainer, a great place to start is by checking online job boards such as Indeed, which often lists various personal trainer positions across multiple locations and settings. Additionally, exploring niche fitness industry websites or organizations like the ISSA (International Sports Sciences Association) and other fitness certification bodies can provide targeted job listings and opportunities within the fitness sector. Networking within the fitness community through social media, local gyms, and fitness events can also open up opportunities for personal training roles. Salary: $40,000 – $70,000 annually, depending on location and clientele
  17. Art Restoration Specialist
    Use chemistry and geometry to restore and preserve historical artworks. To find a job as an art restorationist, exploring specialized job boards such as the American Institute for Conservation’s career page can be incredibly beneficial, as it features jobs specifically in the cultural heritage conservation field. Additionally, general employment websites like Indeed.com and LinkedIn list opportunities in art restoration, ranging from entry-level positions to more advanced roles. Engaging with professional networks and forums related to art conservation, such as relevant subreddits or industry-specific threads on social media platforms, can provide valuable insights and potentially lead to job opportunities through networking. Salary: $40,000 – $60,000 annually
  18. Music Producer
    Apply patterns and mathematical concepts in the production and mixing of music. Music producers are hired by various companies, including top music firms like Stem Disintermedia, Reverb, Output, Twitch, BeatStars, Splice.com, and Fender, which offer remote opportunities for professionals in the industry. Job platforms such as Indeed, LinkedIn, SimplyHired, and ZipRecruiter list numerous positions for music producers across the United States, with specific opportunities available in states like California. Salary: $50,000 – $106,000 annually
  19. Urban Planner
    Utilize data analysis and modeling to design efficient and livable cities. Government agencies typically hire Urban planners at the local, state, and federal levels, where they work on zoning, land use policies, and community planning. Additionally, private consulting firms, real estate developers, and non-profit organizations focused on urban development also employ urban planners to guide the design and development of urban spaces. Check your local government websites for careers. Salary: $55,000 – $80,000 annually
  20. Set Designer for Theater and Film
    Design sets require an understanding of space, dimensions, and budget management. Theater and film set designers are often hired by production companies, theaters, and studios specializing in stage productions, musicals, operas, films, and television shows. Freelance opportunities are also prevalent, allowing set designers to work on various projects, including commercials, advertisements, and live events, as indicated by sources such as Berklee College of Music and the National Careers Service. Salary: $54,000 – $75,000 annually.
  21. Horticultural Therapist
    Use measurements and calculations to design therapeutic garden spaces. Horticultural therapists are employed across diverse settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, vocational programs, mental health clinics, botanical centers, government social service agencies, and prisons. These positions are offered by public institutions and private organizations aiming to utilize therapeutic gardening and plant-based activities to support the health and well-being of various populations. Salary: $35,000 – $50,000 annually.
  22. Professional Organizer
    Help clients declutter and organize their spaces, applying principles of efficiency and design. Horticultural therapists are employed across diverse settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, vocational programs, mental health clinics, botanical centers, government social service agencies, and prisons. These positions are offered by public institutions and private organizations aiming to utilize therapeutic gardening and plant-based activities to support the health and well-being of various populations. Salary: $50,000 – $80,000 annually.

Where to Find These Career Opportunities

Exploring a specialized jobs website for your career search can offer you access to a broader variety of job listings that may not be available on larger, more general platforms like Indeed. These niche sites often list opportunities specific to certain industries or professions, providing access to exclusive openings and connecting you directly with employers looking for specialized skills. By diversifying your job search beyond platforms like Indeed, you increase your chances of discovering unique opportunities tailored to your expertise and career aspirations, potentially leading to more meaningful and satisfying employment.

Starting on a new career path can be both thrilling and intimidating, but your background as a math teacher has equipped you with a versatile skill set that translates well into numerous fields. Whether your passion lies in the great outdoors, the creative arts, or the pursuit of knowledge in new domains, there’s a fulfilling career out there waiting for you. The key to a successful transition is to leverage your unique abilities and remain open to lifelong learning.

Embracing the Transition

Transitioning to a new career is a journey that requires patience, resilience, and a willingness to learn. It’s normal to face rejections and setbacks along the way but remember that each step brings you closer to a career that aligns with your current interests and lifestyle. By leveraging your existing skills, tailoring your application materials, and being open to acquiring new knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to embarking on an exciting new career path.