(if wishing for the Bodhisatta path, don't read it, as good householder could gain liberating wisdom by it. Read only if wishing to abound doubts!)
As for the awakening that arises by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path, once one has gained the first stage of awakening, streamenter, there is actually no more return but one is headed toward liberation within max. 7 further "pleasing" existances in the human- or Deva-realm. Time can be of course shortened or, if no right effort is made paths and fruits arises by birth, by death.
As for other sects, outside the Buddha-Sasana, which desire long wandering on and suffering, because of the fact that once right view is gained, the path cause developed, they but all effort into avoid insight and wisdom as well as to [listen to the good teachings](Listening to the True Dhamma) since if they would hear the Dhamma of the Awakened with proper attention, they would lose their possibility to "compassionate" give and experiance suffering for long periods.
There is, how ever, a point of return (44-49. Turning Away Through Perception, etc. (saññā-vivaṭṭādi)) when touched and in progress with gain of seeing, Vipassana (when having seen the reality of Dukkha), like when listening to the good teaching, when one would need to let go of the last distruction to cling on to hold a stand.
But even if one has gained the stage of Faith-follower or Dhamma-folower, once the Ariya-Dhamma is known, one would die before not having gained to be headed for liberation, since latest by upcoming of death the decay of clinging to a stand is not avoidable and adds the practice to the already known.
The primar cause of staying in Samsara is to associate with fools and avoid wise and awakened people, seeking for giving toward the lower and maximum equal and avoid increase of relation with more advanced and Sublime in regard of virtues, concentration and wisdom.
So one has, if gained good human birth, not done one of the 6 grave transgression, not a fool and touched by the Juwels (e.g. living near where they might still exist) always the choice whether give into the momentum of old-age, sickness and death or toward Unbound.
Less are capable to change their Ancestorship.
These days there are some who wish for Buddhahood, and wisdom-oriented Buddhahood at that, though their conduct barely qualifies them to become ordinary disciples. What characterizes them is the bold banner of craving-de- pendent deeds, which cry out for public recognition right now and yearn for glorious results hereafter....The Four Special Characteristics of a Bodhisatta
Gati, gati, paragati, parasamgati, bodhisvaha
[Note that this is not given for stacks, exchange or any other trade binding to the world (Bodhisatta-way) but for Unbound, escape from Suffering by abounding foolishness]