A career change requires planning and deliberation of financial resources, as well as time and motivation. Increasing your education can mean investment of resources in the short-term, but in the long-run the payoff can lead to much better opportunities and salary brackets. The recruiting experts at America’s Job Exchange offer some vital questions to ask yourself when debating if you need more education.
- What specific certification, degree, or internship does my next career require? Most job postings outline the type of degree or certification required. Also rely on asking an adviser at your local college or workforce commission branch. They can help determine the type of degree you may require, whether an associate’s degree, certification, or if you’ll need a doctorate or master’s degree in order to secure that coveted job.
- Do I have the time, money, and resources that will allow me to go back to school? So many conflicts can get in the way of pursuing an education, including family obligations and lack of finances. Fortunately there are many ways to circumvent or address these issues. Pell grants, scholarships, and other financial aid options are all available to ease the costly burden of attending school. Distance learning is also popular and a more affordable option for those who can’t attend classes during the day.
- What options are available in my area? Use online Education Centers to uncover local colleges and universities in your area. You can also check online schools, which are becoming increasingly acceptable options. Also rely on your local CareerOneStop center, a resource service of the Department of Labor, which offer information on education and training programs in your local area.
- What types of educational options are available?There are several educational options you can choose, apart from the standard 2-year or 4-year college degree. They include:Apprenticeships
- provide on-the-job learning, usually specific to technical instruction for a specific trade. Consider this a free education because you are learning a specific skill while you are working.
- offers details on industries and programs.
- are work-related credentials usually issued by external organizations to demonstrate a certain skill has been achieved. Examples of these would be a nursing assistant or financial adviser. These are readily available online.
Short-term training programs
- are useful if you want to advance or change your career. They usually take under two years and result in certifications or a diploma. Again, many are available online.
- provide an opportunity for hands-on training and experience in your field of choice. Many corporations offer internship programs, some paid, some not. It’s good to explore this option with companies that are of most interest to you.
Will I need to take any tests?
- Most graduate programs require you to take the GRE before you are accepted, and if you’re attending college for the first time, you’ll have to tackle the ACT or SAT. In addition, tests might be required at the end of certification or training programs. Check with your local college to ensure you know all the education prerequisites, and review the testing requirements before signing up for any programs.