Feeling stuck in your current career?
Dreaming about a career change that transforms your entire view of the working world?
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re not alone. Many of us will find ourselves at a career crossroads at some point, be it early on in our careers or later in life.
Making a career change at 40 can be daunting, but don’t worry; starting a new career at 40, 50, 60 and beyond is possible! You can use the skills you’ve banked over the years to give you an edge over other candidates.
In this guide, we’ll explore the incredible possibilities and potential that come with a career change at 40, so you can decide what path is right for you.
Why do people decide to change careers later in life?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re 10, 20 or even 30 years into a career; falling out of love with a particular line of work can happen at any time. If you have a growing sense that your current profession isn’t ticking the boxes for you anymore, this might be the result of things such as:
- You’re feeling unfulfilled or burned out after decades in the same role
- You’ve returned to work after having a break to raise a family
- You’re no longer willing to commit to the same working hours
- You want a new environment or a new challenge
- You want a better work-life balance with more free time
- You want more control over when you work
Of course, everyone’s situation is different, with no two people wanting a career change for the same reasons. Whatever your motivations for pursuing a change of career later in life, they are just as valid as the next person’s!
What to consider when making a career transition at 40
To ensure your career change is as successful and rewarding as you hope, you’ll need to consider several things. These include:
- Financial security/salary
- Work-life balance
- Your passion or dream job
- Any existing connections you have
- What additional qualifications or new skills might you need
Learn more about ensuring your career change is a success by reading our dedicated guide on how to have a successful career change.
The benefits of starting a new career in your 40s
With age comes experience, and with experience comes a far greater understanding of what matters to you in your line of work. Having this elevated awareness brings a whole host of benefits to you on your career change journey, including:
- A greater level of emotional maturity and resilience
- Interview experience from previous roles
- A better sense of self in terms of what you value and want from a career
- Transferable skills from existing and prior roles
- Better soft skills like time management, problem-solving, communication and project management
- Hands-on industry experience
These benefits are relevant to you, your job satisfaction, and your prospective employer.
The best career paths for people in their 40s
1. Driving Instructor
Have you ever considered becoming a driving instructor as a new career path? Your life experience and maturity will make you a natural fit for the role. At 40, you’ve likely encountered various situations on the road and developed a deep understanding of safe and responsible driving.
This knowledge, combined with approachability and patience towards learner drivers, will create a comfortable and supportive learning environment for your students. You’ll be able to share practical advice, instil confidence and guide new drivers towards achieving a significant and exciting milestone.
There are plenty of advantages of becoming a driving instructor. You have the freedom to choose your working hours and schedule appointments that suit your lifestyle. You can adjust your teaching schedule to work around family commitments or pursue other interests you haven’t had time for in the past. This goes for your driving instructor training too, since a reputable trainer such as Bill Plant Driving School is able to provide you with high-quality, flexible training that leaves you feeling confident and excited to get in the car.
What’s more, there’s currently a shortage of driving instructors in the UK. This high level of demand means you’re likely to find work and, provided you can provide high-quality tuition, earn more per hour. The average driving instructor salary in the UK might be higher than you think!
2. Estate agency
Becoming an estate agent is an ideal midlife career change. The housing industry offers a diverse range of opportunities and avenues for success. At 40, you bring valuable life experience and a solid work ethic, which you need for a career in estate agency.
Whether you focus on selling residential properties, commercial spaces or investment opportunities, being an estate agent provides a platform to utilise your existing skills to build your reputation and client base.
You’ll also be helping individuals and families find their dream homes, assisting businesses in securing ideal locations and contributing to the growth and development of your community. The difference you’ll be making may bring you more fulfilment than you’re getting in your current job.
If you believe in the ‘you never stop learning’ mantra, marketing may be for you. The field of marketing is dynamic and ever-evolving, making it an ideal fit if you want to grow continually.
Digital marketing, in particular, offers endless possibilities for creative and strategic marketing campaigns. Your breadth of experience will mean you can connect with diverse audiences, understand their needs and create compelling marketing strategies that resonate with them on a deeper level. You can also use your existing skills while embracing new technologies and trends.
Whether it’s social media marketing, content creation, data analytics or emerging technologies like AI, your willingness to adapt and stay ahead of the curve will ensure your success in the marketing industry.
At 40, you’ve likely accumulated a wealth of knowledge and skills throughout your professional journey. Choosing consultancy as a career path allows you to leverage this experience and share your expertise with various clients and industries.
Your years of work have given you a deep understanding of business operations, problem-solving and decision-making, making you a valuable asset to organisations seeking guidance.
Consultancy also offers you a level of autonomy that few other careers can match. As a consultant, you’ll be free to choose your projects, clients and working hours.
Regardless of your age when changing careers, many people want to move into a profession that allows them to make a difference each day in someone’s life. If that’s your goal and you have a passion for education, teaching might be the career for you.
You can positively impact young minds and shape the future generation. Your passion for education and ability to connect with students will inspire them, instil a love for learning and nurture their unique talents and potential. If the idea of being a part of their growth and witnessing their achievements makes you happy, go for it!
6. Life coaching
At 40, you’ve undoubtedly encountered various challenges, learned valuable lessons and gained insights you can pass on to others. Your life experience and wisdom make you a natural and empathetic life coach.
