I can't speak definitively on the subject, because, like you, I am also investigating a change of career. What I can tell you is what has worked for me so far.
Read. Research as much as possible. Buy books, read information online. This website is one of many great resources.
One thing that I have repeatedly read is the suggestion to work in a restaurant before you decide to go to culinary school. Changing careers is a big decision and a big investment! Here is what I did to get some experience.
One of the best chefs in town (in my foodie opinion) offers cooking classes at his restaurant. I signed up and decided that after the class I would volunteer to stage. During the class the chef mentioned that he has several students who come in throughout the week. I thought 'Aha! That's my chance.' After the class I told the chef that I tought he was an artist and that he does amazing thngs with food (flattery never hurts!). I asked what I could do to become his student. A couple weeks and a few conversations later, he has agreed to take me on as a student. I think this will be a wonderful opportunity for me to get some experience in a professional kitchen before I make the decision to change careers.
I know this may sound like being in the right place at the right time and getting lucky. However, I left out a lot of the details of the story. I had to have quite a bit of determination and, importantly, enthusiasm in order to get this opportunity. So, my point is if you want something bad enough, just get out there and make it happen.
Good luck! Maybe we'll be calling each other 'chef' in a few years.