By Noël Rozny
Web Editor & Content Manager
Every day here at MFP headquarters, we get questions like this:
I already have a bachelor’s degree. How do I become a graphic designer?
I already have a bachelor’s degree, but now I want to become a nutritionist.
How do I become a dental hygienist if I already have a bachelor’s degree?
So if you’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree and now you want to enter a new career field, don’t worry, you’re not alone. But the question is, how do you get to where you want to be with your current degree? Is there a way to capitalize on the education you already have?
Here are some steps you can take to make the most of the education you have under your belt as you move towards a new career.
Bachelor’s degrees: What to do if you already have one
Contact a Professional Organization First
To find out how to enter a new career field, a great place to start is with the professional organization or association that sets the standards for that industry. Some careers may only require you to take a few classes to get started, while others may require you to earn an additional degree. And with certain fields, such as health care, very specific certifications will be required before you can start working.
The key is to find out the steps you need to take, and a professional organization will be able to tell you exactly what kind of accreditation you’ll need. They may also be able to tell you if you can use your bachelor’s degree to get started with an entry-level job in the field, and then pursue the education you need while you work. You can find a list of major professional organizations here.
If you already earned your bachelor’s degree …
Find Out If Your Credits Transfer
Let’s say your new career is, without a doubt, going to require additional schooling. If you have a degree in English, for example, and you’ve decided to become a nurse, you’re going to need at least an Associate’s degree in nursing to learn how to treat patients and administer medication.
The key at this point is to find out how much of your bachelor’s degree can count towards your new degree. The basic requirements you took freshmen and sophomore year should transfer, so that instead of completing an entire degree program, you’ll only need the classes essential to your new subject. The best way to double check is to contact an admissions advisor at the schools you’re considering and get an appraisal (in writing) of how many of your credits transfer and how many classes you will still need to take.
If you already have a bachelor’s degree …
Weigh All of Your Career Options
Investing in another degree can be a little intimidating, so before you enroll, explore all of your career options. Is there another position in your new field that can get you started, and allow you to explore that career further before you start school (or even work while you’re in school)?
If you want to be an athletic trainer, for example, you could start working as a personal trainer with a professional certification (which takes several months to complete). This would give you a chance to try the field on for size, and if you want to continue in this direction, you can go back to school to study kinesiology, exercise science, or a related field.
Did you make a career change after earning a bachelor’s degree in another subject? Share your advice in the comments below!