You Can Retrain fo a New Career

Nancy Anderson
Posted by

Job training for a new career is an intimidating process, whether you're a senior-level executive or a few years out of college. Professionals choose to retrain for a number of reasons; technology advances might be rendering their positions obsolete, or they might simply be ready for a new challenge. A thoughtful, well-planned process eases the transition and increases your chances of success in a different field.

Government Retraining Programs

If you're planning on switching to a specialized skilled trade, such as advanced manufacturing, government-funded job training can be a good fit. Start with the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration, which runs free and low-cost programs around the country. State governments also provide training. These retraining programs are usually designed to give students the qualifications that are in demand by employers, particularly in industrial and manufacturing settings. At Great Bay Community College in Rochester, New Hampshire, for example, students can complete the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Certificate, which was designed in partnership with major local employers.

University Programs

For workers who are looking to change to a new career within the professional realm, university education is a great option. But before you invest in expensive courses, conduct a careful evaluation. Do you need a full degree or a certification? Would a few specialized courses provide the necessary skills? If your current degree is in engineering, but you want to move into web development, you may only need a few courses in coding and web design, not a new degree in computer programming. If you're stuck, look at job postings in the new field, and cross off transferable skills such as leadership and project management. The remaining items should be the focus of your education.

Practical Experience

When you're limited on funds, it might not be practical to pay for evening classes or spend six months in a formal job training program. In this case, practical experience can provide on-the-job training that enables you to change careers without draining your bank account. Take a part-time evening or weekend job to learn the basics of a new field. Alternatively, pick up entry-level projects through freelancing websites such as Elance, Guru or Upwork. If you need to build new skills, library books and online tutorials are free and easy to access. If you want to be a graphic designer, teach yourself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator. Then, create your own job training and build a professional portfolio by designing materials for your church, sports league or book club. When you go to hunt for a job in the new field, you can use this practical experience to market yourself.

Retraining is no easy feat, particularly for professionals who are established in a specific field. With time and perseverance, you can find job training that suits your goals and prepares you for a new path.

Photo courtesy of Tobias at


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch