Side Jobs: Go Back To School


Since money became especially tight about four months ago, my mother has been suggesting that I become a substitute teacher. My response? I’m the type of person who can’t even control 4-year-olds. An entire classroom full of any age would eat me alive.

Still, as far as side jobs go, teaching is a good one for freelancers, and I don’t mean subbing. Those who teach classes and workshops in their area of expertise can bring in a good amount of extra cash, in addition to extending their brand, establishing themselves as an expert in their field.

What are some avenues through which you can explore teaching?

The Learning Annex: Offering over 8,000 events a year across the United States, the Learning Annex can be a hit-or-miss grab bag for students looking to learn more about health & wellness, business, spirituality, or personal growth. Perhaps you’re the teach who can deliver the goods? The Learning Annex also offers online courses.

Gotham Writers’ Workshop: Another school offering both online and in-person (NYC only) classes, the Gotham Writers’ Workshop specializes in creative writing. Their full slate of courses, however includes article writing, business writing, memoir writing, and just about anything else you can think of. You can find more information about joining the faculty here.

ed2go: My husband has taken some classes through ed2go. It’s actually a network of more than 1,500 college, universities, and other schools across the U.S., Canada, and Australia. All classes are online, and the course catalog seems to cover the breadth of human knowledge, from computers and technology, to writing and language, to outdoor survival techniques (!).  Read more about applying to teach here.

eClasses: Another site the hubby’s taken online classes through is eClasses, a smaller-scale operation focusing on web design, web programming, and eCommerce. With only 60 online courses, competition for teachers can be fierce. They’re looking for instructors, though!

mediabistro: I’ve taken a couple mediabistro classes before, for stuff like QuarkXPress and magazine writing, but classes span aspects of the entire media industry. If you have an idea for a class, draw up a proposal and send it on in. mediabistro sometimes even posts ads for instructors on their own job boards!

Colleges and Universities: At one continuing education class I took at the New School, the prof told us that she had started teaching in order to support her writing habit. She continued to do it because she realized what good karma it was. Extend your own good karma by teaching a class at your local university. As far as requirements go, a Masters in your field is preferred, and at least 18 grad. credits are required. You can also teach remotely! Check out this directory of online degree and certification programs.

The Conference Circuit: Hop onto the conference circuit. Panels, workshops, and lectures abound.

Corporate Consulting: I don’t know much about this, as the corporate world frightens me, but mediabistro has a helpful piece on going “From Freelancer to Consultant” right here.


  1. The only trouble with teaching a writing class is that people are cutting back on discretionary spending and many of these places have minimum enrollment requirements. I’ve run into this roadblock for two consecutive terms, but I’m hopeful that the class will run next month.

    Another income-generating option you might explore is fact checking, especially since you’re near NYC, where a lot of magazines are based.


  1. […] for information. If you’re not interested in becoming part of a larger institution, there are other options, including online courses and industry-specific […]

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