Laptop, pens, notepad, magnifier, and a coffee on a deskThinking about a career change? Often, people who leave the workforce due to a disability find that they no longer can perform the job or work in the career they once had. For some, choosing a different path to work is the answer. Here are some questions to ask yourself before making the transition to a new career, including how Ticket to Work can help you!

Read more ...

Thinking about a Career Change?

Aug 19, 2020

Laptop, pens, notepad, magnifier, and a coffee on a deskOften, people who leave the workforce due to a disability find that they no longer can perform the job or work in the career they once had. But what if they still want to work? For some people, depending on the nature of their disability, choosing a different career path is the answer. Today, we're talking about steps you can take if you're thinking about a career change and showcasing two individuals who've done just that with help from the Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program.

Where do I start?

Changing careers, even when the new career may be in the same industry in which you previously worked, starts with self-assessment. You'll want to consider your own interests, values, aptitude and personality. What do you do that you most enjoy? Do you like to work independently or with others? What skills or talents do you have? Are there skills you gained from your previous employment that are transferable to a new occupation? Career counselors often review these and other factors with you to help guide your next steps in the process, but there are also free self-assessment tools that you can take.

Marty was a contractor and carpenter. Reflecting on his situation when he lost an arm to cancer, he said, “I had been making my living with my hands before; and basically, I guess I had to reinvent myself.” With support from a Ticket Program service provider, Marty is now Lead Estimator and Project Manager at a company where he manages multiple building and restoration projects.

What else do I need to consider?

After the self-assessment, you may have identified some occupations that you think you'd enjoy and be good at. However, there are a few other factors you'll probably need to take into account. Will you need some additional education or training? If so, are you aware of resources to help you peruse it? What's your timeline to make the jump to a new career? Do you have financial responsibilities that will determine your salary requirements? Will you need flexibility in terms of hours of work or job location? These are all factors that can help you narrow your choices.

How do I learn about possible careers?

Next, you'll want to do some research into the occupations that you've identified. For example, you'll want to know whether the occupation is expected to grow, what the average salary is and what education or training is required. One comprehensive source for this type of information is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This government agency publishes the Occupational Outlook Handbook, which provides data on hundreds of occupations, including typical duties, work environment, education and training needed, median pay for workers, and the job outlook over the coming decade for that occupation.

What else can I do?

Once you've sorted through potential career options and determined which ones hold the most promise for you, it's time to dig a little deeper. Are you an older worker? Studies show that older workers bring invaluable knowledge, diversity, reliability and skill to the workplace. Employers today want to hire diverse, talented workers. That creates employment opportunities for workers with disabilities as well. Look for employers that want to hire people with your skills and experience, regardless of age, by researching the company culture. Arrange for an informational interview. Research the company or organization on the Internet. Consider applying for an internship.

After a surgery mishap, Robert, an Army veteran, sustained a spinal cord injury. No longer able to perform his job as a U.S. Postal Carrier, he was determined to return to the workforce as soon as he could. With his Ticket Program service provider, Robert developed a plan that included going back to school to study social work. He now works with a veterans’ service organization where he advocates for other veterans to make sure they are getting the services and benefits they need.

When do I decide?

These steps aren't a shortcut to a new career. It takes time and effort to do the research, think through your own situation and evaluate your options. However, the time you spend at the beginning of the process to discover what you like to do and how it fits into your life is an investment most likely to result in finding a path to a new career you'll love.

Find your path to success!

If you receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI/SSDI), are age 18 through 64, and you'd like help along the way, consider the free and voluntary Ticket Program. Ticket Program service providers are ready to help you think about your next steps, including a career change. They can help you find training and education, provide job search assistance and on-going support to help you maintain employment, and can give you information about how work will affect your benefits.

To learn more about the Ticket Program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket Program Find Help tool.

To learn more about the Ticket Program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket Program Find Help tool.

Stay Informed by Subscribing to Texts from Ticket to Work!

If you're interested in receiving text messages from the Ticket Program, please text TICKET to 474747. Standard messaging rates may apply. We'll send updates from our blog, identify steps on the path to employment and more. We hope you'll find this new way to stay in touch helpful. You can opt out at any time.

If you're interested in receiving text messages from the Ticket Program, please text TICKET to 474747. Standard messaging rates may apply. We'll send updates from our blog, identify steps on the path to employment and more. We hope you'll find this new way to stay in touch helpful. You can opt out at any time.

Receive Blog Updates
  Opt in to receive information about the Ticket program via text. Text the word "TICKET" to 474747