“Love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That sounds like great advice, but it’s not always easy to establish yourself in a career that’s meaningful and enjoyable. As an adult, it can be stressful to think about choosing a new career path, especially if you’re responsible for supporting a family or if you have other significant financial commitments.
Maybe you worry that it’s too late to start a new career, or perhaps you’re unsure about what jobs would allow you to transfer your existing skills. In this post, we’ll explore some ways to reimagine your professional future and plan for a career pivot at any age.
Don't know what you want to do for a career?
If you’re exploring a career change but you’re not sure what direction to go in, consider taking an online career matching test. Online career tests often use a combination of information about your skills, personality type, and interests to suggest career paths that might be appealing to you. Some popular free career tests you can take are:
- The Princeton Review Career Quiz
- My Next Move, sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor
- Truity’s Career Personality Profiler
- 123 Test’s Career Aptitude Test
Remember, tests like these only offer suggestions--just because you’re not matched with a particular career path doesn’t mean it isn’t right for you!
Thinking you want to go back to school but don't know where to start?
Maybe you’ve already targeted a new career path for yourself in a field like nursing, teaching, IT, or accounting, but you know you’ll need to go back to school and are feeling overwhelmed. One of the first things you should do is explore different pathways for reaching your goals. Some options to consider are
- Independent online courses. Online courses are an excellent way to test out your interest or aptitude in a new career field. You can take online courses through an accredited online school or through a ACE-credit recommended course provider like StraighterLine. StraighterLine’s online courses are affordable and flexible, so they offer a low-risk way for you to explore a new field.
- Community colleges. Your local community college probably has a wide variety of Associate’s degree and certification programs, and they can probably offer you job placement or transfer support after you graduate.
- Online Bachelor’s degree or graduate programs. Many online programs specifically cater to working adults who may already have some college credit and job experience. Look for an online program that will help you maximize the credits you’ve already earned, or talk to an advisor about whether you can get credit for things like previous work experience or military service.
Understanding your motivation for changing careers and learning more about your skills and personality can help you define a new career path. Once you’ve explored some options, choosing the right pathway will have you on track to a new job that lets your talents shine.
Anissa Sorokin, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of English and Writing Program Administrator at Stevenson University near Baltimore, Maryland. Anissa’s interdisciplinary background and extensive experience teaching research, writing, and study skills help her demystify college expectations for students online and in her classroom.
Wondering if it’s too late for you to go back to school? We can answer that--it isn’t! Check out our tips for going back to school at any age.