Advancement Opportunities in a Teaching Career

Teachers have ample opportunities to share their knowledge with adults and children.
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Businessman and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach once said, "There are no traffic jams along the extra mile." If you are an educator par excellance, you'll find no shortage of opportunities to advance in your field. The more success you experience in your classroom, the more others are going to want you to share your knowledge and proficiency with others.

Department Head

Becoming a department head is often a step on the rung of a ladder leading to more influential positions, such as that of principal. Being appointed department head gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your leadership skills while earning an additional stipend -- approximately $2,000 or so -- to fatten your paycheck. Your teaching duties will remain the same, but you'll have additional responsibilities, such as selecting and ordering textbooks, aligning curriculum with state guidelines and ensuring that your department does not exceed its budget. A similar opportunity is that of mentor. Mentors assist new teachers, often earning additional pay for sharing their time and expertise.


As a principal, you'll have the opportunity to put into practice much of what you've learned in the classroom, helping other teachers and school personnel to create an effective learning environment. Becoming a principal is a financial step-up, as the average salary for educational administrators as of 2011 was $87,470 compared to the average high school teacher's salary of $54,270, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To become a principal, you'll need teaching experience and a master's degree in Educational Administration. You'll likely start out as an assistant principal before working your way up to becoming the big boss. Successful principals often go on to become superintendents, a political and community leadership position that provides a hefty paycheck.

Instructional Coordinator

Not everyone wants to take on the responsibility of managing staff, students and pacifying parents. If the idea of becoming a principal makes you queasy, consider becoming an instructional coordinator. Also called curriculum specialists, these administrators earn an average of $59,280 each year, and rarely set foot inside a classroom unless it is to observe or advise. This position also requires a master's degree in education and experience. For example, to become the instructional coordinator for social studies for your school district, you'll need to have experience teaching in that content area.

Post-Secondary Educator

If you're passionate about education, become a teacher of teachers. You can use your classroom experience to pave the way for others to make a difference in the lives of an untold number of students. College professors earn an average of $64,310 a year, although this varies widely. You'll have the best chance of teaching at the university level if you hold a terminal degree in education. However, some community colleges -- and occasionally, state universities -- hire post-secondary instructors who have master's degrees and experience in the area in which they'll be teaching.

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