Have You Changed Careers After 40Yrs of Age?

Updated on March 20, 2012
M.M. asks from Vail, CO
8 answers

Have you changed careers after 40yrs of age? and have any tips or success stories to share?

I'm 'stuck'. I have been a SAHM for 2yrs and feel I need to either return to work 3 days a week (in a perfect world) or spend time studying now for a career change...at 40yrs old. From my mid 20's I've always had jobs that pay well but the last job I had for 6yrs was only for the pay check. It wasn't a meaningful or satisfying job and I dread the thought of going back. Financially; I'll need to work for at least another 20yrs and I can find time to retrain but I cannot afford a $100,000 student loan even if finishing a degree at 44yrs, with no experience, would make me employable (?). I feel pressure to 'make the right choice' now because times running out!
Appitude tests say I'm suited to teaching, counseling, medicine, consulting or sales (sales is not for me). Online education is just as expensive as face to face college time.
Am I just being a princess and I've left my run too late so take a job and get on with it ;-)

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answers from New York on

I am in the midst of a career change as we speak. I've been a SAHM for six months as a result of unemployment. I took advantage of a grant through unemployment to do an online class.

Since you are not on unemployment, perhaps you can see about financial aid or grants through a community college. My community college is very receptive to all ages. I went to an open house and it was packed with 40somethings so I felt very much at home.

See what's out there. Make some phone calls and visit in person. That goes a longer way than just exploring online.

Good luck, and no it's never too late.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

I would really recommend getting an associates degree in nursing. If you already have a bachelors degree, a lot of community colleges offer a fast track program that takes approx 13-15 months. If it is your first degree it usually takes 2-2 1/2 years to finish. Starting hourly pay, here in Dallas, is $21/hr. When I went through the program, 7years ago, I only took out 10k in student loans.

Many of the nurses I work with are over 40 and on their second careers. In my experience they bring a no nonsense approach and attention to detail that some of the younger nurses don't have. Also, their work ethic just can't be beat. :)

Good luck on your decision.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

It sounds like you have done assessments, but have you worked with a qualified career counselor or coach? The options you list are broad and may not help you make a clear decision as to your career future. I would google "career coach" or "career counseling" in your area and interview a few people to find someone to work with to give you guidance. In a short time, a qualified person should help you understand your needs and put a plan together.

I decided to go back to school to earn another degree when I was 44. Now at 51 I'll be finishing my PhD this year. So I'm biased, but I don't think it's ever too late to retrain and start a new or improved career. In my early 40s I was in a job that I hated. It occured to me that I was only HALFWAY through my working life. No way was I going to stumble through and put up with jobs that I hated for that long.

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answers from Chicago on

I don't think that you're being a princess at all. It is a tricky thing to balance fnancial needs, family, personal fulfilment. I am 38, haven't changed careers yet(but may have to, see post below), and am also not in a position to go back to a University. I have a degree but it is in psychology and many jobs in social service that I qualify for are very low paying. My sister-in-law just took a nursing assistant program for free at a nursing home near her house. She had to sign a 6 month contract of employment or reimburse the nursing home $500 for the cost of tuition. She was offered a job at a cosmetic surgery center so is going to just pay the tuition. It was only an 8 week program.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Girl, I am 40+ and I am working 4 days a week making only $21 an hour. I can afford it because my townhome is paid for and my car is paid for. I wanted to do this for 2 years as I hated my boss and just wanted freedom from her!

I work an hourly job teaching Dance at an elementary schol--I pay for my own benefits and I can save NOTHING. However, I am free and happy.

I will get back into the rat race in September 2012 as I already have plans A and B in effect.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Champaign on

Do you know what you want to do? I mean, if education were not an issue and you had the experience, what job would you really like to be doing?

It is a little difficult to answer your question because every field is just so different. There are some jobs where the degree is a must and there really is no way around it (teaching, for example). But that doesn't mean there aren't other options withing that field (teacher's aids). Also, there are some fields where you will see individuals who have a master's degree and others who have some college classes and no degree. (This can often be true when working for the Catholic Church).

I teach at a university and have changed careers three times. I'll be 40 in 2 months (ok, 1 month and 30 days, but who's counting?) I work with many "non traditional" students, many of whom have grandkids. It's never too late to go back to school. I think it would be a good idea to consider what you would like to do and do some research about what you would need to do to get there. Talk to people in that field and find out what your options are. You'll have a much better idea of what to do next.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

There are many ways to do this but I would need more information to help: what you used to do, what you want to do & how much money you made/need to make.



answers from Denver on

I turn 42 in 6 weeks and just changed careers. I have always been in the corporate world with a huge salary until I had my first child 12 years ago. When he was born I went freelance and for 10 years made a great living working from home. The last couple of years though have not been as great so I had to get out there and decide what to do with my life. Frankly, I am just tired of my years in the pressure cooker of deadlines and clients and spending $2300+ a month on daycare for four kids is just crazy.

Long story short, I have found a career building a professional income working a few hours a week and still home for my babies.

I did not go to school and rack up more student loans. I have a degree that I am proud of but it really does not work outside of my industry. I just do not have the desire or the resources to spend more on education right now, especially since I will be dishing out for a college education for my kids here shortly.

Good luck in your search. You will figure out your match and NO you are not being a princess. Just focus on finding something that works for both you and your family. There is nothing like the stress of a bad job match integrated with the people you love most.

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