Feeling Sluggish? Rev Up Your Career with Training



The days seem too short, the money too tight, and add to that a mid-career stall that’s in need of an energy boost.

Many entrepreneurs are mid-career, looking to switch gears as they see nothing but sameness in their future. These professionals — maybe in their 30s or 40s with other financial obligations — don’t have the time or money to get another college degree. A non-degree certificate could be the best fit.

“We see a lot of professionals who are looking for new skills, especially soft skills,” said Jerry Hoag, associate dean for Executive Education at The University of Texas at Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management. “Our certificate programs provide skills in finance, accounting, operations and strategy. Some already have these skills, but are lacking in the soft skills. But some need all of it—it depends on their undergraduate degree.”

Several certificates could address these deficits:  

  • Certificate of Management: There are lots of versions of the mini-MBA and these programs could be perfect for someone who is moving into a role or starting a new entrepreneurial venture that present a new set of challenges. In most cases, classes are online and completed at the student’s pace.
  • Lean Six Sigma: This training mostly is sought by those in mature operations as they climb the career ladder. But this lifelong skill— learning how to systematically improve quality and efficiency — is equally valid in an entrepreneurial endeavor. Lean Six Sigma certification is recognized by companies in all industries, is available at community colleges across the nation and is a well-regarded addition to anyone’s resume.
  • Healthcare Leadership and Management for Physicians: This is an example of a very specific certificate developed to provide early- to mid-career practicing physicians the leadership and medical management skills needed to compete effectively in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry. As with every industry, medicine is one where innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset will help propel one’s career and organization forward.

Another mid-career reset is to volunteer in a cause you are passionate about.

“Not-for-profits desperately need high-quality volunteer board members,” said Dennis McCuistion, executive director of the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance. “People on boards already have management skills, but those are not the same as board skills.”

The Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Governance was developed to specifically address this issue, McCuistion said.

“Working on a nonprofit board can be one of the most fulfilling roles any executive could take on,” he said, “but the most-effective volunteers are trained.”

McCuistion and Hoag both see plenty of older professionals working hard to retool their careers.

“If you’re not thinking ahead,” Hoag said, “you’re going to fall behind.”

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