What is a Good Second Career for Someone Over 50?

What is a Good Second Career for Someone Over 50?

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Are you wondering what is a good second career for someone over 50? After successfully entering the workforce, maybe you chose to take the nearest exit off-ramp at various points during your career journey. Whether it was to raise children as a stay-at-home mom or to care for a disabled spouse or aging parent, ramping back up and reentering the workforce might prove challenging. However, it’s not impossible!

This is an excellent opportunity to explore all of your options. As part of your personal growth plan , you will want to investigate some career options you might not have considered before.

Whether you quit altogether, transitioned to a more flexible career, or pursued a part-time side hustle, now is an excellent time to pursue a second career that aligns better with where you are at right now. In short, it is time for your Second Act.

Click Your Way to a Dream Job with LinkedIn

As you begin your research, a major consideration is the experience you already possess. Is there a way to take the skills you already have and repackage them into a new opportunity?

One of the best ways to do this is to sign-up for a free LinkedIn account and reconnect with your former colleagues. Analyze their career trajectory, particularly the people who shared your previous job title. What have they been doing while you were out of the workforce?  Are any of these positions of interest to you?

Another personal LinkedIn strategy is to reverse engineer your dream job.  Huh?  How do you do this?  Find the people doing what you want to do and investigate the path they followed to get there.

For example, let’s say you enjoy party planning and always thought you’d make a good corporate event planner. After all, good career choices over 50 would be event planning because many moms have lots of experience throwing birthday parties and volunteer events.

Search the LinkedIn profiles for event planners and review their work experience and job descriptions. Where do you see connections with your work experience and volunteer activities?  What opportunities exist for you to gain new experience in this area?

Zoom to the Top with Fast-Growing Jobs

Once the creative juices are flowing, it is time to brainstorm some possibilities. The goal is to find some career choices over 50 featuring the 
most in-demand jobs in the future.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook provides a wealth of information on median income, job growth rate, and required education level. Some quick research in the Occupational Outlook Handbook revealed high growth job options for moms who want to get back into the workforce

Create More Opportunities with a College Degree

Is going back to school after 50 a good idea?  It depends! When assessing your options, three categories seem immensely important-median annual salary, estimated job growth, and required education level.

Massive Opportunities Found with College Degrees

If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, investigate the following fast-growing jobs:  

  • Medical/Health Service Managers
  • Financial Managers
  • Social/Community Services Managers
  • Fundraiser
  • Event Planner
  • Training Development Specialist
  • Cost Estimator
  • Financial Analyst
  • Pre-school/Childcare Director
  • Property Manager
  • Loan Officer.

Get a Certificate and Start Your Career

The following are high-growth positions that require specific degrees and/or credentials:

  • Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Personal Financial Planner
  • Real Estate Appraiser/Assessor
  • Nursing
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
  • Marriage and Family Therapist

Considering that an actuary enjoys a median salary of $102,880 and a 22% job growth rate, this one might be worth the time required to gain the additional education. An important consideration is whether or not you have the time to attend school. Consider not just the cost of the degree, but the lost income from being in class instead of in the workforce collecting a paycheck. Assuming you need to get back to work quickly, there are several high growth occupations with a good return on investment.

Although nursing is a well-known option, if you have an interest in medical careers consider becoming a diagnostic medical sonographer. At $67,808 in median annual salary with an Associate’s degree, the pay is not much lower than that of registered nurses who make $71,730 with a Bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, the diagnostic medical sonography field is expected to grow by 17% over the next ten years, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Note that you could become a Marriage and Family Therapist which, while growing at an astronomical rate of 23%, the field only pays a median salary of $50,094 with a Master’s degree! With your retirement looming, the financial outlook is likely top of mind.

Fast Growing Jobs That Require an Associate’s Degree

Demographers predict skyrocketing growth in medical professions largely because aging baby boomers are a likely social trend for years. Some of these positions pay particularly well and only require an Associate’s degree:

  • Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Occupational Therapy Assistant
  • MRI Technologist
  • Nuclear Medicine Radiologist
  • Radiation Therapist.

These fields have ever changing requirements for certification based on location so it is important to look into the qualifications needed in your area. At $82,330 in annual median salary, becoming a radiation therapist promises rewarding pay with reasonable educational requirements and a higher than average job growth rate of 13%.

No College Degree? You can get THERE from HERE

If you are feeling that you need to move into a new position as quickly as possible, consider the following careers that don’t require college degrees. Each of these have a 10-29% job growth rate and over $32,000+ in median annual salary.

  • medical or dental assistant
  • massage therapist
  • optician
  • medical records tech
  • private detective
  • property manager
  • pharmacy tech


Why Choose Sales As a Career?

When I was searching for my first professional position after college, I remember telling a mentor of mine that I wanted to do “anything but sales.’ Ironically, I ended up in sales…..for a long, long time. It was one of THE best career decisions I ever made!

Why choose sales as a career? Because you have proof of your contribution to the organization. The sales you generate make it obvious that you add value. The key to moving up in a company (or simply being allowed to stay) is to prove that you make the company more than you cost them.

A career in sales also allows you far more flexibility. This can be a very important factor for you as you reenter the workforce. Also. most salespeople don’t sit at a desk all day. The freedom to fit in an appointment for a haircut in the middle of the day is worth a great deal. 

Do you enjoy being told how much you should earn annually? Neither do I! Has anyone accused you of having champagne taste on a beer budget? If so, figure out how to get the champagne budget! Wondering “how do I make six-figures or more per year?” You are much more likely to attain that goal in a sales career. Depending on the organization, most sales commission plans offer very high income potential.

For these reasons, sales as a career is a top choice for women over 50….for all women really. First, I recommend that you learn how to sell successfully. Seek sales positions in the following fields:

  • real estate sales
  • mortgage sales
  • digital advertising sales
  • technology sales
  • educational technology sales
  • office equipment sales
  • medical sales

Design A Job That Fits Your Life

As you mull over your options, consider the following perspective. When we were growing up, a familiar question that many of us heard is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” After much reflection, I concluded that this was entirely the wrong question to ask and leads many down the wrong path. Since I’m a firm believer that asking the right questions is pretty much the key to life, I believe a better question is “How do you want to live?” No, really. How do YOU want to live during your Second Act?

Control Your Destiny & Start Your Own Thing

Possibly some things that used to work for you, like sitting in a cubicle for 40+ hours per week, just are not going to cut it this time around. You’ve evolved and, hopefully you know a whole awful lot more about your needs, hopes, and desires than you did when you were just starting out.

So before you start getting all practical and thinking about “I just need to make some money” or “what is my new purpose” give yourself some space to think about what you really want.

Are you the type of person who simply wants to go to work, put in your time, and collect a paycheck?  Or is starting a business in midlife appealing?  Clearly, the second option requires that you take more risk and  are able to delay the gratification of an immediate paycheck. Before you start your own business after 50, grab the checklist of things to research before picking a business to start. Consider designing a life that you don’t need to take a vacation from!

Your Future Is So Bright It Blinds My Eyes

What IS a good second career for someone over 50?  After exploring your options, you should now have a short list of positions that are fast-growing, have adequate or better income, and fit your preferences.  Research the specifics and spring toward your brilliant Second Act. Your future is just brimming with new possibilities!

For more tips on creating an amazing Second Act, sign-up for the newsletter and join the Act 2 Mom Facebook Group.

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