From the Admissions Desk: Change careers with training or without?

Nora Meah, Director of Admissions

Can you change careers without going back to school for some form of training? The IYRS Admissions team discusses this topic at length with prospective students everyday. 

Like so many questions about career changes, the answer to this question depends on the person. Specifically, it depends on what they already know and do as well as what they hope to do upon graduation. 

Take for instance, the four IYRS graduates from the Marine Systems certificate program who joined the team at SEA Semester, an internationally recognized leader in undergraduate ocean education, in the spring of 2020.

A lawyer, an underwater cultural heritage specialist, a yoga instructor, and a sailor with a misfiring engine all opted to enroll in IYRS to make their career change. Each had different amounts and types of experience and education, but all of them decided the immersive six month, certificate program would launch their marine technician careers. The combination of applied learning, career development, and industry-recognized certifications positioned them to secure coveted roles on the water exploring the world and educating youth. 

But how can you know whether your career change requires formal training? Try asking yourself a few simple questions after you read through job descriptions that appeal to you. 

  • Will my existing skills add value to my new skills?

This requires research. Job descriptions outline what is required and preferred. Estimate how competitive you are for job titles now and if you complete a training program. 

  • What training, if any, makes me most competitive?

Tough choice. Full-time, part-time, degree, certificate, online, or in-person options differ significantly. Anticipating employers needs can help eliminate options. 

  • What will I give up or forego

This is real. You may experience a sharp decline in Monday morning conference calls and unopened emails, but full time school means a decrease in your current earnings.

  • What will I gain that can be measured

Try the math. You may factor increased wages, increased demand for your new skill set, expanded professional networks, and one or more certifications to add to your resume. Is all of that worth a monthly student loan payment?

  • What will I gain that is hard to measure

This is specific to you. Want to bet you’ll be more confident after hands-on training and experience increased social mobility with an alumni network? Not to mention how a change to your workwear wardrobe feels.

What difference will it make whether you invest in formal training or not is truly up to you. With our graduates in mind, the IYRS Admissions team knows that the time to learn full-time from industry experts is a life changer for our career changers. 

Ready to explore your career change? Consider how IYRS might be part of your personal plan. Connect with Admissions to start exploring programs. Contact us today at