Best Career Change Jobs After 40
Updated November 20, 2023
- Signs You Might Need a Career Change at 40
- Pros of a Career Change at 40
- Cons of a Career Change at 40
- Best Second Careers After 40
- Best Careers to Start at 40
- Starting New Career at 40: Key Steps to Take
- Alternatives to a Career Change at 40
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Looking for the best career change jobs after 40? Here are some great ideas!
- Financial consultant
- Teacher/teaching assistant
- Event planner
Whether you feel stuck at your current workplace, have issues with your employer, or desire to seek out new challenges, it’s never too late for a midlife career change.
You can make it at any time of your life, even if you’re over 40 years old.
In fact, depending on your qualifications and experience, this might be the best time of your life to establish a new career.
Here, we look at the best second careers after 40 and why you should consider them.
You’ll also get a glimpse at the challenges you might face when looking for a new career at 40 or after and what steps to take if you make a career change at this age.
Let’s get started!
There are several signs that may suggest you need a career change at the age of 40. Some of these signs include:
Lack of fulfillment – If you feel unfulfilled in your current job, it may be time to consider a career change. You may feel like your work is meaningless or unimportant, or that you are not using your skills and talents to their fullest potential.
Burnout – Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that can result from prolonged stress. If you are experiencing burnout at work, it may be a sign that you need a career change.
Lack of career progression – If you have been in the same job for a long time and have not seen any career progression or advancement, it may be time to consider a career change.
Low job satisfaction – If you are unhappy with your job or dread going to work every day, it may be time to consider a career change.
Declining industry – If you work in an industry that is declining or becoming obsolete, it may be time to consider a career change before it's too late.
Financial concerns – If your current job does not provide you with the financial stability you need, it may be time to consider a career change that offers more earning potential.
Desire for a new challenge – If you feel like you have outgrown your current job or are looking for a new challenge, it may be time to consider a career change that allows you to learn new skills and grow professionally.
It's important to note that these signs are not exclusive to those in their 40s and can apply to anyone at any age. However, at 40, you may be at a point in your career where you have gained significant experience and skills that can be transferable to a new career.
- Opportunity to pursue a passion
- Personal growth and development
- Better work-life balance
- Increased job satisfaction
- Financial instability
- Family considerations
- Lack of experience
- Impact on retirement savings
Despite common misconceptions, you can never be too old to change careers. Since there is still plenty of time before the average retirement, 40 might be the best age for changing your line of work.
Depending on your qualifications and previous work experience, at 40, you might have a broad range of transferable skills you can employ in your new job. This applies to positions with and without a degree.
Not having earned a degree or working in the relevant field before doesn’t mean you don’t have plenty of life experience behind you.
You can still gain new qualifications and develop new skills a 40 to impress potential employers/clients in your new career.
There are plenty of reasons why a career change might be a good idea, even if you’re 40 or older.
A career change can give you the chance to pursue a passion or interest that you may not have been able to explore in your previous career.
Some people lose their passion for their work, and if this is the case for you, finding a new career path may be the best option.
Suppose your current work doesn’t offer opportunities for professional or personal growth. In that case, you might be able to find these in a new career.
Some jobs require only a limited set of skills and don’t allow people to reach their full potential.
If you want to expand your skills and knowledge about topics you are interested in, and your current job doesn’t allow it, find a new one that will.
If you have a stressful job and are looking for a healthy work-life balance, you might be able to find it in a new career.
However, this is only possible if your desired path comes with less stress and without the burden of financial difficulties.
Switching to a low-stress job that doesn’t pay enough to pay your bills won’t contribute to your work-life balance at all.
Career changers can experience a renewed sense of excitement and passion for their work.
You may have been feeling stuck or unfulfilled in your previous career, and a change can offer a fresh start and new opportunities to grow and develop.
When you are doing work that you are passionate about, you are more likely to feel a sense of fulfillment and purpose in your job.
This, in turn, can lead to greater job satisfaction, better mental health and improved overall well-being.
You may find that you are more engaged and productive in your work, which can lead to better performance and potentially even higher earnings in the long term.
Benefits notwithstanding, there are a few challenges to consider if you want to start a new career at 40.
Here are things to consider when choosing jobs at this age to make an informed decision.
When you’re changing your job at 40, you’ll need to consider your financial responsibilities.
A new career at 40 may involve taking a pay cut, even if it is only temporary.
At this age, most people have a regular bunch of bills to pay, and you want to ensure that you’ll be able to cover the necessities.
While some expenses can be reduced by forgoing certain services, others are non-negotiable. For example, if you have mortgage payments, you’ll need to ensure you’ll be able to keep paying them.
