5 Career Changes You Can Make in 5 Years or Less

Many things happen to your body, both mentally and physically, when you are unhappy or unfulfilled with your career. It doesn’t have to be this way. No matter where you are in life, it is never too late to make a career change. Even if you don’t have a degree, it is not too late to take on the challenge and get the credentials needed for your dream line of work. Most medical careers can be completed, even in a part-time capacity, in under five years. Below are five career changes you can make in five years or less. Most of them are much shorter than five years if you can dedicate full-time hours to complete the programs. If this is not feasible, they can still be obtained within five years in a part-time capacity.

Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician career
Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

If you like the idea of working in healthcare but want a more hands-off approach than most healthcare positions offer, pharmacy technician training may be just the path you are looking for.

Pharmacy Technicians assist pharmacists in preparing and distributing medications. Whether you are hoping to work in a hospital or a retail pharmacy location, the training is the same and can usually be completed in as little as 18 months. This is a great career for anyone who is detail-oriented, enjoys math, and likes customer service. 


Working hands-on with patients can be an extremely rewarding career. Becoming a nurse is certainly not for everyone, but if you are patient-centered, not squeamish, and have an abundance of empathy and patience, nursing could be the perfect career fit.

There are three aspects of nursing that can all be achieved in under five years. A certified nursing assistant, also known as a CNA, assists the nurses with everyday life activities. This certification usually requires so many hours of hands-on experience and then a certification test. It can be done in a matter of weeks and are often sponsored by employers with direct hire after completion.

Schooling to become an LPN or an RN takes about two years to complete. LPN, or Licensed Practical Nurses, are limited to where they can work and are mostly found in nursing homes. Registered Nurses, RNs, can work anywhere and are in high demand. There is an abundance of job opportunities for nurses in hospitals, home care settings, and nursing homes. 

Health Information Technology

This field is up and coming and definitely in need. These programs take roughly 18 months to complete, and the jobs range from standard IT work to maintaining electronic medical records. These EMRs are essential in all aspects of the patient’s records. These records include their medical information, demographic data, and patient billing records. Without access to the EMR, the healthcare facility won’t be able to function properly. 

As technology continues to evolve, and we rely on it more and more, this industry will continue to grow and become a high-demand job.

Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding is the backbone of a healthcare facility. It’s what keeps the doors open and the lights on. These positions use ICD-10 codes to tell the insurance companies exactly what services have been provided to each patient. Once the code is established, it is then billed out to the insurance company for payment.

If the healthcare systems do not get paid, they cannot continue to treat patients, so having a strong and efficient medical billing and coding department is essential. 

Dental Assistants and Hygienists

Dental Assistants and Hygienists
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Especially when it comes to the role of Dental Hygienists, people usually assume this is a career that takes an advanced degree. Surprisingly, you can become a hygienist in as little as two years, with the last part of your education being hands-on experience. A hygienist is someone who cleans your teeth, removing the plaque and build up and helping you keep your teeth healthy.

Dental Assisting is a much faster program. In this role, you assist the dentist with his everyday work, including fillings, root canals, and extractions. An advanced dental assisting degree allows you to perform even more advanced functions during these tasks.

Get Started Now 

This is not a comprehensive list. Of course, other career changes you can make can happen in five years, but these are popular careers that people think take a long time or prior experience to get a job in the field, and that is not always the case.

There is no better time than right now to get started living the life you want. Making that career change is the first step to truly loving your job. Going to work and coming home from work satisfied and fulfilled can significantly change your life.