Hey there, science teachers. Your finely tuned talent for making complex concepts digestible, paired with a teacher’s not-so-secret superpower, patience, puts you in an enviable position among your peers.
However, despite dedication and passion for shaping young minds, it’s also not a secret that teachers deserve higher salaries, especially as the cost of living seems to outpace most of us.
You're definitely not the only one to feel the squeeze, and you’re not the only one looking for a side hustle to pad your wallet and provide a little extra financial security.
And why not use what you know and love, science, to generate extra income?
A science teacher side hustle can also help broaden your experience and mine your teaching career to new depths.
But before digging into these side hustles for science teachers, let’s quickly run through a few benefits of starting a gig on the side.
Benefits of Side Hustles for Science Teachers
- The obvious first benefit is an additional revenue stream to safeguard your finances amidst these unpredictable and what some might call wild times.
- Grow your network of academic and industry connections.
- Brush up on old skills and acquire new ones while gaining experience relevant to your career.
- Embarking on diverse projects outside of the classroom inspires new and innovative ideas that you can bring to your students, enriching their time in school as well as yours.
However, despite the benefits, planning a successful science side hustle will need more than mastery of the universe’s mysteries. It could mean acquiring new certifications, learning new tools and software, and what is often the toughest part of a side hustle, finding clients.
As we unpack this curated list of scientific side hustles, I’ll pepper the path with resources that hopefully help you kick off your journey. Okay, enough with the chitchat. Let's get started…
Please note that the starting budget estimates and any income potential suggestions provided in this article are only rough estimates and can vary significantly depending on various factors. These factors may include but are not limited to your location, experience level, competition, target market, marketing strategy, and overall economic conditions. The figures mentioned are not guaranteed and should be used for informational purposes only.
We encourage you to conduct thorough research and consult with professionals in your field to gain a better understanding of the costs and potential earnings associated with your chosen side hustle. For additional information on income potential, you may refer to resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor, and PayScale, which provide salary and income data for various professions and industries.
Side Hustles for Science Teachers
1. Become a Science Consultant
Picture yourself as a bubbling cauldron of science know-how who can mystify people near and far. As a science consultant, your powers of thermodynamic observation can earn cold hard cash on the side.
Help local eco-businesses with insight and rescue parents lost in a forest of homeschooling science curricula they no longer understand. Or give your consulting services to local farms that need advice and content creators, writers, and speakers looking for expert advice.
Before donning the hat of Dr. Science, the Quantum Consultant, let's discuss the full picture. Although a part-time gig, science consulting requires more than just Pythagoras and plasmolysis. You’ll need to flex your business and communication muscles while promoting your brand, hammering out contracts, and schmoozing clients.
In this age of truly relentless technology (seriously, it doesn’t stop), you might consider employing a faithful ally called artificial intelligence (AI) to undertake research and managerial tasks. It doesn’t complain about long hours or ask for a raise. Well, maybe it’ll ask for a raise. I can’t say for sure.
Now the important part, the dolla-dolla bills, y'all. Yes, you can stack those bills with hourly consultation fees, per-project rates, or retainer contracts if the situation suits it.
Kick off your journey by mapping out your scientific strengths and potential clients. Set up a professional website and LinkedIn profile to look like the real deal. With a few clients, you will be the real deal.
And if you’re particularly ambitious, you can pair this with other side hustles like online course creation or freelance writing (discussed further below).
Starting Cost Estimate: $0 to $1000. Although you can start for free, this estimate includes the cost of setting up a professional website and marketing materials to promote your services. You might also consider additional training or certifications.
2. Sell Lesson Plans
Imagine spinning your detailed lesson plans into a second or third paycheck. Your years as a science teacher have surely given you a gift for creating lessons that intrigue and educate. You can therefore share your plans with other teachers, home-schooling parents, and various educational facilities who’d love to have them.
Like most side hustles, you must also dabble in marketing and sales to sell your plans. Platforms like Teachers Pay Teachers and freelance sites like Upwork are good places to start.
And that brings us back to AI, a handy sidekick perfectly suited to this kind of side hustle. It can help you define your ideal customers, brainstorm ideas, do research, and outline your plans. You’ll have to put the final bit of polish on your products before selling, but AI can certainly help you streamline the process.
