If you are an education major in a college or university, or an experienced teacher without a contract for next year, you may be wondering whether your investment in teacher preparation can be returned in some other field.
The answer is ''yes.''
Industries need teachers to provide in-service training to employees, to help orient new employees, and to help prepare older employees for retirement. Selling is a natural for teachers, whose communication skills are usually highly developed. Probably you'll feel most comfortable, though, with a product you consider genuinely useful.
If you received a student loan that you need to pay off, go to the bank that made the loan and see if you can get hired in the student-loan department. Also try your local university, college, or community-college financial-aid department.
If you majored in early childhood education, think about the growing need for well-run day-care centers. Talk to local businesses about establishing one in their space for their employees' young children, or start one at home. This is a ''natural'' for a nurturer, which most teachers and teacher candidates are.
Museums, botanical gardens, zoos, and other community organizations are all expanding their education programs. If you had hoped to teach art, archeology, or biology, one of these institutions may need your services.
Being able to operate audio-visual equipment is a skill you have already mastered, and it may be valuable to these organizations. If you majored in music , you may find that scheduling youth programs for local musical groups or symphonic orchestras provides an employment opportunity for you.
Arranging conferences, religious retreats, and workshops requires the same talents as teaching. You can ask your local Chamber of Commerce which organizations may need help in planning their meetings.
Conference reporting is a good job for arduous note takers. Almost every conference is accountable to someone and will be reported in well-written in-house newsletters, as well as recorded on tape. Begin with conferences that hold some interest for you because of your present knowledge, then expand your capabilities with experience.
Continuing-education (adult) programs at local colleges, high schools, and even grade schools require teachers. Can you qualify for one of these?
In addition to teaching in such a program, consider administering it. You may be just the person to evaluate, schedule, and manage an adult-education program in an educational institution, a retirement center, a community organization (YWCA, YMCA, YMHA, and so forth), or religious organization.
Children's wards of hospitals and out-patient clinics need designers of appropriate education programs and tutors as well.
Most teachers have become skilled at expository writing in the course of their own studies. The same skills are used by many professional publications. For a list of national associations, almost all of which issue periodicals on a regular basis, see the Encyclopedia of Associations at your local library.
Better than average flair for communications plus a background in education? Consider the field of education journalism - either print or television. Many local newspapers would upgrade their education reporting if they could find a well-qualified education reporter. (The Education Writer's Association, PO Box 281, Woodstown, N.Y. 08098, offers seminars for beginners in this field.)
Also consider writing for or editing magazines or newspapers for the age group you have been or are intending to teach. See the Ayer Directory of Publications and current copies of the publications in your local library.
Research oriented? Think of publishers of educational books and magazines. Think of encyclopedia publishers or textbook publishers.
Television oriented? Evaluators of programs prepared for educational TV use their knowledge of how children learn, as well as their understanding of what children need to learn, in rating the merits of particular programs. Remember, too, that somebody has to publicize the good programs. Might that somebody be you?
Youth programs - the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, outdoor- and urban-education programs, as well as religious education - all have their professional component. If you can relate your preparation and experience to their needs, you may find yourself ''teaching'' in an experiential program of great benefit to your ''pupils.''
Consider the fast-growing field of computer-aided instruction. Here are some of the roles you may be able to fill: evaluation of software (courseware), preparation of software, interactive video specialist, consulting service to school purchasing agents on hardware and software, selling hardware and software to schools.
Uncle Sam is always looking for good men and women as to serve as officers. The biggest training program in the United States is run by the Pentagon.
Foundations and foundation centers located in large cities need people who can evaluate education proposals and select people with innovative ideas.
Had you planned to teach a foreign language? Consider translation, interpreting, organizing foreign-study tours, and total-immersion foreign-language weekends for children or adults (or both) to strengthen their knowledge and fluency.
Government-related jobs are always a possibility for education majors. Though the federal Department of Education is on hold, inquire about open positions at your state department of education.
Teacher centers, where they exist, may be looking for an enthusiastic person to create just the right atmosphere for teachers to relax, exchange ideas, and create learning resources for pet projects.
If you love academe and don't want to leave it, you might investigate campus jobs related to your field. Sometimes entry-level positions in the office of the director of admissions, the registrar, or the residency department may be looking for applicants.
Education of the gifted, special education, and prison education are all fields needing educators.
These jobs are out there, but knowing which job, in which place, and for which applicant requires some investigative research on your part.
Don't wait to be chosen; choose the field you want and one in which your education courses will have relevance and value.
You yourself need to find or create an education-related job. In the process, you will learn about many, many opportunities beyond those listed here.
Please don't write to us asking for addresses to which you can write. Until you can figure out the appropriate potential employer, you haven't learned enough about the field to be useful in it.
Consider interim employment in ''the real world'' as a professional asset that can help you be a better teacher eventually.