If someone received OWLs and NEWTs in a certain subject(s) at Hogwarts, then got a job, if they decided that they wanted a career change but needed OWLs and NEWTs to do so, would it be possible for them to go back to school to get these OWLS and NEWTs? (Ex: A Wizard who worked at the Leaky Cauldron who wanted to be a healer.)

Is this even allowed? Or are you stuck with a decision you made at 15? If this is allowed, would they go back to Hogwarts, some sort of adult wizarding school, or a wizarding school abroad?

I suspect that there is no canon evidence or examples mentioned (as the case of Hermione going back to school to get her NEWTS is a special case) so well-argued speculation is warmly welcomed.

Some of the answers and comments from: Is there wizarding education for adults? were helpful but didn't answer the whole of my question: if you answered or commented on that post please feel free to elaborate on your answer or comment in relation to career change and retaking examinations!

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    Speculation: as with muggle education and career changes, I'd suspect that there must be some room for magical career shifts even for a wizard who doesn't have the expected OsnNs. While I doubt such a wizard could change careers from running a pub to being a healer, she should certainly be able to change subspecialties within healing, just as ordinary nurses and doctors can. Even in the wizarding world, their government is plagued by the need for administration, and advancement by heading a new department is more a matter of admin skill than anything magical.
    – elemtilas
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 14:40
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    OWLs and NEWTs are based on the UK's A-levels and O-levels/GCSEs; in the real UK, you don't usually need to go back and get more school qualifications if you change career. Commented May 5, 2021 at 15:04
  • @DanielRoseman I live in the U.S, so I didn't know this! Thank you for letting me know!
    – ava
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 15:10
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    If you've got a BS in Computer Science and decide to go into nursing, you'll definitely need more schooling, but you sure wouldn't go take the SAT again - you only take that once at the end of high school.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


Rowling based the education system within the Potterverse on the British education system. OWLs are the equivalent of the GCSE/O-Level qualifications you leave mandatory education with. No job is overly concerned about what particular topics you took at that level just that you achieved this basic level of education. They are more to show that you have basic reading, writing, numeracy, and comprehension skills.

NEWTs are based on the A-Level examinations (which would be typically completed at the age of 18) and are designed to be preparatory for university. These demonstrate an ability to learn on your own at a level expected of higher education.

If your chosen career has a particular need of an advanced education, this would be done in the wizarding equivalent of university. I don't recall any mention of details about magical universities in any of the books I read, but I would imagine that operate on much the same basis as their muggle counterparts.


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