7 great second careers if you're over 40

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By Susan Ricker

You're too young for retirement, too experienced for entry-level positions and too fed up with your job to stay any longer. Have you considered starting a second career? Beginning a new profession can be an exciting way to change how you feel about your work life, and the shifting economy offers more opportunities for change than you might think. Whether you've never before thought of switching careers, or if it's been a recurring dream of yours, here are some ideas for getting started.

Create An 'Open Ideas' List

If you're ready to leave your first career behind and move on to what's next in life, it's time to ask what's next. Keep a running list of ideas for your future -- hobbies you enjoy, your areas of expertise, business ideas you've previously passed on, childhood dreams. This list can include every pipedream you've had. Then, narrow it down to what interests you most, what you can make happen and what you want to learn more about. Try out different fields by volunteering, taking classes and talking to those who have the position you want. Transitioning successfully to a second career depends on how much research and preparation you can do to ensure it'll be the right fit.

Use Economic Advantages

Making a career switch can be intimidating at any point in life, but a tepid economy and family responsibilities can hinder even the biggest risk-takers. Rather than starting off on your own, take advantage of newly created roles that are growing in demand. CareerBuilder's midyear job forecast shared hopeful news for job seekers and career changers. More employers are reporting that, within their organizations, new jobs are emerging that didn't exist five years ago, including positions tied to:
Employers are hiring in large numbers in some key areas, including those impacting revenue and innovation. To gain experience before launching an independent career, here are some areas where employers are hiring first:
Consider Secure Jobs

Still not convinced there's a second career in your future? "150 Best Jobs for a Secure Future" author Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., shares a variety of secure-job lists based on different demographics. Switching careers during economic uncertainty is actually more common and practical than it may seem. "People tend to lose recession-sensitive jobs when economic downturns strike and the jobs they find during those hard times tend to be available because they're secure," Shatkin says.

Among Shatkin's many lists of secure jobs, here are seven examples of the best secure jobs with a high percentage of mature workers:

1. Athletic trainers*
Growth between 2010-20: 30 percent (much faster than average)
Median annual salary: $41,600

2. Clinical, counseling and other school psychologists
Growth between 2010-20: 22 percent (faster than average)
Median annual salary: $68,640

3. Instructional coordinators
Growth between 2010-20: 20 percent (faster than average)
Median annual salary: $58,830

4. Interpreters and translators
Growth between 2010-20: 42 percent (much faster than average)
Median annual salary: $43,300

5. Management analysts
Growth between 2010-20: 22 percent (faster than average)
Median annual salary: $78,160

6. Occupational therapy assistants
Growth between 2010-20: 33 percent (much faster than average)
Median annual salary: $72,320

7. Technical writers
Growth between 2010-20: 17 percent (about as fast as average)
Median annual salary: $68,280

*All median annual salary figures and growth percentages are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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