Midlife Crisis? Check Out These Careers

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Hate what you do for a living? It may be time to prepare to pursue a new career.

By Terence Loose

Have you been in the same career for forever? Do you feel more burnt out than a sparkler on the fifth of July?

You may be experiencing a midlife career crisis.

"When people have been doing something for 10 or 15 years, they may be burned out," says career counselor Eileen Sharaga.

But here's the good news: with the right education and/or experience, there are a variety of other careers that you could pursue.

The most important thing to remember is to stay positive and always look forward, says Sharaga.

We agree, so we outlined six careers - and their education requirements - to help you see what career options are available. Keep reading to learn more.

Career #1: Medical and Health Services Manager

2010 to 2020 Job Growth: 22 percent*
Median Annual Salary: $86,400*
Top Ten Percent of Earners: $147,890
Bottom Ten Percent of Earners: $52,730

Perhaps you're tired of working in a dying industry and want to switch to a, forgive the pun, healthier one. Health care could be the answer. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor projects that the health care and social assistance industry will generate 28 percent of all new U.S. jobs from 2010 to 2020.

Medical and health services managers could work in different health care facilities including hospitals, doctors' offices, or nursing homes, says the Department of Labor. And their duties are just as varied. According to the Department, they could keep up on relevant laws and regulations, be in charge of a facility's finances, and even represent their facility at investor meetings or on governing boards.

Click to Find the Right Health Care Administration Program.

Education Options: Most medical and health services managers need at least a bachelor's degree to prepare to pursue this field, according to the Department. Other common credentials include master's degrees in health services, long-term care administration, public health, public administration, or business administration.

Career #2: Paralegal

2010 to 2020 Job Growth: 18 percent*
Median Annual Salary: $46,730*
Top Ten Percent of Earners: $75,400
Bottom Ten Percent of Earners: $29,390

Is your midlife crisis sparking your interest in law? If you're ready to engage your investigative mind, a career as a paralegal could be the second-act job for you.

As a paralegal, you could support lawyers by investigating the facts of a case, researching relevant laws and regulations, and writing reports to help prepare for trials, says the U.S. Department of Labor. Paralegals could also help prepare legal arguments and draft documents to be filed with the court, adds the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Paralegal Studies Program.

Education Options: According to the Department, there are a few education paths you can take. One is to earn an associate's degree in paralegal studies. Already have a bachelor's degree in another subject? Earning a certificate in paralegal studies is another viable path.

Career #3: Social Worker

2010 to 2020 Job Growth: 25 percent*
Median Annual Salary: $53,900*
Top Ten Percent of Earners: $79,760
Bottom Ten Percent of Earners: $30,380

Do you want to get over your midlife crisis by helping others get over their issues? Sounds like good motivation to pursue a career as a social worker.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, as a direct-service social worker, you could "help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives."

Common duties could include evaluating clients' needs, situations, and support networks, creating plans to improve clients' well-being, and helping clients adjust to challenging life events like divorce or unemployment, says the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Psychology Program.

Education Options: "A bachelor's degree is required for most direct-service social work positions, but some positions and settings require a master's degree," says the Department. And while a bachelor's degree in social work is typical for entry-level positions, related majors like psychology or sociology might suffice for some employers.

Career #4: Accountant

2010 to 2020 Job Growth: 16 percent*
Median Annual Salary: $62,850*
Top Ten Percent of Earners: $109,870
Bottom Ten Percent of Earners: $39,640

Maybe you're not the kind to go the typical midlife crisis route and freak out, buy a Harley motorcycle, and ride across the country wearing leather and sporting a beard. Maybe you want to go the other way and pursue a nice, mellow career. Accounting might be the option for you.

As an accountant, your responsibilities could include maintaining financial records, preparing tax returns, and examining financial statements to ensure they obey laws and regulations, says the U.S. Department of Labor. You could also be integral to a company by providing suggestions to reduce costs and improve revenue. For some people, that really gets their motor revvin'.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program.

Education Options: If you are interested in pursuing a career as an accountant, you'll want to keep in mind that most accountants need - at minimum - a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related area, according to the Department of Labor. Some employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in accounting or in business administration, with an accounting concentration.

Career #5: Elementary School Teacher

2010 to 2020 Job Growth: 17 percent*
Median Annual Salary: $52,840*
Top Ten Percent of Earners: $81,230
Bottom Ten Percent of Earners: $34,910

There's nothing like being around a bunch of kids to make you feel like one yourself. So pursuing a career as an elementary school teacher might help you regain your youthfulness and get over that midlife slump.

As an elementary school teacher, you could teach first- to eight-grade students a variety of subjects like math, reading, and science, as well as study skills and social skills, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. You might even try hands-on teaching methods such as using props or demonstrating how to do a science experiment, says the Department of Labor.

Click to Find the Right Education Program.

Education Options: "All states require public kindergarten and elementary school teachers to have at least a bachelor's degree in elementary education," according to the Department. "Some states also require kindergarten and elementary school teachers to major in a content area, such as math or science." Public school teachers must also obtain a license or certificate from their state.

Career #6: Computer Support Specialist

2010 to 2020 Job Growth: 18 percent*
Median Annual Salary: $47,660*
Top Ten Percent of Earners: $81,190
Bottom Ten Percent of Earners: $28,980

Perhaps it's finally time to pursue your passion for computers by considering a career as a computer support specialist. If you like working with computers and helping people solve their own computer problems, this could be an exciting new career path for you.

As a computer support specialist, you could work in a company's information technology (IT) department and help analyze and fix computer problems through testing and performing regular maintenance on existing network systems, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Basically, you could be one of the friendly, calm pros that help computer users when they're freaking out because their computer is acting as if Satan 2.0 was just downloaded.

Click to Find the Right Computer Science Program.

Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, there are numerous routes to prepare to pursue this career. For example, a bachelor's degree may be required for some positions, but an associate's degree could be sufficient for others. For more technical positions, a degree in computer science, engineering, or information science could be required.

*Potential job growth information is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition. And all annual pay statistics are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011.

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