9 Career Paths To Consider for a Change at 40

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 24, 2022

Published January 3, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The need for a career change can be a turning point to evaluate your work-life balance, follow your passion or just try something new. Choosing the right career path that aligns with your experience and interests can offer a rewarding way to succeed at age 40 and beyond. If you’re considering a career change after age 40, this article can help you identify potential roles and explain how to make the switch.

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The following positions favor a career change in your 40s. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on each salary link below:

1. Medical administrative assistant

National average salary: $34,735 per year

Primary duties: An administrative assistant in the medical field is also known as a health care administration assistant or a medical secretary. This role fulfills office and customer service tasks rather than clinical work, so they must be efficient, organized and professional. They are responsible for booking appointments, handling medical reports, creating medical charts and billing.

Some medical knowledge is an advantage in this role as specialized terminology is used, but it is a great option for someone who is organized and possesses time-management skills. Entry-level jobs will usually only require a high school diploma, but there are vocational courses you can take to gain related skills.

2. Event planner

National average salary: $40,509 per year

Primary duties: If you like working with people and have excellent time management and organizational skills, event planning could be your ideal career. A degree or other qualifications in hospitality, public relations or any other related field will help your application but are not usually necessary.

Event planners are also responsible for managing budgets, negotiating contracts and managing teams. Those with experience managing supplier and client relationships will have an advantage in the event planning sector, as will those who can multitask efficiently and build their professional networks.

Related: Midlife Career Change: What To Do Next

3. Patient care technician

National average salary: $43,562 per year

Primary duties: If you want to work in health care in a hands-on role, then patient care technicians play a vital role in front-line care in a variety of medical settings. Patient care technicians assist doctors and registered nurses with patient examinations and treatment, collect samples, record information on patients’ charts and speak to patients and their families about their care plans.

Many patient care technician roles don’t require any specific experience, but there is scope for career progression for anyone who wants to gain relevant qualifications. If you are considering a career change because you want a role where you can give something back, this is an option with plenty of job satisfaction.

4. Translator

National average salary: $45,732 per year

Primary duties: If you speak more than one language, becoming a translator can be a truly versatile career. The primary responsibility of a translator is deciphering the meaning of something written in one language, such as English, and converting the ideas and facts into another language. The job of an interpreter is similar, but their role is translating verbal communication, often facilitating both sides of a conversation while maintaining the tone and message expressed between two parties.

Translation services are used by businesses in many industries across global markets, which can involve a wide variety of opportunities. Becoming a translator requires fluency in each language that you intend to translate. Cultural knowledge, a specialized degree or certificate and any linguistic experience would be beneficial skills for a translator.

Related: How To Transition Careers: Tips Before, During and After

5. SEO specialist

National average salary: $52,028 per year

Primary duties: SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of increasing a website’s search results in major search engines with strategic coding and content curation. It has become a crucial marketing technique, so if you have experience in marketing or website design, finding a job as an SEO specialist could be a straightforward career switch for you.

Since SEO is such a rapidly evolving field, there are no formalized digital marketing degree programs. On-the-job training, webinars,digital marketing certifications and online training courses are recommended to keep up with the ever-changing modifications of search engine algorithms.

6. Dental assistant

National average salary: $60,464 per year

Primary duties: You can start work as an entry-level dental assistant with an associate degree or a high school diploma. The role involves speaking to patients, preparing tools and equipment for dental procedures and assisting with X-rays.

There is a significant amount of general administrative work in keeping patients’ records up to date and booking appointments. Dentistry does have a clearly defined career path and dental assistants often enroll in a training program to become certified in the techniques and skills to assist with dental procedures, X-rays and patient exams.

Related: How To Change Careers Without Going Back to School (With Steps and Tips)

7. Human resources manager

National average salary: $69,310 per year

Primary duties: A human resources manager is responsible for maintaining all of the various aspects of the employee life cycle, including hiring, onboarding administering benefits and terminations. They act as a liaison between upper management and their employees, ensuring that corporate policies and legal responsibilities are met.

A degree in human resources is a common requirement, but there are plenty of online classes that can also prepare you for a career in HR. If you have experience in administration or team leadership, then you probably already have some of the most important skills required for a role in HR.

8. Web developer

National average salary: $74,960 per year

Primary duties: Web developers are responsible for creating websites focusing on both design and functionality. This requires a balance of technical and creative skills. If you have graphic design experience, you could add your existing knowledge and broaden your career options by moving into web development.

Web development is a versatile industry with the ability to work in-house, at agencies, freelance or on fixed-term contracts.

9. Project manager

National average salary: $77,643 per year

Primary duties: This is a role where experience can be more important than qualifications. Project managers are responsible for overseeing and coordinating all aspects of a project, so excellent time-management and communication skills are a must as well as experience with cost management.

Although a degree in business administration or marketing could help your application, a previous role in office management or any position in which you have been responsible for a variety of business functions will demonstrate many of the skills required. There are project managers in almost every industry, so it is a career that could take you in any direction you choose.

Related: Upskilling and Going Back To School: When, How and Why You Should

How to transition careers

Depending on the career you choose, you may need to update your skills. This might involve taking formal classes to gain a new qualification, taking an online vocational course or just researching the new industry you want to break into.

The basic steps for changing careers at 40 are:

  1. Think about the kind of career you would like and set a clear goal for yourself.

  2. Research the sector for roles that appeal to you.

  3. Find out what qualifications you will need and how to get them.

  4. Gain any necessary accreditation.

  5. Build a professional network.

  6. Write a resume reflecting your new career goals.

  7. Apply for jobs in your new field.

If you need to continue working full-time before making a career change, then investigate online degree programs. There are many credentials you can gain while still working. Building a network of professional contacts in your desired field can ease the transition.

Some careers will require more of a time commitment to gain the certifications required. Taking time to gain qualifications could improve your prospects and enable you to pursue a completely new career in your 40s.

Whether you are planning to use your existing skills or need to learn different skills, there are plenty of resources available to help you succeed in your new career.

Read more: How To Switch Careers

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