Best midlife career changes

If you started work at 16 and don’t plan to retire at 70, that’s a 54 year career! So it’s understandable that many of us decide to seek a change in mid-life. When you start to explore career change opportunities there are various things to consider. Read on for tips and insights into how to make the best midlife career changes.

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Changing career midlife – what to consider

The first step in identifying a successful career change is to be clear about why you want it. Your reasons will be important in shaping your next move.
Are you no longer excited by your current field of work? Have you outgrown your role? Do you want to reduce your hours or work more flexibly? Are you looking for something more rewarding?

These are all very valid – and common – reasons for changing career midlife. By understanding what your motivations are you will be able to make the best midlife career changes.

The next question is whether you’re prepared to train for a new career. Some roles can be very rewarding but will require some study.

What are the best midlife career changes?

You will be the best judge of what will suit you, but many people decide to seek a more rewarding job in a career change. Some of the most popular choices include the following, many of which also offer flexible working options:

NHS work

Many people decide that working for the National Health Service is an appealing move. Not only are you contributing to an essential UK service but you’re also working with the public in a rewarding role.

While nursing will require formal training, there are many healthcare roles where you will be trained on the job. There are also many support roles and office jobs that might suit you and fit your previous experience.

Working in a school

Teacher training is another popular choice for career changes in midlife. If you have a degree you can study a postgraduate course and qualify in just a year. You can usually access funding for teacher training too.

There are many other school roles that don’t require a teaching qualification. These range from pastoral care to lab assistant jobs, administration roles to lunchtime supervision.

Care work

The field of care work is very broad and appeals to all kinds of people. You might choose to work with disabled adults or children, or older people in their own homes, or in a residential setting. The Every Day is Different website gives you a good sense of the many positions in this field of work, plus some career transition advice.


One of the big advantages of growing older is that you will have rich life experiences. Many people looking for career change opportunities are attracted to counselling, to use their skills to help others come to terms with and overcome their challenges.

There is great demand for counsellors in the UK. You can find out more from the Counselling Foundation.

Social Work

There is a national shortage of social work professionals and this again is an area where life experience can be very valuable. There are many different roles in the social work field, some of which require qualifications, while others don’t. Social workers make a huge difference to the people they support. Find out more from the National Career Service.

Of course there are many more career options open to you – you might pursue a charity role, for example, or become self employed in a job you are passionate about.

Am I too old to change career?

Age is irrelevant in the workplace today – at least on paper. Many employers today are actively seeking more experienced people, though. So if you’re wondering how to change careers at 50, 55 or even 60, the opportunities are out there.

Seeking out career transition advice could be very useful. Talk to people who work in the field you’re interested in, build some contacts, offer to volunteer to gain experience. But most of all, be brave and take the plunge.

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