Want to know what’s wrong with most lists of midlife career change ideas? They SUCK! That’s right; I said it. That is unless you inherited a large sum of money, don’t need to rely on a realistic income or you relish the idea of starting a four-year degree program in your forties or fifties.
Many similar lists describe great, high paying positions requiring a bachelor’s or master’s degree or are full of jobs that almost anyone can qualify for, but the pay is lousy. My guess is, you have a pile of bills to pay. I understand. There’s a mortgage, car payment, food, medical insurance, and cell phone plan to contend with every month. Some midlifers are also footing the bill for their kids’ college tuition. Ouch!
So, let’s get real. In order for the majority of midlife career changes to be possible, they have to be long on financial rewards and short on educational requirements. Face it, if you’re reading this post, you’re no spring chicken. Sorry. Yet you still might be looking at over twenty years of full-time employment.
How do you make the most of the time you have left in the workforce and still make a decent wage? By choosing a new profession that pays at least $40,000 annually and won’t take more than two years of additional education to qualify for. That’s a tall order, but not impossible to fill. So, without further delay, here are my 11 midlife career change ideas:
1. Surgical Technologist:
Scrub techs, as they are sometimes called, prep patients and operating rooms for surgery. In addition, they sterilize instruments and supplies and hand them to surgeons during procedures. Obviously, to be a good candidate, the sight of blood shouldn’t make you light-headed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for this position is a surprising $44,330 and the job outlook for the next several years is good. Training programs of one or two years are available at community colleges and vocational schools. Learn more from the Association of Surgical Technologists.
2. Wind Turbine Service Technician:
You weren’t expecting that one, were you? With the expansion of the green energy industry, job openings for this position are on the rise. If you don’t mind working several hundred feet in the air in tight spaces, this could be the career for you. There are even offshore wind turbines to be fixed and maintained if that tickles your fancy. The typical annual salary for technicians is $51,050. An associate’s degree from a tech school or community college is required. Most companies will offer and require additional on-the-job training. For further information, go to WindTurbineTechnicians.net.
The fastest growing job in America is the wind turbine technician, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. pic.twitter.com/0xQSmcCPhw
— Electric Nation (@Electrc_Nation) November 25, 2016
3. Paralegal Assistant:
No, you won’t get to make objections in court or make an emotional closing argument to a jury as a PA. They work behind the scenes conducting interviews, drafting documents and verifying information for lawyers in their firm. While the legal field is not as glamorous or dramatic as shows like Law & Order would have you believe, this is a respectable position with a median pay of $48,810 . An associate’s degree or certificate in paralegal studies is required. ParalegalEDU.org has additional details on the courses and training you may need.
4. Licensed Practical Nurse:
LPNs usually work in hospitals and are supervised by registered nurses. Duties include taking vital signs, administering medications, changing dressings, and performing CPR in emergencies. Is it just me, or does this sound remarkably similar to the job description of a parent? Yes, but the pay is better. The median salary for an LPN is $43,170 per year but varies by region. Training programs at colleges take one or two years to complete and most states require licensure. Due to shortages in certain locations, employers may even offer a signing bonus, tuition reimbursement or other incentives. Get additional facts from the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses.
5. Computer User Support Specialist:
That title is a mouth full, don’t you think? Otherwise known as help desk technicians (HDTs), they troubleshoot and provide assistance to computer users, usually via phone or email. These specialists identify and solve hardware, software, and operating system problems for people within their company, clients or end users. HDTs are the techy super-heroes you call after banging your head on your keyboard in frustration. They make a good median salary of $51,470 per year. Education requirements vary widely. Many employers ask for a bachelor’s degree in computer science while others only require a two-year degree. For information on how to become a computer user support specialist, click here.
6. Social Media Manager:
Yes, you can earn a decent living by becoming media and tech savvy. That will be handy when you want to spy on your kid’s Instagram account. A thorough understanding of programs like PhotoShop and social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest is a must. Larger companies will require a bachelor’s degree in marketing or communications. However, some smaller businesses will accept a two-year degree. Classes can be taken to fill in any skills gaps you have. For a list of several certification courses, click here. Candidates with little experience or education should not expect to make the median salary of $47,190.