Few people join the workforce knowing what career path they want to pursue. Many find that their interests change with time, leading them to pursue different paths. No matter your age or the field you work in, a career change might seem daunting, especially if you have spent decades in the same role. You may be wondering, is it possible to get a new career at 50?
If you want to learn how to change careers at 50, this guide is for you. In it, we will discuss the reasons you might want to make a change, and the steps you should take for a successful career change at 50. We will discuss steps to make a tech career change, along with several ideas that could come in handy during your transition.
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Why Start a New Career at 50?
There are many reasons for wanting a career change later in life. Perhaps you are not happy with your career now, so you want to look at other options available to you. Maybe you are not earning enough or there is a lack of work-life balance. Whatever your reason is, a career transition at 50 is still worth your consideration.
At 50, you’re already aware of where your passions lie, which can help you to find more rewarding or fulfilling career options. Moreover, you have access to career resources, both tangible and intangible, to make effective career decisions. You have time, money, and transferable skills for a vertical career change or to attend tech courses and training if that is what you are interested in.
Signs You Need a Career Change at 50
When do you know it’s time to change careers? Just like when you’re coming down with a cold, there will be signs and symptoms. Once you feel or experience these signs, that’s the time to jump ship and find a new career at 50.
- Your work is no longer fulfilling. You feel detached from work, your company, and your colleagues. You can’t remember the last time you were enthusiastic about what you were doing.
- You don’t have a chance to learn and be creative. Work has become monotonous, every day is the same, and you feel you are no longer making any impact or exercising your creativity.
- Work leads you to feelings of depression. Every day, you feel like you have to drag yourself out of bed just to go to work. For example, many professionals in social work seek a career change after the emotional demands of the work take their toll.
- The financial reward is not enough. Even if you’re paid well, you feel like your salary is insufficient to make up for your dissatisfaction.
- You have no work-life balance. Your personal life is suffering. You can’t sleep, you’re exhausted, and you can’t attend to your time with family or for other personal relationships.
How to Change Careers at 50
Starting a new career at 50 might seem impossible, but it is not. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase in the participation rate of people aged 55 and older in the labor force through 2024. It is not impossible to pursue new career prospects at 50. Below you will find some tips on how to change careers at 50 that may be useful.
Figure Out What’s Missing
First, you must figure out your motivation for starting a new career at 50. Is it your coworkers, your manager, or the company culture? Is it the salary or the commute? Is it just a matter of leaving your company or do you need to switch industries? What kind of job and environment would allow you to enjoy your work? Understanding what makes you happy will help you determine the next steps in your transition.
Evaluate Your Transferable Skills
Another important step is to take stock of the transferable skills you can leverage to look for a new job. List your strengths and weaknesses, and the soft skills and technical skills that have made you successful in your current job. Make sure to also list the things you enjoy doing and are passionate about. This will help you find a job that matches your current goals and brings you satisfaction and a sense of purpose.
Improve Your Qualifications
Once you’ve identified the career where you will have the best opportunities, make sure you can meet the requirements. Perhaps you will need a special license or certifications. Suppose you plan to shift to a tech career, for example. In that case, you might consider enrolling in an accelerated degree program or attending a coding bootcamp.
Utilize Your Network
Make sure to use the connections you’ve built over time. Talk to friends, coworkers, or even trustworthy managers. Tell them about your plans and ask for their support. They might be able to guide you toward new opportunities, help you remain confident, and give you useful advice as you embark on your job search.
You have to put yourself out there for companies to find you. Start with building your resume, tailoring it to the career you want. Then, if the career you are planning to pursue requires a portfolio, make sure yours is available online for easy access. Create a LinkedIn or GitHub account for employers to find you easily.
How to Change Careers at 50 With No Degree
If you are worried that you won’t be able to change your career because you do not have a university degree, know that one is not always required. Even for a functional career change, you will not necessarily need a university or college education. Below you will find some tips for changing careers without needing a degree.
- Find options that are a good match. Check out career prospects that align with your interests and career goals.
- Determine your gaps. Compare the required abilities for your future career to your current expertise to determine transferable skills.
- Upskill. If you like a job but feel you lack a certain skillset, fill that gap by attending training courses or bootcamps. These do not require you to study for years to gain a relevant qualification.
- Volunteer or take on part-time work. Gain experience by doing side jobs or volunteer work.
- Use your network. Use your network to get career advice or, better yet, to find job openings or request recommendation letters.
Pros and Cons of Starting a New Career at 50
Changing careers at 50 can be bittersweet. The prospect of a change such as this might be exciting, but it also involves some clear challenges. Keep reading to learn about the advantages and disadvantages involved in starting a new career at 50.
Advantages of a Career Change at 50
- You’ll have a clearer sense of direction. At 50, you’ll have a much clearer sense of who you are and what your goals are than when you were in your 20s. This will help you waste less time with guesswork and motivate you to go for your goals unapologetically.
- You have tons of experience under your belt. Even if you’re transitioning into a completely new career, the experience you have accrued over the years will serve you well. Knowing how work environments work will give you an upper hand over people who are just starting their professional lives.
