how to change careers without going back to school with steps and tips

LISTEN: People who change careers discover that they need more education to obtain new positions, even in occupations where it was not previously necessary. By Robbie Feinberg.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Vanessa Moody found herself working 60 hours a week, starting at 6 a.m., at the silkscreen printing company where she had spent the previous five years. m. on weekdays and including Saturdays. This story also appeared in.

Due to having to work, the single mother’s 7-year-old son was watched by his grandparents, giving her little time to spend with him.

The 32-year-old Moody said, “We only had Sunday to do things and Saturday night to hang out.” And he would ask me, “Why is your boss so cruel?”

The final straw came when Moody requested a $2 increase over the $18. 50 an hour, but her boss refused to let her. So she joined the legions of Americans quitting their jobs.

Moody came to the realization that she would need more education to pursue a new career, which is something else she has in common with many other workers who want to change their careers.

Moody was on the third day of a three-week, 120-hour welding, plasma-cutting, grinding, blueprint-reading, and technical math course at the busy training facility where she was telling her tale. Her objective was to get a job interview at Bath Iron Works, which is owned by General Dynamics. The starting hourly rate at the shipyard is typically around $22 before overtime, rising frequently to more than $27 after six months, with generous benefits like paid time off and pensions.

“All I’m waiting for is the chance to improve my future.” Knowing that I won’t get stuck again is all I’m looking for in a new job, said Moody, who was still wearing her welding hood and thermal gloves. Other students practiced their newly acquired skills on pieces of metal held in clamps as bright white flares from high-tech welding torches lit up red plastic protective curtains behind her.

Economists have long warned that, even in fields like manufacturing, where it hasn’t always been necessary, more and more job seekers will need to complete additional education in order to transition from one place of employment to another. To the surprise of many, the prophecy is now coming true as a record number of Americans are quitting their jobs.

There was a time when individuals could walk into a shipyard or other manufacturing facility and begin working the same day. That has changed as a result of automation, computer-aided design, 3D printing, modular construction, and precision machining. One of the shortest postsecondary training programs still available today for some advanced manufacturers is Moody’s three-week course.

The trend has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic and driven by the labor market’s swift changes. And it’s one of the explanations offered by labor experts for why there are 10 4 million open jobs at a time when 7. 7 million Americans are unemployed.

Maine is like a laboratory for this. It has the oldest population in the nation, and older workers frequently require retraining in order to change jobs. However, labor economists predict that eventually, almost everyone will. Additionally, Maine is gradually transitioning its economy away from agriculture and low-tech industries like paper and shoe manufacturing and toward advanced manufacturing and information services, following a pattern seen in many other regions.

Additionally, Maine has taken an unusual step that few other states have: it has asked its unemployed citizens why they are having trouble finding employment. According to a survey of more than 2,600 unemployed people conducted by the Maine Department of Labor, the main factor was that they lacked the skills that employers looking to hire were looking for.

Former assistant U of Maine professor Jane Oates said, “The story in Maine echoes across the country, but Maine is a great place to tell it.” S. secretary of labor and president of the advocacy group WorkingNation. “Back then, you could just walk into a paper factory and find work.” People are now discovering that employers aren’t just impressed by their work ethic and experience. And they’re the ones most likely to feel like “Time has passed me by” when you look at an older state like Maine. ’ ”.

Research funded by McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, and others found that three-quarters of hiring managers said they’re more likely to hire over-45s with relevant training or educational credentials than with only work experience. Workers over age 45, who make up 40% of the long-term unemployed, are much more likely to land new jobs if they get additional education than if they don’t, in which case they stay unemployed for much longer.

Oates described how older workers are mortified by the sudden realization that they need new skills to change jobs. “They’re embarrassed. They think it’s just them. They must understand that this is now a typical occurrence in the workplace. ”.

Last month, the community colleges in Maine declared that they would invest $60 million in short-term, low- or no-cost training for those looking to switch careers or advance in their current positions.

This is an issue far beyond Maine, however. For instance, the majority of the “Hot 50” list of the 50 fastest-growing occupations in heavily industrialized Michigan calls for postsecondary education.

According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, where nearly half of American manufacturing workers only had high school diplomas in 1991, today roughly the same proportion have bachelor’s degrees, and another 27% have other types of postsecondary credentials.

As a record number of people quit their jobs and look for new ones, the mismatch between applicants’ skills and employers’ needs has become more glaringly apparent.

