Do I need to go back to school to change my career?

Making a career change can be scary, especially if you’re unsure how to do so. One question you might be asking yourself is, “Do I need to go back to school to be successful?”.

The answer to that question isn’t the same for everyone, as there are many variables to consider when deciding on a career change. But the good news is it’s entirely possible to make a career change without going back to school.

To help you figure out if you need to go back to school so you can leave your current role and move on to greener pastures, keep reading.

Does the career change require certifications or licenses?

Depending on the career change you’re interested in pursuing, you might need more in-depth training or certification. For example, if you are currently working in sales, but you’re tired of working for someone else, you might consider a career in real estate.

To become a real estate agent, you’ll need to complete some courses to earn a real estate license. This applies to many fields, and while certification may not cost as much as a 4-year college degree, the cost is considered.

Are you already qualified with your current skill set?

If you have an idea of the job, you’d like to pursue, search for job listings and look at the requirements and qualifications. You might find that you are already qualified. If that’s the case, the key to securing an interview is rewriting your resume to include relevant keywords and terms.

Don’t be discouraged if the position requires a degree you don’t have. Oftentimes, years of experience can outweigh a college degree, so make sure you have everything outlined as it relates to the position.

Do you know someone who has a job you’d be interested in?

They say, “It’s not always what you know, but who you know.” While exploring new career ideas, reach out to friends and family who work in similar fields of interest. Not only can this help you gain insight into the position, but it can get you a foot in the door with an interview.

If you’re interested in a career change within your current company, reach out to someone in the department you’re interested in. They’ll be able to give you candid feedback and even coach you to help you change your career.

Do you want to make a career change within your current company or go elsewhere?

Don’t be afraid to look outside of your company. Many people find that by changing employers, they can get higher salaries than their current employer. Unfortunately, company loyalty can sometimes hinder how much you can make.

Most companies, on average, give marginal yearly to account for the rising cost of living, whereas another company might value your experience and make you a competitive offer that far exceeds what you are currently making.


So, do you need to go back to school to make a career change? No, it’s entirely possible to get a new and exciting career without having to step foot in a classroom. Unless you want to become a neurosurgeon… then you’ll probably need a few years of schooling.