If you’re trying to make ends meet on a teacher’s income, I know firsthand the struggle is real. Not only are we among the lowest paid professionals, but our jobs demand advanced education we likely had to take out student loans to pay for — meaning an extra monthly expense.
Thus, many of us have to take on second jobs on top of our already demanding workloads. Although I can’t lighten the load for you, the good news is that there are plenty of flexible side gigs that work with a teacher’s schedule.
And who knows? A side job could even mean you have extra money in your pocket for once.
Side Business Ideas for Teachers
The best side hustles for teachers are those with flexible schedules that can fit around your school day and also allow some wiggle room for all that time you spend outside the classroom grading papers and prepping classes. Additionally, they take advantage of your natural teaching skills and expertise in education.
1. Selling Educational Materials
- Pros: Can work as much or as little as you want; no startup costs; get paid for work you do anyway; potential for passive income
- Cons: Requires some tech savvy; takes a lot of time and effort before you see real income
- Verdict: You’ll have to put in some work upfront, but once your online shop has accumulated a lot of materials, this can be an excellent way to earn passive income. If you work for a company, it can start as a part-time job and turn into a full-time one.
Want to add an extra income stream without a lot of extra work? Because you have to create curriculum, lesson plans, quizzes, reading guides, and classroom worksheets anyway, why not earn extra money selling them to other teachers through a platform like Teachers Pay Teachers?
It may take a while to build up your sales and customer base. But quality, original materials sell year-round and can continue to generate passive income for years.
Alternatively, you can opt for a job with an educational material company like eNotes. Many educational websites, textbook publishers, and software developers collaborate with teachers part-time or full-time to design lesson plans, worksheets, and test questions.
2. Selling Online Courses
- Pros: Passive income potential; high potential income; get paid for your expertise
- Cons: Must be tech savvy; requires marketing skills; income depends on your customer base
- Verdict: Selling an online course can be a lucrative source of passive income as long as you know how to market it and drive customers.
Teachers are experts in their fields. But even more, they excel at making tough material more easily digestible. And many people, including adults, can benefit from topics you cover, whether it’s economics or how to read a poem.
Although you need to put in some work upfront to create your course, it can become a source of passive income once it’s up and running. You may need to update it now and then, but you can resell the same course over and over.
Post your course on an online platform like Udemy, Teachable, Skillshare, or Thinkific. For a small fee, they’ll take care of hosting your materials and processing payments. You’ll only need to focus on creating your content and finding students.
- Pros: Can set your hours and rates; can choose who you work with; high income potential; no startup costs
- Cons: Time-consuming; pay is by the hour, so your income potential is limited
- Verdict: Although tutoring isn’t passive income, it’s a natural side gig for most teachers.
Tutoring is a natural choice for many teachers and one of the most accessible and popular teacher business opportunities. That’s because you’re doing something you already do all day anyway.
For example, my mom, who taught special education courses for high school students, earned extra income using her expertise to help students of all ages with literacy. And I used a calculus tutor in high school who my mom knew through work because he was also a math teacher.
Many parents search for tutors for their kids, especially if they struggle in a subject. And the fact that you’re a teacher who’s already an expert on that topic and making it digestible for kids puts you instantly ahead of the pack.
Depending on your subject area, you could earn $1,000 or more per month working in your free time. And you can do it from the comfort of your own home — either in-person or via video conferencing.
Setting out your shingle lets you get all the perks that come with being your own boss, including the ability to set your own rates and make your own schedule.
You can start your own tutoring business quickly by spreading the word in your community. You can advertise in parent-centric community papers or job boards. Or set up shop on a platform like Wyzant, which matches students with tutors and lets you set your own rates, typically $30 to $60 per hour.
Alternatively, you can contact online or brick-and-mortar tutoring agencies. There are many online tutoring platforms, such as BookNook — a math and reading tutoring company for kids in grades K through 8 — or Chegg, which offers tutoring in all high school subjects. However, if you go this route, you won’t be able to set your own rates and will often earn less, usually between $20 to $30 per hour.
4. Test Prep
- Pros: Can make your own hours; higher income potential than other types of tutoring
- Cons: Typically can’t go into business for yourself; can’t set your own rates
- Verdict: Although test prep isn’t generally a be-your-own-boss situation, it can pay higher than other forms of tutoring and is a natural fit for high school and college teachers.
There is a ton of demand to prepare students for college admissions tests like the SATs and ACTs as well as advanced placement (AP) tests, which allow students who’ve taken AP courses to gain college credit for their high school classes.
