How to Change Careers Later in Life

In general, it’s becoming less common for people to stay in the same job for their whole working life. Once factories and offices would be staffed with workers who started straight out of high school and worked right through until retirement. Thanks in part to technology and the vast range of businesses that now operate in the US, people tend to work for several different companies throughout their career.

Taking that one step further are people who choose to work not only for different companies but who begin whole new careers too. Some choose to stay in closely related fields such as moving from a medical position in a hospital to a career in teaching. Others, however, choose a very different path and love the challenge of learning something completely new.

Choosing a New Career Path

When thinking about a new career, it’s important to consider all your options, even if you think you already know what you want to do. Some things that might be useful to think about for a successful career change include:

  • Transferable skills: Do you already have a skill set that could be valuable in another profession or field of work?
  • Previous experience: Have you had any prior experience working in another field, including volunteer work?
  • Job availability in your local area: Would you need to relocate to find a job once you are qualified or are there enough entry-level positions available within commuting distance?
  • Average salaries: Will your new career pay the bills or will you need to make changes to your lifestyle in order to start at the bottom in a new company or field?
  • Your interests: If you’re changing from a previous career it might be worth writing down some of the reasons why you are choosing to move. Take time to explore your interests and match them to a career that you will enjoy. Retraining can take a lot of time and can cost a lot of money, so it’s worth being sure before committing.
  • Your current job: It may be the case that new opportunities open up in your current employment where you can move to a new department or gain a promotion. Speaking to your boss about the possibility of moving to a new role within the same business is a good way to experience a new area of work without committing to a new company straight away.

Researching Entry Level Requirements

Once you have decided on the path you want to take, you must do your research to understand the requirements necessary to enter the field. Some jobs may not require any experience or qualifications if you are going for an entry-level position. However, if you are looking to become a director in a business or would like to enter a profession such as nursing, then you will need a college or university degree or even an MBA.

Gaining Relevant Qualifications

If you have identified that you will need to retrain to start your new career, there are several ways you can go about obtaining relevant qualifications and enrolling onto courses.

Traditionally you may be limited to the learning institutions in your local area if you’re not prepared to travel; however, if you’re still working full time, it might not be an option. If you are willing to take time out to study full time, then making contact with your local college or university is an excellent place to start.

Many accept mature students who are looking to gain new qualifications, and if it’s local, you will be able to commute which will save you some money as you won’t need to stay on campus with the other students.

Studying Qualifications Online

Another way of gaining the qualifications you need for your new career choice is to study online, with institutions such as Spring Arbor University offering nurse educator programs you can complete from the comfort of your own home.

There are several advantages to studying online, and more people are choosing to do so every year. Many courses are taught to the same level as those in traditional colleges or university’s and are accredited in the same way, so they hold the same value with employers.

Some of the most popular reasons people choose to study courses online include:

  • Flexibility to Study Whenever: Unlike a traditional college or university where you must attend lectures on campus at set times during the week, many of the lectures for online courses are delivered over the internet. That means you can catch it on your lunch break or take the afternoon off work if required. If neither of those work for you, lectures are usually recorded so you can watch them and make notes in your free time after work or at the weekend. Similarly, you’re not confined to studying or writing papers in the day; this can also be done on evenings or weekends making online study the perfect option if you currently have a full or part-time job.
  • No Need to Commute: Being online means there’s no need to get in the car or get the bus to college or university. Simply set up a home office in a quiet area of your house or apartment, log-in, and get studying. You will save money on gas, and you won’t need to spend money on any accommodation either.  
  • Broader Range of Courses: Many traditional colleges and university’s do offer a broad range of courses, but it doesn’t compare to the number that is available to study online. You can access almost any course from some of the top universities right from your home office or living room, so you’re not limited to any one course or profession or by your location.  

Making a Career Move There certainly isn’t an age limit as to when you can make a career move. If you have been successful in a career previously, it’s more than likely you will have the drive and determination to be successful in your new career too. It’s never been easier to make a move, and the flexibility and affordability of online study are helping many Americans start a whole new exciting journey to career success.