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5 Tips for Planning a Career Change

Posted Thursday, Jan 9, 2020 by Altierus

Think it’s time to change careers, not just jobs? Taking control of your future is empowering—especially when it’s about something as important as the job you spend most of your waking life doing.

Changing careers isn’t a decision to be taken lightly, however. This article gives advice for making long-term plans, conducting research, and pursuing the training you need to make the switch successfully.

Consider Your Strengths

What are you currently good at? Taking an honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses can help point you in the direction of a new career path. You may already have skills that will transfer to your new industry. Some examples of strengths include:

  • Customer service skills (or “people” skills)
  • Learning new terminology or technology quickly
  • Solving technical problems by testing and re-testing solutions
  • Patience in high-stress situations
  • Good mathematical abilities
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Contributing to teams

If you’re not sure, ask a trusted friend or co-worker where they think your strengths lie.

Brainstorm Your Options

Think about how you want to feel at the end of your day’s work. For example, would you rather:

  • Feel the satisfaction of working and building with your hands?
  • Be confident you contributed to someone’s wellbeing?

If you’re drawn toward building things, a career in the skilled trades could be a good choice. If you’re drawn toward helping others or toward health sciences, a healthcare career might be right for you.

Uncertain? You can always try taking online career tests or talking to an admissions advisor at a local career college. At Altierus Career College, our admissions staff will help you narrow down your potential career path options by asking questions about your interests, skills, and previous experience.

Research Growing Occupations

Next, try to get an idea for how jobs in the industry that interests you are growing. There are plenty of reliable resources that can help you determine which occupations in the industries you’re drawn to are most likely to remain in demand for the near future. These include:

  • The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook: offers detailed job growth projections at the national level from 2018-2028, plus median national salary information, an overview of what each job does and how to train for it.
  • O*Net Online: Draws on BLS statistics and presents a wider range of job options. Includes survey data from people currently in the field which can give you an idea of which skills are regularly used on the job.

For reference, the BLS predicts that the overall job growth rate for the entire U.S. economy will be 5% over the 2018-2028 period (0.5% growth per year).[i] Try to match your interests with industries where jobs are projected to grow as fast or faster than this, such as healthcare (14% projected growth).[ii]

Explore Training Options

Find out what kind of training you’ll need to complete to start pursuing jobs in your new chosen career path. Some careers may only require on-the-job-training. For others, formal education may be either required (for example, if you want to become a registered nurse) or strongly preferred by employers.

It may surprise you to learn that a four-year college degree isn’t needed to qualify for many rewarding and interesting jobs. You can qualify for jobs in growing industries with diploma programs that can be completed in as few as eight months of study.

Choose programs that include experienced instructors, training environments that use real tools and simulators and that offer clinical experience or professional shadowing experience. If your chosen occupation requires certification or has industry certification available, you should also look for a program that includes certification test prep.

At Altierus Career College, we offer our students all of this, plus e-textbooks, course supplies, and an iPad that students can keep. In addition, we cover exam fees for industry certification or licensure tests where applicable.

Make a Long-Term Plan

Once you start a training program, take advantage of career services to make a long-term plan for pursuing a job in your field. Find out who your region’s major employers are. Get advice on your resume and attend practice interview sessions so you’re ready to hit the job market running once you have your qualification.

Also look beyond entry-level roles to see what options might be available to you as you progress. If you become a nurse, would you be interested in pursuing a nursing bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in the future? If you train as an electrician, would you be interested in eventually running your own business? Finding out what’s possible three, five, or even 10 years down the line can be a great motivation for sticking to a career change plan.

Go For It!

If you want to pursue a new career, not a just a new job, Altierus Career College can help. Contact us today to find out how we can help you train to pursue exciting opportunities in fast-growing industries.

References: 10 Steps to a Successful Career Change

[i] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/ecopro.pdf

[ii] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/home.htm

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