Lesson plans can sell for as little as ten or twenty bucks for single plans to other teachers or home-schooling parents to thousands for complete bundles sold to schools. Not to sugarcoat it, of course. This is a competitive side hustle, and earning the big bucks requires more than just a good product.
Knowing someone, or knowing someone who knows someone, is often required, so it’s a good idea to combine this gig with similar side hustles like tutoring, course creation, test prep, etc. With slight modifications, your educational content can be repurposed for multiple uses and buyers.
Starting Cost Estimate: $0 to $300. If you already have plans to sell, this could also be a $0 start-up. However, the higher end of the estimate includes the materials needed to create lesson plans and the potential fee to list your products on platforms like Teachers Pay Teachers. The bulk of your investment here is time and creativity.
3. Create and Sell Online Science Courses
For this gig, picture yourself as the maestro of science and pedagogy, using your skills to enlighten, inspire, and boil the complex into simple for parents, educators, industry professionals, and hungry science enthusiasts.
Conduct your symphony of specialized knowledge with each course to transcend traditional boundaries and make complicated science accessible to those who need it.
And that’s a great question. Who really needs an online science course?
Online science courses can appeal to a wide range of potential buyers, each with unique needs. Some potential buyers include…
- Homeschooling Parents – As mentioned, parents who homeschool their children might purchase online science courses to become better home teachers and improve their child's standard curriculum.
- Adult Learners – People who might not have time for traditional school but want to expand their knowledge in a specific area of science for personal enrichment or fulfill prerequisites for further education or career changes.
- Other Teachers and Educators – As you know, teachers might use online science courses for professional development, to refresh their knowledge, or to gain new teaching strategies.
- Test Preppers – Students preparing for standardized tests (like SAT, ACT, MCAT, etc.) that include science sections might use online science courses for additional studying.
- Career Changers – Individuals looking to transition from non-science-related careers into science-related ones may use online science courses to up their science game.
- Lifelong Learners – Of course, some people just have a passion for learning. They may be interested in science courses to satisfy their curiosity and passion for knowledge.
- Companies and Organizations – Companies often purchase online science courses for their employees as part of ongoing professional development or to upskill their workforce.
Some specific examples might include…
- Science and Space Centers – As space and science become a bigger part of our lives, local science centers and space may purchase courses to upskill their employees.
- Environmental Science for Sustainable Entrepreneurs – For entrepreneurs interested in sustainability and green businesses, courses in environmental science could be invaluable. They could learn about renewable energy, conservation, and sustainable practices without dropping everything for a degree.
- Nutritional Science for Fitness Trainers – Fitness trainers could improve their services with a better understanding of nutritional science. They could offer more comprehensive advice to their clients, giving them an edge over their competitors.
- Forensic Science for Crime Fiction Writers – Writers specializing in crime or mystery genres can create more authentic and engaging stories by better understanding the science. These could be authors but also screenwriters competing for jobs. Of course, the same goes for science fiction writers.
- Climate Science for Policy Makers – Policymakers and activists can use online courses in climate science to better learn about the real challenges of climate change. Especially with all of the misinformation and voodoo science out there, having concrete knowledge of the fundamentals can lead to meaningful change.
But again, I won’t sugarcoat it. This isn’t necessarily an easy side hustle, although I’d love to say that it is (sorry, no get-rich-quick stuff here), so don’t slip into a comfortable run to victory and dollars just yet.
That doesn’t mean it has to be hard, either. It just depends on your situation. You may have a network of organizations you can tap into or even an online following.
But, more than mastery of science, finding your ideal customer and solving their problem in a way that gives them a distinct advantage (in whatever they’re doing) is the real skill and challenge. Being the puppet master of successful course creation and sales is all about pulling the right heartstrings by finding out what people want and giving it to them.
Of course, I’ll mention this again and again with every side hustle because this is just the world we live in now, but AI can be your trusty assistant. Like having a crystal ball, AI can quickly identify potential buyers and outline entire course modules in hours instead of weeks or months.
