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Dec 10

One More Boundary Condition in the Encore Stage

In addition to the three boundary conditions I discussed in my last post (financial considerations, health, and family circumstances), perhaps I should add a fourth:  Some encore dreams may require or benefit from additional education and training.  Seeking a certification, or even a complete college degree, may make sense, when one considers the potential scope of an encore career.

For example, it seems as if a lot of Boomers are drawn to working in health-related careers, having spent their previous working years in some other way.  Often, that choice will require obtaining licensure or certification, perhaps through an associate degree program.  Although the time and money required to complete entry requirements may seem daunting, if one expects to work in the new career for ten years or more, the investment may be perfectly reasonable.

Alternatively, I’ve known quite a few people who wanted to shift from the business world to work in a nonprofit agency.  These people knew they faced a significant reduction in pay, but they had other sources of income, perhaps from pensions and investments.  They needed to earn a paycheck, but they were excited by an opportunity to follow their heart.

Sometimes to their surprise, they may discover that the nonprofit world is different than the for-profit, especially with regard to financial and human resource matters.  Although the differences may not require another degree, there might be value in taking a few courses related to nonprofit management.  Courses and certificates in this area are popping up, here and there, but you might have to dig to find what you want.

Entrepreneurship is yet another area that is “booming” with Boomers.  Here, again, people choosing to start their own business might benefit from focused study in areas that are key to entrepreneurial success, such as finance, accounting, or management.  Credit and noncredit programs in entrepreneurship have become relatively common, in recent years.

If you are looking at educational or training opportunities, don’t forget to check out online programs, where you might even find what you want at little or no cost, especially if you are not concerned about receiving academic credit.  Increasingly, Boomers are likely to find that there are very good options to earn an appropriate certification, or even degrees, through online, hybrid, or intensive residency programs.  If you want or need additional education to pursue your encore dream, keep an open mind and do some exploring.  The options are different than the last time you went to school.