Did you know that the full-time American worker spends one-third of their waking hours on the job? Since you spend so much of your life working, having a career you can feel happy with is essential. Studies show that a poor work environment can have silent, cumulative effects on your physical and mental well-being.
For this and other reasons, you may be thinking of making a midlife career change. Midlife career changes are often fraught with unique challenges. Luckily, adding to your education, whether through a certification or degree, can make the transition smoother.
How Job Satisfaction Impacts Your Health
Did you know that job burnout is highly correlated to more emergency room visits? Approximately two in three American workers have experienced burnout on the job. And there are other consequences to burnout. A study by the American Psychological Association shows that work stress leads to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, back problems, and more.
If you want to experience good health and happiness, working at a job you enjoy is vital. A midlife career change can help you reach those goals. Maybe you figured out that the career you worked at since college just doesn’t quite fit anymore. Or perhaps there’s a passion you’ve always wanted to pursue. Whatever the reason, when you decide to switch careers, it’s best to have a plan in place to avoid common obstacles you may face in pursuit of your dream.
Consider Why You Want a New Career
Before looking for a new position, you should analyze why you’re unhappy at your current job. While feeling unsatisfied with your job is a good sign that something has to change, the answer isn’t always switching industries or roles. Leaving your job based solely on occasional dissatisfaction is ill-advised. Before committing to such a big step, examine your motivations. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you find unsatisfactory about your current job or industry?
- In what ways would a new career benefit your life?
- Is the company culture or values an issue?
- Would a different manager, coworkers, or employer satisfy your need for change?
It’s essential to analyze your reasons for wanting to make a career switch. If you don’t figure out what you dislike about your current role, you may end up in another job that isn’t a fit.
Make a Plan Forward
Next, think about what you want in this next role. Study the industry you want to go into and list your ideal companies, role titles, and responsibilities.
- What are your day-to-day responsibilities like in your ideal role?
- What are you not doing? What tasks don’t you like?
- Where do you see yourself in five years with this new position?
- What’s title do you want?
Create Milestones to Achieve
After you figured out your desired title and made a list of ideal companies to apply to, separate your goal into milestones. Be sure to include skills you need to gain and certification or education you need to complete.
Then make daily or weekly tasks to track your progress. Although this may seem small, tiny steps like these make a huge impact, giving you the momentum and confidence to move forward.
Navigating a Career Change with Continuing Education
Getting New Certifications
Industries are constantly evolving. Getting more certifications can help you stay on top of current trends in your chosen field. Certifications can also make you more competitive in the job market.
Remember, you don’t have to start from square one by going entry-level into a new career. Learn how to leverage your new certifications plus skills you’ve already developed, like leadership and interpersonal skills, to achieve a comparable position in your new field.
Consider Going Back for a Degree
One fundamental way to stand out in your job search is continued education. For one, taking extra college courses or even pursuing your bachelor’s degree can open up previously closed doors. A degree can lead to better job opportunities and improve your chances for promotions. In some cases, you have to get a degree or specialized training to qualify for some management roles. Not only can a degree help you gain access to those roles, but your education may also put you in a better position to negotiate higher pay.
Is Continuing Your Education Possible?
With your busy life and schedule, you may wonder if pursuing an education is even possible for you.
Thanks to online programs, like the one offered by Smarter with Achieve, you can learn and study on your own time without sitting in a physical class or relocating yourself or your family.
Smarter with Achieve is an exam guidance company that offers a faster and more convenient way to finish your degree. We help you test-out of college courses through a process called Credit-by-Exam. With our prep courses, you can knock out what would usually be a 16-week college course in as little as 4-6 weeks. We offer flexible day, evening, and night courses. Plus, no term papers, quizzes, or assignments. We prep you to pass exams for college credits so you can finish faster and pursue your next career move.
Always Be Ready for What’s Next
Navigating a midlife career change can be difficult, but adding to your education can make it easier.
You can show future employers your initiative by developing new skills through continuing your education.
If you need to pursue a degree for a career change, Smarter with Achieve can help. You can test-out of a variety of subjects and learn on your schedule. Speak with an advisor today to find out if Smarter with Achieve is a good fit for you.