Whether your current career is no longer rewarding, or you are unable to see further growth in your field, it might be time to consider a career change. While the goal used to be to finish education and find a position you could stay in for your entire working life, more Americans are changing careers than ever before.
Looking for some of the best career change options? Keep reading to learn more.
Tips for a Career Change
In the United States, the average person will change careers between five and seven times during their working life. With career choices constantly increasing, it is estimated that 30% of the workforce will change careers every 12 months. While changing careers is becoming more frequent, it can still be stressful to think about starting an entirely new career.
One of the most important tips for switching careers is not to rush your decision. Executive coach Erica McCurdy of McCurdy Solutions Group says that the first thing you want to do is really examine why you want to make a career change. “Is it because you are truly unhappy with the career? Or could it be the environment, geography, or something else that is causing the unrest? Gain clarity before going after the change. You will be asked at some point to explain your reasons. You will be able to give a more positive and engaging answer if you have reached a personal comfort level with your decision first,” says McCurdy.
The next thing you want to do is conduct research on the career you are considering. You want to make sure you know everything you can about the industry and make sure you are up to speed about the current job market and application process. If it has been a long time since you last searched for a new position, you will want to make sure your resume is up-to-date and that you have optimized it so that employers will respond positively.
When interviewing, highlight your passion and knowledge rather than focusing on your age. You also want to have realistic and flexible expectations about your salary. While you may have been an expert in your old field, entering an entirely new career often means an entry-level salary.
If you are looking for the best career change options that offer incredible work-life balance and a low unemployment rate, consider switching to a role as a dental hygienist. As a dental hygienist, you will be responsible for taking x-rays, cleaning patients’ teeth, and assisting dentists as necessary during procedures.
Whether you want to work for a general dentist or go into cosmetic dentistry, all states require dental hygienists to be licensed. The minimum level of education required is an associate’s degree, though pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s is an excellent way to advance your career as a hygienist.
In addition to education and licensing, you will need to have strong interpersonal skills. Because patients can have difficulty communicating verbally during their exam and cleaning, you need to be able to read a patient and their body language to ensure they are comfortable. Keeping your patients informed about the process is one way to help them feel more comfortable while they are in your care.
If you are passionate about shaping the future of the world, teaching is one of the best career change options for you. While early childhood education may not come with a huge paycheck, few jobs are as rewarding as being a teacher. Every single day, you will have a chance to make a difference in the lives of your students.
Teaching children involves so much more than classroom instruction. As a teacher, you will be providing a significant support system for your students, including their overall development and emotional wellbeing. You will give your students a place to learn, to ask questions, to experiment, and to learn the social skills that will set them up for a lifetime of success.
Why is this a great career change? Many states are facing teacher shortages, meaning that this career is in demand. What kind of education do you need to become a teacher? Ultimately, the educational requirements for being a teacher will depend upon the level of education you want to teach. For early child education through high school (K-12), you will need a bachelor’s degree, and many universities offer experience-based learning opportunities, including student teaching. If you want to work in a public school, you will also need a state-issued license.
CNC machining is crucial to the metal industry, and CNC machinists are in demand. What is a CNC machinist? A computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine uses a specific program to control the operation of machine tools, such as lathes and mills. A CNC machinist’s goal is to transform raw materials, such as plastic and metal, into parts that meet the exact specifications. As a CNC machinist, you will need to adhere exactly to specifications because even fractions of a millimeter can render parts useless.
If you want to become a CNC machinist, you will need at least a high school diploma or a GED. After that, you will need to acquire specific skills through programs taught at technical schools or community colleges. You can go on to be certified by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills, which will provide you with a better chance for career advancement.
For those who love to travel and see new sights and are unhappy being in an office every day, becoming a truck driver is one of the best career change options. With a shortage of drivers and a growth outlook of 6% from 2016 to 2026, truck driving is an incredible second career. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out, “as the demand for goods increases, more truck drivers will be needed to keep supply chains moving.”