According to data from the Federal Reserve, resignations have increased by 2.5 times since the beginning of the pandemic. Nearly 4. According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3 million people quit their jobs in August. Ron Hetrick, senior labor economist at the job market analytics firm Emsi Burning Glass, called these numbers “astronomically high.”

Before spending four years as the manager of a phone store in central Maine, Chantell Marie worked as a cashier and a substitute teacher while hardly ever taking a vacation. After giving it some thought, she declined her job offer after being laid off and then being offered it again a few days later.

“I said, ‘I know what I brought to your table. I’m going to give it to someone else,’ ” declared 44-year-old Marie. “And after that, I cried at home and thought about what to do next.” ”.

Marie was persuaded to return to school by her grown children in order to learn how to weld the scrap metal sculptures she enjoys creating. Soon, a recruiter from a company that makes trailers was interested in her, and before her nine months of training were over, she was hired. She worked weekends while attending classes during the week to earn a variety of certifications.

“A lot of jobs now want somebody with experience. You can’t get experience without a job. Therefore, obtaining the certifications at least opens the door for you, she said.

Marie’s much younger classmates gave her the moniker “Flash” because she frequently used flash cards in her technical math and blueprint-reading classes. She threatened to respond, “I’ve been out of school longer than you’ve been alive.”

Marie is now a quality control inspector. She walks around the trailer factory in Winslow, Maine, checking the welds while wearing a bandana over her hair and carrying a two-way radio on her hip.

“You don’t need additional training if you’re happy working at Dunkin’ Donuts and that’s what you want to do,” But I wanted something different. I wanted a career. Nobody wants to work the front desk at the hotel. The restaurant’s hostesses are no longer desired. ”.

According to a survey conducted by the educational technology company Jenzabar, nearly half of American adults believe they are underemployed, underpaid, or are not reaching their potential. More than one in three want new careers.

Americans, however, are also dissatisfied with the training and education options available to them in order to find new employment. According to the Jenzabar survey, 80% of respondents believe traditional colleges and universities are overpriced for this use.

According to the nonprofit organization Credential Engine, nearly a million different types of credentials are available from all postsecondary providers combined. Additionally, the government offers little assistance to those who are trying to find their way; the United States spends the least amount of its GDP—less than any other industrialized nation except Mexico—on coordinated workforce development. What federal funding exists has been repeatedly cut.

“We don’t have training. Director of the Georgetown center Anthony Carnevale stated, “We just don’t do it. He claimed that “the higher education system resists it, with the exception of at underfunded community colleges. They look down their noses at it. ”.

The Corporation for a Skilled Workforce estimated the cost of filling this gap at $70 billion annually, including $10 billion for career navigation and counseling. The Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce estimated the cost at $80 billion annually. The Georgetown Center estimated the cost at $95 billion annually. The Build Back Better bill from the Biden administration includes some funding that is suggested for this use, but it is still under consideration.

According to Deloitte Consulting, 58 percent of businesses believe their workers will stay with them for less than 10 years, so they are hesitant to invest in training new hires.

For some reason, we stopped doing on-the-job training 50 or 100 years ago, according to Oates of WorkingNation.

At the age of 21, Shantel Ahearn has already worked for her mother’s shellfish company, a paving contractor, and a McDonald’s. It was only there that she learned about the Southern Maine Community College training program from some of the shipyard workers who came in for burgers after their shifts were finished.

Adam Malcolm has worked as a supervisor at a drugstore and sold phones at a Walmart in Bangor in the past, but he wants to be an electrical engineer. He has completed an associate degree work and is now continuing his studies at the University of Maine, for which he has already borrowed $30,000, in the hopes of finding employment in the electric utilities sector.

“It was a nightmare to figure out,” said Malcolm, 29. “I had absolutely no idea that it was going to be this challenging and expensive,” ”.

Malcolm also spent some time putting together circuit boards for a company that made medical products. He enjoyed it, but soon realized “there was no advancement unless you had some sort of degree.” ”.

He stated: “They need to understand they almost have to have an adviser just to navigate the career change if they want to switch to better jobs. We need to raise people’s awareness of that issue. ”.

Critics claim that employers are aggravating the issue by overstating some educational requirements, a trend that started during the previous recession when there were a lot of applicants to choose from. According to research from Northeastern University, during that recession, the percentage of job postings requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher increased by more than 10 percentage points.

