8 Common Myths About Changing Careers, Debunked

8 Common Myths About Changing Careers, Debunked

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Everyone knows that college is a time for finding yourself and deciding on what you want to do in your life. In fact, 80% of university students wind up changing their major at least once during this time in their lives. Reading this, you may be filled with validation- it’s a beautiful thing, after all, when young people find the field they’re meant to be in.

You may also be filled with a little bit of sadness- even resentment. If you’re less than pleased with your career path, it can be difficult to look back on your undergrad years without wondering why you aren’t a part of that statistic.

But what if we told you it isn’t too late? That it’s a beautiful thing when anyone finds the career path they’re meant to take, no matter their age and educational status?

Well, it’s the truth.

If you’re looking into switching careers, you’ve probably heard a lot of negative myths around doing so. Don’t fret- these myths are nothing but fantasy.

Here, we’re going to be taking a closer look into the myths that may be holding you back and debunk them.

1. Switching Careers Means You Failed

One of the most prevalent and horrible myths about changing careers is that it means you’ve failed. You may be worried that leaving the career path you’re currently in is the same as ‘quitting’- ignorant people may have even told you as much.

This is simply not true! When you chose your major in undergrad, you were a totally different person than you are now. You couldn’t possibly be expected to have the knowledge of your field that you do now, after months or even years of already working in it.

When we pursue the things we’re passionate about, this actually leads to greater success. You’ll be more invested in your career and put more effort into it, leading to a more productive- and infinitely happier- work life.

Myth Verdict: The opposite is actually true!

2. Everything Needs to Be Planned Out

From the time you’re a young child, adults have been asking you the same question: what do you want to be when you grow up? This is the subtle reminder that, from the tender age of five, you should want to have your entire life planned out.

That’s not the case at all. As people evolve, grow, and change, they will develop new interests. Not only will you want to explore and move to new places, but you’ll also find new passions to pursue (and discover that old passions weren’t meant to last forever.)

You don’t- and shouldn’t- have your life planned out at age five (or eighteen… or thirty. That only stunts your growth and takes the fun and wonder out of life. Give yourself the room to evolve, in your career and otherwise.

Myth verdict: Planning too much will hold you back- don’t do it!

3. You’ll Need a Graduate Degree

One of the main myths that set people back from pursuing new areas of study is the idea that they’ll need to get a graduate degree to switch career paths. This makes sense- MA/MS programs and Ph.D. programs are vigorous, expensive, and force you to uproot your life to go to a new school.

What people don’t tell you is that there’s another alternative: certificate programs. These programs make you just as competitive in certain fields as those who have a degree in them. They’re also subject-focused so you won’t need to take a literature gen ed if you’re trying to become a doctor.

Signing up for a certificate program with Intercoast is not only easy but also versatile. You can choose between lots of programs, including specific specializations within larger fields. You can train to be a medical assistant or a healthcare office specialist without worrying about the details of the other- that’s how specialized our programs are!

Myth verdict: While graduate degrees are nice, they aren’t necessary. There are certificate programs that will get you where you need to go. 

4. You Need a Lot of Money

One myth that often goes hand in hand with the one we just debunked is that you need to be rich if you want to switch career paths. Graduate degrees are expensive, but certificate programs cost a lot less. That’s not a concern!

The other financial concern is the fear that you’ll need to take time off when looking for a job in your new field. This is a valid fear- no one wants to go a great length of time with an income of nothing.

But put your fears to rest, because we have a secret to tell you: you can work and search at the same time.

Lots of people think that searching for jobs must be done during a period of unemployment- after all, it’s time-consuming! But if you use the right online resources and budget your time wisely, anything’s possible.

Myth verdict: Total rubbish, especially considering the many financial aid programs that exist to help you out.

5. You’ll Need to Uproot Your Life

You may fear that in order to enter a degree or certificate program, you’ll need to move away from home and quit your job so you can attend school. But with the popularity of online courses, this isn’t necessary at all. 

You can take a variety of specialized courses from the comfort of your own home. You can also usually complete your coursework on your own time, meaning that it won’t interfere with work (or social) hours.

Career changes also don’t need to be forever. If you enter into a new career and find it isn’t for you, you can go right back into the old one. You also can take multiple certificate programs over the course of your life. Even if one of them goes unused, knowledge is power. Being well-rounded will help you in any field.

Myth verdict: You can fit a certificate program (or even a degree) into your life seamlessly, especially with technology on your side.

6. Your Passion Can’t Be Your Career

“Hobbies are hobbies and jobs are jobs.”

If you’re like most people, that’s a line that you’ve been told before. Whether by an aging parent, a well-intentioned friend, or a cantankerous neighbor, pretty much everyone who wants to turn their passion into a career has been told this.

This is ridiculous. The average worker spends more than 40 hours a week doing whatever it is they do for a career. Too much of your life is spent in the workplace not to love what you do. If you make your passion- whatever it may be- into a job that you love, you’ll have a much happier life and feel more fulfilled in your occupation.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – Confucius

Myth verdict: The people who told you this are sad in their careers and should think about a career switch, too.

7. You’re Too Old and It’s Too Late

It’s sad, but many people feel as if they’re too old to switch careers. They feel as though they’ve already spent the best years of their life in their current field and no longer have time to pursue their real passion.

What isn’t sad, though, is how incredibly false that ideology is! In fact, almost half of the people in the US workforce have made at least one dramatic career switch in their time. The average age of these transitions happened around age 39!

Myth verdict: Life isn’t only for the young. Middle-aged- and even elderly- people are still finding their passions and owe it to themselves to pursue them. It’s totally feasible to do so!

8. There’s Only One Way to Change Careers

While there are some common denominators between pathways for those who want to switch careers, the process is in no way black and white. 

Everyone who wants to make the transition comes from different background. If you’re switching from teaching high school science to becoming a chemist, that’s a much different transition than someone who’s currently in accounting but wants to move into the arts.

These different situations, of course, mean that these career-changers will need to take different paths from one another. As we discussed, people of all ages change careers. This, too, will impact the path you take.

Some people who decide that they want to switch careers don’t have a high school diploma. This isn’t the insurmountable obstacle that it sounds like! We’re totally willing to work with you if you contact us about the issue. There are GED programs that you can easily take, pass, and use to begin your certificate program.

Myth verdict: Everyone’s life is different, and so everyone’s career path is also different. There are as many ways to change careers as there are people who do it!

More on Switching Careers

While moving from one career path to another is a challenge, it’s nowhere near as hard as you may have previously thought. You won’t need to retake every gen-ed course that you’ve already passed. In fact, you may even be able to get certified in a field without redoing your degree!

Now that you know why the biggest myths about switching careers are false and have an understanding of the truth, it’s time to look into pursuing your passions. Click here to learn about the many certificate programs we offer. You can get certified in a variety of fields from health care to business, so it’s easy to get into a field you love.

Good luck!

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