Turning 50 is a major life milestone. By 50, you might be happy with yourself and happy with the direction in which your life is heading. But what if your career isn’t making you happy anymore? Making a career change after 50 can save your sanity and let you explore new opportunities.
Is making a career change after 50 the right move for you? There’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking of making a career change after 50. If you plan to retire at age 67 with full Social Security benefits, you still have many years left in your career. If you enjoy what you do, this time will fly by. If you don’t, it might seem like an eternity. If you relate to the latter situation, a career change after 50 might be a good choice for you.
Does your work bring you the satisfaction it used to? Maybe you were never happy in your career and you’re finally ready to make a change. Regardless of whether you are 30 years old or 50 years old, you should be on a career path you enjoy. When you reach age 50, though, you might wonder about what it takes to start a new job search and explore other options. You might wonder if a change is even worthwhile.
In your 50s, your life has different priorities than it did 20 or 30 years ago. You might want a less stressful, slower-paced lifestyle. You might desire to spend more quality time with friends and family. You might need to care for an elderly parent. You might want to switch to a more flexible, less demanding career. Making a career change after 50 can help you manage your shifting priorities and make the most of your desired lifestyle.
Making a career change after 50 can be scary. The good news is that most of what makes a successful career change seem scary is all in your head. Learn about what it takes to make a successful career change and make the most of your golden years on the job.
There are a number of pros and cons to making a career change after 50. By age 50, you might feel confident enough to handle any obstacles that come down your path -- including a career change. You might also question if it’s worth it to start over with a career change after 50.
Like making any decision, you might want to make a list of pros and cons when deciding if a career change after 50 is for you.
Pros of making a career change after 50 might include:
Cons of making a career change after 50 might include
It’s important to think about your goals when making any career change. Having clear goals will help you figure out which path to take. One way to determine your goals is to figure out what you’re looking for in a new career. Are you seeking to change careers to pursue a passion? Do you want a less stressful position to better leverage work-life balance?
There are four kinds of career changes people make after 50. Each type of change has its own obstacles and requires different preparation. Learn about the different kinds of career changes made after 50 and get inspired to find what is best for you.
Many people in their 50s have the drive and resources to go into business for themselves. This makes entrepreneurial career changes a common choice for those in their 50s.
In many cases, people with 20 or 30 years of experience working for someone else in a corporate setting become disillusioned. They might grow weary of office politicking, monotony and the inefficiencies they find in a traditional work setting. This can lead many people to dream of being their own boss and launching their own business.
For many people, the 50s are the perfect age decade to launch a business. You might have some money saved that can be used toward your own business. You might not feel the same financial pressures you did when you were younger. This makes an entrepreneurial career change after 50 a feasible goal for many.
Maybe you’re pursuing a career as a business owner in the same sector or industry. Maybe you’d like to open a business as a passion project related to one of your hobbies or interests. Regardless of your reasoning or your interests, it’s important to do your homework. Take advantage of the free resources available to you from organizations like SCORE, the Small Business Administration and local business incubators.
Before you know it, you’ll be successful with your own business after an entrepreneurial career change.
Maybe you’ve spent several decades making a name for yourself as an expert controller or accountant. With an industry career change, you stay in the same kind of position, just in a different industry.
Maybe you’re ready to take your existing skills and apply them to a new role. An industry career change will allow you to do this.
Maybe you’ve been working as a controller for a large construction company for several decades. Let’s say you’ve grown sick of the fluctuations in the housing and building market and are looking for a career with growth potential to see you through to retirement. Taking your skill set and applying it to a new industry, like logistics, in this case, might be an example of a wise industry career change.
Job seekers looking to make industry career changes should focus on displaying their transferable skills on their resume and job applications. You help facilitate this change by networking in your desired industry and doing your homework and research.
A functional career change is practically the reverse of an industry career change. In this case, you move positions within the same industry.
Maybe the controller in the situation above has been working in the finance department of a construction company for a few decades, but they’d like to get into sales. By switching to a home sales position within the same company or another building company, they are making a functional career change. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills and their experience behind and moving to a position that allows them to develop new skills within the same industry.
When making a functional career change, you might find that you need additional education or certifications. You might start by seeking out certification courses or other training opportunities. Trade associations and even local community colleges can be sources of career training. Figure out what education you need and start taking steps to get there to make your functional career change go smoothly.
In a double career change, you’re switching both careers and industries. This might be the most challenging of all career changes you can make.
A double career change would be a controller making the switch to a math teacher. Yes, they’re used to working with numbers, but education requires a whole new set of skills and is a completely unrelated industry than finance.
When you’re considering making a double career change, it’s important to do you your research. What certifications or education do you need to make it in your new field? What can you do to get the required training? From there, you might be able to get your foot in the door through a part-time opportunity, apprenticeship or other entry-level position.
