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Returning to University

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 11 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Career Development University Uni

Although most people head to university straight after school, you may decide to return later in life. Perhaps you want to change direction with your career, gain a qualification to further your career development or pursue an interest. It may take a while to get used to studying but will be a good boost to Your CV.

Making The Decision

Making the decision to return to university is a big one and you should think carefully about it before committing. Consider whether it is the best way to steer your career development or if you could ask for more work-based training. Also, think about how you are going to Finance It and how much time you will have to commit to the venture.

Choosing The Right Course

There are thousands of different courses out there so you need to take the time to find the right one for you. Consider the subjects it covers, the way it is taught and the possibilities to specialise. The other thing to decide is whether you want to return to university full time, do a part-time course, or do your degree on a home study course. Think about your lifestyle, your commitments and what you can realistically cope with.

Getting Used To Studying

Returning to uni can be a bit of a shock to the system. If you have been used to a routine at work or dealing with subjects that you are confident with, then starting a degree can be daunting. You need to rediscover how you work best. Set yourself a quiet area at home or go to the library so you can study in peace. Find out if you work better in the morning or evening and what your style of study is. This will all be a case of trial and error until you get used to being back at university.

How To Use Your New Qualification

A new qualification can do a lot to boost your career development. Research what roles you could go into once you finish uni and start contacting suitable companies. You need to make it clear why you have been back to university and show that, with your experience, it makes you the ideal candidate. Decide how you want your career development to go and make conscious steps towards achieving it to make the most of your degree.

If your career development needs a bit of a shake up, then going back to university might be the answer. Returning to uni may be a bit daunting so do your research to make sure you find a course of study that suits you. Consider whether you can manage full time or part time and how you are going to pay for it. Once you have finished studying, make the most of your new qualification by selling yourself to potential new employers.

What About Evening Classes?

If you are not able to commit to a university course, you may find that evening classes are a better fit. To find out more read our article The New Face Of Evening Classes.

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I am 41 years old and have worked within administrative roles with the civil service. The highest qualification I have is an HND. I am interested in working with children and have often thought about changing careers to go into teaching or social work. I have no idea where to start in relation to qualifications required for both as these professions both require a degree level qualification. What is the best way to focus myself so that I know which way to go either teaching or social work?
Chocki - 11-Nov-17 @ 12:05 AM
Jo - Your Question:
Hi, I am 48 years old and am looking for a career change. I have always been interested in caring for others and have thought about becoming a nurse, healthcare assistant, paramedic or midwife but I am not sure if I am too old or where to start. I enjoy working with children and have always been interesedt in health and fitness amongst young people. I have been customer service and office administration roles mostly, and have been a teaching assistant in a primary school working with SEN children on a one to one basis and with small groups. I am paediatric first aid trained and first aid trained in the work place by St. John's Ambulance through the primary school I am working at, at the moment. Do you have any suggestions regarding where to start, thank you.

Our Response:
Now that retirement age has been raised, it's likely you have another 20 years work in you before you can claim state pension, so no, it's not too late. You haven't told us what qualifications you already have, so we can't make any specific suggestions. The NHS health careers page might help.
ACareerChange - 8-Sep-17 @ 12:32 PM
Hi, I am 48 years old and am looking for a career change. I have always been interested in caring for others and have thought about becoming a nurse, healthcare assistant, paramedic or midwife but I am not sure if I am too old or where to start. I enjoy working with children and have always been interesedt in health and fitness amongst young people. I have been customer service and office administration roles mostly, and have been a teaching assistant in a primary school working with SEN children on a one to one basis and with small groups. I am paediatric first aid trained and first aid trained in the work place by St. John's Ambulance through the primary school I am working at, at the moment. Do you have any suggestions regarding where to start, thank you.
Jo - 7-Sep-17 @ 6:22 PM
Hello, I'm a qualified teacher, currently on maternity leave. I've always been interested in social care. I've got both BA and MA in English. I've done some psychology classes during my studies. Have no idea how to start social care and what courses to take.
Kath33 - 12-Jul-17 @ 2:54 PM
Catherine - Your Question:
I am 55yrs of age and a Registered general nurse. Have been since entering training at 18yrs of age. I have always had an interest in social work, as it intermediate ngles with my role. Currently I work 23hours on a predominantly, palliative care service. I was wondering if it is possible to train in social work, pastime, alongside my current position?

