Career change education is often flouted as your ticket to a new career.
But is career change training even needed in many cases?
Clients who come to me for career change advice are often disillusioned at the amount of required training for a different career path.
Perhaps they may have heard from a friend that to get entrance into career x, you must complete a degree or diploma in xyz as part of your career change education.
Now sometimes their friend is correct, but often they are not.
My career change advice at that point might be to suggest doing some research and informational interviewing to uncover the hard facts.
One question I encourage them to ask once they have found people who are doing the job they are thinking of pursuing is:
“Do you know anybody in the industry who is doing your type of work but does not have a degree or a diploma (or whatever is perceived to be the required formal education)?”
I am amazed at how often jobs that are perceived to require very high education levels have many people working in that job, often very talented and successful people, who do not have the formal education so often stipulated as essential.
Sometimes this is because there has been a change in educational requirements since they entered the industry but more often than not it is because they have entered the industry through a backdoor without any additional career change education.
Qualifications Used for Easy Job Applicant Screening
Many job advertisements carry particular educational requirements that must be met before a candidate can apply for the job.
But this is often simply a screening method to reduce the number of applicants.
If you were to get an honest answer from the employer about whether this formal educational requirement was absolutely essential if a candidate had the other skills and abilities required for the job, you might be surprised.
Often the answer is that they would be prepared to look at a candidate with those credentials and they may not necessarily need to undergo any career change training if they had strongly exhibited many of the other required attributes.
There are some careers that for legal purposes or for other reasons do require very specific training.
But most careers are not like this.
In a tight labor market, many employers simply raise the educational standards required for the job to reduce the number of applicants.
But this doesn’t have too much bearing on whether these people are innately motivated and suited to do the job.
On-The-Job Training Best
I believe the best environment for a person undergoing training for a different career is while they are doing the job.
If necessary, on-the-job training can be supplemented with theory through outside training.
Many employers are disappointed when a degree graduate comes to their employees with lots of theory but no practical experience.
World-renowned career counselor and a Stanford University professor John Krumboltz, says that the very best training anyone can get is on the job.
Krumboltz says the idea of learning the skills and then getting the job is nonsense and that we have this back to front.
How to Get the Job without Formal Career Change Training
If it becomes clear after some research that there are people working in the industry you are targeting who do not have the formal education that everybody seems to be saying you must have, then you need to find a way of talking with these people to find out how they did it.
Often the way they did it was to start in an allied field to gain industry experience or to begin a lesser role within the targeted industry that does not require formal education.
Once you are working in any type of role within your targeted industry, you will always find it much easier to:
1. Find out exactly how people get to do the work you desire without undergoing formal career change training.
2. Network and build relationships within the industry including those who make the hiring decisions for the type of role you are pursuing.
3. See other roles that may be even more suitable to the natural abilities that you could not see before you began working in the industry.
If after further, investigation it is clear that it is impossible to get entry into a particular job type in any way shape or form other than by completing formal career change education, then it is important that this new career change training complements an individual’s existing innate abilities and motivations.
Formal Career Change Education Should Complement Your Innate Abilities
Career change education should always add to your natural inborn talents and abilities.
If the education being considered does not explicitly line up with your innate abilities, you should think seriously about the long-term benefits and how it will add to your job satisfaction.
So how do you know if the training for different career lines up with those things that you are naturally good at?
The best way is to do some deep personal analysis of what your inborn abilities are.
You can do this by using this free career assessment.
This is an assessment exercise that addresses your past and creatively finds the things that you have most enjoyed doing, whether they are work or nonwork-related.
My main career change advice, therefore, is to never accept at face value somebody who tells you that training for a different career unequivocally requires that you gain a specific qualification.
Often it turns out not to be so.
Do your homework and ask the same question to lots of different people in different subsectors of the industry.
If you find somebody who is doing the type of work that you want to do but did not undergo any formal career change education, then you have found a gold nugget in your quest to enter the field you want.