You can do this by carefully planning when, how, and which career to switch to.
If you’ve established a family by this age, you’ll also need to consider their needs.
When choosing a new career, think about what would work out the best for your family in terms of financial and medical coverage, spending time together, and more.
For example, choosing a career that requires relocation isn’t too practical if you have to move your entire family.
If your current line of work commands much of your time, and you also have a family you need to spend time with, you might not be able to return to school and re-qualify yourself.
In this case, it’s best to seek out new ventures that require the skills and qualifications you already have.
If you’re looking for a better-paying job than the current one, you’ll have to work a little harder. Beginners are often only offered entry-level jobs in most fields and you will be competing with younger professionals who have more experience in your new field.
A career change at 40 may also have an impact on your retirement savings.
If you need to take a lower-paying job in your new career, you may not be able to save as much money for retirement as you would have in your previous career.
Additionally, if you need to go back to school to acquire new skills, you may need to take on student loans, which can impact your ability to save for retirement.
It's important to consider the potential impact on your retirement savings when making a career change at 40.
Here are some of the best second careers after 40 based on your previous experience/skills.
Average salary: $45,000 to $150,000+ per year
If you have experience in finances, there is a good chance that you’ll be able to land a job as a financial consultant/manager.
It’s a highly lucrative job and an excellent opportunity for those looking to improve their financial standing after 40.
You won’t have to worry about competing with younger applicants because, in this field, experience matters more than eagerness to prove your worth. However, you’ll need certain qualifications.
What type of type qualification, however, depends on the job role you plan to delve into.
Average salary: $45,000 to $100,000+ per year
Those with experience in accounting and bookkeeping can offer their services to clients’ businesses on a freelance basis.
While similar to a financial consultant, these positions give you more control over time management.
You can determine how much work you take depending on the amount to want to earn on a regular basis.
Once again, you’ll need qualifications in finances and accounting, but this is definitely one of the best second careers after 40.
- Teachers – $31,420 to $67,650 per year
- Teaching assistants – $27,500 per year
While demanding, teaching can be an incredibly rewarding job.
If you like to help children or adults acquire knowledge and contribute to their personal growth journey, this can be the right profession for you.
However, to be a certified teacher or teaching assistant, you’ll need to have qualifications.
Depending on the subject and field you’re planning to teach, you may also require specific certification and training before becoming a full-time teacher.
Average salary: $65,000 to $160,000+ per year
The IT industry has given space for many highly lucrative career paths, and being a software developer is one of them.
Of course, you’ll need extensive qualifications and experience in this field. However, it’s still relatively easy to find a suitable role in the industry.
You’ll need to be creative and prepared to work extensive hours, but you’ll be well-rewarded for your hard work.
Average salary: $50,000 to $150,000+ per year
If you have experience in handling different projects, you can seek out project/HR manager positions in a wide variety of industries.
You can choose a field that fits your skills and qualifications.
You’ll need the latter to establish trust with clients. You’ll also need time management, communication and leadership skills.
This section looks at careers that might not require a lot of extensive qualifications/experience to get started.
They’re great for those who might have been stay-at-home moms and dads or people who want a complete turnaround of careers without spending a lot of money on official qualifications.
Here are the best careers to start at 40.
- Cosmetologist – $30,000 to $50,000 per year
- Esthetician – $30,000 to $50,000 per year
- Nail technician – $25,000 to $35,000 per year
- Massage therapist – $35,000 to $60,000 per year
- Makeup artist – $30,000 to $60,000 per year
The health and beauty industry is the most rewarding field for those looking for work without extensive experience.
In just a couple of months, you can learn the necessary skills to become a personal trainer, aesthetician, massage therapist or any other professional working in the industry.
You will need communication and people skills as you provide a service that relies on good communication. This is a great idea if you want a career change at 40 with no degree.
Average salary: $35,000 to $100,000 per year depending on seniority
Another fantastic career opportunity for those looking to showcase their people skills is an event planner.
With a little organization, practice and research, you can help create wonderful memories for people.
While it’s not an official requirement, for the sake of transparency and to establish trust, you should consider gaining an event planning certification before you start to render your services.
Once you do, this is one of the best careers to start at 40.
Average salary: $30,000 to $100,000 per year
If you’re interested in helping people create the life they desire, then this is a great career to start at 40.
The position of a life coach doesn’t require any qualifications, but it helps if you have previous experience in managing your life successfully.
People often require specialized coaching, so you’ll need to define a niche you can help with before venturing onto this path. Once you do, a life coach can be one of the best jobs for career change over 40.
