If you're thinking about changing occupations, you will first need to investigate what is involved in training for a different career. Depending on the field you plan to enter, you may need to earn a specific degree, credential, license, or certification before you can pursue your new career goals. Regardless, you will probably need to add to or update your current skill set before you can change occupations.
Seven Career Training Considerations
If you're thinking about going back to college or enrolling in a career training program, here are a few things to consider when evaluating your options:
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1. Verify Career Entry Requirements
The first thing you need to do when you are thinking about training for a different career is to verify if there are licensure requirements for employment in the field. For example, if you want to become a nurse or a real estate agent, it's likely that you will have to complete a prescribed program of study and sit for a state licensure exam before you can legally work in your chosen profession.
Contact the division of your state government that oversees business and professional licensure to find out what, if any, requirements there are to enter new career field you have chosen. If there are such requirements, it's likely that the state agency in charge maintains a listing of online and instructor-led training programs that can help you prepare for your career of choice.
2. Investigate Programs of Study
Whether you need a license or not, it's likely that you'll need to supplement your current skill set with additional training in order to be prepared for your new career. Whether you pursue a degree or simply attend field-related seminars, seeking training related to your new profession can help give you a competitive edge in the job market. Doing so will also let prospective employers know that you are committed to changing careers.
Look for a school that offers programs of study specific to the type of work that you want to perform. Verify that the credentials awarded are recognized by employers in the field you want to enter and that they will truly serve as a stepping stone to your goals. For example, if you want to enroll in a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program now, with the ultimate goal of becoming a Registered Nurse (RN), it's important to determine if credits from the program you are considering now will transfer.
3. Consider Training Program Length
Look at the length of time required to complete each program and consider whether it is realistic for you to commit to, and if it will properly prepare you for your goals. While the shortest programs may seem to be the most appealing from a scheduling perspective, if they don't properly prepare you for the line of work you want to enter, you will not be satisfied.
4. Decide on Full-Time or Part-Time Study
You will also need to decide if you plan to pursue your training program on a full or part time basis. If you are ready to leave your current job and concentrate your efforts completely on retraining, then enrolling in a full time program of study is likely to be your best option. If you plan to continue working in your present job until you have the qualifications necessary to change careers, it may be best for you to enroll in a part time curriculum. However, many people do manage to juggle a full time job with a full time program of study. If you are in a hurry to change careers and you have the motivation and stamina to work and attend school full time, you can be ready for your new career fairly quickly without having to lose your current income.
5. Delivery Methods
Depending on the field of study you are interested in, it may be possible to complete some or all of your coursework online as opposed to in a traditional classroom. Select the option that best suits your learning style and scheduling needs.
6. Job Placement Assistance
Find out what types of job placement assistance are available to students and graduates of any programs you are considering enrolling in. Ask to see placement statistics and find out how proactive the school is in terms of helping with employment placement. Be aware that no ethical school will guarantee job placement for everyone.
7. Financial Aid Availability
It's important to consider how you are going to pay for the career training program you select. While career programs often offer the shortest path to career preparation, they aren't typically cheap. Find out early in your research what types of Federal and institutional financial aid programs are available, and determine exactly what you qualify for.
Ready to Make Your Move
If you want to change careers, you have to make a commitment to yourself and you have to act on it. Career change requires proactive effort on your part. Learning the training requirements to enter your new profession and finding out about the options available to you is just the first step toward accomplishing your goals. In order to fulfill your objective, the next step is to enroll in and complete the training you need to change professions. Once you take that step, you'll be well on your way to landing your ideal job.