Because these tests can make or break a student’s admission to their choice of college, parents pay a premium for tutors who can help their children get high scores. And that means you can make a premium prepping students in your spare time.
This type of tutoring is ideal for high school or college teachers familiar with the tests and their requirements or the subject of the AP course. But it can pay higher than other forms of tutoring.
Although starting your own business is possible, you’re likely to find more customers by signing up with a test prep agency like the Princeton Review or Kaplan. That’s because parents and students looking for this kind of help are most likely to go directly to the branded agencies with proven track records.
Fortunately, test prep agencies pay higher than general tutoring agencies.
5. Teaching English Online
- Pros: Open to all English language speakers with bachelor’s degrees; can set your own hours; tutoring is virtual
- Cons: Can’t set your own rates; no passive income potential
- Verdict: Tutoring English online is a way to use your teaching skills to meet a wide variety of students from other countries, but there are more lucrative ways to use your expertise.
Teaching English online is a close cousin to tutoring in your subject area. But with this kind of tutoring, you work with international students. There’s also no prerequisite that your teaching certification be in English language arts (ELA) or foreign language.
As long as you speak English, you can tutor foreign language speakers. Additionally, most tutoring platforms require you to have a bachelor’s degree. But that’s something you, of course, already must have as a classroom teacher.
Also, unlike typical tutoring, you must sign up with an online platform that matches you with English language learners. On the upside, they often give you all the training you need. But it does mean you can’t set your rates, and the rates are typically on the lower end — around $20 per hour.
6. Giving Lessons
- Pros: Can set your own hours and rates; can work with children or adults; high income potential; no startup costs
- Cons: Potentially requires lots of time; not typically a passive income stream
- Verdict: Giving lessons in subjects like art or music can be a lucrative way to generate extra income beyond the classroom, especially if you use an online platform to give live or prerecorded classes.
If you teach a subject like art or music, giving lessons is an ideal way to use your expertise to bring in extra revenue, just like a math or English teacher who tutors in their subject area.
For example, I played the flute when I was a kid, and my mom enrolled me in lessons taught by a middle school music teacher.
But you don’t have to be stuck in the one-on-one tutoring model. You can turn just about any subject area into fodder for online classes that are perfect for parents who are homeschooling and looking for curriculum additions or kids who are home for the summer who need things to do.
For example, Outschool lets you offer classes on everything from dinosaurs to how to play Dungeons & Dragons.
Additionally, you don’t need to feel limited to giving lessons only to school-aged students. Tons of adults appreciate painting classes, pottery workshops, or acting lessons. And these can be led as classes, meaning you can collect an income from multiple students at once.
Alternatively, you can record your lessons as a single class or a course and resell them over and over on a platform like Udemy, resulting in a continuous stream of passive income.
7. Adjunct Professor
- Pros: Can make additional money doing what you already do
- Cons: Time-consuming; fixed schedule; low income potential; high potential for burnout
- Verdict: Teaching part-time at the college level lets you earn money by doing what you already do all day. But that means it has a high possibility of burnout, and most colleges don’t pay well enough to compensate for the overwork.
As a teacher, it’s perfectly possible to earn extra money doing, well, more teaching. Most colleges and universities hire part-time teachers, referred to as adjunct faculty. In fact, most college-level courses aren’t taught by tenured professors but by part-time or contingent faculty.
Whereas full-time faculty generally need a Ph.D, it’s possible to be an adjunct instructor with only a master’s degree, especially if you teach at a community college.
And at the college level, it’s possible to teach at night, on the weekends, or during the summer, particularly at community colleges and schools that cater to older adult students, such as online colleges. I got my start teaching at the college level with night courses. And I’ve met many adjuncts over the years who were also K-12 teachers by day.
However, teaching additional courses on top of a teacher’s already demanding workload is a recipe for burnout. And unfortunately, most colleges don’t pay their adjuncts well. The average going rate for a college course is about $3,500 as of 2022.
If you consider you’ll spend at least 10 hours per week on teaching, class prep, and grading for a single course, that’s about $20 per hour in income.
Additionally, your classes will take place at a fixed time and location, although some colleges allow you to teach remotely. But you can’t work whenever you want.
8. After-School Instructor
- Pros: Can work where you already teach; can focus on fun activities
- Cons: Fixed time and location; low pay
- Verdict: Teaching in an after-school program can be ideal since you’re already there anyway. But the income potential is meager.
Elementary teachers who enjoy playing and having fun with kids in addition to teaching them can find an additional income stream through working in an after-school program.
