The Best Second Careers for a Midlife Career Change


As with any big change, switching careers in the middle of your life can be a daunting prospect. However, regardless of where you are in your life or career, there are a number of careers that can be ideal for a rewarding second act. If you’re not quite sure about when it’s a good idea to make the leap and what kind of second career ideas work best for someone interested in a midlife career change, here are some ideas and tips for making a switch.

Am I Too Old to Change Careers?

Sooner or later, almost everyone who considers a midlife career change will find themselves asking “Am I too old to change careers?” The good news is, there is no magic age when a career change suddenly becomes a bad idea. Whether or not you’re too old to change careers depends almost entirely on your goals and circumstances.

Switching careers almost invariably means making sacrifices. For example, transitioning to a new career often requires that you start from an entry-level position. How might that impact your finances in the short term or your plans for retirement? Reviewing the financial implications of your decision is a good starting point, but having the right reasons to change can be just as important.

Why Do I Want to Change Careers?

It’s quite common for people to consider a midlife career change, and successful midlife career changes occur every day. However, it is important to have the right motivation behind your decision to pursue new opportunities. People who are solely motivated by money often end up regretting their decision, which is why it can be helpful to learn more about the Do’s and Don’ts of Changing Your Career.

By contrast, if you’re feeling unfulfilled at your job, that can be an excellent reason to make a switch. The same is true for people who don’t feel as though they’re living up to their potential, or are no longer interested in their work. A willingness to engage in continued learning and a strong motivation to succeed can help foster a successful career change at almost any age.

What Are the Best Jobs for a Midlife Career Change?

Figuring out the best midlife career changes for you personally will depend on what kind of skills you already possess. Being able to apply transferable skills you’ve learned from past or present careers can make the transition to a new one much smoother. Plus, some of the best second career ideas also are uniquely suited for people with previous career experience. For example:

1. Actuary

An actuary is someone who uses statistics to gauge risk. Actuarial careers are among the best jobs for a midlife career change because of their excellent entry-level pay, removing some or all of the financial sacrifice associated with a career change. People who have a background in finance, math, or analytical abilities will have a head start in this field.

2. Insurance Sales

Insurance sales careers involve helping someone determine the right policies for their needs. These careers are an excellent choice for someone changing careers because your success hinges on an array of transferable skills. That includes effective networking, multitasking, and skill in communication. It’s also helpful that several industries, like the insurance industry, always have positions for someone interested in a sales career.

3. Data Scientist

A data scientist is usually tasked with analyzing information, performing research, and communicating findings to a non-technical audience. These careers rely heavily on mathematical and analytical ability, as well as computer fluency or programming experience. Data scientists don’t necessarily need an advanced degree, and it’s often possible to learn the extra skills required without going back to school.

4. Risk Manager

Similar to an actuary, a risk manager models risk. They also help organizations to determine the levels of risk they’re taking on, ensure legal compliance, and perform research. Previous experience in finance, management, engineering, law, or science can be advantageous. And people with the right skills will find these careers provide considerable opportunity for advancement for employees of all ages.

5. Software Engineer

A software engineer designs and develops the software that runs so much of the world around us. Among all of the best second careers after 40, this is one of the best options for highly motivated self-starters. Problem solving, communication skills, and analytical abilities learned in previous careers can be invaluable, and it’s often possible to learn any needed computer skills outside of a classroom.

Need More Second Career Ideas?

Deciding if it’s a good idea to change careers is tough, but MyPath can make it easier. Take our free career quiz to find out which jobs are right for you. And once you’ve got a new career path narrowed down, be sure to check out MyPath’s Career Planning Resources to help ensure the transition into your new career doesn’t hit any unexpected road bumps.