Study Now for the Career You Want Tomorrow
Do you feel like you’re stuck in one kind of job for the rest of your life? Well you don’t have to be! Career institutions, community colleges, large universities, and private institutions offer classes and certifications to help you train for a new career, no matter how long it’s been since you graduated from school!
A career change can mean many things: a chance to develop new skills, a bigger income, an opportunity to move or change lifestyle, and more. Whatever the reason, one strategy helps achieve them all: prepare for your new career while keeping your current one.
What does it take?
Research what it takes to land a job in the new career field. Does it require certain certifications? Do you need to take classes or get a new degree from a college or university? Or could you prepare in your current position for the switch by taking on new responsibilities? Once you have a game plan of how to become qualified for the job, you need a plan for how to pay for it.
How will you pay for it?
The easiest way to pay for a transition to a new career field is to continue working while you study. Look for programs that allow you to take evening and weekend classes. This allows you to pay for your new education as you go and avoid digging into your savings or going into debt.
Speaking of savings, if you know your new career will require you to attend courses full time at some point, be sure to build up your savings before you quit your job. You want to be able to pay all of your bills while in school.
If you can continue to work while studying, see if your current employer is willing to help pay for classes, especially if you could apply your new skills within the company, either in your current position or in a new one. Often when a company pays for employee education, there are requirements such as maintaining a certain GPA or promising to work for the company a set number of years after graduation. If these criteria aren’t met, you are responsible for paying the company back the amount they invested in your education. Ask your HR department about this kind of program. It never hurts to ask!
Another strategy is to go as far as you can in the curriculum while working full time until you can transition to an internship, externship, fellowship, or apprenticeship where you would be earning at least some income in your new field. Again, the best move is to have your savings built up to account for the lower pay of most internship-like programs. Be sure to research any cooperative education opportunities, where there is a partnership between a school and business that allows students to alternate time between paid work and class time.
It’s never too late to consider a career change, especially if it’s into a field you’ve always been passionate about. Make sure you do plenty of research on the best program for you and the best way to pay for it so you’re ready to jump into the new job with the best chance for success!