Mid-career woman at a client meeting

Nine high paying jobs for career changers

Written by Elizabeth Bromstein
Posted on

So, you’re 45, and you’re thinking “What am I going to do with my life?” It happens. The first career didn’t work out, or you just never got around to getting serious.

Second, and even third careers are going to become more common as the employment landscape continues to shift. Careers no longer follow the same linear trajectory they once did, so where we will all find ourselves in our 50s and 60s is anyone’s guess. Back in school or starting over? Why not.

If you’re thinking of making a midlife career shift, here are some good options. I chose jobs that do not require advanced degrees, most of which are projected to show a lot of growth* – so the jobs will be available. And they all pay, in the upper salary range, more than $90,000**. I hope you find your dream job here.

Accountant

Salary: $35,360 – $106,995

Job prospects for accountants are good. Millions of people out there don’t want to do their own taxes. Depending on the job, you may need a membership in a professional association. You will also need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, accounting science or business administration, a university certificate in accounting or administration, or a diploma of collegial studies (DEC) in accounting and management technology.

[Accounting and Finance jobs on Workopolis]

Market research analyst

Salary: $35,360 – $109,990

This job is showing big projected growth but it’s not an easier one to break into. You would have to work your way up to this position through other jobs in the market research sector but if you have a keen analytical mind this could be a great goal for you. You’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business, mathematics, or the sciences.

[Market research jobs on Workopolis]

Software developer

Salary: $39,998 – $100,006

Software developer was named the best job in America for 2014 by News & World Report on its annual list of greatest jobs. According to that report, software developers made a median salary of $90,060 in 2012, and the highest-paid 10% made $138,880. They say you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in something like computer science, but the rare programming whiz out there won’t have to get one. The projected growth is much better than average.

[Software developer jobs on Workopolis]

Freelance writer

Salary: $30,617 – $85,800 – but I know writers who make six figures.

It’s not the easiest way to make money but demand for writers grows as demand for web content grows, and if you’re good, you will get paid and you will find an audience. Writers are no longer at the mercy of magazines and book publishers anymore. You can create your own platform and do your own marketing. You can become an expert in a field, or you can write for websites and, yes, magazines. It’s a hustle and it’s hard. But some people do very well.

[Writing jobs on Workopolis]

Actuary

Salary: $44,803 – $150,009

You need one of those mathematical minds for this one but if you’ve missed your calling, actuarial jobs pay very well and are seeing big growth. You’ll also need a bachelor’s degree in an area such as actuarial science, computer science, economics, or statistics, though beanactuary.com says, it is also “not unusual for candidates with degrees in liberal arts, education, or other disciplines to land a position provided they have proven ability to pass exams and good computer skills.”

[Actuary jobs on Workopolis]

Executive Chef

Salary: Listed at $38,903 – $82,286 – though chefs can reportedly make over $100,000

This one isn’t growing as fast as some of the others but the food world is so exciting right now. How can a devoted foodie resist? High school may be required, along with trade certification – required in every province – management training and lots of experience. I hear there is lots of yelling in kitchens and that chef is a surprisingly high-stress job that not everyone is cut out for.

[Executive chef jobs on Workopolis]

Court reporter

Salary: $30,732 – $94,228

Job prospects for court reporters are good in Canada. You will need to attend a court reporting program, which takes approximately two years. Court reporters must be able to type at a speed of at least 225 words per minute with near 100% accuracy on a steno machine. There are only two court reporting schools in Canada that have been registered by the National Court Reporters Association: the CCVS, in Toronto, Ontario, and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, in Edmonton, Alberta.

[Court reporter jobs on Workopolis]

Realtor

Salary: $24,626 – $105,100 (but some good realtors make a lot more than that)

Realtor is such a common second career it’s a bit of a cliché, but you can do really well selling houses (thought the projected growth is only so so). According to the Economic Research Institute, realtors make an estimated average of $55,000 a year in Toronto, and $52,000 in Vancouver. “That seems low,” says the Globe and Mail, “but it’s because many agents are part-time.” Commercial agents may earn six figures selling one office tower a year. “Licensing requirements vary across Canada, but all provinces and territories require prospective salespeople and brokers to pass a written exam.”

[Real estate jobs on Workopolis]

Occupational therapist

Salary: $45,718 – $90,667

Growth projections for this profession are very good. “Occupational therapists are university educated and complete a minimum of 1000 hours of supervised fieldwork experience (on-the-job training). The accreditation standards set by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) accepts the baccalaureate degree in occupational therapy as the minimal educational requirement for entry-level education in Canada.”

[Occupational therapist jobs on Workopolis]

*Growth projections are from Service Canada and the Bureau of Labor Statistics

**Salary information is from both Service Canada and Payscale

 

See also:

Six signs that you’re in the wrong job
The best time to quit your job

Get more career and job search tips and advice, straight to your inbox.

Sign up for the newsletter!