You probably entered the working world bright-eyed and ready to make a difference. But after a couple of years, you realize that your current job isn’t what you expected it to be, and you have grown tired of it. At this point, you and many other professionals will find themselves thinking of shifting careers. For example, CEO Meg Wheeler grew frustrated with corporate life and started One For Women, a business that aims to empower women by promoting women-owned businesses. She was the type of person who sought mentorship, advancement and challenging work – three things corporate life did not give her at that time. So she made a decision to change her career. Switching vocations is a growing trend, with a study by the University of Phoenix finding that more than half of professionals and working adults are interested in a career change.
Since you’ll be essentially starting from scratch, you might consider going back to school. Re-entering education as an adult is a great way to add credentials and qualifications that will be a helpful starting point for your new career path.
Changing careers is a big step and it is easy to feel unsure of what you need to be doing next. Going back to college will help give you direction. You will able to focus on working towards the qualifications you need for the career change, and it will also open up doors to network and meet likeminded people. If you can afford to, use going back to school as a break from your career and a good place to re-evaluate your options.
The workforce and the skills needed to succeed in it are rapidly changing. Employers are now searching for specific skills that they think their company needs in order to stay competitive. The Daily Notes reports that the most in-demand skills are computer engineering, accounting, and programming. Learning a new skill to help you adapt to the modern workforce will give you a competitive edge when you start searching for a new job.
Sometimes it’s tempting to just drop your current job and become a full-time student. If you can, that's great. But for most people that is just not possible. Going back to school requires financial support and that means you can’t go back without working at least part time. Fortunately, learning is now more convenient than ever before due to the internet. In a feature by Maryville University focusing on online degrees versus traditional degrees, it details how internet courses allow students to have a flexible schedule. This allows them to study around other commitments. This shift to a new flexible way of learning is clearly popular. Since 2015, more than 6.3 million students in the U.S. are choosing online degree programs over enrolling in a traditional university. If you want to go back to studying, there are plenty of ways to do so.
Scholarships and Grants
The New York Times states that many organizations offer scholarships, discounts and grants for older students. Some state schools even offer free or discounted tuition. The government also offer tax breaks for students that can be taken advantage of by adult students e.g. the Lifetime Learning Credit can provide up to $2000 to help with tuition. This will ease the financial load for low income adults.
No matter how old you get, it’s never too late to change paths. Earning a new degree requires commitment, time and financial investment. Do your research and seek all the possible help you can get. Often a career shift requires one big step in the right direction, and going back to school may be that step.
Written by: Donna McGee
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