Do you like your job? Do you wake up motivated and can’t wait to share the details of your day when work is over? Are you passionate about your career? If the answer is no –– and you instead describe your job as tedious and unfulfilling –– it could be time to make a switch. You are not trapped. There are options. Believe it or not, remaining at a job you hate is worse for your mental and physical health than being unemployed.
Besides, the average Boomer held fewer than one-dozen jobs over the course of their careers. It’s likely millennials will double that. Many of us endured unemployment after the 2008 Global Recession only to face layoffs during the COVID-19 pandemic. In our favor, many careers like social media manager and coding offer unconventional entry requirements. Although they lacked degrees, social media managers have earned jobs based on the engagement levels of personal posts while home coding courses landed people positions at top tech firms. You and your worries are the biggest obstacle to making a change. So, what are some of the best careers to start at 30 years old?
If you’ve already earned a Bachelor’s degree, there are teaching opportunities that require little additional education. You can even be a Teaching Assistant before graduating from university. Some school districts employ substitutes who don’t have a teaching certificate (although you may need to be taking classes toward the credential.) Companies that will hire you to teach English as a second language overseas are similarly liberal about prerequisites.
To be a full-time teacher, you may need to return to school. If you have a background in math or science, you’ll find plenty of openings. They tend to be more limited for those who wish to teach elementary students or humanities at the high school level. You may want to start off as a private tutor or volunteering with after school programs. The pay is relatively low (although the salary of full time teachers approaches the median income in the U.S.). It can be exhausting and burnout is a real concern. Still, for those who are passionate about teaching there really is no other profession.
Has the pandemic inspired you to read online medical journals? Are you fascinated by medicine, science, or research in general? Or have you always wanted to help people? Like teaching, medicine is one of those fields that attracts passionate people. It’s definitely one of the best careers to start at 30 years old. It’s also extremely demanding. You’ll likely need additional education, but you may find that you are more driven to study and earn good marks than you were at 20. Some good-paying jobs only require an Associate Degree.
For the most part, demand in the healthcare profession is huge. From nurses to physician’s assistants, once you’ve completed your training you should have a fairly easy time getting a job. Pay is usually above the median income with opportunities for overtime. Even on the low end, if you love to travel there are employers across the country that will pay not only for your airfare but your housing as well.
Although I usually focus on professional careers, I don’t want to ignore jobs that don’t take place in an office. From firefighters to carpenters and mechanics, many more blue collar careers attract people over 30. There are lots of stories about investment bankers, professors, and attorneys quitting their jobs and seeking work in more physically demanding professions. The transition isn’t easy but it’s definitely possible.
As you consider a career change, see if there are opportunities to learn about the job. Some have taken internships to see if they want to pursue it further. Just don’t let your age be a deterrent –– even if you’re long past 30. Alice Lee –– the sister of To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper – practiced real estate law until she was 100. Numerous successful companies are run by octogenarian founders. And today most law and medical school classes have at least a few students with gray hair and wrinkles. I’ll say it again, you may be the biggest obstacle to pursuing a career in middle age. So get out of your own way and do it!
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