As always, you’ll have to put the finishing touches on your work and use your scientific expertise to check the facts, but the initial boost AI gives is like a jump into the future.
You can set up your website or online store to sell your courses, but platforms like Udemy, Teachable, and Coursera are an easier way to start.
Starting Cost Estimate: $50 to $1000. This estimate includes a quality microphone, camera, and editing software for recording. You may also need a subscription to a course hosting platform and potentially some marketing costs to promote your course.
Related Side Hustles
… Continue with Science Teacher Side Hustles
4. Science Tutoring and Test Prep
It has probably crossed your mind a time or two that your profound knowledge of science and passionate teaching experience would help students conquer standardized tests like Yoda conquered the Force. So, as a tutor and test prep provider, you can package your knowledge into a survival guide that gives students their best chance of making it through their most grueling times… science tests and science classes.
Okay, maybe not their most grueling times, but as a parent with children who have hit an educational bump or two, having a tutor has been a godsend.
This role also dances around more than just the science syllabus, as others do. It demands an understanding of standardized tests and, again, some marketing chops to find clients and customers.
A great way to use AI for this side hustle is to play the role of your student or client (with an understanding of their specific challenges) and have the AI apply the Socratic method to help you determine the best way to help them.
Here are more ways AI can help you tutor science students and prepare them for tests…
- You can use AI to create personalized learning strategies for each student. Because AI has a unique ability to analyze large amounts of data, it can swiftly process a student's past performance, strengths, and weaknesses to help you identify their learning needs and generate custom lessons.
- AI can be used to develop practical science simulations, interactive quizzes, or games to help students grasp complex concepts. And AI can even help you with the coding (another side hustle I’ll touch on below).
These systems can provide real-time feedback and corrections in a fun way, allowing students to learn from their mistakes faster. This real-time interaction can help improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills, which are, of course, important when taking standardized tests.
- AI can help you evaluate the progress of individual students, identify gaps in their knowledge, and provide suggestions about areas that need improvement. It can also grade work instantly and provide insights on how a student is progressing, adapting to their needs along the way.
As for making money with this side hustle, you can charge hourly, offer package deals for multiple sessions, or set up a subscription service depending on your client.
Starting Cost Estimate: $100 and $500. This includes additional resources or textbooks you may need and fees that may be required for some tutoring platforms. Additional costs may be test prep materials and marketing/advertising.
5. Start a Science YouTube Channel
Yes, just as many of your students dream of becoming a YouTuber one day, it’s also a side hustle for adults. According to a Harris study, it’s apparently the top-picked career for US and UK students, with 29% saying they want to be YouTubers.
As someone who earns a full-time income online, I’m probably biased when I say it’s possible. But it’s true. It’s possible for them, and it’s possible for you too.
Your unique ability to explain and use demonstrations to simplify the complicated and make it fun is the perfect skill set for YouTube.
You’ve also spent countless hours speaking in front of an audience, so transferring that skill to a camera will come far more naturally than it does for most.
You can find many unique and successful science YouTube channels. Some are fun, like Veritasium, VSauce, and The Action Lab and others, also fun, have a more educational tone, like Numberphile and Bozeman Science.
And if there’s one thing people love, it’s science videos. They draw millions upon millions of views. Tapping into just a small fraction of those can be lucrative.
You can create science-related YouTube videos on your own or collaborate with someone with a similar or complementary skillset, such as animation and editing skills. They're are also unique collaborations, such as those applying science to ultra-high frame rate slo-mo videos to demonstrate what really happens when objects interact.
There are science and ballistic channels, science and car channels, science and games, science and food, and on and on…
And yes, AI is useful here too. AI can be used for brainstorming ideas, writing scripts, editing, animation, voice acting, and music creation. It can even be used to analyze your analytics data to find patterns and identify where you get the most clicks, engagement, etc.
Finally, you can monetize this side hustle with affiliate marketing, display ads, lead generation, and sponsored content.
Starting Cost Estimate: $50 to $500. You may require a high-quality camera, microphone, lighting equipment, and video editing software… which would bring your costs to well over the $500 estimate. However, your cell phone is likely more than sufficient to start.
