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Choosing the right bridge program to change your career for the better

Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
Maria Popova

It’s uncomfortable, scary and not very popular, but if a career detour is required to take you to your destination, then it may even turn out to be your best decision ever. Career change if done for the right reasons is a brave leap of faith that can create new possibilities and open new doors in your career. Joseph Liu who hosts the Career Relaunch Podcast and talks extensively about people navigating career changes feels that it’s important to reinvent oneself. “Trust your intuition, because it often points you to a career that honors who you are”, says Liu.

But preparing for a new career is another uphill journey. Even if you are mentally prepared for this new domain, and have a great passion for the subject, you may find yourself falling short of degrees and certifications that may help you get into the right college and eventually the right job. That’s where bridge programs come in.

Offered by companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies, bridge programs are specialized non-degree courses that prepare you to pursue an advanced degree course in the newly chosen field. These programs aim at grooming students with basic concepts and real-world work experience required to acclimatize them to the new domain.

A good bridge program can:

Ø Prepare you for the job market by assessing your current skills and providing additional skills to help you gear up for rewarding jobs in your new career.

Ø Help you build a network as most bridge programs have networking inbuilt into their curriculum. Depending on which program you choose, you will be trained in soft skills and interpersonal communication as well.

Ø Train you for an advanced degree, certifications or license exams by filling skill gaps and accelerating course completion. However, to make the most of a bridge program, it’s important to keep in mind certain key points.

Ø Choose a bridge that offers a tangential shift into a new course

While sometimes it’s natural to wish for a complete career alteration, jumping into a world that has nothing in common with the one you are leaving, might not be a good idea. No matter how unfulfilling it is, your current line of study has had you spend a lot of time and effort on it. It can be really rewarding to be able to channel the knowledge acquired over the years into a new line of study. For e.g. if your current course in healthcare isn’t exciting enough, instead of opting for a complete departure from medical and healthcare, you can think of pursuing a bridge program in a related course, like healthcare recruitment.

Ø Embrace your unique journey

Granted, you may be sharing the classroom with students who are deeper into the field. They may have more hold on the concepts. But instead of beating yourself up for it, be proud of the unique perspective you bring into the field. The qualities you acquired in your last course however grudgingly, will help you stand out in your new class. Discuss with the education consultant of your bridge program about the skills you have and how they can help you transition seamlessly.

Ø Position yourself strongly

Career detours in your resume will attract attention and make recruiters question your decisiveness. But instead of displaying this unexpected change in your life as a weakness, you need to prepare a powerful narrative that shows change as a brave and necessary leap that helped you achieve your goals. If you are considering a change for better future prospects, better chances to utilize your innate qualities and to bring a positive change in your life as well as to society, your decision to change your career will be seen in a positive light.

Popular Bridge Programs in different courses

The Accounting Bridge Program: University of Alabama, Birmingham

The course prepares graduates from non-accounting fields to enter the rewarding world of accounting and pursue a Master’s in Accounting (MAc) through a bridge program offered by the University of Alabama. The course gets you up to speed on key concepts of accountancy from Principles of Accounting to Income Taxation.

Computer Science Bridge: NYU Tandon Bridge at New York University

A 17 to 24-week-long completely online course, this bridge program prepares non-computer science graduates to pursue a master’s in the field. Upon completion, students get a certificate of eligibility to apply for higher degrees in Computer Science.

Allstate Rotational Development Program

Interested in Fintech? Insurance company Allstate offers a fantastic three-year career bridge program in finance and technology positions with mentorship, and placement. The curriculum also includes a built-in professional network.

Baker Hughes Aspire Early Career Development Program

Energy giant Baker Hughes offers a one-of-a-kind internship bridge program for students interested in a career transition into the clean energy sector. The program offers to bridge careers from engineering, sales and finance with competitive salaries and attractive benefits.

Lake Forest College Career Pathways Program

A unique program that prepares students for life after college grooming them in skills necessary to bag great job offers and make a great first impression. The program identifies potential careers and connects students to mentors who will go on to get students great opportunities in their chosen fields.

Changing your career choice is a big decision and needs careful introspection and mentorship. Talk to us about choosing the right bridge program that can prepare you for the career of your choice. Book a consultation with WritersQi today.

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