Another reason truck driving is one of the best career change options is the ease of entry into the field. Most jobs require a high school diploma, and you will need to attend a driving school to obtain the education and training required to acquire your Class A Commercial Driving License (CDL). From hauling live floor trailers full of grains across the country to local final mile delivery, there are many trucking positions available to choose from.
If you are someone who loves working outdoors and using your hands, landscaping is one of the best career change options for you. While the terms landscaper and groundskeeper are often used interchangeably, these job titles describe two different types of work. Donald Bottger, director of facility and environmental services for the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, notes “a landscaper is more involved with the horticultural maintenance of facilities, while a groundskeeper might be involved with refuse removal and snow removal.”
As a landscaper, you will spend your days performing a variety of tasks, some of which include
- Paving or laying turf
- Tree trimming
- Water fixture installation
- General maintenance
One of the best reasons for choosing to landscape as a career is that it has a low unemployment rate and relatively high job security. Also, landscapers are in demand everywhere, so if you find yourself needing to relocate, you will still have a great chance at finding a job. It should be noted that landscaping is a physically demanding job, and you will need to know how to properly use equipment ranging from leaf blowers and trowels to shovels and chainsaws. Warmer months tend to be the busiest for landscapers, but their services are still needed during the colder months as well.
Between 2019 and 2029, software developer jobs are projected to grow by 22%, making this one of the best career change options if you want job security. What does a software developer do? Unlike other information technology jobs or desktop repair positions, a
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “software developers are in charge of the entire development process for a software program. They may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software. They must identify the core functionality that users need from software programs. Software developers must also determine user requirements that are unrelated to the functions of the software, such as the level of security and performance needs.”
Once software has been developed, it is sent to programmers who write computer code and test the software. In some instances, software developers will write their own code rather than sending it to programmers.
Most developers have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software, engineering, or another related field of study. Some advanced positions require a master’s degree, but a bachelors is all you need to make the switch to this career. While writing code is not the primary function of a software developer, they will need a strong background and computer programming knowledge. Additionally, it is important to have working knowledge of the industries for which they are developing software.
LPN, RN, or Patient Care Tech
One of the best career change options for people who love taking care of others is nursing. There are a number of positions available in the nursing career, each with a varying degree of required education. From working at a general family practice to a medical imaging center, licensed practical nurses (LPNs), registered nurses (RNs), and patient care technicians have a wide range of career options. Perhaps best of all, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing jobs are expected to increase 16% between now and 2026.
Starting as a patient care technician can be a great way to get your foot in the door when looking at starting a nursing career. As a patient care technician, you will be responsible for everything from serving meals and changing bedding to drawing blood and administering IVs. To become a patient care technician, you will need a high school diploma and successful completion of a state-approved training program. Training programs typically take between 20 and 27 weeks, so this is one of the best career change options for people looking to enter nursing quickly.
If you are interested in being a nurse but do not want to commit to a traditional college program, becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) is perfect. In this role, you will care for patients, take vitals, administer medication and injections, and complete other tasks related to patient care. Many vocational schools, community colleges, and hospitals offer LPN programs that can kickstart your career change.
If you made the career switch to the nursing profession and want to take your career to the next level, you can pursue a bachelor’s degree to become a registered nurse. You can become an RN with an associate’s degree, but for the best job security and number of options, a bachelor’s degree is your best bet.
If you are an expert in a specific area, consulting is one of the best career change options for you. Marketing consultants are in demand, particularly for the financial, construction, and healthcare sectors. As a consultant, you will meet with clients to discuss their goals for growth and visibility, then offer advice and strategies for achieving these.
One of the things that makes consulting such a desirable job is that once you have a few clients under your belt, you are on the way to owning your own business. It is important to note that making a career change to consulting does require you to have proven skills and results in the field you are consulting for.
When it comes to the best career change options, it ultimately comes down to knowing your strengths and following your passion. If you are looking for a more emotionally and financially rewarding career, the positions listed above are all options to help you enjoy higher job satisfaction and improved quality of life.