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23Aug
August 23rd, 2011,
Changing Careers With Bachelors Degree

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!


  • http://twitter.com/brandonmanson Brandon Manson

    I love this article because it literally reflects the point I am at right now. I am just finishing a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance but have been preparing for a career in Digital Marketing and Social Media. Yeah, it’s enough to make your head spin. My advice to those just finishing college who know that they want to do something different is to start writing an industry-related blog, network like crazy (Twitter is my favorite) and do at least 1-2 internships to show that you’re serious. Even if you need to go back to school, you may be able to land an entry-level job in your desired field based on the experience you have on your resume, the content you share and the things that you write. At the very least you’ll calm some nerved by showing that you’re serious and know exactly what’s going on in your industry. Thanks for writing such a great and freakishly-relevant post!

  • Anonymous

    u00a0Brandon–Thanks so much for the feedback and advice! The whole myFootpath team is thrilled to hear that this article was helpful. Good luck on the next step in your journey!

  • Anonymous

    Our career profiles explain exactly what education is required for both of these careers! One thing to keep in mind is that since you already have a bachelor’s degree, some of those courses may count towards your next area of study. For example, if you decide on a career that requires an associate’s degree in criminal justice, some of your credits may count towards that next degree, meaning you wouldn’t have to start from scratch. nYou can find out the exact educational requirements for these careers here: nhttp://myfootpath.com/careers/criminal-justice-careers/nnhttp://myfootpath.com/careers/human-services-careers/psychologist-careers/nnGood luck!

  • Anonymous

    Our career profiles explain exactly what education is required for both of these careers! One thing to keep in mind is that since you already have a bachelor’s degree, some of those courses may count towards your next area of study. For example, if you decide on a career that requires an associate’s degree in criminal justice, some of your credits may count towards that next degree, meaning you wouldn’t have to start from scratch. nYou can find out the exact educational requirements for these careers here: nhttp://myfootpath.com/careers/criminal-justice-careers/nnhttp://myfootpath.com/careers/human-services-careers/psychologist-careers/nnGood luck!

  • Anonymous

    If you are looking to move into the human resources industry, you’ll need to look into classes in that field. Here’s some additional information: http://myfootpath.com/careers/business-careers/human-resources-careers/

  • Vennin

    I just graduated in May with a B.A. in Digital Technology and Culture, interned at the school Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, now I’m applying to get into grad school for a Masters in Library Science to become an archivist. My problem is that I’m absolutely fascinated by the Sciences, especially biochemistry. I loved working as an archivist (specifically digital archiving) and want to continue that, but my mind is always in the science realm. I did terribly in my math and science classes when I was in high school and community college, but now I want to learn them. I’m genuinely confused about what my brain is doing.

  • nrozny

    Have you considered taking a class or two in one of these subjects to see if you want to pursue this path?

  • Anonymous

    Have you considered taking a class or two in one of these subjects to see if it’s a path you want to pursue?

  • Vennin

    Yes I have certainly considered it. I’ve been watching free science lectures online to get me slightly more educated on the subjects also. It’s just the whole go to college to learn one thing and come out with a million more questions and possibilities scenario. It’s just frustrating. It started with an intro to Nutrition class, which I adored, got a C+ in the class but I still loved it, the sciences were finally fun! nI’ll probably take or sit-in on a science class when I’m doing the MLS degree. I love archives work but I want to know what I could possibly do with my science interests.

  • vaswong

    Hi there, Thanks for this article. It’s very helpful but I’m still struggling to make a decision on my next move. I currently have my BA in Visual Arts, and since I’ve graduated I’ve taken a few graphic design and illustration courses at a local college to see if this is what I want to pursue. I loved it and I am confident that design and illustration is the career path for me, but I feel unqualified to land any entry level positions or even internships. I’ve been considering the following: either returning to school full time to pursue a second degree (BDes) majoring in Illustration, minoring in graphic design, or pursuing a part-time graphic design certificate at a college and perhaps even a certificate in publishing, also looking for work/internships as I do this part-time schooling. nnI’ve gone through the application process for the full-time BDes at the school I want to go to, but they told me they do not assess transfer credits this early. It seems very likely that it may take me up to 3 years minimum to complete. I’m not sure I want to invest that kind of time and money to repeat a second degree at this point (I’m 24 years old now..), but I’m not sure if the certificate programs will be sufficient to find work in the field. Any advice??

  • Anonymous

    Is there only one school you want to go to? Since this school won’t asses your transfer credits, have you tried looking into other programs that will review your transcripts to let you know how many of your credits will transfer? This is key, because the more of your credits transfer, the less time you’ll have to spend on your second degree.

