Technical Education

Five Career Changes You Can Make in Less than a Year

A Second Career is Closer than You Think

According to a 2021 survey by the Federal Reserve, nearly 40 percent of adults who went to college regret their choice of major. And for many working adults, the thought of “do-over” doesn’t seem very “do-able.”

Yet there are many short-term certificate options that offer a second chance for a new career. Here are five of the top in-demand, great-paying career changes you can make in less than a year.

Right Skills Now for Manufacturing (CNC Operator)

If you’re a problem solver with a high attention to detail and technical aptitude, you might want to consider a career in advanced manufacturing as a machinist and CNC operator.

From large medical manufacturers to small machine shops, the manufacturing industry is looking for skilled machinists to fill these roles. And with 70 percent of current machinists past the age of 45, the employment opportunities are only going to grow.

Dunwoody’s Right Skills Now for Manufacturing program is designed to fast-track you into this technologically advanced industry with 18-weeks of classroom/lab training followed by a six-week paid internship. You’ll learn the principles of metal-cutting and milling technology through hands-on projects in a state-of-the-industry Machine Shop that includes training on both manual mills and CNC (computer numeric controlled) machines.

Welding Technology

If you’re creative, like working with your hands, and want a job that will give you the flexibility to find work wherever you go — welding could be a perfect fit.

The demand for welders has been growing, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the industry will have more than 47,000 openings on average each year for the next decade. This versatile career has opportunities across a wide range of industries and sectors, including construction, manufacturing, energy, aerospace, marine/shipbuilding, and railroads.

A certificate in Welding Technology from Dunwoody College will train you to be a professional welder in just two semesters. The program aligns with the standards set for by the American Welding Society and teaches you all the standard welding methods used in industry, including oxygen-fuel and cutting, shielded metal arc, gas metal arc, and gas tungsten arc.

Electronics Technician

People who are detail-oriented, learn by trial and error, and have an interest in how electronics work and how to make them work better might be interested in a career in electronics. It’s an area of technology that literally makes our world function, and it’s often on the cutting edge of new technologies.  

Electronics Technicians are needed in almost every sector of manufacturing: aerospace, medical device and semiconductor manufacturing companies lead the way. And with a 100 percent placement rate in the field, graduates from the Dunwoody program are in high demand.

Dunwoody offers a one-year certificate in Electronics Technology and classes are offered in the evening, making it a good option for working professionals looking to switch gears. You’ll learn the basics of electricity and electronics and how to design, build, and troubleshoot digital circuits.

Sheet Metal & HVAC Installation

Like working with people and don’t want to sit in an office all day? Interested in making the built environment more comfortable and efficient? You may want to consider a career in HVAC installation.

A shortage of skilled workers in this great-paying field means graduates from this program will have no problem securing a job as residential, commercial, or industrial installers and shop workers for HVAC companies.

In just two semesters, Dunwoody’s Sheet Metal & HVAC Installation certificate can prepare you with the skills needed to install residential and light commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. You’ll learn blueprint reading, load calculations, warm air systems design, installation techniques, and fabrication skills.

Land Surveying

Whether you’re just starting out, or looking for a second career, there’s a lot of things to love about a career in land surveying. And if the idea of working outdoors, using high-tech equipment, and solving problems appeals to you, this might be your calling.

According to, projections from the U.S. Department of Labor show the need for land surveyors and technicians will outpace the average growth for all occupations. At Dunwoody, the program placement rate for both the Land Surveying and the Surveying & Civil Engineer Technology degree programs is 100 percent.

The one-year Land Surveying program at Dunwoody provides an accelerated option for those who want to become surveying technicians. The certificate also offers a pathway to become a licensed surveyor down the line with the completion of a bachelor’s degree (of if you already have one) and the completion of other requirements.


Interested in learning more? Attend one of our monthly Open Houses to speak with faculty and tour the campus or meet one-on-one with an Admissions counselor. You can also email


With a certificate from Dunwoody, you can be out working in the field in less than a year. But that doesn’t have to be a stopping point for your new career either. All of Dunwoody’s certificate programs transfer into one or more associate of applied science degrees, which would take only one more year to complete once you’re ready for more education.

And all of the associate’s degrees transfer into one or more bachelor’s completion degrees (with online and/or evening options) for when you’re ready to move into manager, leadership, and entrepreneur roles.