Education skills and careers
In the UK many graduates enter employment where a degree in any subject would be acceptable. In this instance what they offer the employer is evidence of the range of competencies which have been developed through their academic study, rather than the specific subject content of their degree.
Given the current economic climate and the increased competition for graduate positions, it is important to consider a range of occupational areas. Bear in mind that many careers require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
The education sector offers many different career opportunities. Did you know 28% of OU students who graduated are now working in education (from those who responded to our Employability of Qualifiers Survey 2018) and “teacher” is the top job title listed overall. For example, Teach First is one of the UK's largest recruiter of graduates, with 1735 graduates recruited in 2019. In England there is still a shortfall of teachers in certain areas such as Science, Maths, Design & Technology and Modern Languages and those who can teach these subjects are in high demand, although demand for teachers of any subject can also be strongly influenced by geographical location.
Some examples of other job roles related to OU qualifications in this subject area are:
- youth and community worker
- community education officer
- training and development officer
- educational administrator
- widening participation co-ordinator
- education social worker/welfare officer
- careers adviser, personal adviser or adult guidance worker
- teaching assistant.
We advise you to thoroughly research your career choices as early as possible, particularly in relation to experience required, differences that relate to where you live, or where the study choices you make may affect future opportunities.
Colleges, universities, schools, central and local government, not-for-profit organisations, the Health Service and Civil Service all offer career opportunities for Education graduates.
If you are interested in teaching, see our becoming a teacher guides which cover teaching in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Inside you’ll find lots of advice, from deciding if teaching is for you to getting work experience, the routes into teaching and our answers to frequently asked questions.
Further useful links
These resources will help you explore careers areas in further detail.
You will also find information about general job vacancy sites, work experience and volunteering at:
Many graduates undertake further study on completion of their first degree and/or after gaining relevant work experience. Reasons for doing so include wanting to explore an aspect of their studies in more depth, to further or change their career, because a specific postgraduate qualification is either an entry requirement for their chosen career or would be an advantage if entry is competitive.
Generally postgraduate study can open up opportunities for Education graduates to work in higher education and in areas such as teaching, training, practice educator, educational advice, careers advice, librarianship, arts and cultural education and educational publishing. Postgraduate study can also lead to opportunities to shape and influence future policy and practice within the educational and training fields as managers, senior teachers, consultants and senior positions within educational administration and policy departments at local, national and international level.
There are a range of education related OU postgraduate study options, both taught and research awards, in for example On-line and Distance Education and Applied Education which support professional development qualifications or relevant experience.
It is important to research further study options comprehensively by exploring the range of postgraduate courses and research opportunities on offer, and funding possibilities to ensure you make the correct choice, for the right reasons and importantly that you can afford it, as funding for postgraduate study is very different to the undergraduate system. Entry to teaching in particular is highly regulated, with different rules in each nation. It is important to check requirements to inform your decision making.