And you may also spend a few bucks on props or materials for demonstrations.
6. Make Money with a Science Blog
Who needs vials and test tubes when you can mold your scientific knowledge and jargon into a blog post format? Use the web as your very own canvas to paint mental images and showcase your love for science.
But you may be wondering how to make money with a science blog. Or any blog, for that matter.
Many blogs earn six figures or more per month, so it’s a big business. And I’ve been doing it full-time for several years now.
Most are monetized with a combination of affiliate marketing, lead generation, display advertising, and sponsored content or paid guest posts for a link and a mention. Depending on the niche and audience, some also do well by selling merchandise, online courses, and memberships to exclusive content.
From curious students and diligent parents to aspiring science nerds, your words might sit on the mantle of their minds, stirring their curiosity and igniting their passion for the wonders of science. The key is finding out what people are searching for online and wanting to read, and creating your content accordingly.
Of course, AI is your friend here too, offering you the same assistance as it would for creating other types of content like lesson plans, courses, YouTube scripts, etc.
As bloggers and niche site owners, we also do a lot of research and analytical work to find out where our time is best spent, and AI is a huge help when it comes to identifying patterns and trends in large amounts of data. Platforms like Wealthy Affiliate offer a free site builder, which is pretty much point-and-click. And they also provide training to get you up and running.
Starting Cost Estimate: $50 and $500. While the start-up costs for blogging are generally less than starting a YouTube channel, I put it at $500 because you may want to invest in SEO (search engine optimization) tools and courses to help bring traffic to your website.
You’ll also need a domain name, website hosting, and a professional blog theme is also recommended. As mentioned earlier, platforms like Wealthy Affiliate can get you started for free so that before you spend any money, you can dip your toes in the water and find out if it’s a side hustle you want to continue with.
7. Freelance Technical Writing, Fact Checking, Editing, and Proofreading
Speaking of AI content creation (which we have above, just in case you’re quickly skimming the article and jumped straight here), it’s far from perfect. It can write articles on a broad swath of topics, but it often stumbles when it comes to technical details like science articles would require.
That’s not to say it’s unimpressive or always wrong. In my experience, it gets it right more often than not. But it’s not so good that you can trust it blindly.
Therefore, many publications still hire freelancers for technical writing. And those who do use AI-generated content also hire experts to fact-check, edit, and proofread content.
As a science teacher, this is a great opportunity. Scientific influencers, AI content farms, technical publications, news sites, and any publisher needing a science guru can benefit from your pen.
Freelance writers, editors, fact-checkers, and proofreaders usually find work on freelance platforms like Upwork and Fiverr. Most charge by the word or article, but it depends on your clients' needs.
For example, I’ve paid monthly salaries to full-time writers, which was the best arrangement for me. I’ve also paid per word on writing platforms like Writers Access.
Starting Cost Estimate: $0 to $100. This includes the cost of a professional website to host your portfolio and services and potentially a subscription to a freelance platform like Upwork or Fiverr. Your main investment here is your expertise and time.
Resources: How To Become a Freelance Writer
8. Create Science-Related Educational Apps and Games (Use AI for Coding)
How satisfying would it be to drag the wonders of the cosmos and mysteries of ecosystems into an app? In the age of AI, you have an assistant who knows how to code. This lets you channel your scientific prowess and teacher’s expertise into a fun educational app or game.
Some basic knowledge of coding is certainly helpful, and there are courses online where you can learn. AI platforms like ChatGPT are also good teachers, although I recommend the paid version, which currently uses GPT-4, a far more intelligent model for learning new skills.
This is also a great side hustle if you’ve already created an audience through YouTube or blogging. Or if you have tutoring clients and online course customers. In all of these instances, adding an educational app or game increases your credibility and provides new sales opportunities.
Starting Cost Estimate: $1000 to $5000. This includes the cost of learning resources for app and game development, a subscription to an AI coding tool, and potentially hiring a freelance developer or designer for more complex tasks.
9. Become a Virtual Assistant
Here’s a side hustle where science isn’t required, but your organizational and problem-solving skills from teaching are helpful. As more people jump into the gig economy and home-based businesses flourish, the demand for virtual assistants grows.