Our Response:
If you still have time to undertake placement work etc, there's no reason why this wouldn't be feasible. Some institutions offer part time courses. Try an internet search or the UCAS website to find one near you.
ACareerChange - 30-May-17 @ 10:55 AM
I am 55yrs of age and a Registered general nurse. Have been since entering training at 18yrs of age. I have always had an interest in social work, as it intermediate ngles with my role. Currently I work 23hours on a predominantly, palliative care service. I was wondering if it is possible to train in social work, pastime, alongside my current position?
Catherine - 27-May-17 @ 9:38 AM
Christy - Your Question:
I have worked in education for about 15 years from a class teacher to the role of SENCo/Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I would like to change career and would like to consider becoming a social worker. I am prepared to go back and study towards a qualification in social work but could you please advise and give guidance to the best way to approach the change in career direction.

Our Response:
Your experience and existing qualifications might be sufficient to get you onto a social work degree course. The easiest way to approach this would be to contact institutions which offer the course. You could also make contact with your local authority social work team, for advice.
ACareerChange - 1-Mar-17 @ 12:48 PM
I have worked in education for about 15 years from a class teacher to the role of SENCo/Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I would like to change career and would like to consider becoming a social worker. I am prepared to go back and study towards a qualification in social work but could you please advise and give guidance to the best way to approach the change in career direction.
Christy - 27-Feb-17 @ 9:13 PM
I am 26 and work in children residential care I am a senior in my role and just completed a level 5 Qcf diploma in leadership and management in health and social care, what is this qualification aquivalent to, and what would be my next step if I want to become a social worker?
Jean - 24-Jan-17 @ 11:35 PM
I am 53 and have worked in educational for the last 8 years in behaviour and pastoral care.I would love to become a social worker only now realizing I should of done this job years ago,can I at my age go to uni? I have gotA levels but that was years ago, and do not now have copies of my certs. Do you think I am too old ???
lOZZIE - 6-Jan-17 @ 10:51 PM
Hi I currently work for myself but gained a NVQ level 3 in care work 16 years ago when I worked in care industry for 9 years I would love to study to become a nurse,I have no other qualification what and how do I go about this I'm 55 in February next year and need a career change
Ali - 24-Nov-16 @ 8:02 AM
Brook - Your Question:
I was looking to start access to higher education in nursing, but I have no GCSEs when I have looked into this before, aslong as you was studying at a level 2 in math English you'll be fine, but I've looked on the University websites a for Birmingham and Nottingham and they don't accept equivalents to GCSES so how would I get around this now, I'm 22 (23 when I start college) and can't really spend a year at college doing GCSEs then another year doing access to higher education. Reason I never got my GCSES was because I never sat them.

Our Response:
It might be worth having a chat with some of the institutions offering the access course. They may be able to suggest a solution such as evening classes to take your maths/english GCSEs.
ACareerChange - 27-Jun-16 @ 10:41 AM
I was looking to start access to higher education in nursing, but I have no GCSEs when I have looked into this before, aslong as you was studying at a level 2 in math English you'll be fine, but I've looked on the University websites a for Birmingham and Nottingham and they don't accept equivalents to GCSES so how would I get around this now, I'm 22 (23 when I start college) and can't really spend a year at college doing GCSEs then another year doing access to higher education. Reason I never got my GCSES was because I never sat them.
Brook - 24-Jun-16 @ 10:19 AM
Kerrs - Your Question:
Hi everyone jus wondering I had a troubled upbringing nd I was doing my childcare nvq level 2 nd had to stop as I fell pregnant then my mother passed away wen I was 17 I previously was in care myself I am 21 and I'm blessed wit 2 beautiful daughters , I am possibly going back to do level 3 health and social care, I know a lot about social workers role and it has been something I've always wanted to do and have that life experience I wonder could I get in ?

Our Response:
If you have the relevant academic qualifications, there's no reason why you would not be accepted on to a course. Bear in mind however, that competition for places if very fierce. You can find out more about becoming a social worker here
ACareerChange - 6-May-16 @ 2:20 PM
Hi everyone jus wondering I had a troubled upbringing nd I was doing my childcare nvq level 2 nd had to stop as I fell pregnant then my mother passed away wen I was 17 I previously was in care myself I am 21 and I'm blessed wit 2 beautiful daughters , i am possibly going back to do level 3 health and social care, I know a lot about social workers role and it has been something I've always wanted to do and have that life experience I wonder could I get in ?
Kerrs - 5-May-16 @ 2:16 AM
Hi, I am 42 years old. I have worked and trained as An Auxiliary nurse for around 10years. Then decided to become a Registered Childminder also done NVQ3 in Childcare. I have been a childminder for 13years. I would love to become a Social worker working with families young children and maybe Childminders. Wonder if I need any more qualifications to be excepted into a University Course to become a Social worker. I live in N.I.
Tidadun - 14-Apr-16 @ 5:01 PM
I cared for my disabled son for 6 years before he diedin 1995. I then was a single foster career for 3 years with a private company . Also done LSA work . Supervisory contact worker . And transport . All GSEand A level qualifications from school and college . I then cared for my mum for many years until 2005 until she died . I look after my father now , I have always wanted to be an art therapist for children with special needs or foster children. I feel I still have a lot to give I am 46 years old . I want to know the best way forward toward a new career
Nikki - 8-Apr-16 @ 7:01 PM
angy - Your Question:
I have 14 years experience in the care sector.In care homes for the elderly with dementia , I was wondering if I could train as a nurse ?Or have I left it too late as I am now 48 ? I have an up to date PVG ,and certificates for Health and Safety , Infection Control ,Emergency First Aid ,Food and Hygiene and I am currently unemployed !would I be able to get a bursary ?As I am married and my husband works full time ,we have a daughter who is 16. thanks.

