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Making a Career Change Later in Life

Life is too short. If you don’t feel good about what you do, it’s time to consider a career change.

Making a career change in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s is hard work but worth the effort if it’s more in sync with who you are today. If the pandemic has you rethinking your future and you’re ready to move forward, vocational school training can lead the way.

What Motivates Adults to Make Career Changes?

Careers were once one-offs. Educational opportunities were limited, and students had one chance to get it right.

But today, people live longer, and the average adult changes occupations several times in his or her lifetime. It’s not unusual to see students of all ages enrolled in the same vocational school courses because it’s never too late to learn or make a career change.

The pandemic is causing entire generations to reconsider their life’s work. The retail and restaurant fields have been hit hard by layoffs, and many of those jobs will never return. Some companies have gone out of business permanently while others have adapted, changing their business model and working with fewer employees.

If you’re unemployed or not doing the work you were hired for because of COVID, you’re not alone. Even before the pandemic, entire industries were changing, and positions were becoming obsolete, replaced by technology.

People are motivated to make career changes because of a broad range of personal and economic factors, but one thing is clear. Workplaces are evolving quickly, and applicants need to keep pace.

Whether you just need something fresh in your life, or you’ve suffered a job loss, now is the perfect time to take stock of your career and get future-forward training. It might be time for a change if any of the following describe you.

You’re bored.

We feel happiest when we can use the full range of our natural abilities. If you’re not using your talents on the job, it’s easy to get bored and become apathetic. When the most challenging thing you do at work no longer excites you, it’s time to move on.

You’re stuck in a dead-end job.

Running out of rungs on the career ladder is like driving a sports car down a dead-end street. You’re revving the engine but going nowhere fast.

Few people feel motivated to work hard and be creative when there’s no room for promotion, making it tough to learn and grow. Consider a career change if professional development in your current field has come to a standstill.

You’re not earning enough to make ends meet.

Some jobs are personally rewarding but financially disappointing. If there’s no pay raise in your future, or your full-time hours were cut to part-time because of the pandemic, consider taking your experience elsewhere. Money isn’t everything, but you have to make enough to pay your bills.

Your role has become obsolete.

Technology takes a toll on every industry. Fifty years ago, people did work that is now fully automated, but science is advancing at a record pace, and positions that seemed secure a few short years ago are suddenly on the chopping block. If you find yourself being assigned more tasks that aren’t related to your job description, the writing may be on the wall.

Your efforts are overlooked.

Recognition is as motivational as a paycheck for long-term job satisfaction. No one wants to work in an atmosphere where the most creative efforts aren’t noticed.

While it’s unrealistic to expect bosses to pat you on the back for every task well done, lack of positive feedback is disheartening and suggests you’re not in line for a promotion.

You don’t believe in your employer’s goals.

What are you passionate about? Whether it’s your customers, the environment, or making technological breakthroughs, passions that align with your employer’s mission statement make work gratifying. If your vision and priorities in life aren’t compatible with what you do, you’ll feel better about yourself in a new career.

You want more than a job.

A job pays the bills. A career is work you’ve progressively built upon and cultivated through experience, a mission that means more to you than just a paycheck.

It’s not possible to make a career out of some jobs, as they’re temporary or transient by nature. So, if you’re stuck in a job but want a career, you may need to choose a different industry.

Your life has changed.

We change as individuals. A once wide-eyed graduate ready to work long hours for a promotion may now be a parent who wants more time at home with family. Life changes such as marriage, divorce, aging, and illness can impact your goals. If you have diverse interests and your job doesn’t allow you to grow in other ways, seek new opportunities.

Why Vocational School Is the Key to Success for Adult Learners

COVID has been a challenge for vocational schools, but they’ve embraced new ways of doing things, offering a range of opportunities for students in any age group, like hybrid and online programs. If you are looking to change careers by attending a vocational school, here are the benefits.

Benefit 1—Programs in Relevant Fields

Education is an investment. As a student, you want to train for an in-demand career with job security.

Vocational schools specialize in filling workforce demands, offering programs in relevant fields, such as medical assisting and computer technology. You’ll gain new skills that build on your existing expertise and experience, so you’ll be ahead of the curve as you launch your new career.

Benefit 2—Short, Focused Training

Jobs in some industries can take years to prepare for, but spending four or more years in college before joining the workforce isn’t for everyone. Students attending full-time vocational school programs can graduate with a certificate or diploma without putting their lives on hold. How do they do it?

Vocational training is focused on the practical skills required to do a job. An elective 17th century art class may help you grow as a person, but it’s a costly addition and may be unnecessary for your career path.

There are limited elective courses in vocational schools, with the focus on streamlined programs that get you out of the classroom and earning in less time. It’s the ideal way for students with bills to pay to further their education.

Benefit 3—Lifestyle Friendly Attendance Options

Vocational schools recognize the barriers that keep adult students from pursuing higher education. While attending programs full time is the fastest road to a new career, most institutions offer part-time and hybrid learning options that combine online and on-campus classes.

Hybrid programs are excellent for students who need to work while they’re in school or have few childcare and transportation options. A computer and internet access are all you need.

Fewer campus visits are a better fit for busy schedules while still offering the necessary hands-on training needed in most vocational fields. You may save on travel expenses by visiting campus less often, so it’s a lifestyle-friendly approach that lets you get ahead without breaking the bank.

Benefit 4—Small Class Sizes

Small classes are ideal for adult learners. There are fewer distractions and more time for one-on-one interaction with instructors and peers. The pace is relaxed, and creativity is as valued as productivity. Also, there’s plenty of time for networking and individualized attention so no student is left behind.

Benefit 5—Externships

Vocational schools may offer externships to help students transition from the classroom to the workplace. An externship is a short, off-campus experience during which you’ll work with seasoned members of your field, practicing the skills you learned in the classroom so you can be comfortable starting your new career.

Externships are also valuable opportunities to network, connecting with potential employers. More than one student has gotten a job offer after making a good impression during an externship.

Benefit 6—Career Services

Vocational schools partner with employers in your area to understand their staffing needs. The goal is to graduate well rounded students with work-ready skills. Employers, in turn, know they can count on schools to help fill their vacancies, and students benefit with exclusive access to jobs never posted for the public.

Career counselors work with students to identify their strengths and weaknesses, matching them not just with any jobs, but with dream jobs. It’s a value-added service given that the times have changed and the usual recruitment and hiring processes are no longer safe.

Final Thoughts

Americans spend as many waking hours at work as they do at home, so why shouldn’t they be as rewarding as possible? If you feel stuck in your current job or lost your job due to the pandemic, vocational schools offer safe, affordable learning options for students of any age.

Don’t let the pandemic slow you down. There’s never been a more opportune time to train for a more fulfilling career.

Ready to make a career change? Our professional, career focused technical school programs, developed with industry input and adapted to the 21st century workplace, will provide vocational school students on Long Island with the technical skills and abilities they need in the health care, business, and technical professions.

See the Top Ten Reasons to Choose Hunter.

Contact us today to find out more about how to become a vocational school graduate on Long Island.