As a bonus, you’re already there since most after-school programs occur on school grounds. Thus, you can transition seamlessly from your day job to your evening job.
And although you may be ready for a break by the time the end-of-day school bell rings, thankfully after school programs aren’t generally curriculum-focused.
I’ve worked in a couple of programs, and although some can be pretty structured, the structure usually revolves around arts and crafts, physical activity, free play, snack time, and homework help.
The biggest downside is that typical after-school programs don’t pay well. The average income is barely above minimum wage.
However, you can earn more by starting your own extracurricular program. For example, May Najafabadi made $12,000 in eight weeks teaching crafting and jewelry making after school. And it only required one hour per day of work.
- Pros: Can work where you already teach; lets you pursue a hobby; no startup costs
- Cons: Fixed time and location; low income potential
- Verdict: Working as a sports coach is an ideal way for a teacher to earn extra income at the same school where they teach all day, but the income potential varies widely by school district.
Coaching sports is an ideal job for a high school teacher who wants to earn extra money at the same school where they work. Because you’re already there, it allows you to easily transition from your school day into your side gig.
Plus, if you love sports, coaching lets you actively participate in a favorite hobby. And you get to work more closely with many students you may already see in the classroom.
Coaching can also be an ideal summer job if you opt to coach for a local recreational facility or your town’s parks and rec center.
On the downside, you’ll have to give up many of your nights and weekends to practices and games, which come with fixed schedules you can’t negotiate.
And the pay usually isn’t wonderful. After all, you’ll earn your income from the same school district that writes your teaching salary checks.
However, the pay can vary widely by school. Some schools pay coaches a modest stipend of a few thousand dollars annually. At the same time, others pay a full salary of tens of thousands. It all depends on how much money the district or private school has and how strongly they want to see particular sports excel.
- Pros: Can be your own boss and work on your own time; can use your teaching experience or pursue a hobby or passion
- Cons: Must stand out in an overcrowded space; requires a lot of time and effort to make money; requires a lot of tech savvy
- Verdict: Blogging is a nice side gig if you can make it work because it lets you pursue whatever you want on your own time.
Blogging lets teachers do what they do naturally — share extensive knowledge about whatever they’re interested in. You can create education-related content that helps parents or other educators, or you can pursue any topic you want.
For example, Lindsay Ostrom, creator of Pinch of Yum, started her food blog in her spare time when she taught fourth grade. More than a decade later, her blog is now a household name with over $1 million in annual revenue.
You can make money with your blog through pay-for-click advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate marketing (selling others’ products), or by selling your own products — like online courses, printables, or merchandise — on your website.
Alternatively, if speaking is more your thing than writing, you can blog through video (often called vlogging). Then post your content to YouTube, which pays you for advertising on your channel after you’ve reached a minimum of 1,000 subscribers.
Be aware that making money through blogging is a long haul. Expect it to take at least six months to a year of building up followers before you make any money. And know that most blogs aren’t million-dollar cash machines but rarely make more than a few hundred to thousand dollars per month.
Plus, you’ll need to put up at least a small amount of startup money, including paying for web hosting, and you’ll need a great deal of web-building know-how. Fortunately, most web-builders have become fairly plug-and-play, and there are tons of free tutorials and online courses that can help you figure it all out.
11. Freelance Writing
- Pros: Remote work you can do whenever you have spare time; high income potential; little to no startup cost
- Cons: Must meet deadlines; must tailor writing to clients’ needs; can be time-consuming
- Verdict: Freelance writing lets you showcase your talents and write about your passions, and it comes with high income potential compared to other side gigs for teachers.
Whether you’re an English teacher or a biology professor, teachers develop extensive writing skills throughout their careers. From writing reports and publishing in journals to grading students’ work, writing, editing, and analyzing are skills teachers use extensively. You can use those skills to earn extra income as a freelance writer.
Because you’re already an education expert, writing articles for industry magazines and online publications that provide insight into teaching methods and the world of education is an excellent place to start.
Alternatively, you can freelance for magazines or websites on any topic you’re passionate about. For example, I write freelance articles about education. But I also frequently write about personal finance, parenting, and health and wellness.
You can also offer your services as a copywriter, or writing for advertising, in addition to writing articles. Copywriters often help small businesses showcase their products and services on their websites. And your expertise as a teacher could help you sell your copywriting services to companies specializing in education content.
- Pros: An ideal way to establish your expertise; potential for passive income
- Cons: Time-consuming; income depends on your marketing skills and subsequent sales
- Verdict: Becoming an author can lead to substantial passive income if you know how to market your book and generate sales.
