Whether you’ve known you’re going to be a police officer since the age of five or the mere mention of choosing a career path brings you out in a cold sweat, it’s a huge moment. Picking your profession can seem a pretty daunting crossroad to approach as you prepare to leave school. But what if settling on a broad job category isn’t enough – and you want to know exactly what you’ll be doing in ten years’ time?
Choosing to specialise in your chosen career path from this early stage is a brilliant decision – your studies will be focused, you’ll learn practical and valuable skills and you can rest easy knowing what job you’ll get at the end of it. Plus, when it comes to applying for that job, you’re sure to have the edge over someone who hasn’t specialised.
Here are five ways you can choose to turn a regular career into a specialised one…
1. Special Educational Needs and Disability Teacher
As a teacher you’ll mould minds and make a lasting impression on young people’s lives. Maybe you’ve got an awesome teacher who’s inspired you to do what they did for you. But instead of specialising in Maths, English or History, why not teach special educational needs (SEN) and disability classes?
Working closely with pupils who need extra support due to physical or learning disabilities is one of the most rewarding teaching jobs you can do. Based either in an SEN unit within a mainstream school or in a specialised SEN school, you’ll get hands-on with small classes full of pupils whose lives you can truly transform.
You’ll get most of the experience you need to be an SEN teacher during regular teacher training, but once you’ve attained QTS (Qualified Teacher Status) you might need to take part in extra training depending on the school.
2. Children’s Nurse
Nurses are always in demand, so if you’re planning to undertake a nursing degree you can be pretty certain of a job at the end of it. But by deciding to specialise now, you could find you’re a few steps ahead in three years’ time.
By doing a paediatric nursing course, you’ll learn the same wide-ranging nursing skills while gaining an in-depth understanding of the theoretical side of child development. You’ll take part in specialised placements – such as at children’s wards and clinics – and qualify ready to work with patients under 18 in all sorts of areas – hospital nursing, community nursing and even school nursing.
3. Working in the Armed Forces
You’ve seen the army ads on the TV where soldiers crawl through the undergrowth, weapons in hand – but the reality of the armed forces is that all sorts of people work in all sorts of roles to keep everything moving.
From chefs to physiotherapists and engineers to IT developers, whatever your career path of choice you can be sure that specialising in armed forces work will add a level of excitement. Whether you’re cooking up dinner for hundreds or getting injured servicemen and women back on their feet, you’ll travel far and wide and work in a world where no two days are the same.
4. Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapy allows you to take expertise in physical therapy and combine it with real, hands-on caring work that will make a huge difference in patients’ lives. You’ll work with people recovering from surgery, elderly people or people with mental illnesses to help them be as independent as possible in their home and working environments.
You can choose to study occupational therapy as a degree course at many universities around the UK, and it’s the kind of qualification that will allow you to gain a huge range of in-depth knowledge and skills and apply them directly to an always in-demand job role.
5. Prop Maker
If you’ve got an interest in design and technology and are looking at your career options, building props for film, TV or theatre can be a great way to use your creativity, technical know-how and problem-solving skills. It’s a hugely varied responsibility that could mean making anything from replica weapons to fake plates of food.
You’ll work closely with production teams and carefully sketch up designs, as well as sourcing and buying props and repairing them where necessary – all in the knowledge that thousands, if not millions, of people will admire your hard work. Art and design degrees are useful in this area but not essential – you’ll get the most experience out of starting from the bottom of the ladder as an assistant or trainee.