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Many educators dream of working for education companies and many teachers want to go from a classroom to a corporate workplace. But transitioning beyond the walls of a classroom is no small feat for a teacher. 

Ali Parrish’s career path beyond her classroom began after dedicating seven years to elementary school teaching. “I loved teaching, and then I knew I was supposed to be doing something different,” she reflects. “First I felt called to be a teacher, and then I felt called to go beyond my classroom.”

But she faced the same problem that hundreds of thousands of transitioning teachers face: she didn’t know how to bridge the gap between her classroom and work opportunities she wanted next.

“I knew I was skilled at training, creating dynamic learning experiences, and helping learners have incredible success, but I didn’t know then what I know now about how to land jobs at education companies and corporate businesses. I wanted so badly to be helping more people in new, needed ways and I felt limited to the walls of my classroom.” 

According to her, the initial leap from teaching to something else is often the toughest—and, for many teachers, it can be difficult to be seen as a qualified candidate by companies. She ended up landing a variety of “dream jobs” for teachers. The first was a role in educational technology training. The next was working at one of the largest instructional design agencies, crafting materials for corporate and nonprofit entities. After that she worked for a global nonprofit organization creating educational materials spanning over 36 languages, distributed globally. 

“Along with an incredible team, I was designing and creating learning experiences that were influencing teachers and students around the globe. I no longer felt at all like my ability to serve others was limited within the walls of my old classrooms,” she shares. Parrish went on to create an agency that designed and created engaging learning experiences and resources for education companies, corporate companies, non-profits, and more.

With each new role she took on, teachers reached out to her to ask how she went from being a teacher to landing these jobs. “I always wanted to be able to go back and help the teachers who were in that challenging circumstance of not knowing what to do next or how to land those jobs,” explains Parrish. She wanted to help teachers take that first step beyond the classroom and guide those grappling with similar uncertainties about their own career trajectories.

In 2017, Teacher Transition was born—an online platform designed to aid educators in identifying career pathways beyond traditional teaching roles and equipping them with the necessary skills, perspective, and retooled expertise. Building a team of former teachers and career experts, Parrish launched a series of online courses, catering to the needs of teachers in transition. To date, over 8,000 individuals have undergone training and coaching through the company.

Here’s a glimpse into her journey:

Skip ahead:

  1. She started her company as a passion project

Teacher Transition originated as a simple idea born out of passion. The overarching goal: to empower educators with opportunities beyond traditional teaching roles. 

Initially, she envisioned a course where she could show teachers how to discover what they want to do next and a podcast where teachers could glean insights from former educators. “At that time, leaving teaching was a more taboo topic than it is now,” she reveals. 

A colleague advised her to offer a course that was more career-specific and less general for teachers who were transitioning their careers. “That led me to launch with a different first course than what I had anticipated.”

After launching her first course, Become a Curriculum and Instructional Designer, and running the podcast for a period, Parrish realized she could help transitioning teachers reach their goals more effectively through online courses. “More than something that was informative, they needed something that was transformative,” she says. “I knew I could create learning experiences for them that would significantly increase their chances of landing the jobs many teachers want next.” 

That dream is now a reality as Teacher Transition’s online courses with training, tools, and templates, live learning sessions, introductions to employees at companies of interest, personal mentoring, services for resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, career coaching, a 24/7 accessible cohort community, and more to pave a path for teachers to discover and land new jobs of interest.

  1. She focused on quality before expansion

Parrish adopted a deliberate approach to course creation, prioritizing quality over quantity. Although she wanted to create many courses within the first year, a wise mentor recommended a different approach.“One of the things I learned is that you want to ‘nail it, then scale it,’” she says. “A lot of course creators want to just create more and more courses, and I relate to that desire. But if you’re a course creator and a business owner, you not only need to create great courses, you need to run a business. And for a business to continue serving people, it needs to stay afloat—meaning it needs to generate revenue and be profitable.”