Remember that old professional adage “publish or perish”? Writing is often expected of teachers anyway. Thus, writing books is an ideal side gig for teachers. It helps you meet professional obligations, especially for college teachers. It also helps establish your expertise in your field, thereby giving you a competitive edge.
In fact, publishing a book can lead to additional side jobs, including speaking gigs. For example, if you write a book about an aspect of higher education, colleges and universities may pay you to present at their schools. And if fiction is more your forte, elementary schools might pay you to showcase your books to their students.
By making school visits or speaking at conferences or webinars, you essentially get paid to promote your work, which is a consistent income stream for many book writers.
To start as an author, you can go the traditional route and seek publication with a publishing house. Or you can self-publish. The world of e-books has not only reduced the stigma of self-publishing, but platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing, Lulu, and Smashwords also have made it relatively easy.
- Pros: Can typically work from home; uses skills you likely already have
- Cons: Requires specialized knowledge of grammar, usage, and mechanics and specific style conventions; low to modest income potential
- Verdict: Proofreading is probably most ideal for English teachers, and the average pay isn’t the greatest. But you can probably fit it easily into your schedule, especially because it’ll feel like more of what you do anyway — grading papers.
As an English teacher, I spend a ton of time correcting grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation errors. But any teacher who teaches a subject involving paper writing — from English to history to science teachers — has extensive experience with proofreading.
Proofreading differs from editing in that you’re not reviewing what a writer is trying to communicate but rather the mechanics of their writing, including spelling, punctuation, typographical errors, and word usage.
Thus, knowledge of the subject matter or even the extensive knowledge of writing that an English teacher would have isn’t strictly necessary. But you need an understanding of the basic rules, such as where to put commas, how to use a semicolon, and how to rewrite passive voice into active voice.
You may also need specialized knowledge of certain style conventions, such as which words you should capitalize according to Associated Press (AP) style.
Additionally, your income can vary depending on whether you freelance or work for a company. Freelance income depends on your ability to market yourself and build a client base, whereas your company salary depends on who you work for.
14. Public Speaking
- Pros: High income potential; can earn money for skills and expertise you already have; no startup costs
- Cons: Requires you to market yourself; must have a network of contacts; requires some professional renown for well-paying gigs
- Verdict: Paid speaking can be a tough side business to break into, but once you become well-known, it can have high income potential.
Public speaking is another skill all teachers develop. Learning to communicate effectively with a crowd is a necessary part of the teaching profession. And many organizations will pay you to talk about your expertise, including schools, corporations, and conference organizers.
Usually, paid speakers start small with local events. As you build up your experience and network of contacts, you’ll be able to get work speaking at larger events, and organizers may even reach out to you.
Alternatively, you can use your writing skills to write speeches for others. Many people must make speeches but aren’t necessarily good with words. As a teacher, you know how to choose words for their effect on an audience.
And unlike actual public speaking, speech writing lets you work from home and typically only requires you to have a computer and access to the internet.
- Pros: Can share knowledge on any subject; can work on your own time
- Cons: Some startup costs; need to learn how to edit and record a podcast as well as how to host, distribute, and market it
- Verdict: Podcasting can be a fun way to share your knowledge with an audience of interested listeners. However, it can also involve a learning curve and requires a substantial amount of listeners to make money.
Podcasting is another side gig for teachers that lets you showcase what you do best — sharing your knowledge on any topic of your choosing.
As with any other side gig that involves content creation, you can have a podcast about teaching, education, or your subject area. Or you can focus your podcast on a favorite hobby or passion, like science fiction movies, professional sports, or gardening.
Podcasts make money in similar ways to a blog: by selling advertising space, getting companies to sponsor their show, using affiliate marketing, or by showcasing the podcaster’s own products.
However, you need a significant number of listeners before companies will pay you for advertising, usually at least 10,000 downloads per episode.
You also need to invest in some equipment. At the very least, you need a computer, a microphone specialized for recording vocals, and editing software.
You also need to sign up with a podcast hosting site, such as Captivate or RSS.com, which stores your podcast recordings and generates your podcast feed, just like a server stores a website. Then you post your podcast with a podcast distributor like Apple or Spotify.
Thus, this side gig involves some startup costs and a learning curve. You need to learn how to record, edit, and post your podcast. And to make money, you’ll need a lot of marketing savvy to generate substantial listeners.
- Pros: Easy to do in your spare time; passive income potential
- Cons: Income depends on your follower count; can involve a steep learning curve if you’re not already proficient in social media and marketing yourself; can take a while before you see an income
- Verdict: Becoming a social media influencer isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, but it can lead to significant passive revenue if you’re willing to put in the time.