- Translator – $45,000 to $65,000 per year
- Proofreader – $35,000 to $55,000 per year
- Writer – $40,000 to $70,000 per year
If you are proficient in several languages or a passionate writer, you might be able to start a new career as a translator, writer or proofreader.
Depending on the field you want to work in, you might need qualifications.
However, in most cases showcasing your skills and providing a good product will go a long way in establishing a career in these roles.
This is a great career change at 40 for those looking for flexible working hours, opportunities to work from home while still attending to the household, etc.
Average salary: $30,000 to $100,000+ per year
Another of the best career change jobs at 40 is as an estate agent. It is a great career opportunity for those looking for flexible working hours.
However, be prepared to be on the move at all times.
You’ll need good research, communication and problem-solving skills to offer a valuable service to your clients.
Most real estate agencies require a completed real estate licensing education. You’ll need to take a course and pass an exam t get your license as a real estate agent.
Starting New Career at 40: Key Steps to Take
Starting a career change at 40 can be challenging if you don’t know how to start. This section will provide you with a few pointers on how to make career change work at 40.
The first step you need to take if you want a new career at 40 or older, even before you begin your job search, is to identify your goals.
Think about why you’re considering changing your career and what you seek to achieve by pursuing a new career path. After that, you can come up with new career ideas at 40 specifically for your skills.
One of the main reasons people opt to start a new career at 40 is because they lost their passion for their current line of work.
If you’re also seeking a more inspiring line of work and aren’t sure which path would be more suitable for you, try finding things you’re passionate about.
You can do this by going over your list of favorite hobbies or even by trying to find new ones. If you’re seeking to improve your financial status by finding a higher-paying gig, consider this too.
It can be a great motivation, especially if you need to expand your skills and obtain new qualifications to achieve this.
The next step for a new career at 40 is to make a list of your soft skills and qualifications.
If you aren’t sure of the level of specific skills, consider taking a career aptitude test.
This will help you identify your best skills and help narrow down the fields of work in which you can seek employment.
It will also help find transferable skills to use in the new line of work. You may need to work on these skills, but having them listed will go a long way in finding the right career path.
And if you have skills you need to hone or acquire, this is the right time to start working on them. This may entail upskilling and re-qualifying yourself via a new college degree or an online course.
Once you know what your goals are and what skills you have/can work on, you can move on to researching roles you’re interested in.
Look into all the positions that use the skills you already have or are confident in developing in the near future.
If you’re unable to relocate, look only for opportunities available at your location.
Otherwise, you can widen your search area as far as you’re comfortable moving. Make sure to understand what is required in the roles that interest you.
Look into the skills, qualifications, and attitudes that impress potential employers in your field of interest.
If you’re looking to work at a specific company/field, research all the advantages and disadvantages of working in them.
Make sure you’re comfortable with all that comes with the new line of work and confident to handle any challenges.
Next, you should start working towards expanding your network and gaining access to the new field.
Ask friends and family if they have experience or connections in the relevant industry. Use forums and social media to gain new contacts and learn more about your desired line of work.
Ask for advice on how to start your new career and overcome the inevitable challenges.
You can also ask for tips on preparing for job interviews, entry exams, investor and client meetings and other situations you’ll encounter at the beginning of your new career.
Some roles might require you to gain new accreditation or renew old ones if you possess them already.
Make sure to inform yourself about these well ahead of time, so you can start working on gaining the necessary qualifications.
It’s recommended to start this while still working in your old position.
Nowadays, there are plenty of online and flexible real-life courses that can help gain new accreditations and qualifications.
You can complete and pass them in your free time, so they won’t affect your ability to earn a living while you’re preparing for a career shift.
Once you’ve chosen the desired career path, perfected the essential skills, and gained the necessary qualifications, you can start looking for a job in that field.
However, before that, update your resume to highlight your skills and accreditations.
This is what your potential employers and hiring managers will look at first, so it’s crucial to have every information up to date.
Make sure you can back up any skill and qualification you claim on your resume and cover letter, and be prepared to showcase your skills on the job interviews when you begin to land them.
If you aren’t sure how to prepare an impressive resume in your new line of work, do online research on what to include. There are resources for many different career paths, so you won’t have trouble finding yours.
If you're considering a career change at 40 but are unsure about making such a big transition in your professional life, there are some alternatives you can consider.
Sometimes, a change within your current job can provide the challenge and fulfillment you need.
Talk to your manager about taking on a new role or project that aligns with your interests and goals.
Consider taking courses or training to develop new skills or enhance your existing ones.
This can make you a more valuable employee and potentially lead to new opportunities within your current career.
Finding a mentor or career coach can help you identify your strengths and interests and guide you in developing a plan for growth within your current career.