Once she felt like she nailed the first course, she created the Teacher Transition Membership program, which helps teachers discover and land their next dream job through on-demand courses, coaching, and mentoring. She also started creating more Teacher Transition tracks: Become a Customer Success Specialist at an Education Company and Become a Freelancer and Become a Trainer and Educational Consultant

  1. She experimented with different marketing methods

Parrish suggests that creators make their first course and allow it to gain traction via marketing before building more.

“Help it become a sustainable model,” she says. “The idea of ‘if you build it, they will come’ isn’t the reality that most course creators experience. If you build it, it’s built, and you have a course. But what if the people who need your course have no idea that it even exists? That is why marketing and getting the word out there about your course is so important.”

In her own experience, people originally found out about Teacher Transition through her podcast, Facebook group, and word of mouth. However, she firmly believes that there isn’t just one way to market a course. “I love the quote of ‘all advice is autobiographical,’” she shares. “So when you hear from an influencer who tells you that you have to have an Instagram account, or a TikTok account, or whatever new platform they’re recommending, it’s indicative of their experience.”

Her advice? Test out a platform that you’re interested in and see if it gets you anywhere. “If you want to run a YouTube channel, great. If you want to have an Instagram account, great. Whatever platform you want to try, see if it gets traction. If it does, continue with it. If it doesn’t, don’t. Just because you posted somewhere for some time doesn’t mean you have to continue posting there.”

She also suggests that creators be open to pivoting. “If a platform drains you, notice that and pivot to something else that you enjoy more,” she advises. “Or, bring on a team member who loves social media and who can help spread the word. One of the most rewarding parts of my work is that I’ve grown it into a team effort. I love providing opportunities for others to do work that lights them up.”

Further, Parrish recommends that people look at their bandwidth, their budget, and what they want to do for marketing.

“The right way to market your course is going to be different for different people,” she says. “You need to see what’s working and stop what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to pivot or test different methods. You’ll find out through experimenting what’s going to work well for you.”

  1. She prioritized accessibility

With a commitment to accessibility, Teacher Transition keeps its courses affordable.

In her case, her membership program is only $47 USD per month. Her courses range from $147 to $997 USD, while other organizations charge around $8,000 for similar career training without relating to or being customized for teachers.

Parrish’s decision to opt for Thinkific was driven by its affordability and compatibility with various learning software. Leveraging platforms like Stripe, PayPal, and Mailerlite—as well as features like Thinkific Communities—she streamlined course delivery and communication with learners.

  1. She built her curriculums around key learning objectives

When it came to designing her online courses, Parrish and her team started with the end in mind. This means the team determined what it wanted students to know, feel, do, and have by the end of taking the course. Then, the team created hands-on experiences and content to meet those goals.

She recommends that creators do the same, or meet with an instructional or curriculum designer to help them plan out their course. “If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the process, talking it through with someone can help,” she shares. 

She says to expect to create a 1.0 version of your course, as well as a 2.0 version. “If you’re working with an instructional designer, you can iron out a lot of the kinks and hopefully create just one version,” she continues. “But don’t let perfectionism hold you back from creating your 1.0 version. Although it probably won’t look exactly how you want it to, you can change that later. What you’re really doing by not making that 1.0 version is you’re not serving the people that need to be served.”

For each course, she has a strategic sales page on her website. “I would recommend you connect with your audience emotionally as well as logically in your sales page content. Make it a no-brainer decision for them,” she shares. “Plus, make sure you show them people’s results after taking your course and share their testimonials.”

  1. She kept moving forward—even when the path was unclear

Parrish sees Teacher Transition as much more than just an online platform—it’s a catalyst for helping teachers advance. By empowering educators as they explore new career pathways, Parrish hopes to significantly influence the well-being of teachers who want to serve in new ways, grow beyond the walls of their classroom, and have additional career opportunities.

The biggest thing she’s learned throughout her online course creation journey: to keep taking steps forward—even when the path ahead is unclear.

“Don’t let the unknowns of tomorrow hold you back from the to-do’s of today.”

Inspired by her story? You can start your own online course company, too. Sign up for Thinkific today—for free.