Careers for Adults Starting Over

by Thomas Metcalf

Whether you are looking to start over because you were bumped from your job or you just want to try something different, making a midlife career change presents both risks and opportunities. It is always best to prepare for a change before it happens by thinking about possible alternatives and building a large network of professional contacts. Whatever you have done with your career so far gives you insight for what you will do in the future.


Setting out on your own can be a daunting career move, especially if you have been used to getting a regular paycheck. If you have knowledge and skills from your previous employment that can be used in self-employment, you have a good head start. If you have a retirement plan to provide yourself with a cushion to start your business, you can afford to be more creative with the business you start. Check with the Small Business Administration, SCORE and your local college's continuing education department for help in establishing your business.


If you have life experience to share, education presents a career opportunity. Teaching at the secondary level requires a teaching certificate, but there are accreditation programs that provide a shortcut if you already have a college degree. Postsecondary teaching generally requires a graduate degree if you teach at a traditional college. If you have technical knowledge and experience, you can land a teaching job at a vocational school without a graduate degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school teachers earned an average of $53,210 in 2010, while postsecondary teachers earned $62,050.

Health Care

The health care business is evolving, but there is still plenty of demand for health care professionals -- and you do not have to go back to school for years to get the qualifications. Home health care aides will be in big demand as the baby boomer generation ages, providing services for the chronically ill, physically disabled and mentally challenged. The aging population will also guarantee a strong demand for elder care with careers in various types of therapy -- including occupational and physical, which earn an average of $72,320 and $76,310, respectively. Therapists require a master's degree or other professional training. Home health aides earn lower salaries -- $20,170 -- but require less training.

Social Media

Social media has opened a host of career opportunities. If you enjoy writing, becoming a blogger can lead to a new career if you can establish a following -- and it is a writing career that you can transition into while keeping your current position. Some bloggers find employment with companies to promote their products and services. Explore opportunities to be a social media manager. Many companies recognize the importance of social media to help them establish their brand recognition, build customer loyalty and grow their markets. The BLS projects an annual growth rate of 23 percent in this field.

About the Author

Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.

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