Career options for Education Researchers
Find out about the different career options available if you're undertaking research in Education
Broadly speaking, your options are the same as those for researchers in other disciplines; see the career options page for more details. The aim of this page is to look at some career options that may be particularly suitable for Education researchers. One important question to ask yourself is the extent to which you want to use your subject in any future career move. It's entirely your choice - you will have acquired and developed many skills during your PhD which are complementary to the research skills you might think define your career choice.
If you are a doctoral researcher in Education, you may be doing your doctorate while employed, or on secondment from your current employer. In this case you'll have a job to return to on completion of your doctorate, but this page might provide you with some food for thought regarding future options.
If you'd like to remain working in Education and would like some ideas as to how, see details of what previous Bath Education doctoral graduates have gone on to do.
This covers the most obvious choices (returning to teaching, academic, research and public sector employment) but the public sector, in particular, is vast and there are many options within it. Possible options might include the Civil Service, education administration (in schools, HE or FE institutions), research for a local authority, think tank or charity, or possibly working as a freelance consultant specialising in educational research. For some of these jobs, it is strongly recommended that you have some prior work experience, and use your networks to build connections with relevant organisations. Work experience can be part-time or voluntary and fit around your doctorate. Visit the work experience section of the main Careers Service's web pages for more information, and also see our Finding a Graduate Job guide for networking tips.
You might want to move out of the Education sector altogether, but still use your social science background. There are many occupations in which your doctorate would be valuable, including management consultancy, which uses research skills to produce recommendations for organisational change. Other areas might be human resources, which concentrates on employment policy and regulations, or market research.
For more information on these jobs and their training and entry requirements, see the Information Sources section below and the Occupational Profiles on Prospect.ac.uk.
Options outside of your subject
If, having got to this stage, you're not sure that you want to use your Education any more, don't despair! You have many skills and experiences that are highly valuable to employers and you can choose from the huge range of graduate jobs on offer, from structured training with large financial services firms to management training with well-known retailers and manufacturers. The key is to think of the skills you have and enjoy using, and explore occupations that use them to suggest possible alternatives. For information on different types of jobs, explore the occupational profiles on the Prospects.ac.uk.
- To find out more about academic career pathways in Education, see the academic section of the careers option page and talk to academics in your department.
- Careers Service occupational research section - has other useful links relating to education and other fields of work.
- Prospects.ac.uk - see especially the Options with Education leaflet.
- American Educational Research Association. An international professional organisation, with the primary goal of advancing educational research and its practical application.
- Association for Qualitative Research - has very useful list of qualitative research organisations and consultancies in a wide range of sectors.
- British Educational Research Association.Aims to sustain and promote a vital research culture in education.
- European Educational Research Association. An association of national educational research associations.
- Market Research Society - has job postings, careers advice and networking events.
- Social Policy Association. A professional association for academics and practitioners in social policy. Has a thriving postgrad network.
- Social Research Association - Has a short careers section with links to other useful websites.
- Department for Education - information on teaching in England and Wales.
- ESRC/HEFCE guide to careers with quantitative methods
- Social policy, social sciences and sociology careers (Careers Service publication)
- University of Oxford Guide to working for think tanks
- University of Oxford Guide to Working in Government & Public Administration
- Education Alternatives - guide to the range of career options available in the Education sector.
- Management Consultancies Association - organisation representing consultancy industry. Includes careers resources and vacancy listings.
- Policy Library - has job postings and a World Directory of Think Tanks.
Where to look for jobs in Education and related fields
See the vacancies sources for researchers page for academic, research and research-related jobs.
- Careers Service MyFuture database - look at the vacancies relevant to your subject area and also in the sections 'For PhD Students' and 'For Postdocs'. Use the 'organisations' function to identify potential employers that you may want to work for or could approach speculatively.
- Civil Service Fast Stream - entry into the Government Statistical Service is via the Analytical Fast Stream or through the main graduate entry programme. Entry into the Government Social Research Service is via the Analytical Fast Stream.
- For jobs within the HE sector, see jobs.ac.uk and the Times Higher Education Supplement.
- Jobsgopublic contains a wide selection of jobs throughout the public sector, including education, health, local and central government and charities.
- Local Government Jobs
- Office for National Statistics. Regularly has vacancies for both statisticians and social researchers to design and analyse the many surveys it carries out.
- Policy Library - has job postings, information about policy areas and a World Directory of Think Tanks.
- Social research association
- The local and national press carries many vacancies, particularly the Guardian on a Wednesday.
- The Research Councils also employ researchers in their work, to assess and review grants among other things, as do other funding bodies.
- ThirdSectorJobs for opportunities in the charitable and voluntary sector.