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Two Major Pieces of Advice from Students Who Made A Career Switch

April 22, 2021

Changing careers can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re already established in your field or have held the same position for a long time. While there is no one right way to make a career switch, there are ways to alleviate the process and reduce your stress.

If you're considering switching careers but feel like you don’t know where to turn for guidance, you're not alone. The process can be overwhelming, but we're here to help you make the transition as smoothly as possible.

That's why we've gathered advice from two of our graduate students who made the decision to switch careers. 

Tip #1: Pursue your passion (but do research first)

If you're unhappy in your current field, exploring new career options can help you find something that better aligns with your interests and goals.

“I decided to make a career change to pursue my passion for teaching children,” says Anna Leigh Kamin ‘17. “Prior to becoming a teacher I was an accountant. I wasn’t happy in my career.”

Though Kamin was unhappy with her job as an accountant, she knew she wasn’t immediately qualified to work as a teacher and would need to go back to school. She started looking for programs that would not only allow her to pursue teaching without an undergraduate degree in education, but would also give her the flexibility to keep her job while she was in school.

“I chose to attend Sacred Heart because the Masters of Arts in Teaching with Initial Teacher Certification offered an array of course options and an attractive internship program,” Kamin says. “The program also offered the flexibility of taking courses at night so participants could work or participate in the internship program.”

Do these three things before you quit your job:

  • Think about how your hobbies and interests might translate to a career
  • Find out what additional education or training you might need to enter a new field
  • If you need to go back to school, look for a flexible program that will fit your schedule

Tip #2: Learn new skills (and enhance the ones you have)

Even if you don't love your current job, you have probably developed some skills that you can easily transfer into a new field. In addition to your career talents, thinking about what your day-to-day life requires can help you discover a new career that you’ll love. Are there certain aspects of your life that you really enjoy and would like to do more of?

Paige Ridley ‘22 worked as an architect for 15 years. When she decided she wanted to pursue something new, her role as a mother helped shape her choice.

“Guiding my two young kids to educational programs tailored to their needs, and developing empathy for how different young minds work has been a graduate program in itself, one that I would like to pursue professionally,” Ridley says.

With a background in the hard sciences and computer science, Ridley felt her skills could easily transfer to a public school classroom.

“I chose the Master of Art in Teaching because, although I already have a BS and Master’s degree in architecture, I need that teaching degree to work in public schools,” Ridley says.

By going back to school she is adding new skills to her arsenal and expanding on the skills she already had.

“I have been impressed with the specific teaching skills I have acquired: making lesson plans, assessing students, selecting classroom materials and managing the classroom,” Ridley says. “And earning a computer science endorsement is sure to increase my chances for employment.”

Before you choose a new field, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there an aspect of my day-to-day life I can turn into a fulfilling new career?
  • How will my current skill set translate into a new job?
  • What new skills will I need to be successful in a new field?

If you are unhappy in your current job, you don’t have to stay there. Many graduate students at Sacred Heart chose to return to school for the very same reason: so they could transition to a career that fuels their passions and makes the most of their skills.

If you're looking for more advice about how to successfully join a new career field, download our Guide to Changing Your Career (And How a Graduate Degree from Sacred Heart Can Help).

Access the Guide

SHU Graduate Admissions Team

About the Author

We are the graduate admissions team at Sacred Heart University. We aspire to create a welcoming and supportive environment for students looking to continue their education while empowering them in mind, body and spirit. We hope you find our resources helpful and informative as you explore and pursue a graduate degree at Sacred Heart!

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