My Random Job: Teaching community education

I have been told that I’m a natural teacher.  Frankly, I think I’m a natural performer, and it’s just that the message I deliver is fairly educational.

I’m an info-tainer!

Classroom chairs
Image courtesy of and SmokedSalmon

In 2002 I moved back to Michigan, and was trying to figure out what I could do to make some money. Around the same time, many of my arty friends were asking how they could get started in Mystery Shopping. So, I decided that I needed to write a book and teach a class to help people get started.  I did some research online to see where someone would take classes like yoga, or underwater basketweaving, through community education in my area, and came across one center.  After finding out the guidelines for submitting a new class, I contacted them, and a few weeks later, I had an interview!

That one center propelled me into finding 19 others just like it, and soon I had regular, steady teaching gigs through various school systems.  My classes averaged between 20-30 students, and were a lot of fun to do!  Because of those classes I have helped thousands of people get started in Mystery Shopping and avoid scams.

When I moved back to Washington, I found similar organizations to teach through and developed my second class about working from home and avoiding scams.   I created videos of both my classes and teach them online through Udemy as well. That way, they’re available to a national audience.

Teaching through community education centers isn’t hard to do, but there are some things you need to keep in mind:

1)   Teach something you know and are passionate about.  Check out your local centers to see if they already have similar classes to what you’re proposing.

2)   Set a price that your students can realistically afford

3)   Many centers do a 50/50 or 40/60 commission split (in their favor) of the class price.

4)   Many centers will have you as an IC, but some will prefer you as an employee

5)   You’ll need to submit a LOT of paperwork to be considered

  • your resume
  • a course outline
  • student objectives
  • references
  • a photograph
  • and any other thing that the center asks

6)   Once you’re accepted into a program, you’re generally in!  You don’t have to re-apply each quarter.

7)   Most centers work at least one quarter ahead: If you want to be considered for spring quarter, you need to have your proposal in by winter.

8)   Some Community Education Classes are run through the k-12 public school system, some are run through Community Colleges or Universities.  Check around your local area because no two systems are alike.

Once you get through the initial bumps of being accepted and you’re able to teach it becomes very worthwhile! You will establish credibility in your field, help others learn about your industry, and make some money while doing it.  I love teaching so much that I continue to do it to this day!


Think about all the extra money you could make by being a mystery shopper, starting your own business, or working from home for a legitimate company. Take control of your income and check out our LEARN page for a list of classes, books, and more!