Education is the major employment sector for researchers, representing the destination of nearly 50% of doctoral graduates. Higher Education is the top employer within the education sector, accounting for over 80% of destinations. In this section, we explore destinations and roles outside higher education.
In general the education sector provides stable employment. Part-time employment is very important, accounting for almost half of all jobs.
Some possible teaching roles:
- Secondary school teacher
- Primary school teacher
- Lecturer in a further education (FE) college
- Educational outreach officer
- English as a foreign language teacher
- Adult education provider.
School teaching is the most popular of these teaching destinations for researchers. Positions are available in the public and private sectors.
A formal teaching qualification - postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE) - is required to work in the public, but not the private, sector. Funding is available for priority subjects. The Training and Development Agency for Schools provides details of PGCE courses and funding available.
'What do PhDs Do?' reveals that a small but growing number of doctoral graduates are working in FE (including general tertiary, sixth form and specialist colleges). Many FE colleges focus on vocational subjects. It is not unusual for sixth-form colleges to employ staff with a research background.
Teaching is a rewarding but demanding profession that requires enthusiasm and a genuine interest in the learners. Teachers need to be able to cope with behavioural problems, and an increasing amount of paperwork and education directives.
It is essential that you spend some time observing in the classroom before you commit to entering the profession. You can also get a sense of a teacher's job by bringing your research to schools through Researchers in Residence, or Science and Engineering Ambassadors. These schemes have the primary goal to bring research to the public, which researchers are increasingly encouraged to do.
To get a personal perspective see the Career Profile below.
If you like the idea of working in an education setting, but not of standing in front of a class, it is worth remembering that there are also many non-teaching roles with the education sector, such as:
- school librarian
- education administrator
- school bursar
- IT or technical support.
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