- The change can revitalize you. A change can be invigorating. If your current routine has you feeling stifled, a new career at 50 can give you a new sense of purpose and revitalize your life in many unexpected ways.
Disadvantages of a Career Change at 50
- The transition might be stressful. Switching careers can involve a lot of uncertainty and, in turn, a lot of stress. Hopefully, you will have enough life experience to help you navigate this enormous transition.
- You might need to put in longer hours. Whether it’s to learn new skills or to simply adapt to a new work environment, you might need to invest longer hours than you’re used to, especially in the early stages of your transition.
- You may need to settle for lower pay. If you’re switching industries and starting somewhere new, you might need to accept lower wages, or even fewer opportunities to climb up the career ladder.
Best Careers to Transition Into at 50
|Career||Job Outlook||Average Salary||Requirements|
|Technical Writer||6%||$78,060||Writing experience
A portfolio of written technical documents displaying exceptional technical writing abilities
Working knowledge of MS Word or Google Docs
Skills in proofreading and editing
|Web Developer||30%||$77,030||Working knowledge of web development languages (i.e., CSS, Java, Python)
Skills in graphic design
|Sales Representative||4%||$62,890||Strong interpersonal skills
Client management skills and experience
Strong communication and negotiation skills
|Real Estate Agent||5%||$48,770||Real estate license
Strong soft skills
|Medical Assistant||16%||$37,190||On-the-job training or medical assistant training course
Medical office or clinical laboratory work experience
Familiarity with medical terminology
Understanding of EMR Systems
The Best Jobs for Career Changers at 50: A Closer Look
If you’re looking for new career ideas, consider becoming a technical writer. Technical writers often write documents that explain how a product works. You’ll be writing manuals and how-to guides, sometimes even journal articles and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information.
Technical writing is adaptable, so you can work in various sectors, including marketing and customer service. You might also help researchers and institutions write grants and proposals. You won’t need a degree in writing to do this. Instead, you’ll need strong communication skills and the capacity to clarify complex information so that ordinary people can understand it.
You will create and maintain websites when you work as a web developer. You’ll be in charge of a site’s technical aspects, including its performance and capacity, as well as monitoring website traffic. You will also be responsible for the look and functionality of the website. You will make your clients’ visions a reality by working with the design team.
Web development is a great second career idea for people over 50 who have a knack for technology. To become a web developer, you need to learn HTML or XML programming languages, which are commonly used for writing code for websites. Some of the best coding bootcamps develop your skills in as short as six months.
As a sales representative, you will be in charge of selling goods and services to all kinds of organizations. This might include small or large businesses, government agencies, or anything else that interests you. You will be expected to explain the features and benefits of your products, and to maintain client relationships.
This is a great career option for people who enjoy working with others, who have strong soft skills, and who are excited about the prospect of entering into negotiations with other individuals or organizations.
Real Estate Agent
Real estate agent is one of the best jobs to retrain for at 50. These agents work with real estate brokers and help their clients buy, sell, and rent properties. If helping families find their dream homes is something that excites you, and you are personable and great at communicating with others, this might be a great option for your new career at 50.
To become a real estate agent, you will need to go through proper training and obtain a license. It is not necessary for you to have a college degree to be successful in this line of business, although some employers might prefer it.
Medical assistants aid physicians in maintaining the efficient operation of healthcare facilities. Updating patient records, prepping patients and examination rooms, aiding physicians, and completing front-desk tasks will be your daily duties. You may be asked to take patients’ medical histories and keep track of their vital signs.
You can work in doctor’s offices, hospitals, and other medical settings. Depending on the state where you plan to work, you may be required to obtain certificates through an accredited medical assistant program.
Is It Too Late to Make a Career Change at 50?
No, it is definitely not too late to start a new career at 50. No one, regardless of age, should continue to work in a role that they are not happy with. Even at 50, you can go after a career that makes you happy and allows you a healthy work-life balance, a good salary, and a positive job outlook.
Remember that no matter the type of career change you want to make, it is essential to assess yourself. You don’t even need to earn a bachelor’s degree. You simply need to find your interests, strengths, and weaknesses and explore opportunities that align with them. You will feel more fulfilled if you muster up the courage to pursue a new career and find your dream job.
Career Change at 50 FAQ
A good career to start at 50 is one where you’ll be happy and feel relaxed. Perhaps you can teach, so you can share your experience and knowledge. However, if you are aiming for a higher salary, try pursuing roles with positive job outlooks like web developer, technical writer, or even massage therapist.
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Yes, it is worth it to retrain for a new career at 50, as it will give you access to the highest-paying jobs for people over 50. The return on your retraining investment would be faster that way. To stay motivated, you will just have to be passionate about what you are training for.
Yes, it is hard to find a job at 50 and shift to a new career. Nevertheless, it is not impossible with the emergence of online training schools and bootcamps. Besides, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a higher participation rate of people aged 55 in the labor force until 2024. Thus, depending on your career choice, your job outlook is generally positive.
No, 50 is not too old to start a new career. You’ll have tons of experience and transferable skills by the time you reach 50. However, you will need to be open to learning new things. You might need to upskill, enroll in a few courses, or even complete a bootcamp to pick up the new skills you need, but it will be worth it in the long run.
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