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What Are the Most Popular Second Career Ideas?

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When it comes to career choice, many individuals over time are left anxious for more– more pay, more vacation time or simply more job satisfaction. Whether you are a few years into your career or if you’ve spent decades doing the same job, it’s possible to reignite your career path.

Following Your Life’s Passion

Individuals who are tired of a meaningless career often make a switch to follow their life’s passion. Most commonly, these types of jobs are in sectors of education, health care, nonprofits, and the government. Although following your life’s passion will likely come with a decreased pay check, the payoff in terms of job satisfaction can be significant, making the idea worthwhile. Career changers should try dipping their feet into their desired industry by joining sites like, and, which offer freelance projects that can be done online.

Pursuing a Fresh Start

More often than not, people who spend years at a career can be left feeling burned out in search for something more. Alternatively, you may be in a dying industry with a recognized need to find something new within the next few years. No matter what your reasons are for making a change, pursuing a fresh start is possible; it may take a little more effort since education may play a factor in obtaining a new job. As for what kind of career to pursue, it’s a good idea to look at sources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to see which industries are growing. Healthcare, for example, is slated to grow by 3 million jobs within the decade. But growth shouldn’t be your only consideration. When you begin the journey of a career change, you should also consider your interests as well.

Jobs Over 50

It’s very possible to secure a satisfying career for individuals over the age of 50. According to the AARP, 31 percent of the entire U.S. workforce is over the age of 50. If you’re seeking an encore position, some of the most common ideas include advocacy, working with children, conservation and teaching. But don’t rule out other possibilities like consulting careers, real estate or owning a small business. Check for any second career workshops on Facebook or at your local senior center to get a head start on making a change or reentering the workforce.

Leaving the Military

Veterans can enter the workforce and pursue a successful second career with choices like law enforcement, security or defense-related positions. Depending on your specialty in the military, you can also pursue healthcare, aviation, mechanics or engineering since any gained experience in these fields could transfer well into civilian jobs. has a skill translator tool that can help you revamp your resume to make it more civilian friendly.

Working Parent

If you’re pursuing a second career to parenthood, a flexible job is likely to be the right choice when it comes to managing a consistent work-life balance. Consultancy, freelancing and part-time careers are good starting points but generally require some previous skills. For parents who are entering the workforce for the first time, some education may be necessary to land a flexible, rewarding and well-paid career. If you’re willing to go back to college, some ideal career paths include jobs in speech-language pathology, employment recruiting or information technology.


Ruth Altman writes on business, lifestyle and careers. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Pepperdine University in addition to a bachelor's degree from Harvard University.

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