According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 8% of the money teachers earned in 2016 came from outside employment. Whether they needed the money to support themselves, fund retirement, or save for a goal, the rise of the gig economy has certainly given teachers more options for working extra hours.
Teachers have unique skills (both academically and socially) that have prepared them to take on any variety of part-time jobs in the gig economy, but some are better suited to their busy schedules than others. The innovation that some teachers bring to the table could even turn a side gig into a full-time operation. While most small business owners fund their business with their own money, you can rise quicker with financing options (you can get matched quickly with Nav).
Here is a list of the most popular jobs my teacher friends have taken on to meet their money goals.
1. Online Tutor
For as many types of teachers that exist, there is a tutoring program. Some teachers do their tutoring on their own, simply replacing the one-on-one, in-person experience with a Skype session. The benefit of arranging and managing your own tutoring program is that you keep 100% of the profits, but the administrative side – plus time spent marketing – can be burdensome. More popular than going solo is signing up for one of the dozens of tutoring companies available for elementary through college age students. Requirements to teach with each company vary (some will want you to have a teaching certificate, while others are satisfied with any Bachelor’s degree and proven experience.) Pay ranges for these programs, usually, $10 – $20 an hour for working through a company; setting up your own tutoring business can pay significantly more ($50-100 an hour, in some cases.)
2. Lesson Planner
Teachers struggle to have enough time to plan according to the ever-changing requirements set forth by each state. With the introduction of Common Core, many teachers had to upgrade or completely replace their traditional lesson plans to be compliant. Experienced teachers with a flair for creating lesson plans can profit from this dilemma. Many teachers sell their plans (along with worksheets and teaching tools) on sites like TeachersPayTeachers.com and Educents. Plans can be sold for a few dollars, and entire curriculum plans may earn $50 or more.
3. ESL Teacher
You don’t need to speak a foreign language to do virtual ESL teaching for most of today’s companies. Several friends of mine have made a good living teaching English to students in China through companies like VIPKid. While the hourly pay may not compare to regular teaching salaries, it’s possible to earn over $22 an hour by managing your course load efficiently and getting bonuses. One major downside to this opportunity is the schedule; you’ll have to work early mornings or overnight to be online when your students are.
4. Homeschool Consultant
Not all states require the oversight of a homeschool monitor, but for parents residing in states that do, a good homeschool consultant can make all the difference. A consultant can help assess student’s progress through the year, recommended resources, develop lessons plans and be an advocate for the child. Even in areas where a monitor isn’t mandatory, many parents appreciate the added support that a good consultant can provide. Salaries range for this position, which is largely dependent on the area you teach.
5. Curriculum Writer
Freelance writing has always been a go-to side hustle, but for the experienced educator, there’s even better news. Curriculum and educational technical writing pay much better than general writing, earning the best writers anywhere from $25 – 100 an hour for their expertise. There are many jobs listed for educational writers, although you may have better luck connecting with an agency that handles this work full-time. To get started, consider putting some of your academic papers or other samples (even blog posts) online in a public portfolio that future clients can review.
6. Bus Driver
Shortages have caused many schools to drop their bus programs altogether, proving that someone willing to take on this job will probably have no problem finding an opening. Depending on the state you live in, you’ll need special driving certification and demonstrated hours driving a bus. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to take on school bus assignments, consider driving a “party” bus. Customers commission these for sporting events and other social occasions, and the pay is decent when tips are included. Pay ranges per jurisdiction.
7. Coach or Umpire
Many teachers already have athletic coaching worked into their teaching contract, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your sporting skills to the private sector. Some leagues will pay for your coaching services, and the better coaches can take on extra work consulting. No time for being a full-time kids’ coach? Referring or umpiring one game here or there can be a clever way to make a little cash on the weekend. Pay may be a nominal fee of $20 or can extend to a few thousand per season.
8. Lyft or Uber Driver
Yes, this is the go-to side hustle for just about every profession. Because it still is one of the most flexible options, however, it had to be mentioned. Many teachers are drivers in their spare time, and we don’t anticipate the trend to dwindle any time soon. Pay ranges per region.
9. Adjunct Professor
Teachers with experience in higher learning may be eligible to work part-time for a university as an adjunct professor. Usually, a Master’s or Ph.D. are required, although community college may allow for lower education levels. Since teaching during the school year can conflict with your regular teaching duties, many teaching professionals do adjunct duties on the weekends or even during the summer sessions only. For those who don’t qualify for a regular adjunct professor position, it’s possible to teach “kids college” or continuing education classes at a community college. These courses are usually more skills and hobby-based. Pay will vary by institution.
Teachers are busy people, and many of these jobs will not work if you’re a full-time kindergarten teacher, for example. If you’re in-between teaching jobs, need summer work, or are retired but still want additional income. However, most all of these opportunities should work with your schedule. As the gig economy continues to grow (some 30% percent of new jobs created this year qualify as gig jobs), we’ll probably see more opportunities for teachers to freelance their way into a better financial position.
This article was originally written on June 21, 2018 and updated on January 27, 2021.