Employers in the fastest-growing industries increasingly won’t consider applicants without bachelor’s degrees, according to a Harvard Business School study. This particularly affects Black and Hispanic workers, who, according to federal data, are less likely than whites to have one.

Several employers are now stepping up to assist potential employees in getting the education they require.

Instructors report that more women and workers in their 40s and 50s are enrolling in the community college’s training program, which is housed at Bath Iron Works in Brunswick. The company also offers the students enrolled in the program a $500 weekly attendance incentive and promises them job interviews. The shipyard needs 1,500 additional workers by the end of next year in addition to the 1,700 it has already hired this year due to the six Navy destroyers currently under construction, another six under contract, and a significant wave of employees approaching retirement, a company spokesman said.

Pratt & Whitney, which employs 2,000 people at a 1. 150 new entry-level workers are required at the site by June, according to a company official, at the former 2 million-square-foot athletic shoe factory in North Berwick, Maine, where it now produces engine parts for passenger airplanes and the F35 joint strike fighter. The company estimates that new hires spend six weeks in initial training and up to another six months learning how to operate machines on the job, which can cost as much as $1. Each costs $5 million, and they mill and grind components to specifications that are accurate to thousandths of an inch.

Additionally, the business collaborates with the nearby York County Community College to run a three-year apprenticeship program for aspiring managers that gives participants associate degrees and 8,000 hours of on-the-job training. Similar alliances between community colleges and Pratt & Whitney facilities can be found in Florida, Connecticut, and Georgia.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Miles Spalding enrolled in the Pratt & Whitney apprenticeship program.

Regarding the additional education he now needs to obtain, he said, “I knew it was going to be a process to get into a place like this.” “It was definitely overwhelming at first. ”.

Spalding, 39, said, “I was making really good money, but the hours were terrible.” “Short little snippet calls with my kids saying good night and hearing stories from my wife about what they’re doing — their first bike ride — and I missed it,” he would say. And I just was getting tired of it. ”.

Now, he said, he gets good pay and benefits. His hours let him spend more time with his kids. He coaches his son in Little League. “It’s a complete 180,” Spalding said.

The 51-year-old Nigel Garner, who began working at Bath Iron Works in September, is still getting used to the place. Garner, who also took classes in creating websites and repairing boat motors before deciding on the training program that led him to become a pipefitter here, said he didn’t mind spending the time it took to further his education after quitting his long-time job as a restaurant server.

The shipyard, which opened in 1826 as a brass and iron foundry, now employs more than 7,400 people and produces 500-foot Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers that can fire Tomahawk and surface-to-air missiles.

Depending on their jobs, employees wear color-coded hardhats, including riggers, crane operators, and sandblasters. In the 1,300-foot-long assembly building, welders watch over fabricated steel pieces. When it was built in 1971, the 400-foot crane, the largest in the Western Hemisphere and able to lift 300 tons, towered over the closely guarded complex along the Kennebec River. Due to its orange and white stripes, locals refer to it as the “candy crane.”

Another trainee who works on the yard is 33-year-old Alex Nadeau. He enjoyed the training as well and plans to participate in more of it. Nadeau stated today that having an attitude of “I’m going to do this and I’m going to keep getting training” is essential. ’ ”.

Nadeau, who was raised in Florida after leaving his native northern Maine, worked odd jobs and in restaurants before finding work reading water meters. But as he waited for his shift to begin, he stated that he found it to be too hot. “I got heat stroke. ”.

He stated, “For the first time, I felt like I was in a career rather than just a job when I started at Bath Iron Works as an insulator and backup supervisor. “Nadeau and his wife bought a house, got a dog, and left their apartment with her parents. He’s formed a band with some of his new coworkers, who are both guitarists and drummers, and they play what he described as “psychedelic garage rock.”

As for Moody, her young son, who is 7 years old, enjoys the new, fewer hours that she is putting in at the community college training program.

She said, “He says, ‘Oh, I like your new job, Mom. “He doesn’t understand that I’m just in school. ”.

The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization that focuses on inequality and educational innovation, collaborated with Maine Public Radio to produce this article about changing careers. Sign up for our higher education newsletter.

You can use these steps to plan and start your career change:
  1. List your passions and interests. …
  2. Explore career options. …
  3. Conduct research. …
  4. Develop knowledge and skills. …
  5. Gain relevant experience. …
  6. Use your network. …
  7. Revise your resume. …
  8. Create a cover letter.

