There is nothing that requires more courage than a situation where you are unemployed and want to make a career change at the same time, so that you are never again in a position to be laid off. If you need to be working and starting from scratch on training again, you might look at the accounting field as a business niche where you can do both.

A recent report from a national organization of recruiters and career placement professionals ranks accounting as the number one most sought after degree among new graduates out looking for jobs. That’s just background info: nobody who is looking for a career change has the time or resources to go back to school for years.

However, accounting is one of those professions that you can work your way into, if you can find the right starting point. According to the Department of Labor there are over two million bookkeepers and accounting clerks working in this country at the moment. In most cases, the requirement is a high school degree and some experience in accounting or managing a general ledger.

This is the creative part; you’ve got to make the case that handling a petty cash account or keeping track of someone’s expenses amounts to experience in the field. If you’re managing a household on next to no income you’re showing some impressive accounting skills right there. But if you can sell yourself as a reliable, organized person who can handle numbers you’ve got a foot in the door. It certainly won’t be the job or the income of your dreams, but it will pay the bills and allow you to take the next step.

Entry level positions for accounting jobs will in many cases require nothing more than an associate’s degree. Enroll yourself in a program that can get you an accounting degree in as brief a period as possible, taking classes at night or online. Normally an associate’s degree takes two years, but perhaps you have some college credits that you can transfer into your new academic pursuit. Once you’ve obtained formal accounting training, you can either look for an opportunity to move up the ladder in your current place of employment or shop around for a company that needs an entry level accountant.

The third step is to dive into your new accounting job, no matter how limited it may seem, and learn everything you can about the operations of an accounting department. Once you’re comfortably ensconced, you can consider the option of pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting, or even the extra education beyond the accounting degree that is required to become a CPA.

But that’s for another day. If you’re searching the internet and the want ads for job opportunities, find a few ads for a bookkeeper’s position. Once you’ve convinced yourself that you have the experience, you may well be able to convince the potential employer as well.

Author's Bio: 

Bob Hartzell is a freelance writer who covers careers and education.