Working the same job in the same career for decades can be a joy if you are in the right place but it can be a chore if you are not. Considering a career change is often a big decision, far bigger than simply seeking a new employer in the same line of work. However, many people do successfully make that leap once they have had a chance to figure out what they really want.
For many people, going into animal care is the passion-fuelled career change they have always dreamed of. Whether that be, for example, working in animal welfare, helping to nurse the sick and injured as a veterinary nurse, or attending to zoo animals as an attendant, it is important to think carefully about this career change before you make any life-changing decisions, like quitting your current job.
If you are thinking about making a major career change we suggest you stop and ask yourselves the four following questions. This will ensure that you are making the right decision for the right reasons, not just because you are bored with your current work routine or are unhappy with your current employer.
Let’s take an in-depth look at these four questions and why they are essential to helping you do the right thing for your career, whether that’s making personal changes in your current job or diving head-first into the training for your new animal care profession.
1. Why the Change?
The first vital question to ask yourself is why you are craving change. Anyone can get frustrated if their current work experience isn’t fulfilling. In a situation where you are constantly bored or over-stressed, it is easy to start daydreaming about doing something you would find more enjoyable. But it is also important to contemplate whether it is your workplace itself or the routine you have built that is really creating unhappiness.
Consider whether it would be better to talk to your boss about changing things up or to seek a new employer to provide the excitement and change that you crave. You may be looking for a job with a better work-life balance or more fulfilling tasks, and you may well find this with a new employer who does things differently.
But if you ask yourself this question and are certain you want to change what you do, not just where you do it, then you may well be ready for a complete career change. Consider whether you are sick and tired of filing reports or stocking shelves or just lacking job satisfaction. And ask yourself, how would you feel if you never did your current type of work again? Then consider whether it is worth the major lifestyle and activity changes to completely switch careers.
2. What Do You Want to Do Instead? Are You Passionate About the Change?
The next question to ask yourself is whether you have a direction. It is easy to simply dream about leaving your current job but without a new direction to take your career, you may find yourself starting all over again and ending up in an entry-level job with no further job satisfaction. The key is to do something you are passionate about.
Is there a career that your passion is leading you toward? This is often the case when people are drawn to animal care positions, after building a career in another field. You may have witnessed the care that is given to stray and neglected animals by trained animal care workers who rescue and provide for them. Perhaps you always wanted to be a veterinary nurse but your career took you in other directions in your early adulthood.
Making a career change can be challenging but if you are passionate about the choice, then your commitment won’t waver when it comes time to buckle down and build your skills from the ground up for a new kind of work. You will need to be ready to study hard and truly invest your time and energy into education in order to learn to be an animal care professional. But when you have the passion that so often drives “animal people”, you will be able to do whatever it takes to make that career change happen.
3. What are the Opportunities for Jobs in Your Ideal Career?
Next, it would be a good idea to do a little investigation to find out what kind of career market you are diving into. In order to be successful in your new career, you need to know that there are jobs available and the steps it will take to become employable in those positions.
For animal care, this means that you will need to study hard to earn a new qualification and ensure that there are animal care jobs available in your area. Look into both part-time and full-time positions that you might find and the kind of workplaces where your new passion-driven career choices will take you.
We also recommend embarking on a career with strong job prospects, with the potential to progress towards longer-term opportunities. To assist, you can use tools such as the Australian occupation matrix. This website allows you to view the employment rates for professionals such as veterinary nurses (see under the Agriculture, Animal, and Horticulture section category). Currently, veterinary nursing enjoys a low unemployment rate — meaning that vet nurses are very likely to find a position — and the demand for vet nursing positions continues to grow at 9.3% annually.
4. Does Your New Career Meet Your Salary Expectations?
Finally, don’t forget to compare the amount of money you will potentially make in your new career versus what you are making now. Many people stay in their current careers because they can’t afford to make a big change until they build up some household savings. If you are moving down from a high-paying role, you need to know if this change in your career will also result in household downsizing.
Find out how the salaries of your new career roles are likely to look and how that compares to your current salary. It is okay to take a step down if you are passionate about the work you plan to do. Or, if you are currently in a low-paying job with little upward mobility, you might find yourself in a much better position as a trained animal care provider. The most important thing is to be prepared for how your finances may change with your career change.
Are you ready to make a major career change with new training, new roles and a whole new exciting industry in which to learn? If you are passionate about the change you are making and ready to throw yourself completely into the transition between occupations, then the answer could very well be, yes. Contact us today to find out more about the training and preparation necessary to follow your dreams to work with animal sand become an animal care professional.
We have been training animal care, animal behaviour and training, equine care and veterinary nursing students for over 25 years in Australia. Students who undertake AVT courses range from high school-aged students just starting their pre-vocational journey right through to mature-aged students seeking an alternative career path. Graduates are highly respected and sought after by industry professionals, businesses and organisations. If you want the background knowledge and skills to help you secure your career in the animal care industry, check out our qualifications here or gain new skills by studying one of our short courses.