Virtual assistants are hired for various tasks, but the most common are…
- Managing Calendars and Scheduling Appointments – Virtual assistants often organize their client's schedules, managing appointments, conference calls, and events.
- Email Management – They may read, reply to, and sort client emails. Also, they can help follow up on inquiries or requests.
- Booking Travel – Includes finding flights, hotels, car rentals, and organizing itineraries.
- Data Entry – Inputting and managing data in spreadsheets or databases is common.
- Social Media Management – Some virtual assistants handle social media tasks such as posting updates, moderating comments, and managing ad campaigns.
- Research – They can conduct online research for personal or professional purposes.
- Customer Service – VAs may respond to customer inquiries on behalf of their client.
- Report Preparation – They assist in preparing reports, presentations, or proposals depending on specific competencies.
- Financial Management – VAs with math or spreadsheet skills often do basic bookkeeping, invoicing, and tracking expenses.
And there are the less glamorous gigs. Sometimes a VA will be tasked with personal jobs like online shopping, sending gifts, or booking personal appointments.
Each client is different, so it isn’t easy to pinpoint exactly what you’d be doing as a VA, but the good news is that you have your choice of clients. If you don't like one, you can find another.
On the other hand, most clients are looking for a VA with a professional background and above-average competencies, which science teachers certainly have. So they’ll have an incentive to keep you.
Like writing and editing side hustles, it’s common to start by promoting your VA services on freelance platforms.
Another benefit to this side hustle is that the pay is more immediate. Many side hustles that require a following or an audience to make money (like blogging and YouTube) are slow cookers. They result in the most tasty and tender meal, but it takes time.
A VA on the other hand, gets paid as they would with any job. You do the work, the client pays. And while the number of hours you’re available to work puts a ceiling on your earning potential, there is an element of certainty that some other side hustles don’t have… like the next one on our list.
Starting Cost Estimate: $0 and $500. Your startup costs might be minimal if you only set up a profile on freelance platforms to search for jobs and have potential clients find you. However, you might also want to invest in a professional-looking website, productivity tools, and a virtual assistant course.
10. Write Science Fiction
There is no guarantee you’ll make it as an author, but what if you could?
Writing a book used to be a herculean task that could take years, especially if you were writing it part-time, which most of us only have time for.
In my case, I have books I’ve been working on for literally decades. Completing them takes a colossal amount of time.
Until recently, this wasn’t really a “side hustle.” But here we are again talking about AI.
Despite what some may claim, AI can't write entire books or scripts on its own. For example, you can’t say ask it to write you “a 60,000-word sci-fi novel in a particular author’s style about a futurist heroine who travels back in time to prevent an indestructible cyborg from causing a science student to fail class; thus, she never creates the quantum-ray DNA replicator (whatever that is) she needs to defeat the AI overlords.
Nope, that won’t work. At least, it won’t work right now.
For now, the best stories still come from real people, but AI can play a significant role. It can help with research, story planning, character development, and character naming. It can help you map out your chapters and hammer down that elusive first draft.
It’s also great at things like generating dozens of ways a character might say something, for example.
You’re still in control of the finished version of your stellar saga, but getting to that point can happen in months or weeks instead of years and decades. Combine that with digital publishing, and this becomes a legitimate side hustle.
Of course, you’ll still need some marketing chops, and your book must be decent enough that people read it, provide good reviews, and recommend it to others. So, it’s not a side hustle for a quick buck. But if you’ve ever dreamed of being an author, now is a good time.
Starting Cost Estimate: $0 to $10,000. Don’t let the $10,000 estimate scare you. I only put that in there in case you want to self-publish and sell physical books. And although it would be nice to have a book you can hold in your hand and share with family and friends, it’s not necessary.
You can publish your book digitally with KDP (Kindle Digital Publishing).
As far as tools, you can get by with free tools like ChatGPT (for AI assistance) and Notion (for planning and outlining). Of course, you’ll undoubtedly have a favorite word-processing software you already use.
There are also purpose-specific AI novel software tools and fiction writing courses that range anywhere from tens to hundreds of dollars.