You can spend your days creating a safe and supportive space for your clients to explore their goals, overcome obstacles and unlock their full potential. If that sounds like something you’d thoroughly enjoy, life coaching could be your dream career.
If long-term stability and prospects are highest on your new career wishlist, why not consider accountancy? With a growing demand for skilled accountants, your expertise will always be in high demand, whether you work independently or join an organisation.
The field provides opportunities for continuous learning, specialisation and advancement, ensuring you can build a successful and fulfilling career well into the future. If you have an eye for numbers and pride yourself on your organisational skills, you’ll make a great accountant.
Do you dream of starting your own business? Entrepreneurship can be incredibly exciting if you’re dreaming of a career change at 40 that involves being your own boss and pursuing your passions.
You’ll bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and a strong network that can fuel the success of your chosen venture. If you approach your new business with a friendly and trustworthy attitude, it’ll help you to build meaningful connections, inspire others and attract potential customers or clients.
You’ll have the autonomy to finally set your own direction, make strategic decisions and shape your business according to your vision. It’s a chance to embrace your creativity, take calculated risks and build something meaningful that reflects your identity.
Sometimes taking the leap and setting out on your own can be daunting; becoming a driving instructor can be a great middle ground. You are your own business – however, you can limit some risks by training and partnering with a national driving school such as Bill Plant Driving School.
9. Event planning
Unleash your creativity with event planning. Whether it’s organising weddings, corporate conferences or community gatherings, you have the power to create experiences that guests will never forget.
Your expertise in coordinating logistics, managing budgets and designing beautiful, memorable events will bring your clients immeasurable satisfaction and relief that their event was a huge success – mainly due to you!
As an event planner, you’ll also be free to choose your projects, set your own schedule, and work from various locations. This flexibility empowers you to strike a healthy balance between your personal life and professional commitments.
10. Personal training
Personal training offers a dynamic and ever-evolving career path. With a growing focus on health and wellness, the demand for qualified personal trainers is on the rise, meaning there are ample opportunities to build a successful and fulfilling career in the fitness industry.
As you continue to learn and stay up-to-date with the latest fitness trends and techniques, you’ll continuously expand your knowledge and skills. This ensures that you’re always providing top-notch guidance to your clients, helping them on their fitness journeys, helping them transform their bodies, boosting their confidence and improving their overall well-being.
Like many pursuits on this list, personal training allows for flexibility and a healthy work-life balance. You can choose your working hours, design your own training programs and work with clients in various locations.
Top tips for a successful midlife career switch
- Don’t be afraid of taking a pay cut
If you can afford to take a pay cut, don’t be afraid of doing so. It can be daunting, but your career satisfaction, personal growth and happiness outweigh the immediate financial impact.
A slight pay cut can provide you with opportunities to pursue a more fulfilling career, gain new skills, and the chance to follow your passions or explore new fields where you can find greater purpose.
Moreover, a smaller salary will likely only be a temporary thing! Once in your new position, you can quickly prove your value to your employer and justify promotions or pay raises.
- Put your well-being first
Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health ensures you have the energy, resilience and clarity to navigate new challenges and adapt to a different work environment.
By prioritising your well-being, you create a solid framework that allows you to thrive and find genuine satisfaction from your career change at this stage in your life.
- Explore whether you can study part-time when retraining
Exploring part-time study options is important when considering a career change at 40 as it allows you to balance your commitments and responsibilities.
Pursuing education on a part-time basis provides flexibility, enabling you to continue working or managing other personal obligations while gaining the necessary qualifications for your new career path.
- Have the confidence to try something totally new
The confidence to try something new is crucial because it opens doors to exciting possibilities and personal growth.
Embracing new challenges and stepping out of your comfort zone allows you to discover untapped talents, expand your skill set and find a career that aligns with your true passions and aspirations.
- Look for mentors in your dream industry
Seeking a mentor in your dream industry is essential, as they can provide invaluable guidance, insights and support. Mentors can offer valuable advice based on their own experiences, help you navigate the challenges of transitioning into a new field and provide you with a network of connections.
All of these things increase your chances of success in your career change.
Make a career change at 40 with Bill Plant Driving School
If you’ve ever thought about becoming a driving instructor, consider Bill Plant. We now employ hundreds of dedicated instructors of every age nationwide. But don’t just take our word for it; we’ve also been voted the UK’s best provider of driving lessons and driving instructor training.
We provide a wide range of nationwide driving instructor training courses so you can learn to teach in a way that suits you. Some of our training courses even include accommodation, so you don’t need to worry about finding a place to stay after a long day behind the wheel.
Bill Plant Driving School is a well-respected, award-winning company dedicated to ensuring your training covers everything you need to excel. Once you receive your qualification, you could become a franchisee so you can join the team and start earning.
So what are you waiting for? Get in touch today to take the first step towards an exciting and fulfilling career.
Is 40 too old to start a new career?
No! You’re never too old to pursue things that make you feel fulfilled. That’s not to say it won’t be daunting or, at times, overwhelming, but anything is possible with the right amount of planning.
What could I retrain as at 40?
At 40 years old, you have many options to retrain and embark on a new career path. As well as the career paths listed above, some possibilities include fields like programming, graphic design and counselling.
The key is identifying your interests, skills and the market demand to choose an area that aligns with your goals and offers growth opportunities.