Does a career change always involve further study?

By leahlambart
18 May 2017

Are you considering a career change? Are you worried about how you can afford the cost or time to undertake further study?

You may have already invested many years at university and a substantial amount of money to obtain an undergraduate degree and possibly post-graduate qualifications. Therefore the thought of returning to even more study is quite daunting.

Often at this stage in their lives, individuals have considerable financial commitments a partner or family to support.   This is often the main reason that many people stay in a career that they dislike as they assume that a career change would be too difficult and too expensive.

So does a career change always involve further study? 

It is important not to assume that a career change will require further long-term study. There are many pathways to a new career so it is important not to dismiss the idea of a career change without doing your research. Here are some recommended steps:

  • Research your ideal career as thoroughly as possible
  • Identify your key transferable skills – which skills do you already have?
  • Identify the skills that you don’t have – where are the gaps?
  • Connect with people in your ideal occupation via LinkedIn or other networks
  • Speak with these people to determine the following:
    • How did they get into the industry?
    • What are the entry points?
    • Is further study essential or would short courses fill in the gaps?
    • If further study is required, what course/institution would they recommend?
    • What is their advice for getting into the industry?
  • Seek the help of a career consultant to help you with your research

If in your research you determine that further study is essential, make sure you then research your course options thoroughly. Carefully review the subject outline and content and speak to the course coordinator to make sure it is definitely the right course to fill in those gaps. I also recommend looking at free online courses online as a ‘taster’ before signing up to years of study. There are some fantastic free online courses available on the following websites:, and

If you determine that further study is not essential, then continue to develop your industry connections, get out there and meet people in your industry of interest, get active on LinkedIn and make sure your marketing materials are the best they can be.


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