What should I research before making a career switch?

A career switch may be something that would suit you if you are not happy with your current career path and want a change of pace. However, it is a step that needs to be taken only after a careful review of the following factors that would contribute to your decision.

The Motivation to switch careers

Before deciding on a career switch, ask yourself one important question: What is the motivation behind your decision?

Then ask yourself these follow-up questions: Is it because you want to work in a different environment? Is it because you want to work at a higher position than is available in your current career path? Is it because you want to earn more money than is possible with your current career? Or is it because you are fed up with your current job and want to move on?

Think about your answers carefully to decide whether you want to simply change your work position, your company, or your career.

The Job Market

Before making the career switch, do some research on the current as well as future demand in the field you choose. Review how many jobs have been added in the field in the past year. Make sure to review the growth projection of the career in the coming years. While some career paths are facing losses and may become stagnant in the coming years, some career paths will continue to remain profitable and stay in demand, thereby assuring you of work security.

The Educational Requirements

Another important factor you need to review when deciding on a career switch is the educational requirements for candidates in the new field you choose. Would your current degree be enough to apply for jobs in the new field or would you need to get a more advanced degree? Would you be required to take additional courses beforehand? If so, do you have the time and resources to get the additional courses/degrees required for the change?

The Licensing Requirements

You would also need to check if the new career path would require you to obtain certain licenses in addition to the degree. If so, ensure to review the prerequisites needed for the licenses you would need to obtain in the state you wish to work in.

The Salaries and Benefits

Another important factor you would need to consider when opting for a career change is if the new career would potentially offer a better salary or more benefits than your current role. Do some research online to find out about employee reviews, average salaries, and benefits for the career you choose and how they would vary by location (for example, a bank manager in Seattle would earn more than a bank manager in rural Texas). Make it a point to note down and review the salary differentiation between your current and future career paths, and consider whether the new salary level and benefits would help you achieve your monetary goals in the long term.

The Work Culture and Environment

Not every job has the same work culture or environment. As such, you would need to review if the career you choose offers a work culture and environment conducive to your working style. For instance, you may be required to work long hours without taking a break or remain seated in your cubicle for the whole day. A stressful environment is not the most productive one, and you would definitely need to consider whether the new career you choose offers you a stress-free and stimulating environment to work in as compared to your current job.

The Career Flexibility

What if the new career path doesn’t suit you and you want to move back, or probably switch careers again? Will your new role in a new field offer you the flexibility to move? Would you be able to show the experiences acquired in the role when applying for another role in the same or another organization? Does the role become stagnant after a few levels, leaving you with little or no more place to move up the organizational ladder? Career flexibility is best when you are considering a career change, so take these pointers into consideration beforehand.