Start a New Career at Any Age


Check out these hot options for career switchers of all ages.

By Chris Kyle   
Last updated on 07/11/2014

Looking to change careers and think your age may limit you? You may want to revisit that line of thinking...

"Age really has no bearing," says Michael Brandt, chief operating officer of BrightMove, a Florida-based company that designs recruiting and staffing software. "The only thing that really matters is the skills that you have," says Brandt, who estimates that 95 percent of his clients do not use age as a search criterion.

People of all ages believe they will change careers at some point in the future, according to a November 2010 survey by Kelly Services, a Michigan-based workforce solutions company.

The study, which polled 134,000 workers worldwide, found that:

  • 65 percent of Generation X (people born in the '60s and '70s) expect to change careers
  • 62 percent of Generation Y (people born in the '80s and '90s) expect to change careers
  • 62 percent of Baby Boomers (people born in the late '40s and '50s) expect to change careers

So how can you successfully pull off a career change? Going back to school is one way you could gain the right skill-set to help transition to a new career.

In fact, there are numerous reasons to go back to school, including learning new things, meeting new people and networking, and preparing to change careers.

Keep reading to see which degree and certificate programs can help you move into these hot careers...

#1 Medical Records and Health Information Technician

The only date of birth that matters in this career is the patient's. Health information technicians enter, update, and manage health information data. The recent push to convert paper medical records into electronic form is creating a bigger demand for health information and medical records technicians, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Education: Typically a postsecondary certificate is needed to enter this occupation, according to the Department of Labor, although these employers may have an associate's degree, with programs in health information technology including courses in areas like medical terminology, health care statistics and computer systems.

Median Annual Earnings: $34,970*

Click to Find the Right Health Information Technology Program.

#2 Computer Support Specialist

Forget about age. As long as you're able to help and advise people and organizations on the use of computer software and equipment, you're fulfilling the qualifications for this position, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Education: A bachelor's degree is required for some computer support specialist positions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, but postsecondary classes or an associate's degree may be enough in some cases. If you already have a degree or want to target a faster-paced career program, certification could also help prepare you for a career as a computer support specialist.

Median Annual Earnings: $47,660*

Search for Technology Support Programs Near You

#3 Paralegal and Legal Assistants

Reliability is likely more top-of-mind than age in this profession, since lawyers depend upon paralegals and legal assistants to perform a variety of tasks, such as legal research, organizing files, interviewing witnesses, and drafting documents, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Education: If you're considering a career change, take note that an associate's degree in paralegal studies is the most common qualification for a paralegal, according to the Department of Labor. If you already have a bachelor's degree in a different subject, consider earning a certificate in paralegal studies to prepare for this profession.

Median Annual Earnings: $47,570*

Search for Paralegal Certificate and Degree Programs Near You

#4 Computer Programmer

In this profession you are forever young as long as you're current on the latest IT trends. For those considering a career as a computer programmer, you'll need to be able to write code and create software programs, turning the designs of engineers and developers into instructions a computer can read, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Education: Computer programmers usually have a bachelor's or associate's degree in computer science or a related subject, according to the Department of Labor, which adds that keeping up with the newest programming tools could improve job prospects.

Median Annual Earnings: $76,140*

Search for IT Degree and Certificate Programs

#5 Medical and Health Services Manager

Age may not be as big a factor as experience for this position. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, medical and health services managers are responsible for planning, direction and coordination of health and medical services for anything from one clinical department to an entire facility.

Education: Those looking to pursue a career as medical and health services manager should have a health administration bachelor's degree, according to the Department of Labor.

Median Annual Earnings: $90,940*

Search for Health Care Administration Degree Programs

* Median salary information comes from the Department of Labor Occupational Employment Statistics Employment and Wages Data, May 2013.

Molly Smith also contributed to this article by updating the information on 07/11/2010

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