  • Anonymous

    PS Since you already have a degree in a related field, earning a certificate or diploma in graphic design (rather than an additional bachelor’s degree) may be a great option for you. Keep in mind that a strong portfolio is key to succeeding in this career no matter what your education is, so the sooner you can start building a body of work and samples, the better.

  • vaswong

    Thank you for the reply. This is the school I have my mind set on partly because it is a highly reputable school for this program, but mainly because it is the only school with this kind of program that would allow me to stay in my current location. I agree with your second point and think I will take this route for now. Completing certificates on top of my BA seems the most practical and although I still really want to study illustration, I think I can develop this practice on my own and just get the software/graphic design skills via the certificate. Hopefully this will be enough to land me an internship!nnnThanks for your advice.

  • vaswong

    Thank you for the reply. This is the school I have my mind set on partly because it is a highly reputable school for this program, but mainly because it is the only school with this kind of program that would allow me to stay in my current location. I agree with your second point and think I will take this route for now. Completing certificates on top of my BA seems the most practical and although I still really want to study illustration, I think I can develop this practice on my own and just get the software/graphic design skills via the certificate. Hopefully this will be enough to land me an internship!nnnThanks for your advice.

  • need help

    what if i only have 89 credits toward my bachelor degree could i change and count some of my credits, or do i need to start over.

  • need help

    what if i only have 89 credits toward my bachelor degree could i change and count some of my credits, or do i need to start over.

  • Tres

    I just got my Bachelor of Science in Health Administration. So far I’ve tried to search for a jobs that similar to this nature, but most of the jobs were asking experience? Sure I’m qualified but not enough experience. What should I do at this point?

  • http://www.facebook.com/heriberto.martinez.5 Heriberto Martinez

    Volunteer work, Recommendations always help.

  • HRM to FS

    I’m currently finishing my junior year for a B.S. in Hotel & Restaurant Management, but about a year ago I decided I wanted to pursue another facet of the food industry and concentrate on food safety in the industry. In order to conduct research, I would have to complete a Masters degree in Food Science and Technology which I am very eager to do. I’d have to apply in less than a year. BUT, it is preferred that you have taken bio and chem classes, which I never had to take for my B.S. I am almost positive I will have to take these core classes before being admitted into a food science program. nnNow my question would be how would that work? Should I get a 30 credit certificate in biology sciences from my local college after I graduate? Or do I have to do more than that? I am definitely set on graduating in two semesters and changing my undergrad major now is not an option. Help!

  • ART0305

    i graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration. I have been working since before i graduated and since have found that the only jobs that I seem to be hired, more specifically sales, retail, or some marketing jobs, are not one bit interesting to me. I am good at it but i hate sales! I am however passionate about diet, exercise, giving back to the community, the science behind nutrition and holistic medicines. I an eager to go back to school for a 2nd B.S. to become a registered dietitian. I am extremely passionate about this idea and see so many possibilities for growing in this career field by combining other education or certifications and my current degree in business admin with a focus on entrepreneurship. I don’t think it hurts that the starting salary in the R.D. career field seems to be no less than 50,000, whereas most of my fellow business majors including myself are trying to find jobs that pay above 30,000. I don’t want to incur another huge student loan. I also understand even if I wanted to it seems i am not eligible anyway for financial aid. What resources should i utilize for information on paying for the additional degree because my income isn’t quite enough for a major college? Also, is there a path between a business degree to a registered dietitian? Please let me know what you think. I am very serious about this but am worried about cost mostly so if there is a way to utilize all of my current work experience and personal knowledge of fitness and health please let me know. Thanks for the assistance!

  • ART0305

    I would like to amend one thing. I do not hate sales… Correction i like sales when I’m selling something i believe in. The thin is i was selling products i didn’t believe in because if was essential to keep my job and i am really pretty good at it. I swear it felt like taking advatage of good honest hardworking people like me. That made me feel awful.

  • Anonymous

    You definitely want to find a program that’s accredited, to start. This website in particular is a great resource for those interested in RD programs: http://www.eatright.org/BecomeanRDorDTR/ Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    The best thing you can do is contact the master’s degree programs you plan on applying to and find out specifically which classes they would want to have. Each graduate program has its own set of requirements, which is why it is so key to talk them an advisor and soon as possible before you take any additional classes to ensure you select the ones that will serve you best. Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Is this the field you want to work in? If you don’t have enough experience, you may want to try interning or volunteering part-time to gain the experience you need (while working another job to help make ends meet). Either one of these options should help you gain some of the experience you need, and also network and gain contacts in the industry.

