Scrabble letters arranged to read “shift happens.” Is It Too Late to Change Careers

When Is It Too Late to Change Careers?

People nowadays are self-aware, digitally savvy, and encouraged to lead a life they enjoy. If you’re going to spend more than half your life working, it should be something you’re passionate about and able to enjoy.

A study by Indeed shows that 49 percent of full-time workers have already made a dramatic career change. 65 percent of those who had not already done so are considering exploring a new field. If you are thinking of pursuing a new career, either for better pay or fulfillment, keep reading for additional information on how to successfully change careers at any age.

Why It’s Not Too Late to Change Careers

Technological advancements have made online learning so accessible that anyone can acquire a new skill from the comfort of their own home. As a result, you do not need to return to school to change careers. You can acquire new skills while working in your current career and then transition after you finish your studies.

Can You Change Careers in Your 40s?

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You can change careers in your 40s as you will have a better picture of what you want or don’t want to do with the rest of your life. You may even have some money saved up to pay for online classes and accumulated experience that will help you succeed in your new field. 

A recent study by the American Institute for Economic Research found that 82 percent of workers aged 47 and above found success after changing careers.

Why Do People Want to Change Careers?

People want to change careers because they want to pursue more meaningful work. Since their first job after college, 29 percent of people have changed their career paths completely. It’s about pursuing your purpose and doing something that nourishes you. People seek opportunities in non-profit organizations, healthcare, education, and environmental work. 

Other reasons include increased pay and industry disruption. You can often use previous experience to leverage a better position with higher pay. For some, the search for a new career occurs because their job is automated or outsourced. 

Factors to Consider Before Changing Careers

  • Motivation: Why or what is motivating you to consider a career change? Is it money, status, fulfillment, or passion that drives you? If you can find your ‘why,’ and it’s something that will make your future happier and more fulfilled, go for it.
  • Readiness: Starting another career will take time. You need to develop new hard and soft skills, find a new job, and advance your new career. If you want to start a new career, do you have the time or patience to go through the transition process?
  • Financial stability: If you are transitioning from familiar to unknown territory, you may have to start from scratch. Do you have enough savings to last you through the transition? 
  • Occupational outlook: Some industries are expanding, while others are contracting. How does the job market in your desired industry currently look and how is it projected to look in a few years?
  • Family response: If you have a family, a career transition might affect them in more than one way. Will the change separate you from your children? Will it affect their livelihood? Is now the right time to make the change or is creating a career plan to wait a few years the better option?
  • Self-reflection: Are you willing to start over and grow from there? Take some time to think about yourself and make sure you’re making the best decision.

Tips on How to Change Careers Successfully

 An older woman studying. Is It Too Late to Change Careers
It is never too late for a career change. With the right career guidance, even older people can pursue their dream job.


Consider why you want to change careers. Is it the job itself or the industry in which you work that you dislike? For example, a lawyer may not want to stop practicing law, but they want to start making a real difference. This could be a shift from corporate to environmental law or collaborating with an NGO.

If you dislike your job, make a list of what you dislike about it. Is it the hours, the nature of the work, or the employer that you dislike? How different is your ideal role from the one you currently have? Consider a few different career paths to see which one best suits you.


Determine what you want to do. What is it that you are most passionate about? What would you want to do if money was not an issue? What abilities and skills do you have that can help you make money? What are your career goals?

Many times, people are unsure of what they want to do next. A career coach can help you figure this out so you can take steps in the right direction.


Do you know what career path you want to take next? It’s time to lay down a plan on how you will get there. Visit job search websites and review the job description and requirements for the position you want.

Do you have the necessary skills? If not, what additional training do you need to acquire those valuable skills? Where can you gain practical experience? Start by looking for an internship and volunteer opportunities.


Unfortunately, changing careers is not something that can be accomplished in a single day. Take the time to examine your finances, talk with your family, and plan for the next stage of your life. Making plans will ensure that everything runs smoothly. There will be less resistance and more support if you notify your family and everyone else concerned about the upcoming changes.

Are you planning to resign from your current position? Do you need to sign up for classes? Make a plan for how long it will take you to complete the course, do some volunteer work, and immerse yourself in your new career.


Finally, whose help do you need to make the transition successful? Consider a mentor and a career coach to help you through the process. Most importantly, tap into your networks and let people know that you are looking for opportunities in that field.

The best networks are people who have influence in companies and those who are already in that field. These people will not only keep you in mind if an opportunity arises, but they will also advise you on how to improve your chances of being hired.

If you decide to change careers, be prepared to start over. Of course, this time you have transferable skills and experience, but the pay may not be what you are used to. However, if it’s something you really want, it won’t be long before you’re back on top.

Best Careers to Start at 40

The best careers to start at 40 should not necessitate extensive study or experience. Instead, it should be something you can learn in a few weeks or months from a bootcamp or online training courses and then be on your way. More importantly, the best midlife career should be inspiring and fulfilling. With that in mind, consider the following careers.

Career Title Minimum Education Average Salary
Software Developer Bootcamp Certificate $97,763
Massage Therapist Licensing Course $74,768
Web Developer Bootcamp Certificate $70,863
Real Estate Agent Online Licensing Course $69,121
SEO Specialist Bootcamp Certificate $58,205
Social Worker Certificate in Social Work $55,541
Event Planner Online Course $51,892
Translator Online Course $50,422
Personal Trainer Online Course $49,156
Online Tutor Online Course $40,391

Should You Switch Careers?

You should switch careers because it is a wise decision when done at the right time, regardless of your age. According to ADP’s Workforce Vitality Report, people who changed careers in 2017 earned around five percent more than those who did not.

If your job is affecting your self-esteem, if you’re no longer finding fulfillment or joy, and if you’re constantly daydreaming about another career, it’s time to make the change. The transition may be difficult, and you may have to start with an entry-level position, but it will be worthwhile in the long run if you take the necessary steps.

FAQ: Is It Too Late for a Career Change?

What age is too late for a career change?

It is never too late to change careers. Most people change careers later in life, when money is often less of an issue. Choose to spend the second half of your life happy, fulfilled, and inspired.

At what age should you be settled in your career?

There is no specific age to be settled in your career. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average person has 12 jobs during their lifetime. If the career you chose at 20 isn’t providing you with job satisfaction at 45, find a new role.

Is it bad to keep switching careers?

It is not bad to keep switching careers, but employers may be reluctant to hire you if you keep changing careers. Companies want loyal, long-term employees. Keeping a job for at least two years is advised. Successful career changes are easy every 10–15 years, and it broadens your professional experience and challenges you.

When should I switch careers?

You should switch careers if the thought of doing the same thing fills you with dread. If you find yourself daydreaming about another line of work all the time, or if there is constant pressure to pursue that career, it may be time to change.

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