How commonly do professors at predominantly undergraduate institutions transition to different lines of work? What do they wind up doing?

I have a PhD in mechanical engineering and I focus on mathematical modeling in biology. I'm currently a postdoc looking at working at a predominantly undergraduate institution in the US. I love teaching, I just want to know what my alternatives would be in a few years if I wanted to go in a different direction.

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    Verifiably wonderful communication skills, "people" skills, ... Aug 16 '15 at 22:35
  • Keep in mind that many people in industry also teach or are involved in similar activities, undergraduate institutions are not the only place teaching occurs. I am not posting this as an answer because you probably are more referring to non-teaching lines of work, though?
    – enderland
    Aug 17 '15 at 2:23
  • @enderland I hadn't thought of teaching outside of a higher ed institution. Any thoughts you have on this would be relevant as an answer. Aug 17 '15 at 2:59
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    This was going to be my question!! You beat me to it ;). I am currently a "lecturer" (teaching track) at a US university which is strongly research-focused. I was wondering too on how I might shift to a different line of work in the future if needed. I only have anecdotes to offer: I have senior colleagues who successfully moved from teaching tracks to research tracks or industry jobs. They however had to be active in research (not too difficult after a few years teaching and perfecting courses), develop proposals and/or rely on contacts.
    – dearN
    Aug 17 '15 at 12:38
  • @drN Anecdotes are great; academic career paths are often idiosyncratic. Aug 17 '15 at 17:06

If you have experience with any kind of programming (I'm guessing you do!), you could join the throngs of people who used to teach or do research but are now doing any number of things involving programming computers.

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