Life is funny. We start out with a clear vision of how we’ll spend our lives and how we’ll ensure our success-but in many cases events don’t cooperate and actual experience alters our point of view. Perhaps the career that was so appealing at the outset has accelerated in pace and diminished in diversity to the point that you’re threatened with burnout. Maybe the economy has migrated away from your industry and future prospects no longer hold the promise they once did. Could be that you’re stalled and need a kick-start, or there’s something different that you’ve always wanted to do and it’s now or never. There are lots of reasons to shake things up at mid-life and, if you approach it intelligently, a new path can lead to great things.
Leave the impulse decisions to the youngsters. A strategic outlook will take you where you want to go with fewer unwelcome surprises along the way.
Look before you leap: Do your due diligence. Find out as much as you can about the new career you’re considering. What qualifications are needed? Is there abundant opportunity in this field? What’s involved day to day? What’s the path for advancement? Once you’ve gathered the information you need, and if you’re satisfied with the answers to your questions, go ahead and make the leap!
Who do you know? A career shift at mid-life allows you to take advantage of the experience you’ve gained and the connections you’ve made. Most of us can tap into our networks of colleagues and contacts to gain valuable insights and advice, and request introductions to influential parties. In general, people are happy to help as long as requests are reasonable-don’t be hesitant to ask for information and assistance.
Get qualified – Does your new career require a degree or certificate, or would additional education give you a competitive advantage? Here’s where an online course of study could be ideal.
Earning an online degree or certificate is a great alternative for people considering a mid-life career change. Distance learning provides a number of advantages including:
A flexible pace, a customizable schedule: Online education is made for people whose lives are in motion-working adults, busy parents, active duty members of the military and others. Your course of study can be crafted to work around your schedule, instead of vice versa.
Breadth of offerings: A full spectrum of educational opportunity is available online. Associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in fields such as education, health care, criminal justice and psychology. There are programs specifically tailored for hundreds of career choices, providing you with the specialized training needed to jump into a new career and set yourself up for success.
Accessibility: Physical proximity is not needed (there’s a reason it’s called distance learning!). You can be across town or across the country from you campus and as long as you have an Internet connection you can move toward your degree. In addition, financial aid may be available for qualified students.
Quality education: Accreditation, quality instruction and reputation are essential factors in the evaluation of any educational institution, and online education is no different. As part of your due diligence, make sure you’re choosing one of the many schools that offer accredited, quality online education and a rigorous course of study in your chosen field.
It makes sense to evaluate your situation at mid-life. Could you be more fulfilled? More successful? More content? The second act is where it all comes together-think about starting yours with an online degree!