  • Anonymous

    I entirely depends on what the curriculum is at your school. You very may well be able to switch majors. Contact a counselor at your school to find out, and good luck!

  • antonia

    Hello, I have an elementary education degree, however I am interested in applying for a job that has nothing to do with education. Although I have gained some skills such as team work and meeting deadlines, which are essential for the job that I am applying for, should I write on my resume that I have this degree even though it’s irrelevant?

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely include your education on your resume. The key is to tailor your resume around the skills that are relevant to the position, including the skills you mentioned, and then include your education at the end. Even though you don’t want to work in education now, it’s still important to show that you pursued your education.

  • antonia

    Thank you very much :)

  • Anonymous

    You are very welcome! :)

  • Julianna Giordano

    I am in the same situation. Have you had any luck finding a program that doesn’t require four more years of school?

  • Anonymous

    Julianna — What is your degree in and what career do you want to move into?

  • Karim Tarek

    welll mfadvisor let me introduce myself i am karim 20 years old i am half dutch and egyptian but i was born and lived in egypt since i then i wanted to join the army but the law does allow double nationality people to join the army i dont know maby they are afraid from spies whatever so that devasted me i switched to 5 colleges non of them i like so i had to accept my fath and i am in buisness administration in arab open university still the first year but i am planing after i finish that i would switch to athlete trainer or something phsiotherapist but i thinki will 25 and it will be too late so what’s ur advice well i dont want to work with my certificate despite it would let me learn some skills like buisness managing some sociale skills u know so what’s ur suggestions ? note: in egypt the education system is not felixable as any other countrey’s so i can’t do athelet trainer here it will be too late like my father says i have to accept it and that i am wasting my time so iwas thinking to travel to holland after i finish the 4 years so i dont knowis it possible or not ?

  • Karim Tarek

    bytheway i dont like buisness education but since it the only one now i think it will be useful in something in my future but defenitly not my career where i would choose

  • Karim Tarek

    can u mfpaadvisor reply is realy important

  • Jamil FDC

    I need your advisenI am 35 years old, married and the father of 4 kids. Due to family economic problem, I could just study till grade 5 in school and had to leave school to work while I was a child. I started my main job as customer service clerk for a computer distribution company in Dubai and within the same company I promoted finally to the position of Retail Sales Manager. During 10 years employment, the lack of education was always a big challenge and a big missing part in my life where I did not have the chance and time to complete it as I had to work hard for long hours.nAt the age of 32, I joined a not-for-profit organization as Program manager and within a year time I was promoted to Sales and Marketing Director and soon I found myself as a Member of the Management Team of the Organization. The Organization sponsered for me to take a master degree ( I had told them that I had a bachelor degree) and I started executive part time study for MBA degree. But it was too difficult for me to continue as there was no academic base for me.nI was wondering to know and need your advise if I should stop employment and start an undergraduate bachelor’s degree.Even I am cofused what degree I should start. Sometimes I think I should go for a computer science degree as my first official job was with the computer company and some times I think I should go for a politics or journalism degree as I can see some opportunities within the charity fields as I experienced in my last employment

  • Archie Archbold

    Jamil, Do what you WANT to do. Education will surely make what you love to do better but if you embark on a journey because of what you THINK you should do or because of what you did in the past then you risk being unhappy and therefore end up failing to be successful in our endeavors. Computer science is a great field with lots of opportunity but is not for everyone. It requires tons of math and if your not passionate about the subject, it’s hard to stay motivated. It sounds to me like you need to figure out what you WANT to do first and then go from there. Good luck.

  • Serena Morris

    I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and want to pursue a degree in teaching. I know if I get a Master’s I can teach at the college level, which is my ultimate goal. I have gotten a job offer as a substitute teacher in my community that I plan to take, and am just wondering if I can pursue a Masters in Education given the degree I already have, or if I will have to get another Bachelor’s Degree.

  • Tammy Esposito

    I’m kind of in the same boat. I will have my bachelors in business admin completed by this Dec and have been in a Finance position for the last 10 years, right now a Credit Manager making very good money but, I want to change careers. Not sure what I want to do, I just don’t feel challenged in my position anymore, I don’t like accounting and I’m afraid of losing my current salary by starting over somewhere else. I just feel trapped!

  • Tammy Esposito

    I’m kind of in the same boat. I will have my bachelors in business admin completed by this Dec and have been in a Finance position for the last 10 years, right now a Credit Manager making very good money but, I want to change careers. Not sure what I want to do, I just don’t feel challenged in my position anymore, I don’t like accounting and I’m afraid of losing my current salary by starting over somewhere else. I just feel trapped!

