Are you in need of a change? Sometimes a small change like a new hairstyle can be enough to shake things up. But other times, a more dramatic change is needed to cure what ails you. As an Advanced Practitioner, one big career change you can make is switching specialties. Maybe you are tired of family practice and would prefer a more focused specialty like dermatology. Your status as a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant, the certifications listed on your diploma, and the specialized skills you’ve picked up throughout your career all contribute to the path you’ll need to take to successfully change your specialty. It’s an exciting change and one you’ll be glad you’ve taken.
If you are a Physician Assistant, your education allows you to work in any specialty. This allows you to simply change specialties by changing your job. Keep in mind, most employers want previous experience in the same specialty. It will be up to you to make your resume stand out and prove that you have what it takes to step into a new specialty to even be considered. If you are a Family Nurse Practitioner, you also have a broad range of specialties your education qualifies you to work in Internal medicine, cardiology, geriatrics – there are many options and opportunities available. Having a well thought out and personal story about why you want to change specialties at this time and what compelled you to apply for a job in this new specialty will be important in conveying to potential employers that you are the right person for the job.
Say that starting out your career, your passion was caring for kids. You graduated with a pediatrics specialty and have been working in peds ever since. But now, you find yourself wanting to see full-scope primary care and not just pediatrics. If you’re a Nurse Practitioner this may mean you need to go back to get your post masters certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner and as a Physician Assistant the change is just a job away. There are also many options to go back to school with many institutions offering online or weekend classes to make it possible to continue working and study at the same time. Sometimes the program length is a year or there is a certification course that takes just a few weeks. If you are serious about changing specialties, the investment you make in additional education will be worth it.
You can switch specialties during your career. It is one of the best parts of being an advanced practitioner. Some effort will be required to get there but giving your best effort in order to avoid burn out will be worth it.