Sally studied pre-medicine during her four undergraduate years at a local university. She really enjoyed her classes, especially the zoology and anatomy ones. However, after graduating, Sally interned at a local hospital and discovered that she couldn’t stand the sight of blood. She realized that she did not want to pursue a career in medicine after all, but would rather teach anatomy to high school students. But wait a second, how in the world can she do that when her degree is in pre-medicine?
It’s a more common situation than you might think: What do you do if you graduate college, enter the work force in the field that you have studied, and realize that you picked the wrong field for you? Well, you could suck it up, decide to stay in your chosen field, and forever wonder if there was another field that might have been better for you. Or you can take action and change your future, without having to go back to school for another four years of schooling. Here are some ways you can change your career path without having to go back to school full-time.
1. Look for alternative certification. There are many fields that require a bachelor’s degree. However, many of these same fields also accept alternative certification. For example, in Oklahoma, if you want to become a teacher but do not have a bachelor’s in education, you can take several ACT-style tests, go before a board of educators, and eventually receive a certificate that says you are qualified to teach. Usually, this process is much less time-consuming and less expensive than going back to school for another bachelor’s degree.
2. Look into online classes. So you have a bachelor’s in chemistry, but have decided that what you really want to be is a chemical engineer. You could consider taking online continuing education classes from a school like the University of Phoenix, which offers many online classes and degree programs. You already have a strong education base, but there’s nothing wrong with furthering it a little bit more, especially if that extra education will help you reach your career goals.
3. Look for advice. Just because you have graduated doesn’t mean you can’t still ask for advice. Turn to someone whose judgement and experience you trust. It could be your parents, a friend, or even someone in the field you have studied or the one you want to pursue. If you had a good relationship with your academic counselor, offer to take her out for a cup of coffee and ask her advice then. I know that right after I graduated college, I felt like I was an adult and didn’t need anyone’s help. The truth is, I was dead wrong. We all need help sometimes, and if you are finding yourself in a sticky situation, it’s best to just ask for help.
Have you switched careers after graduating with your bachelor’s degree? Did you switch majors right before graduation? Tell us your story in the comment section below!