Best Ideas for a Midlife Career Change

Best Ideas for a Midlife Career Change
Beth Dumbauld

By A.J. O'Connell

If you’re thinking of making a career change in midlife, you’re not alone. Research from the Department of Labor Statistics finds that about 6.2 million workers, or 4% of the total workforce, have transferred from one occupational group to another. Making a career change when you’re older is a huge decision, but it doesn’t need to upend your entire life, or take years to achieve.

Below are some ideas that will help you make the transition to a new career path easier.

Career changes that are easy to make 

You may be ready to change your career, but you also might not want to change your entire lifestyle to do so. Going back to school for several years, moving away from your family’s home, or taking out more loans might not be an option for you. Fortunately, there are several easy career moves you can make without making too many changes.

The jobs below don’t require a degree; you may simply need to earn a certificate or take a course for some health assistant positions. You might already have all the qualifications you need; adjunct professors and private school teachers don’t necessarily need special certifications, while salespeople and customer service representatives are in demand and often trained in-house.

  • Social media manager
  • Web developer
  • Adjunct professor
  • Phlebotomy assistant
  • Pharmacy technician
  • Medical assistants
  • Salesperson
  • Customer service representatives:
  • Private school teacher
  • Bookkeeper
  • Fitness instructor

5 high paying jobs for career changers

If your goal is to change careers in order to make more money, you may need to put a little more time and energy into building your skills; you may want to obtain a new degree or find a way to capitalize on your existing job experience, degree, or personal network to find a well-paying job. Below are some high paying jobs for people who are changing careers.

  1. Financial Planner, average base salary: $87,850 – Financial planners help people manage their money, and you don’t necessarily need to start life in business or finance to take this job on. You also need to have people skills, because you’ll be talking to them about some of their biggest life decisions and about money — which can be a delicate subject for many. If you’re a people person, take some financial courses to get started. If you’re a money person you may want to take some psychology courses.
  2. Consultant, average base salary: $89,185 — If you’ve racked up a lot of experience in a particular field, consider putting it on the market. Consultants are experts in certain fields, and are brought into a company to help improve operations. For this job, you need to be an expert in a particular subject, and you also need to be able to market yourself well, because you’ll be self employed and running your own business. Consider taking some business courses to help set you up for success or courses in your field to brush up on new developments.
  3. Software Engineer, average base salary: $106,576 — Most companies are looking for software engineers, but it might seem a daunting change to make if you don’t consider yourself a computer person. However, software engineers are often self taught, which is good news for someone interested in making a career switch, but if you feel you need more than some time online, register for computer science courses to help you make the change.
  4. Data Scientist, average base salary: $116,125 — It may sound intimidating, but the field of data science is both a new one and a broad one. With our constantly evolving technology, there’s a wealth of data that needs to be worked with. There are also various kinds of data scientists, from analysts to those who specialize in data visualization. Take some courses in IT and data to find out which part of the field is a good fit for you and your background.
  5. Actuary, average base salary: $122, 687 — If you’ve got a mathematical mind, you might be a good fit for actuarial work. Because you’ll be calculating risk, you may need a degree in computer science, economics, or statistics, although a liberal arts degree isn’t a deal breaker — good computer skills and the ability to pass actuarial exams may get you a job. It doesn’t hurt, however, to take some IT courses and learn more about the job.

When is the best time to make a career change?

Whatever your situation, there is no time like now to start on your new career journey. Spend some time understanding why you want to change, what you’d like to do, and what exactly you’ll need to prepare for a new job. Start looking for classes that will help you get your dream job, and seek out people in the profession you are considering to find out what it’s really like in the field.

Even if you’re not sure exactly what you want to do, consider taking a course to get your feet wet; it may be the very first step in your new career. Get more tips on how to make a career change by reading our Guide on Going Back to School at Any Age.

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