Best Second Careers For People Over 40

best second careers: teaching By Susan Johnston

Good news for experienced workers planning a career transition in 2013: Although charting a new career path after decades in a different field can be daunting, some professions are actually looking for people with well-rounded knowledge and experience.

According to Marci Alboher, author of The Encore Career Handbook -- How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life (Workman Publishing, January 2013) and vice president at Encore.org, a nonprofit aimed at helping people pursuing "encore careers," any type of role that involves coaching or mentoring can play to the strengths of more seasoned workers.

"People who are on the older side are attractive candidates to a lot of organizations," agrees Alexandra Levit, a workplace consultant and author of Blindspots: 10 Business Myths You Can't Afford to Believe. "They've got so many contacts to help get things done. They've got great management skills. By the time you're 45 or 50, you're able to cope with conflict and difficult situations."

More: Your Second Career: Finding Work After Retirement

In fact, here are five career paths fields where having a long resume doesn't make you overqualified -- on the contrary, it can make you quite desirable to prospective employers:


Green Jobs -- Job opportunities in the growing green energy and environmental industries include solar power engineers, recycling facility managers, and energy auditors. "I don't think we're ever going to stop seeing demand for creative solutions to our energy problem," says Alboher. "People who have the right skills should certainly be thinking about green careers." The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2010, 3.1 million jobs in the United States were associated with the production of green goods and services.

Health Care -- As baby boomers age, emerging jobs like medication specialist and home modification specialist will help serve their needs. "These kinds of things make it easier for people to age in place," says Alboher. "There's a huge amount of expansion of roles that didn't exist years ago, where having experienced some health issues of your own and having compassion can help." A 2012 study released by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that demand for health care services will create 5.6 million new jobs by 2020.

More: 10 Best Jobs For A Second Career

Financial Advising -- A growing number of baby boomers need financial advice as they navigate retirement, estate planning, and other issues, and consulting an adviser from their own generation who speaks their language may put some of these boomers at ease. If you have a background in economics or finance, consider becoming a certified financial planner or other type of financial adviser. BLS expects 32 percent job growth for personal finance advisers between 2010 and 2020.

Education -- Workers who've amassed a lifetime of wisdom and knowledge are ideally suited for roles in traditional classrooms and online education programs, which are gaining popularity. According to the 2012 Survey of Online Learning, a collaboration between the Babson Survey Research Group and The College Board, more than 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course. In addition to college courses, "the whole idea of lifelong learning is going to create a whole new category of jobs around adult education," says Alboher. And as Levit adds, teaching online is "great for flexibility if you're in the twilight stage of your career."

Human Resources -- If you have experience managing a team or resolving personality issues, then consider putting those skills to use by working in human resources (also sometimes called the personnel department). From nonprofits and universities to staffing firms and government agencies, virtually every type of company employs human resources professionals to recruit and screen employees, manage payroll or benefits, or oversee training or mentoring programs. BLS predicts 21 percent job growth for human resources specialists between 2010 and 2020.

Entrepreneurship -- In addition to pursuing new career opportunities in industries that value their knowledge, experienced workers are also starting their own businesses. In fact, the 2012 Global Report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a joint venture between Babson College and the London Business School, found that the rate of entrepreneurship among 55 to 64 year olds in the United States was among the highest in the world. "People are going to be moving into entrepreneurship and self-employment both by desire and necessity," says Alboher. "Many people are coming up with some idea to meet a need in their community that has to do with an aging population or health issues."
Rosalind Describes Finding Her 'Encore' Career



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22 Comments

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elle_peters

Recommending that older people go into the field of education is such a bad recommendation, I don't even know where to start. You may have a lot of knowledge, experience, and education and but simply getting a teaching certificate will not land you a teaching position. As someone who works in education, I can tell you that older people do not get the teaching jobs, and at best, they end up working as subs for like $100 a day. To make matters worse, subs, paraeducators, teaching aids, etc. are all treated like second class citizens, and are often regarded as little more than a potted plant. The regular staff rarely even says hello, and your experience and knowledge isn't even acknowledged. If you want to avoid being treated like a worn out shoe, do not go into education, and don't waste your time pursuing a dream of being a teacher. If you want to take a clerical position or are fine working as a sub for little pay (subs don't really get to do much in the way of actual teaching), then be forewarned. Low pay and a general lack of respect is what you will have to put up with on a daily basis - from students AND staff. As it is, even those that are young and fresh out of school are having a hard time getting teaching positions, at least in our state, and if one is an older applicant it is even more unlikely that a district will hire you.

February 27 2014 at 8:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carly Fournier

Getting work has been a tough go for me ever since I was a teenager due to lack of experience. Now that I have some experience it's now my availability that keeps me back from getting the opportunity to do something better even though I was told that I had potential by two different managers for furniture sales.

October 22 2013 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
richastee

How about a fourth career for someone over 60? I am really trying to avoid taking SS, but it seems to be a losing battle.

March 04 2013 at 11:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tz1030

Best second careers for "Older Workers".... Since when is a 40-year old an "older worker"? Must have been written by somebody in their 20s

March 04 2013 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RMS

Second career???? That's a joke! Try finding employment after age 50. AOL just posted an article about this a few days ago. Workers over the age of 50 are considered to be the most "unemployable" group. As for HR positions, any postings I see want people with HR experience. Employers want employees who will cost them the least, get the most work out of, and that they don't have to train.

March 04 2013 at 4:32 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
dsahfreeman

hp does not deserve capital letters so up o's...well you know. Oops censored

March 04 2013 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sicilian

Does anyone out there know a suitable substitute for AOL and the awful HuffingtonPost so called news outlet ans nor affect our Email arrangement?

March 04 2013 at 2:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tranacria

"Second career Jobs?" Are you kidding? I retired after 38 years of teaching. No more work for me. I deserve to enjoy "la dolce far niente."

March 04 2013 at 8:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mandi7882

Here's the bottom line --- whether you're 21 and getting out of college or over 50 and picking yourself up to get gainful employment after all your education and experience, there is only one way to get the job you seek: LUCK. It sounds crazy but don't give up, even if that means taking a crap position until your dream (or close to a dream) job comes along. Keep busy, get some kind of regular income in but but don't give up!!!

March 03 2013 at 7:18 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Mandi7882's comment
My AOL

For a Katherine Zimermann In San Clemente Ca shes 44 and her second career is DSC or POOPER SCOOPER

March 03 2013 at 6:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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