Looking for a change of career? Tips, inspiration and all you need to know

Whether you are looking for a career change at 30. A career change at 40. Or even a career change at 50, the key thing to remember is there’s no such thing as “it’s too late”. You can do it, and we’ll help you.

Now’s the time

First up, let’s check in on those feelings at the back of your mind that you want to change careers. You know what? Lots of other people have been there before. And you know what they did? They made a change. They listened to their instincts. Reflected on their passions and priorities. Then made a career move.

They knew it was time.

Hear from three people who knew it was time for a change. Jason moved from nursing to environmental science. Felicity switched from health sciences sales to work in disability services. And Nicole shifted careers from working in business to working as a zoo ranger, following her passion for studying birds.

Read their stories

3 people discussing career change

Signs you’re ready for a career change

It might be when you are lying in bed before you go sleep. Or when you are out walking the dog. Maybe even on the lunch hour at your current job. Those persistent career thoughts. They eventually lead to one question: am I ready for a career change?

There are possibly as many reasons for wanting to change careers as there are career changers. But there are often some common themes when people talk about what motivates them to change careers.

The three most common are:

  • You want to make a greater impact
  • You want to reinvent your working life
  • Currently you feel uninspired

Which of these signs are you getting?

Steps to a career change.

Steps to changing careers

Even with that sense of ‘I know I want to do this’ in your mind, the process of changing careers can seem a little daunting. This is your professional life we’re talking about, after all.

The good news is that you can break the process down into steps. Making it simpler to navigate and easier to achieve.

The process includes:

  • Assessing your current circumstances
  • Exploring alternative careers
  • Analysing your motivations
  • Getting some new experience
  • Finding the best way to upgrade your skills

Read more about the steps to a career change

Financial support to change careers

It’s a common misconception, but university scholarships are not just for school leavers. At Charles Sturt, we have scholarships for all kinds of students – from those just starting out to those at the cutting edge of research. And those looking to make a career change.

A postgraduate degree makes a big difference to your earning potential. Median salaries are more than $22,000 higher for postgrads compared to undergrads*. You’re investing in your future, and at Charles Sturt University we want to help you make it count.

We offer more than $3m in scholarships and grants that can make getting qualified that bit easier. A scholarship can help cover costs like textbooks, travel and attending work placements. There are dedicated scholarships for postgraduate and online students, and you could be eligible to apply for more than one.

Discover more about how a university scholarship can make career changing study a reality.

Darren Denmead celebrating his graduation that will lead to his career change

Changing careers into teaching: Darren’s story

Darren Denmead made the career change to become a teacher. He’d had a successful career in the corporate world. But a feeling started to creep up on him. That sense that he wanted to do something in his professional life that was a bit more tangible in terms of giving back. So he decided to change careers and become a teacher. He returned to Charles Sturt later in life to take on his education bachelor’s, having previously studied with us straight out of high school. It’s a decision he is very pleased he made.

“Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love the idea of making life a little bit more special for our kids and their families? No matter how trying the day, I go home knowing that I have helped children to believe in themselves and to love learning. Yes, the job is very demanding, but there is no better feeling than when you help kids to learn and to hope.”

Read more about Darren’s career change journey.

How to become a teacher

How to change careers and train to be  teacher is one of the most common questions we get when it comes to people shifting their professional life into a new area.

Why?

Well, like Darren, when many people think about changing careers, think about doing something a bit more… meaningful. Something that gives back to their community. Teaching fits that bill perfectly. You can inspire children. Share your enthusiasm for a subject with the next generation. Change people’s lives.

The bonus? According to the government, teachers across many different levels of the school system are, and will be, in demand. So it’s a pretty secure profession to move into.

As a career changer, the path to becoming a teacher is different than if you were studying straight from high school. That’s because you could get credit for previous study or work experience or take on a specific degree for those who already have an undergraduate degree, but in a different area than teaching.

There are few steps to career changing into teaching – from study through to getting accredited by the state. We’ve got them all set out for you.

Check the steps

An electrician examines a lit light bulb. Tradie Hamish McCormack made a career change from electrician to lawyer.

Switching careers from a trade

Hamish McCormack was an electrician by trade. But after working his trade for several years, as he approached 30, he knew he needed to make a switch and started looking for a change of career.

“I was getting a bit fed up with my trade. I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing, so I started to look for other opportunities. And you have to think about the future. You can’t go crawling through people’s roofs for the rest of your life. I had been unhappy for six months, so I spoke to some friends and their advice was to find something I was interested in and just go and do it. I was lucky enough to be at a good stage of my life because I hadn’t had kids yet, so I was able to have a go at something new.”

Hamish chose law and came to Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie to start his career change. And he secured a job in his new profession before he had even graduated.

Read Hamish’s story

Looking for a change of career – and getting back to the land

A career change can be wrapped up in a lifestyle change. Making the move from the city to the country – or vice versa – can be a prompt to reassess other parts of life. Such as your job.

For Liam Mowbray, getting ‘back to the land’ was a driving force for his career change.

“I always wanted to have a life on the land and knew I should be working with animals. But I didn’t have the marks out of high school to get into veterinary science.”

So Liam studied medical radiation science. He then worked full-time as a radiotherapist in a cancer institute in Coffs Harbour. Then he got that feeling at the back of his mind. You know the one.

“By no means did I dislike what I was doing. I was just searching for something else.”

That ‘something else’ for Liam was getting back to the land. But how to change careers? Liam realised he needed to reskill.

“I knew I couldn’t just go out and buy large acreage without a career or financial backing. So I decided that a cattle veterinarian would be a good fit. It would mean I could offer a service, alongside my own pursuits as a producer.”

Read Liam’s story: from radiologist to rural vet

Next moves

Feeling inspired? Ready to make the change? Here are some next-steps options when you’re looking for a change of career.

Explore our courses

Find the best degree to upgrade your skills for the career move you want to make.

Talk it through

Book a one-to-one consult to chat through your career change options.

Download your online study guide

Studying online means you can upskill or reskill for your career change around your other commitments.