Many people dream of a career change, and there are many different reasons why this is attractive. It can provide a shift to something more fulfilling personally. It can enable you to follow a dream that was previously not an option. It could lead to a higher wage, or a better work–life balance. And as we work longer than ever before retirement, for some people the thought of sticking in one profession for all their working life is just not stimulating enough.
So are you thinking about changing careers?
If you are, coming to university – either for the first time to get qualified or returning to study a second (or third) degree – is the step that can make it happen.
Of course, going to university after being in the workplace for some time can seem daunting. But even more daunting is the prospect of staying in a job that is just not fulfilling your needs, desires or dreams.
Don’t just take our word for it; here are some inspiring people who came to Charles Sturt University (CSU) to put their career change into action.
Pursuing your passion in your career
Jason Harvey was working as a registered nurse, but felt that he needed to explore another interest. So he came to CSU to study a Bachelor of Environmental Science.
“I was interested in and passionate about the environment and wanted a career that would get me outside more. Nursing was not challenging me in ways that I needed. I came to the realisation that there was so much to learn about the environment, about ecosystems and the physical environment that supported them. I had a basic understanding of the interrelationships, but really wanted to learn more.
“Initially, I was attracted to CSU because they offered an education package that allowed me to continue working while studying. However, it soon became apparent that they were also a leader in the delivery of environmental science and management courses at a tertiary level. And they were supportive – the staff in the Student Union even helped me find work on campus, which really helped financially.
“I was very ready for returning to university, having realised that I needed to change careers, and that I had always enjoyed studying. Being more mature the second time around, I found organising my study time much easier. I also had a better understanding of my own limitations and strengths, and was better able to support and encourage people around me.
“I now work for my local council, supporting Landcare groups working on natural areas around Lake Macquarie.”
“I am very glad that I made the decision to retrain and change career. It was the right one for me, and CSU was the right university.”
Moving to a more meaningful career
Felicity Smith decided to study a Bachelor of Health Science (Leisure and Health) at CSU when she wanted to move her professional life towards something that meant more to her than her former role.
“I used to be in sales and customer service. I always knew it wasn’t for me and that I wanted to work at something that was meaningful; something I didn’t just do in order to pay the bills. Plus, when I had children I wanted them to be proud of their mother. Going to uni never seemed like an option when I was young but after having children I felt more of the need to show them that anyone can live their dreams.
“During my youth, I had seen some pretty interesting work that people were doing in hospitals and healthcare. I guess I always knew what I wanted to be, but perhaps I wasn’t aware of how to get to where I needed to go.
“I was worried about not being smart enough for uni, but I was supported every step of the way. I found that people close to me didn’t understand why I wanted to go to uni. I was going to be a mature-aged student with a job, a mortgage, a husband, a toddler and a newborn baby! I had heard statements such as you are too old, you are too busy and you need to spend that time with the kids. And even that uni is for smart people, not a mother with children. I just decided to not listen to any negativity. I chose to take help form anywhere it was offered and I made a strong commitment to make it work.
“Once I started uni, I quickly realised that there was so much more to life than what I had been doing. I was studying health, social science and politics.”
“CSU’s course was just set up for people like me; busy people, who aren’t just studying.”
“It feels like CSU is for people who need to go to university on their own terms. I loved online study; I just logged in and did my work. When I felt like I needed more assistance, I chatted to other people in my course or I applied for extra help from the support and academic staff. Studying online was really easy.
“After graduation, I found a wonderful and fulfilling job working for a day program in the disability services. I saw the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and had the greatest of experiences working on lifestyle and leisure, outreach and employment programs. I now work as a diversional therapist on an incredible program that sees older people who have been living in psychiatric hospitals on a long-term basis transition into mainstream aged care. I am blown away by what we do daily and I am so proud. I have a clinical registration and I go to work every day, knowing that I have made a difference. I could never have dreamed that I would love something so much. I am so glad that I changed careers.”
Creating the future you want
Nicole Braun made a very significant shift in her career path when she studied the Graduate Certificate in Ornithology online with CSU.
“I was working as a business woman, but I wanted to follow my passion: birds. I really wanted to contribute to their conservation but in the business field, even if I spent the next 30 years there, I wouldn’t be able to do that. But if I could move into conservation I could actually make a contribution. In order to do so, it was crucial to gain more knowledge on birds.
“I started with my studies at CSU at age 27, and I was the first in my family to go to uni. The course was challenging and demanding, but everything worked out very well and I was able to learn more about my passion. I just love the lifelong learning mentality of CSU; I had some fellow students in our course who were in their 60s and 70s. If you want to learn something new, age is irrelevant.
“I became pregnant and had my first child during the course. I was always in contact with the CSU team and told them about my life situations. Due to the excellent CSU support team and my professor, I was able to take some time-outs and continue my studies when it was more suitable.
“Recently I started a new job as a zoo ranger and love the opportunity to learn and contribute to environmental education. I would love to study more and gain more insights in other bird- and conservation-related fields.”
“It was definitely the best decision to change careers. Why wait to do what you want to do?”
Take the next step with confidence
When you’re ready to take the next step in your career, talk to CSU. We’ve helped thousands of people change their professional direction, and can help you do it too through our know-how and the support you need to succeed. Contact us to discuss your options and find the right study path for you.