Our Response:
It's probably worth getting in touch with institiutions which offer nursing qualifications to see whether your age would be a factor (although to deny you access on this basis might constitute age discrimination) and also what entrance qualifications you would need to obtain in order to get onto a course.
ACareerChange - 16-Feb-16 @ 2:14 PM
I have 14 years experience in the care sector .In care homes for the elderly with dementia , I was wondering if I could train as a nurse ?Or have I left it too late as I am now 48 ? I have an up to date PVG ,and certificates for Health and Safety , Infection Control ,Emergency First Aid ,Food and Hygiene and I am currently unemployed !would I be able to get a bursary ?As I am married and my husband works full time ,we have a daughter who is 16 . thanks .
angy - 14-Feb-16 @ 3:10 PM
Lady's - Your Question:
Hi I'm a level 2 in health and social care working towards my level3. How long will it take to train to become a nurse?

Our Response:
Once you have gained level 3 you might have sufficient qualifications to access a nursing course, if so this takes a further 3 years. If not, then you may have to take a levels or an access course whihc will be an additional year followed by the 3 year nursing degree.
ACareerChange - 1-Feb-16 @ 11:40 AM
Hi I'm a level 2 in health and social care working towards my level3. How long will it take to train to become a nurse?
Lady's - 29-Jan-16 @ 12:07 PM
I am worki g for age uk shop for ten years I have worked in care work before that for 8 years getting my level 2. In care
Liz or lizzy - 21-Dec-15 @ 1:14 PM
Hivery interesting comments . Iwas wondering if you had any advice about how to train as a social worker .I have done psychiatricnursing and general nursing .Studied Psychotherapyfor I year . I have 5 o levelsand a HND in Artand Crafts . Ihave worked with children and adults in many settings .The course would need to be part time Ilive in West Sussex. Thank you . Iwas wonderingif any of my experience would count asany units towards a degree? Thank you
ambergold - 6-Nov-15 @ 5:03 PM
Hi, I currently teach within SEN, students challenging behaviours, youth offenders and the socially disengaged at FE level. My strengths lie within the more challenging behaviours, YO and the latter. As I do not have any specific quals within social work but I do have a degree and a pgce. Would these previous qualifications be accepted for with Social work area? Thanks in advance.
Orange - 27-Oct-15 @ 9:52 AM
Sandy- Your Question:
I have worked as a support worker for years and also nursed my mum with dementia for years. My last post was the project manager for a charity offering support and training for young women 16-25 with/without children. I arranged and often delivered the training and gave personal support to dozens of young women. I have kept my child protection training up to date and can give testimonials from many of my families whom I supported. Do I have a chance ???

Our Response:
Do you mean do you have a chance of getting into university? It depends on what you want to do and what other qualifications you have.
ACareerChange - 22-Sep-15 @ 2:16 PM
I have worked as a support worker for years and also nursed my mum with dementia for years. My last post was the project manager for a charity offering support and training for young women 16-25 with/without children. I arranged and often delivered the training and gave personal support to dozens of young women. I have kept my child protection training up to date and can give testimonials from many of my families whom I supported. Do I have a chance ???
Sandy - 19-Sep-15 @ 10:46 PM
@lizzyellis81 - Take a look at our article on Becoming a Social Worker for more details on this.
ACareerChange - 28-Jul-15 @ 12:09 PM
Hi, I'm 33 I have 3 children the youngest being 2 I also have my own business.But I want to become a social worker how do I go about this? I have GCSEs but that's it.What is the best route for me? I would have absolutely to have done law but I know many who have failed and it frightens me incase I haven't got what it takes.
Lizzyellis81 - 26-Jul-15 @ 7:44 PM
Hi I'm 33 have gcses and first level aat can you tell me how I can get into teaching please
Vic - 22-Jul-15 @ 8:01 AM
Hi, I am 25 years old and have only got gsces. I have been legal secretary and facilities assistant since leaving school but I really want to be a social worker. I am looking at open university to do a degree but would just like to know which course I need to do to be accepted please. I am a single parent of one child so cannot go to uni full time. Thank you
smoph16 - 13-Jul-15 @ 7:54 AM
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