  • Michelle

    I have an associates in culinary arts and a B.S. in Food and Beverage Management. I am wanting to pursue a job as a nutritionist. Would I need to obtain another bachelors degree? Any advice?

  • jesskuh ☮

    I need some disparate help to point myself in the right direction. I have almost completed my bachelor’s degree of business and administration but i have just realized it is not what i want at all. I do not want to be sat behind a computer all day. I want to change my program to the medical field, such as a medical lab technician. I’m not really interested in becoming a doctor. Is having a business degree any help of wanting to pursue a career as a medical lab technician?

  • dddddd

    Hey, I need advice pronto!!! I have a BA degree in Fine Art and it isn’t for me but had to finish it to gain something!!! I really want to be an illustrator and gain the skills and portfolio and want to do a degree in it. However, I am unsure if I could get the student funding again as I am already in debt from my previous student loan. Helppp, life dilemma!!!! :(

  • callistus Abaekobe

    Hello i have my bachelors degree in Education from my country i came United states and needed a profession i want to be a nurse how do i change my Foreign international degree to become American degree so i can use it to pursue my Goal

  • Lorenzo Pimentel

    Hi, This is my very first write up with regards to anything on the internet. I was hoping I could seek some advise or help.

    I am 24 years old, have a Bachelor’s Degree in- Hotel, Restaurant Management and have certain certifications in culinary Arts. Being young I was driven by the hype of being a chef. As of the moment I’m still continuing being in the restaurant industry (5 years on going). However, As years go by, I just realize that this is not the kind of lifestyle I really want. Ever since I’m young, I’m a very dedicated athlete (previously from basketball but now currently a serious competitive cyclist- since my genetics aren’t for basketball). Moreover, I was never into artistry but more in to athletics. As of the moment, I’m also self studying on how to self-coach as a serious training cyclist. As I get more exposed to the sport, I’m able to realize that what I want to do in life is something related to fitness or sports( particularly cycling). I was hoping for some piece of advise on any steps on how I can utilize my degree to my hopes of become a trainer/ coach/nutritionist?. One thing is for sure, I don’t want to work in a kitchen anymore. I’m leaning more towards to become a trainer/coach yet I feel unconfident because I feel like all i know is food related stuff( that’s why I thought of considering nutrition). Any insights would greatly be appreciated. Is there any hope for me in pursuing a trainer/coaching career despite it looking like a complete career shift?.

  • dreamchaser23

    I need help! I just received my BS in Hospitality and Tourism Management but now I want to go into Human Resources. Most of the companies that are hiring human resource associates right now are asking for BS in human resources. Should I get a 2nd BS in Human Resources Management or should I just take individual classes related to Human Resources and list them on my resume?

  • Archita Mitra

    i completed my btech in cs. i love to write and want to persue journalism as career please help

  • Meghna Bindra

    hi! am graduate in engineering. but that was my big mistake. I want to pursue my career as a psychologist. kindly guide how can i change my career?

  • eeeeeeeeeeee

    If you already have a degree in Fine Arts that totally applies to being an illustrator. It seems like getting another art degree would be overkill. Just work on building a kick ass portfolio, maybe find classes and workshops at your local community college that will help you build technical skills in specific animation techniques or professional tools such as Adobe Creative Suites, Final Cut Pro etc. Treat your portfolio as if it is a job. Set specific times to work on it. You don’t need another degree to be a creative person. Just start storyboarding and writing and drawing and completing the projects that you actually want to do.

  • Kissident paulson

    I will advise everyone to stay away from pursuing their education now. it is not worth it. after spending years in college for bachelors and masters degree, all that employers tell me is send me sorry messages, Whilst my loans keep compounding. I use to advise all that education is the key but seems to me that it is only a joke based on personal experience.

  • Kimlarrr

    Hello!

    I am looking for advice, I am wanting to change my career into Psychology, I have received a 1st class honours degree in Media Arts, so as you can see its a massive change. I didn’t know whether anyone had any advice so I don’t become drowned in debt by doing this!

  • Adam Woodroffe

    Hi, I would like some advice on a career change. I’m 23 and finished my bachelors degree in sport and exercise development but now I’ve realised that I don’t want a career in this field. I would love to work in engineering and would like to go back to university to complete a degree in this. Does anyone have any advice on how I go about trying to do this? Thanks

  • Rajesh

    I too have a same question.. Please let me know if you find the answer….