Working in educational support services with a degree (or similar)

Some people with degrees do educational support roles to see whether they would like to work in the education sector, whether this is in a school, college, training provider or university.

Working in a support role can help you decide which branch of education you would like to specialise in.

There are also coaching, counselling and guidance jobs available. If you have a degree and/or relevant professional qualifications, such openings will be available to you.

Starting with a degree in any discipline will give you more choice and more opportunities for career progression.

Example jobs

Higher level teaching assistant (Grade 4, 5 or 6)
Taking on more responsibility in the classroom, being in charge of more students, preparing and teaching specific topics or lessons, supervising the class if the teacher has to leave the room. The job also includes writing reports, attending departmental and faculty meetings and supervising after-school or pre-school activities.

Counsellor in schools
Supporting children and young people who wish to discuss personal issues and problems.

IT manager
Responsible for computer networking and problem solving in all parts of the buildings. In a large teaching establishment, you could be managing a team.

Bursar or assistant bursar
Looking after and controlling the large sums of money that the organisation has to spend and account for each year, managing accounting systems, keeping up-to-date records of all department/faculty spending.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Support roles in education may only be paid during term-time. This is usually less than 40 weeks of the year. This type of salary is known as pro rata, which means you are paid part of the full-time salary.

pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • In a non-teaching role, you are likely to work office hours (9am–5pm), but your working hours will depend on your contract.
  • You will be working in a hectic, often noisy but very rewarding environment.
  • Non-teaching staff work mainly during term-time, but sometimes work during some of the holidays, for example to carry out specific tasks, monitor systems or maintain equipment.

Qualifications needed

Depending on the job role, you might need Level 3 NVQs/A Levels, an HND or a degree. For certain jobs, such as an IT or workshop/laboratory technician, you may need a relevant industry-related degree or diploma. Experience, whether paid or voluntary, will also be taken into account and will support your application.

Your degree subject doesn’t always have to be directly relevant to the job you are applying for. However, for jobs in IT and finance, you will need a relevant degree.

To work as a counsellor, you will need qualifications in counselling and an interest in the educational aspects of counselling.

Career path

You might decide to become a business development manager or marketing manager to develop business ideas in education settings.

Teaching assistants and technicians can take further qualifications which will allow them to gain higher salaries and, with relevant experience, they may be able to do some teaching in a school or college.

Your support role experience might even inspire you to find out about training as a teacher.

Useful links

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