How to Make a Career Jump to 10 Top Jobs

Posted by on Thu, Jun 26, 2014

midlife career change


During my five-year stint in Kaplan University’s admission’s office, I had the privilege of watching many career-changing professionals successfully reimagine their lives. Looking back, I realize that the key to their successes often involved an educational one-two punch that involved earning a degree or credit-bearing certificate as well as professional-training credentials for today’s top jobs.

The benefit of earning for-credit certificates is that they can be applied toward an advanced degree later on should you ever decide to pursue a master’s or a doctoral degree in support of your career. Kaplan University’s current 50/50/50 grant offer makes a wide range of both for-credit certificates and advanced degree programs more affordable than ever before, all of which can be bolstered with professional development credentials from Kaplan’s Professional and Continuing Education division. Kaplan’s professional training courses cover careers that include finance, insurance, project management, and real estate.

If you can keep laser-focused on your career goal, address your educational and professional development requirements equally, and develop a strategic networking plan, you will be well on your way to starting a successful new career.

[Learn more about how you can qualify for a 50% tuition grant.]

I’ve seen students successfully transition to these 10 career paths through a bit of additional education:

1. Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists study work-place behavior to improve productivity and employee placement. This career path is ideally suited for someone in their forties or older who has a lot of organizational experience. An industrial-organizational psychologist can work as an independent consultant or obtain contract work with an employer (which could turn into a long-term opportunity if done well!).

Kick-start your new career as an industrial-organizational psychologist with a graduate certificate in industrial psychology.

2. Financial Advisor

Become a trusted advisor to the baby-boomer generation for all their retirement, investment, and insurance needs. Apply to a financial advisor training program in one of the many firms that provide them (they are looking for more seasoned and mature professionals). Look for companies that pay base salaries and pay for training and licenses.

Start your career as a financial advisor by earning a master of science in finance degree with a specialization in financial planning, study to be a certified financial planner, and take the CFP exam test prep course as well!

3. Registered Health Information Technician

Start a career in medical coding, or as a medical registrar, in this fast-growing field. Health information technicians organize and protect sensitive patient health data through the use of medical coding systems. They work in hospitals and physician’s offices.

The minimum requirements for a registered health information technician are an associate’s degree in associate’s degree in health information technology and the designation of Registered Health Information Technologist (RHIT).

4. CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

Build on your years of business experience by training to be an accountant. Certified public accountants can run their own accounting and tax businesses, join CPA firms, or find accounting roles in corporations of all sizes.

Obtain your certified public accountant (CPA) license by studying for a master’s degree in accounting while you simultaneously take a CPA test prep class.

5. Secondary Teacher

Have you always dreamed of giving back to kids as a teacher in a public or private school setting? Are you interested in becoming a teacher but lacking a background in education? Take the master of arts in teaching (MAT) for only $7,700 with Kaplan’s 50/50/50 grant!

In this program, you will obtain the working knowledge to run a classroom for post-secondary students while you simultaneously pursue alternative teacher-certification in your home state.

[Pass on your experience. How to Teach Online or in the Classroom.]

6. Corporate Trainer

Would you like to build on your corporate experience in a training capacity in a corporate or military environment? Corporate trainers specialize in helping employees improve skill sets they need to perform their jobs well. These can range from people skills to specific technical skills.

Design corporate training classes and start the journey with a graduate certificate in instructional design for corporations. You could start out as a consultant, a temporary employee, or a self-employed business consultant.

7. Human Resources Specialist

Your years of business experience may have exposed you to human resources issues that you feel well-suited to tackle. Perhaps you want to become a human resources consultant in business for yourself or for an HR consulting firm. Maybe you’d like to work as a recruiter or a part-time HR specialist in a corporation.

Begin your career as a human resources specialist by pursuing a human resources postbaccalaureate certificate or a graduate certificate in human resources. These programs align with the Society for Human Resource Management’s HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates.

8. Counselor or Applied Behavior Analyst

Have you ever wondered why people behave in a certain way or how to change someone’s behavior. Applied behavior analysis is used by counselors, but the concepts can help professionals in any field.

You can become an applied behavior analyst, or just expand your knowledge of psychology, by earning a postgraduate certificate in applied behavior analysis. If you go on to obtain the certification of Behavioral Analyst with the BACB (Behavior Analyst Certification Board), you might consider specializing in areas like addiction and substance abuse or autism.

9. Nurse

A good friend of mine in her fifties had spent her entire career in banking before deciding she wanted to go into nursing, and now she has a successful new career. The first step in becoming a nurse is to earn an associate’s degree at your local college, which typically takes two years to complete. The associate of science degree in nursing (ASN) is designed to prepare an individual for a career as a registered nurse. Once completed, you can sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

If you are already a nurse and have your ASN, you may want to consider some other options, which include completing your bachelor’s or master’s in nursing or pursuing a certificate program for nursing executive leadership, nurse educator, adult gerontology, or family nurse practitioner. Or perhaps you have your master’s degree and feel ready to pursue your doctorate in nursing.

10. Entrepreneur

This one is a bit of different animal. As an entrepreneur, you can use your prior career path and embark on your own as an independent business owner, or you can pursue something else, such as operating a tech start-up or providing any number of other products and services. You may decide you want your own human resources consulting business, your own in-home nurse agency, or your own financial planning practice. No matter what your choice, you will be an entrepreneur in need of guidance through the steps of starting and building your business, whether they be developing and building your business plan, marketing, or funding.

Launch your journey toward financial independence with a class in entrepreneurship that will give you a framework to deliberately plan your success without making the same mistakes that many entrepreneurs have made before you.

The most important factors in your professional transition will be your dedication to the goals you set, your strong work ethic, and your commitment to building a portfolio of educational and professional credentials. My observation has been that the ones who make it are those who address these three requirements best.


Jonathan Shatz PictureJonathan Shatz has been with Kaplan University since 2009. He is an associate in Kaplan Higher Education’s Leadership Development program and previously worked in the admissions department. Jonathan is from the United Kingdom and has a BA in law from the University of Southamption. He also holds a chartered accountant qualification from the UK, earned an MS in accounting from Kaplan, and is pursuing a second master’s degree in public administration. Jonathan lives in Florida with his 5th-grade son and his dog Molly.







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