If you’re making a double career change, it might be wise to speak with a career counselor. They can help you navigate the waters of switching careers while they help you focus on how your existing skills, including soft skills, might apply in a new position in a new industry.
One way you might be able to pinpoint your next career move is by leveraging data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS gathers data that can be used to learn about different career paths, the fastest growing careers and more.
When you make a double career change, you might find that you have to start at the bottom. In many cases, a potential employer is taking a chance on you because you lack experience in your new field of work.
The first step in making a career change after 50 is figuring out what kind of change you’d like to make. From there, you’ll need to determine what (if any) additional training or certifications you’ll need.
Do you still need help deciding where to go? A career counselor might have the answers. A career coach or career counselor can help you find a career based on personality, determine your aptitudes, figure out your work-related values and indicate your interests. You might be able to find a career counselor through a local workforce development board, the college you attended, or even a local college or university.
A career counselor might be able to match you with a list of occupations that fit your personality, education, experience and profile. From there, you’ll want to explore the occupations on the list. As you review the list, consider how long it will take you to prepare for your next career. When you’re in your 50s, you have less than two working decades left. Do you really want to dedicate 8 years for graduate school to become an English professor with a Ph.D.? By the time you finish your education, you’ll only have a few years left to work and enjoy it. You might want to avoid choosing an occupation that will involve too much training or education before you get to work. Choosing a career that requires extra training might not be a wise move for someone in their 50s.
It is wise to think about choosing to switch to a career that allows you to take advantage of your transferable skills. This will allow you to easily integrate into your new career and might not require additional training.
While you’re at it, think about researching job duties and more. You’ll want to know the employment outlook for your new job. The employment outlook is the forecast of projected growth for a certain career over the next 5 years. You might also want to learn about median wages for your chosen career. You can find this information in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Many job seekers over 50 are looking for jobs with flexibility and a great work-life balance. Its time: work might not be the most important thing in your life as you prepare for the final stretch in your career.
There are plenty of options available to those making a career change after 50. Here are 5 jobs that might be a good fit for workers over 50 in need of a career change.
Are you an entrepreneurial spirit who has a way with words? You might think about a career as an author or writer. According to the BLS, writers and authors have a median annual salary of $62,170 and can expect to see 8% job growth by 2026.
Find that a career as a freelance writer gives you the flexibility you crave. You can take on assignments that interest you. Writers can work from home, in an office or on the go - in most cases, all you need is access to a computer.
Even with slated growth in the industry, competition is expected for full-time writing jobs. This is because many people are drawn toward this profession.
If you’ve spent your career working with numbers and have some financial savvy, you might make a great candidate for a personal financial advisor job. According to data from the BLS, personal financial advisors make a median annual salary of $88,890 each year and can expect to see 15% job growth by 2026. This growth is much faster than average, so you’ll likely find many opportunities in this sector.
Many personal financial advisors are self-employed. This means it takes an entrepreneurial attitude to make this career work. You might need to meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends, but you can set your own schedule. This gives you the flexibility you might not enjoy with other careers.
Let’s say you’ve had a great career but are looking to switch gears. If you have leadership and management experience, you might consider a career as a management analyst. Sometimes called management consultants, these analysts work with business to improve efficiency. As a management analyst, you can pass on your knowledge to see other businesses succeed. According to data from the BLS, management analyst make a median annual salary of $83,610. The job outlook for management analysts is good and is expected to grow 14% by 2026.
Like the other careers on this list, management analysts are often self-employed. They travel frequently. Management analysts can work long hours. In 2016, 1 in 4 management analysts reported working more than 40 hours each week.
Similar occupations to a management analyst include accountants and auditors, administrative services managers, budget analysts, cost estimators and financial analysts.
Another career in which you can really work for yourself is as a real estate broker or sales agent. Most real estate brokers are self-employed, while agents work under a broker.
According to numbers from the BLS, real estate brokers and sales agents make a median annual income of $50,300. The job growth outlook is projected to be 6% by 2026. Employment in the real estate industry follows the health of the economy.
Similar occupations to real estate brokers and sales agents include advertising sales agents, real estate appraisers and assessors, loan officers and insurance sales agents.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to go into education. Maybe you appreciate the flexibility that substitute teaching offers. Maybe you have specific skills you’d like to share. No matter the reason, teaching is a great option for those over 50.
According to data from the BLS, high school teachers bring home a median annual salary of $60,320. Middle school teachers have a median annual salary of $58,600 per year, while kindergarten and elementary school teachers make a median annual salary of $57,980. Job growth for teachers is expected to be between 7 and 8 percent by 2026.
Making a career change after 50 doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Learning more about kinds of career changes, how to make a change and exploring potential careers can take the fear out of the change. Make the most of your career’s golden years by finding a job you love.