Sometimes, feeling unfulfilled in your career can be a result of a lack of work-life balance.
Consider adjusting your schedule or seeking support to prioritize self-care and leisure time.
If you're feeling unfulfilled in your current job, consider starting a side business or project that aligns with your interests and passions.
This can provide the challenge and fulfillment you're looking for, without completely leaving your current job.
Remember that a career change is not the only option if you're feeling stuck or unfulfilled in your current job. By exploring these alternatives, you may find that you can achieve the change and growth you're looking for without completely uprooting your career.
If you’re looking at starting a career at 40, you’ll need to find roles that don’t require extensive experience or qualifications.
Some of the best career changes at 40 ideas are event planner, project manager, consultant, and freelancer (writer, translator, proofreader, etc.).
You can even try a career change at 40 quizzes to get some great ideas for you.
At 40, you still have plenty of years left until the average retirement age. If you’re healthy and looking for new challenges, switching careers at 40 can be the best time to start a new career. So no, at 40, you’re definitely not old to do this.
This depends on your qualifications and previous work experience. That said, some of the popular jobs for women over 40 are online resellers, financial consultants, online teachers, remote customer service representatives, remote accountants, life coaches, counselors, freelance writers, virtual yoga instructors, virtual assistants and graphic artists or illustrators.
Consider why you’re looking for a new career at 40.
Think about what you’re looking for from a different job.
Gather information about the roles you contemplate taking to learn which skills you need for them.
Work on these skills.
Look into possible part-time jobs in the field you’re about delve into.
You can start these alongside your current career and see whether it works for you.
Identify skills you can transfer from your old job to the new one.
There are many good careers to start at 40 for a less stressful life. Some examples of low-stress jobs include data entry and data scientist positions, medical records technician, and librarian.
Massage therapists, jewelry, dietitian, hair stylists, and audiologist are also considered low-stress positions, provided you love to work with people.
If you want to show your potential employers or hiring managers that you’re committed to learning and making a career change, upskilling yourself can be a great way to improve your chances of a successful career change after 40.
This way, you won’t have to wait for a job that fits your skillset to appear but will have more opportunities to shine.
Changing your career after 40 can have its challenges, but it’s not impossible.
Consider the best way to overcome these challenges before opting for a new life path; you’ll find it much easier to establish your new career.
The first factor you should consider when changing your career after forty are your finances. For example, if you have a specific financial obligation like paying a hefty mortgage, you won’t be able to afford to be without income for a long time.
You’ll have a shorter time frame to find a new job. Or, if a new career requires moving, you might not be able to do this if you have a family that needs to be relocated too.
You should also consider professional constraints, such as whether you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your skills, are willing to take an entry-level position, etc.
There are plenty of examples of famous people changing careers after 40.
Some of the most notable ones are Eric Yuan (who founded Zoom after leaving an engineering job at age 41), Martha Stewart (who published her first cookbook after leaving her workplace on worked on Wall Street at age 41) and Ray Kroc (made McDonald’s a household name after purchasing it in 1954 at age 52).
The best career change at 40 doesn’t need to mean lower pay. However, lower-paying jobs aren’t necessarily less stressful.
Second, you should consider your financial needs before deciding to take on a lower-paying job.
If you need a higher salary to cover your financial obligations, you can’t choose a new career based solely on stress levels.
There are many reasons for leaving a job. Still, you need to consider other factors before making a final decision.
If your only reason for seeking a new career path is to find a less stressful job, you should consider staying in the same field. Instead, try finding ways to have a better work-life balance and adopt adequate stress management methods.
A career change after 40 can come with some barriers. Depending on your qualifications, it’s possible that you’ll be less likely to get hired if you’re over 40 compared to younger candidates.
Most employers gravitate toward younger candidates as they’re considered a better investment due to their willingness to improve and prove their efficiency.
That said, if you can demonstrate the same skills to potential employers, you can also raise your chances of getting hired, regardless of age.
Changing careers in your 40s is becoming more common. Some are looking for better career opportunities, and some become dissatisfied with their line of work.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to change careers after turning 40 are, you’re not alone.
Changing your career at 40 or after can be challenging, but it’s not impossible and may mean you find your dream job.
If you’re looking for a better work-life balance, are unsatisfied with your current job, or aspire to personal and professional growth, you should consider a career switch.
Be aware of the challenges of starting a different career at this age, including family considerations, financial responsibilities to fulfill and professional constraints.
Establish what you want to do, research different roles within your scope of interest, and make sure you have the skills you need for them.
If necessary, expand your network and gain new qualifications, and incorporate them into your resume before applying for specific roles.