How to Change Careers Successfully: The First 7 Steps

5 Steps for a Career Change Without Going Back to School

People between the age of 18 and 54 tend to have around 12 jobs in total by the time they reach the upper age limit of this range, marking several changes in their jobs and possibly their careers.

It is safe to assume that this kind of change is possible even without another formal degree since they cannot keep returning to school each time they change careers.

When it comes to changing careers without returning to school, there are several options available to you. You can go through some of them below.

Do Your Research

how to change careers without going back to school with steps and tips

When it comes to changing your career without returning to school, the first step is to do a lot of research to understand the prerequisites for the new career you are thinking about in detail.

In this situation, the first step you should take if you’re thinking about changing careers is to look into your options. Make a list of some of your ideas so you can research their requirements online. List some of your interests and abilities so that you can conduct appropriate research.

This can help you understand the typical educational requirements for each career and whether you can get by without them. Make sure you also research whether working in that field without a formal degree or certificate will affect how much you are paid.

Additionally, you can consider the aspects of your current job and career that you like and don’t like. This can assist you in further limiting certain job types.

If certain careers require you to return to school, you can try reaching out to some people to see if there are any alternatives that will provide you with the necessary knowledge.

Stuck in a job that isn’t you? Ready for a career change, but have no idea what else you could do – or where to start? Drawing on his own story, Richard explains how by ditching the conventional career rules, you’ll radically increase your chances of finding something you love.

It was among the most challenging times in my life.

I appeared to have a good job in a reputable company. Id been promoted several times. I had a mortgage, traveled frequently for work, and saw a bright future.

Inside though, I was deeply unfulfilled. I wasn’t having fun at work, I didn’t feel like I was using all of my abilities, and I yearned to wake up feeling like my work was having an impact on something or someone.

But I had no idea what else I could do.

Without success, I had in fact battled for years, on and off, to figure out how to change.

Eventually, as you’ll see in the paragraphs below, I emerged victorious. But it wasnt an easy journey.

These are the lessons I learnt along the way.

A Harvard Business School study showed that employers in the fastest-growing industries increasingly won’t consider applicants without bachelor’s degrees, which particularly affects Black and Hispanic workers who federal data show are less likely than whites to have one.

Estimates for what it would cost to fill this void vary, from $70 billion a year, including $10 billion for career navigation and counseling, according to the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, to $80 billion a year, based on an estimate from the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce, to $95 billion, according to an unreleased analysis by the Georgetown center. There’s some money proposed for this purpose in the Biden administration’s Build Back Better bill, which remains in flux.

“It was a nightmare to figure out,” said Malcolm, 29. “I had absolutely no idea that it was going to be this challenging and expensive,” ”.

Americans, however, are also dissatisfied with the training and education options available to them in order to find new employment. According to the Jenzabar survey, 80% of respondents believe traditional colleges and universities are overpriced for this use.

“You don’t need additional training if you’re happy working at Dunkin’ Donuts and that’s what you want to do,” But I wanted something different. I wanted a career. Nobody wants to work the front desk at the hotel. The restaurant’s hostesses are no longer desired. ”.


How do I switch careers quickly?

How to switch your career path
  1. Determine if you’re happy with your current role. …
  2. Review your interests, core values and skills. …
  3. Consider careers in different industries. …
  4. Seek potential job prospects. …
  5. Make an action plan. …
  6. Rebrand yourself. …
  7. Conduct informational interviews with multiple professionals.

What’s the easiest career change?

10 Easy Career Changes That Pay Well in 2022
  • Financial Planner.
  • Social Media Manager.
  • Data Scientist.
  • Market Research Manager.
  • HR Manager.
  • Project Manager.
  • Brand Strategist.
  • Real Estate Agent.

How do you change careers if you have no experience in a different career?

How to change careers with no experience
  1. Have a positive mindset. …
  2. Create your story. …
  3. Do your research to understand the specific requirements. …
  4. Gain experience on a part-time basis. …
  5. Try volunteering. …
  6. Get educated. …
  7. Check in with a knowledgeable contact. …
  8. Draft a skills-based resume.

How do I switch from one career to another?

10 Steps to a Successful Career Change
  1. Evaluate your current job satisfaction. …
  2. Assess your interests, values, and skills. …
  3. Consider alternative careers. …
  4. Check out job options. …
  5. Get personal. …
  6. Set up a job shadow (or two). …
  7. Try it out. …
  8. Take a class.

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