This is your story: You’re in your 40s; comfortably employed full-time; have teenage children; and own a home. But you sense the desire and need for a change, specifically in your comfortable full-time career—in a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to return to school, but the career you’re searching for says otherwise.
You’re driven and motivated to succeed. You just need to find out what’s out there in the big world of college degrees to find a match that best fits your need in changing careers and to persuade the hiring manager of that career for which you’ve been longing.
Know that some of the most successful people in this country didn’t start out in the career that they were passionate about. In fact, changing careers happens between 10 to 15 times for the average American worker ages 18 to 46, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With that said, we spoke with Kelsey Granowski, a career services advisor for Rasmussen College about the toughest questions people ask about when changing careers. On a typical day, Granowski walks students through the challenges of finding the right career and developing a career path. Let’s take a look at what she had to say.
Rasmussen College: What preparation work can people do before they dive into changing their career?
Kelsey Granowski: Talk to career services professionals and take a skills assessment. It is important to re-evaluate your skills and passion and working through this with a professional that is knowledgeable in many fields can help. It can also be helpful to speak with admissions representatives about possible educational programs that would benefit this change.
Rasmussen College: What are some common mistakes that career changers make when looking to make a change? How can this be avoided?
Granowski: One mistake is jumping into an idea without fully researching it. Some questions to answer would be:
- Are you ready to start entry-level and work your way up?
- Are you willing and ready to go back to school and are you financially prepared for this?
- What is the most important thing you want to get from this change?
- How does the career outlook for this field affect your decision?
- Will this fit your lifestyle and geographic location?
In order to answer these questions, it is important to talk through the process and options with a professional who can provide tips and resources to get these questions answered.
Rasmussen College: How can those who are looking to make a change by earning a degree overcome their fears?
Granowski: Times have changed. Educational programs are very different than they used to be. The focus is more on time, quality and affordability. The classrooms are now filled with groups of individuals of various ages, genders and cultures and many of these students are going through career changes. It is an exciting time to be able to experience different fields during your working life. It is important to pay attention to the school and program you choose and how this will affect your “hire-ability.” Does the school have a good reputation in the field? Are employers looking for candidates through this program? Is the school accredited? What types of support does the school offer? Be confident in your choice and do your research.
Rasmussen College: Share with us some top tips and advice for changing careers at any age.
Granowski: You are not alone. There are many people going through career changes at all ages. Be empowered to change your life, make a difference and challenge yourself. We are fortunate to have resources and programs that allow us to further our education and continue to grow as productive members of society. Strive to find the program that fits with your life and that provides the support that you, as a student, would need, including financial services, career advising, student advising and technical support.
The bottom line
Of course you want to start your new career as soon as possible, but you can’t go from A-Z in a month—change takes time. The process of determining and identifying what you want out of your career and the path you want to go down will take time, patience and commitment.
So, is changing careers a possibility for you? The answer is yes, but be ready to do the work that accompanies a career change.