• Advice

9 ideal freelance jobs for educators

This is a post from a member of the Freelancers Union community. If you’re interested in sharing your expertise, your story, or some advice you think will help a fellow freelancer out, feel free to send your blog post to us here.

If you are an education industry professional who is interested in working independently, there are many opportunities available to you. Many educators successfully freelance as a means to earn extra money. Others have made the leap into freelancing as a permanent career. If you think freelancing is the choice for you, check out these great jobs.

Professional tutor

This may be the most obvious option, but the demand is huge. Further, the opportunities are endless as there are dozens of ways to approach this field. First, as a tutor you can decide whether you will serve students online, in person, or both. You can also choose which grade levels or age groups to work with.

Use your imagination. Students need tutors. So do small business owners and senior citizens. You can operate one-on-one or hold small group classes. The key is finding ways to reach your target customer. Consider posting on school bulletin boards, your local library, even the community bulletin boards at local grocery stores.

Online academy instructor

Many parents want the option to homeschool, but don’t want to design curricula or grade papers. They also worry about complying with local laws. So, they enroll their children in online academies where instruction is delivered through video and face-to-face instruction using video-conferencing software.

Many teachers working at these online academies are independent consultants. They record the instructional videos and block out time each week to grade papers and work with students individually. This a great option for anyone who wants to telecommute while still connecting with students.

Curriculum developer/consultant

If you have administrative credentials, there is a good chance that you have participated in the process of creating, selecting, or evaluating curricula; perhaps all three. Good news: your skills are in high demand. Public and private schools, camps, colleges, and other institutions need your skills. This is especially true of startups, such as charter schools. Offering a great curriculum that educates students while keeping them engaged is key for an educational institute remaining viable.

Corporate trainer

Even without a background in the business world, you may have a future as a freelance corporate trainer. As an educator, you are accustomed to learning material and then presenting it to students so they find it to be engaging and understandable. Corporate trainers apply these same skills.

Where do they work? Some opt to work for a variety of small businesses that cannot staff their own training departments. Others may work for companies that need people to lead classes on their products or services. For example, software development companies often send instructors to client sites to teach them how to use their software packages.

This can be interesting work. The pay tends to be quite nice as well. It is important to note that this is a career path that tends to work best for people who enjoy travelling pretty extensively. While some corporate trainers can make a living working only with companies on local sites, most do not. Instead, they opt to travel to maximize the work they can get and demand higher rates.

Educational software consultant

Whether it’s learning to type, mastering a second language, learning about the letters of the alphabet, or boning up for a CPA exam, both adults and children use educational software or take e-courses. They use these products at home, in school, and at work. It can take a significant amount of time and money to develop and market educational software. Getting everything right is very important.

This is why seasoned educators can make money as software consultants. Even if you aren’t a coder, your insights into instructional methods are very valuable. So is your subject matter expertise. You may be needed to perform tasks ranging from consulting on initial design models to writing scripts to helping test final products.

Test administrator and scorer

Standardized tests are everywhere. There’s the SAT, ACT, MCAT, and other academic tests. Many states have tests that are administered to students at specific grade levels. In the professional world, there are a variety of tests and certifications that people must sit for in order to work in their fields or advance themselves.

All of these tests must be administered by qualified professionals. They must also be scored by them. This presents a great opportunity to educators to earn a bit of extra income. While there is a bit of an evaluation and training process to work as a test administrator and scorer, as long as you have the proper background finding work shouldn’t be too challenging.

Educational publication editor/contributor

There are loads of publications online that are dedicated solely to people in the education profession. There are also print magazines and newsletters. Even your local newspaper likely has an education beat or column that is dedicated to school activities and news. Each of these ventures need qualified educators with a talent for writing and editing.

You can earn money by:

  • Submitting content as a freelance writer
  • Pitching story ideas
  • Working as an independent editor
  • Taking photographs and videos of educational events

Educational materials vendor

If you’ve worked as an instructor for awhile, you may have accumulated a lot of "stuff." You may not use these items anymore, but they are treasure to other students. Check your closets, trunk of your car, basement, and storage shed for any of the following:

  • Educational posters
  • Presentation slides
  • Reward schedules
  • Classroom calendars
  • Models
  • Kits for science and art projects
  • Classroom-style musical instruments
  • Maps of the world
  • Art supplies

You can earn money by selling these items at a significant discount to teachers.

Drop-in instructor

While the staff at preschools, camps, daycare centers, and community centers are hardworking and well-trained, many parents are demanding something more. They want enrichment delivered by professional instructors. It shouldn’t be surprising. Parents often pay quite a bit of money for these services, and expect to get their money’s worth. This is especially true if it means finding out their child is a gifted athlete, artist, or musician.

Rather than keeping these specialists on staff, these organizations often contract with independent instructors. These freelance educators come into businesses to operate programs for students that include music instruction, art workshops, and even athletic coaching. In some cases, the schools provide the space while parents pay the teacher directly.

Where will your freelance career take you?

There are so many ways to continue to use your talents to educate others. If you believe freelancing is right for you, consider checking out some of the options above.

James Daily is a professional writer, content manager, and blogger. With a Master’s degree in Leadership and Teacher Education, he specializes in education, psychology, and upbringing. He counts astronomy, psychology, and cinema among his myriad interests.