Improve your business
Professional Development
How To Start a New Career at 50

How To Start a New Career at 50

Are you considering a new career in a different field? Learn how to start a new career at 50 and navigate the transition between jobs.


It’s never too late to try something new — including your career. 

You can start on a new path at any age. Whether you’ve grown tired of your current role or discovered a passion for another industry, don’t let fear of the unknown hold you back. Shifting gears is never easy, but you have years of professional experience under your belt — that’s an asset, not a hindrance. 

Feeling nervous about the transition is natural — it means you’re taking the decision seriously. Some risks come with switching up your career, but with a solid plan, you’ll discover wonderful benefits, including reigniting your professional passion.

If you feel it’s time to make a significant professional shift, you should do it. It’s not impossible to start a new career at 50 and up, especially if you jump in with the right mindset and tools. 

What it takes to change careers at 50 (and beyond)

Open your mind, shake off your fears, and allow yourself to dream: If you could choose anything, what would your next career be? Maybe it’s something you dreamed about when you were younger. Maybe it’s a whole new way to use your background. The sky’s the limit, and you deserve happiness.

With hard work and careful planning, that dream career can become your reality. But before you hand in your two-week notice at your current job, it’s essential to be prepared. Here are four steps you should follow before taking the leap:

  • Learn new skills: If your new career requires skills you don’t have, you need to build on your education. Research where you can learn these skills. A class? A college course? A certified trainer? Next, search for virtual and local programs that meet your needs. Remember, learning often requires investing your time and money — ensure you have the funds and spare time to dedicate toward obtaining these skills.
  • Find support: Consider working with a career coach who can empower you to address your goals, navigate fears, and draft a detailed and productive plan for the future. A coach can also help to improve your resume in a way that highlights soft and hard skills that will support you in this new role.
  • Consider your finances: There’s no guarantee that if you leave a secure job, you’ll find another in your dream industry right away, even if you’re well prepared. Keep this scenario in mind and ensure you have the funds to cover your expenses during this transition period. 
  • Be brave: So long as you have a plan and the finances and skills to support this career change, go for it. You don’t have to feel stuck on your current path if you’ve sensibly charted a new one.

The pros and cons of launching a new career

Career changes can be incredibly rewarding, but they also come with stress and risk. It’s important to make an informed decision, so before you leave your current job, be sure you understand what this jump will entail. Understanding the pros and cons of taking on a new position will help you identify what challenges you may encounter and set realistic expectations. 

The pros

A new job could be just the change you need. Here are some upsides of changing career paths:

  • A fresh start: Many people switch careers because they’re exhausted by the monotony of working in the same field for a long time. A new challenge can be exciting and fulfilling, allowing you to apply yourself in ways you haven’t before.
  • Improved outlook: There’s no guarantee a new career will improve your mental wellness, but learning new skills, meeting new people, and fulfilling a dream could give you an emotional boost that combats lingering feelings of negativity. Plus, you can avoid the burnout you may be feeling in your current career with a fresh challenge. 
  • New opportunities: It’s normal to feel stuck in your routine. Getting out of your comfort zone and starting a professional adventure can combat stasis and repetition, pushing you to do things you’ve never tried before. Brand new opportunities — such as working with fascinating people, expanding your expertise, and succeeding in unfamiliar ways — are amazing byproducts of a second career.

The cons

Stressful professional transitions aren’t for everyone. Here are some downsides of starting an unfamiliar role:

  • Pay cuts: A new career could mean starting from scratch. You may experience a decrease in salary if you begin in an entry-level role — that’s why it’s a good idea to embark on a new journey when you’re financially stable. Don’t forget to figure in your “start-up” expenses, including any costs associated with an education to get you up to speed. 
  • Doubt in skills: Unfortunately, job seekers with many years of experience in another field may face barriers to obtaining a new role. While discrimination based on age is illegal, hiring managers may prefer candidates with a successful career relevant to the position. However, if a recruiter looks down on you because of your age or career trajectory, the role likely wouldn’t have been a good cultural fit. If relevant, you can choose to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and continue looking for a satisfying gig elsewhere. 
  • Perception as overqualified: Conversely, you may run into hiring managers who see your years of experience and assume you’ll be bored in an entry-level role. If you land a job interview, you can combat this perception by explaining why you’re passionate about this career shift and looking forward to learning and working your way up. Highlight transferable skills from previous roles that will be valuable in this new one. 


Second career ideas for people over 50

Considering a new professional direction but aren’t sure what’s next? Some positions are better suited for fulfilling second career acts. Here are a few new jobs for 50-year-olds and up to inspire you: 

  • Virtual assistant: This role is ideal if you want to learn more about a specific industry without diving into a high-responsibility or operational role at a company. You might thrive in remote work, supporting professionals in a particular specialty with administrative tasks.
  • Teacher: After a long career in another field, you have skills, know-how, and first-hand experience to share with others. Consider a teacher or professor role — you can inspire others and take on a new challenge without leaving your area of expertise.  
  • Copywriter: If you prefer to be behind the pen rather than the podium, put your years of experience to work as a copywriter. Look for opportunities at freelance content-creation companies that align with your knowledge. Did you work in marketing, finance, or tech? Seek out agencies and clients looking for experts who can write compelling content. 
  • Real Estate Agent: If you enjoy watching house-hunting shows after work, why not turn this interest into a job? You can help others find their dream homes and earn commissions at the same time. Plus, training from the ground up takes less time than many other roles: on average, it takes four to six months to complete your education and earn the credentials.
  • Coach: One of the first steps to becoming a coach is gaining experience in a relevant field. You can already check off that box — apply your business, health, psychology, or leadership knowledge in a coaching role. You can supplement your know-how by earning credentials through a virtual coaching course before taking on your first clients. 
  • Entrepreneur: Consider starting your own business as a fresh entrepreneurial endeavor. This is an excellent option for hobbyists who want to transform their passion into earnings. Launch a fashion boutique, a pizza parlor, or an ecommerce site focused on rare books, ceramics, or dog accessories — whatever excites you.   

Find direction with Practice

Before a major shift in your life, consider getting help from an expert. A career coach can help you make a professional change later in your career, but there are a number of coaching specialties that may benefit you during challenging transitions. Entrepreneurs might seek guidance from a business coach, while people who want to take a holistic approach to navigate change could work with a life coach

At Practice, we’re dedicated to educating people about the coaching field. You can learn about the types of coaches and their work on our blog. And if you’re considering a second career in coaching, our articles are an excellent resource as you map your way forward.

Free content

Give your clients a simple and professional experience

Practice has scheduling, payments, client management, file storage and more — all in one place.
Try for free

Simple client management designed for teams

Delegate, collaborate, and oversee your client base across your team — without missing a step.
Learn more
Are you a coach? Take our quiz to find out if Practice is a good fit for you
Get started
Get a simple and professional experience for you and your clients
Get started
Text Link