The role of social media influencer isn’t just for celebrities and tech-savvy teens. There’s a growing trend of teachers turning this side gig into genuine cash, so much so that the term “teacher influencer” is beginning to catch on.
That’s because teachers are already natural influencers, thanks to the need to constantly inspire and engage students in learning. And you can get paid to use those same skills to promote brand awareness by talking about useful products and services on social media.
Teacher influencers are like other social media influencers who focus on a niche like fashion or travel. But teachers generally focus on education products and services. And just like in other niches, education-related companies, such as software developers or textbook publishers, are constantly looking for influencers to advertise their products.
You can even use your influence to promote your own products, such as online courses, e-books, or your Teachers Pay Teachers storefront.
If you don’t already have a website and social media presence, it can take some work to set them up and gather enough followers to interest companies in paying you to promote their stuff. But once you have an online presence, this side gig can be a recurring source of passive income.
17. Real Estate
- Pros: High income potential; flexible schedule
- Cons: Must take a class and pass a licensing exam; income potential requires self-marketing and establishing networking contacts
- Verdict: This side gig requires a lot of prep work, but the income potential is high once you get started.
Believe it or not, it’s possible to be a part-time real estate agent taking on just a few clients at a time. You can work on the weekends during the school year when buyers and sellers are more likely to be available anyway due to their own job schedules.
And if you’re a teacher with the summers off, real estate is an ideal summer job because summer is the peak home-buying season.
To get started, you need to take a class. But as a teacher, you should be natural at that. Real estate lessons involve an understanding of property law and contracts and the ability to assess property values. Once you’ve completed the course, you take a test to get licensed as a realtor.
The next step is to sign up with a recognized brokerage and get started helping clients buy and sell their houses.
Realtors don’t get paid a salary but instead work on commission. They earn a percentage of the house’s sale price, usually 5% to 6%, which the seller’s and buyer’s agents split.
For example, if you help a client sell a house for $400,000, you’ll make a $12,000 commission. However, you’ll likely have to split that commission 50/50 with your brokerage firm, netting you a final take-home of $6,000.
18. Small-Business Owner
- Pros: High growth potential; flexible schedule; be your own boss
- Cons: Time-consuming; business growth depends on marketing skills; could involve high startup costs
- Verdict: If you’re looking for a way to eventually exit the teaching profession altogether, starting your own business could be your ticket out.
As a teacher, you already have the general skill set you need to start your own business, from great organization and time management skills to creativity and tenacity. All that’s left is to ask yourself if you have an entrepreneurial spirit.
If so, many part-time small-business ideas can suit a teacher’s schedule. And if you’re burned out on teaching, a small business can easily grow into a full-time gig.
For example, I know a former teacher with a passion for photography. She started doing wedding photography and family portraits on the weekends. After her business grew, she decided to leave teaching altogether and become a full-time photographer so she could spend more time with her sons.
Another small-business idea with a flexible schedule includes using your expertise to sell education-related crafts or printables through an Etsy shop or Shopify storefront. For example, you can make or resell educational toys or classroom posters, design fun print-on-demand products like T-shirts with cute teacher-centric sayings, or make candles or bath bombs geared toward helping teachers destress.
Alternatively, you can start a brick-and-mortar business like tutoring or test prep or even explore a passion unrelated to teaching, like candy making or furniture flipping.
Online businesses come with the pro of low startup costs. But even an in-person business can start small. For example, you can tutor at home or meet in a library.
Or you can run a holiday break, summer camp, or extracurricular activities for homeschooling by meeting at a park when the weather’s nice or renting facilities in a community center. For example, I once ran a drama program for elementary-aged kids by renting space in a local church.
Sometimes all it requires is a little out-of-the-box thinking.
There are a slew of side gigs perfect for teachers looking to supplement their incomes. And this list isn’t exhaustive. Teachers can use their unique skill sets in numerous ways that involve extracurricular teaching, sharing their knowledge of hobbies or passions, or using their writing or speaking skills.
But if you’re looking for something completely unrelated to teaching to make money in your off-time, the sky’s the limit when it comes to side business ideas.
For example, you could sell crafts on Etsy, walk dogs, or loan others your interior design expertise. Or you could opt for something more hands-off, like renting your spare room as an Airbnb host or renting the spare space in that free corner of your garage for neighbors to store their stuff.
After all, there are already enough demands on your time with your teaching workload. And who doesn’t love a relatively easy way to make more money?