To Switch Careers, Hit the Books

BlogHer Original Post

BlogHer: How does going back to school fit into a career change?

Boyd: Going back to school helps you meet the minimum requirements you need to get in the door in a new career. But perhaps the greatest benefit of going back to school is that it's often the springboard to reinvention. In school you can expand your support community, create networks, take on challenges in and out of the classroom, and identify the need for and create change. You can also undertake other forms of personal growth that make you stand out to a hiring manager.

BlogHer: If it's been a while since you were in school, what should you know?

Boyd: One of the biggest changes is the number of options available. Traditional college classrooms, where students are mostly on their own, are less dominant than they once were. If you're going back to school, you'll find institutions with great support systems and a culture of helping people get back into the college routine. You don't have to be in class with a bunch of 18 to 20 year olds, although that can be fun. Look at your options and find a place that will provide rigorous programs that will support your success.

To succeed in going back to school, you'll also have to overcome some obstacles. If you have kids, do you know who's going to watch them when you study? If you don't have a computer, how are you going to access academic resources? If you are using student loans to finance your education, can you make ends meet if something unforeseen happens, like needing car repairs? Know your support system. Make sure the people you need to rely on are on board before you jump in.

BlogHer: Any parting thoughts for career changers?

Boyd: Changing careers is scary, hard, intimidating -- and can be the greatest decision you ever make. The key is knowing the role your reinvention will play in achieving your life's goals, and then creating a plan. Along the way, don't be afraid to ask for help and support from your family and friends.

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Kaplan University provides a practical, student-centered education that prepares individuals for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (www.ncahlc.org). It serves more than 53,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 11 campuses in Iowa, Nebraska, Maryland and Maine, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.

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