We’re all better at something when we enjoy doing it, so choosing a career you love and excel at will set you up for lasting success and fulfillment. However, with so many different career paths and training options available, it can be overwhelming as you try to choose what’s best for you.
These are important decisions that will affect your future, so taking time to set your career goals, determine your needs, and find a career training program that fits your needs, are essential steps to get you into your new career. This week, we will explore the best ways to make these important decisions and the things you should consider as you go.
Set Your Career Goals
The first thing to consider as you plan your path toward a career you will love, is what are your career goals? You may already have a set goal in mind, such as becoming a doctor, or you may need help figuring this out for yourself. For those who are still undecided on exactly what their career goals should be, there are a few questions to ask yourself that will help you create your own personal career goals.
- Why do you want to start a new career? Starting with the reasons you want to begin a new career is helpful because it will guide and motivate you as you begin this new journey. Are you trying to create a better life for your family? Are you just very self-motivated and driven? Or is there something else pushing you?
- What are you looking for in a new career? To set career goals that fit you, it’s important to know exactly what you want from your new career path. Do you want an increased salary, better job security, more flexibility, the opportunity to help people, the ability to work from home, or something else?
- What areas are you interested in? Figuring out what you’re already good at and what you are interested in will help guide you toward the right career path for you. For example, maybe you enjoy working with computers, or maybe you prefer to work with people instead. Whatever it may be, choose a career path you will enjoy and be good at.
- Do you plan to continue advancing your career? Deciding now if you want to get your dream job and stay in it for a while, or continue advancing and climbing the ladder to a leadership role, will help you decide on goals that fit your now and your future.
- Where do you want to be in five years? You know where you are now, and this question helps you visualize where you’re going. What exactly do you want once you meet your career goals? Do you want to be able to afford nice vacations? Is your goal to eventually buy a house? Or pay for your children’s education? Whatever is it that you want for yourself, creating a specific vision will help keep you motivated and inspired along the way.
After answering these questions, you should be ready to set career goals that will help create the future you want for yourself. Remember, any goals you set for yourself should always be SMART goals, which means they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
Here is a great example of a SMART career goal: I want to start a career as a practical nurse in Fayette County in one year.
Determine Your Needs
Now that you’ve created career goals for yourself, it’s time to determine exactly what you need to get there. Each career field has different degrees and training requirements, and you have specific needs that will help you reach your goals.
First, look at some of the job descriptions for the career you want to pursue. If you want to become a practical nurse, look at some of the local places hiring for this role. What education or training do they require? Will you need a license to practice? Do they want you to have completed clinical hours? Do you need experience? What skills will you have to perform while on the job? After you have looked at some job descriptions, make a list of the most common things you noticed. This list of education, skills, experience, and credentials is exactly what you need to gain in order to qualify for the job you want.
It’s important to know exactly what you need to get your dream job, but you also need to know which path will work best for you. Answering the following questions will help direct you toward the path that fits your specific needs.
- What is your learning style? We all have different learning styles. Some people learn better by reading about a topic, some by hearing others explain it, and some by getting hands-on and doing it themselves. Figuring out your learning style will help you choose a career training program that teaches to the way you learn.
- What is your personality type? In addition to different learning styles, we all have different personality types. Consider taking a personality test, such as the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator, to find out your personality type, as this can help you throughout the process of planning the path to reach your career goals.
You’re now equipped with exactly what you need to qualify for your dream job and what you need from a career training program to perform your best.
Research Career Training Options
You have set your career goals and know exactly what you need to get there, so now you’re ready to explore the different career training options available and choose the one that works best for you. To do this, you will need to evaluate different programs based on how they help you achieve your career goals and how well they meet your specific needs.
- Does the program train you for the specific job you want? It’s time to use the list you made in the last step of exactly what employers require for your specific job. Compare the career training programs you are considering to this list. Does it provide you with the knowledge and skills needed? Do you prepare for certifications? Is the program length aligned with when you want to start your new career?
- Is the school aligned with your needs? Next, you need to determine if the school will work for you. Here are some questions to ask about each school. Do you have a dedicated admissions advisor to help you as you apply? Does the school offer resources like financial aid and grants/scholarships? Does the teaching style work with your learning style? Do students get personalized instruction?
- What support is offered to students? Finally, you need to know what support is offered to students as they complete their career training and beyond. Here are a few things to ask. Is there a supportive environment for students? Do students receive additional help when needed? Are career services offered to help students get from the program to a job? Are there any resources that students will continue to have even after graduation?
As you evaluate the different alternatives for career training, feel free to make a pros and cons list for each to help you compare them. Once you have evaluated your career training options, you can confidently choose the one that will set you up for career success, because you know it’s training you in the exact areas you need, in the way that you learn best.
Get Started Today
Now that you’ve set your career goals, determined your needs, and decided on a career training program, you’re ready to get started! If you’re looking to start a career in the exciting field of healthcare, United Career Institute may be the perfect choice for you. We offer fast-track healthcare training programs in Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Medical Insurance Billing and Coding.
Request information or contact us at (724) 437-4600 today, and one of our friendly admissions advisors will work with you to create a career plan customized for you!