6 degrees that could help you change careers

19 Oct 2020 | 5 MINS

If you’re looking to shift careers a little, have a complete career change, follow your ambitions or make a strategic decision about your future, these courses could help you make the switch. 

Whether you’re needing to learn totally new technical skills or transferable skills to pivot slightly, there’s no better time than now to invest in your future.

1. Launch your dream start-up

Tired of working for someone and dreaming of launching your own small business? Come back to uni or get a first degree under your belt with a Bachelor of Business and take on an Entrepreneurship and Innovation major.

If you’ve already completed an undergrad degree and want to go further in postgrad study, the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation can give you the skills needed to move from concept to product development and small business management. You can also be credited for units completed, articulate into the MBA, and graduate with both a Graduate Certificate and an MBA for extra career oomph.

Conrad Pires, a graduate of the UWA MBA program, shifted careers entirely. Following an international career in emerging technologies and the completion of his MBA at UWA, he co-founded Western Australia’s first space company building small satellites, Picosat Systems. It takes advantage of advances in technology that have made space more commercialised in recent years.

Conrad Pires

Conrad explains how and why the career change happened: “I’d returned to Perth after many years overseas and found that I no longer had a network here. To address this, plus add to my business knowledge and give myself new career options, I enrolled in the MBA. After graduation, armed with new knowledge, a strong UWA network and an extended industry network, I’d decided to take my career in a new direction and start my own business in the space industry.”

2. Go into consultancy

The UWA MBA program is your ticket to a consultancy career. Through the Authentic Leadership Program and a Strategic Analysis and Consulting Project, the course builds your core skills of leadership and management, strategic change and transformation, organisational behaviour, economic management and strategy, and more.

Regan Lau successfully moved into consultancy after completing his MBA: “My MBA at UWA provided a strong foundation for a transition from accounting to management consultancy. I was recruited by EY through the EY MBA recruitment program, and spent 6 years putting my MBA knowledge into real world applications. 



“Currently, I am based in London at RSM UK, where I am leading the expansion of their business improvement and automation services. The people that I met through my UWA journey, and the interactions were the building blocks which gave me the confidence to explore my career interest.”

3. Answer the call of law

Many students in the Juris Doctor program are mature-age students who are switching careers and gaining a qualification to practice law. 

The Juris Doctor program at UWA is the only postgraduate qualifying law degree in Western Australia, and the UWA Law School ranks 75th in the world.

4. Seek secure work in teaching

Teachers are always in high demand, nationally and internationally, and the profession of teaching often weathers any economic downturns. It’s also a fulfilling career choice where you can make a real difference, as current Master of Teaching student Julian explains: “I chose to study teaching because doing so would allow me to inspire, mentor and guide the youth of today to become the adults of the future.”

If you have an urge to follow your passion and inspire young minds, consider the Master of Teaching (Primary) to teach students from pre-primary to Year 6 or the Master of Teaching (Secondary) to specialise in one or more subjects at high school level. 

Heaps of undergraduate majors are suitable for entry to teaching courses –engineers can become high school science or maths teachers, and psychology grads can put their understanding of child development into practice as primary school teachers.

5. Leverage your creative side for a career in design

If you’re looking for a career that uses both the left and right sides of your brain, the Master of Architecture or Master of Landscape Architecture could be for you – and you don’t need a relevant bachelor’s degree to get into them. The great news is the fees for both programs are subsidised by the Australian Government as Commonwealth-supported places (CSP).

The Master of Architecture will help you discover the art and science of shaping our built environment and shift your career to a hands-on, highly visual and creative occupation. 

If you’d like to explore landscape design, UWA is the only university in the State with an accredited Landscape Architecture program, so your career change will be in good hands.

Current student Charles Ng explains his decision to change from project management and instead follow his interest to undertake a Master of Architecture:

“Having completed my undergraduate degree in Vancouver, I returned to Hong Kong and found employment as a project manager. However, I felt a greater purpose in fulfilling my long-term ambition to become an architect so took up the challenge of studying the Master of Architecture program at UWA.

This degree is not only professionally accredited, it is also widely recognised overseas, which is one of the reasons I chose UWA to continue my education. I’m convinced I’ve made the right choice to study here.”

6. Write that novel or memoir

How about taking some time out and pivoting towards creative writing to tell your story? A Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and Literary Studies, or a postgraduate Master of Arts (Creative Writing), will get your creative juices flowing. Tell the biographical story of your migrant parents’ journeys, work on a fictional novel, finally get your memoir on paper, or mould your ideas into beautiful verses and publish your poetry. 

7. Harness the power of communication

Changing tack within your chosen industry can come from within, using and improving your communication skills. Perhaps you’d like to move from a product sales position to a digital marketer, or shift from being a web manager to a strategic director. 

The Graduate Certificate in and Master of Strategic Communication are perfect to expand opportunities in senior communication advice, strategies and projects. For those with existing communication qualifications, the Graduate Diploma in Strategic Communication is your leg up.

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