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Three Choices for a Midlife Career Move

As more boomers push their retirement date back, late-career job searches are becoming more common.

"Challenges come when a mature worker transitions to a new job after being in the same place for a long period of time," says Deborah Russell, director of Workforce Issues for AARP.

For seniors who have had to put off retirement because of a sinking economy, there are three growing sectors where they can put their experience to work in a shining-new career.


The health-care industry is short-staffed, and what it needs most is nurses.

"Hospitals are looking to retain and also recruit from an older nursing pool," says Russell, "which also includes recruiting retired nurses and encouraging them to come back." According to a national survey of registered nurses by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 82% of RNs are over 35, and 11% of nurses are over 60." For people who already hold a non-nursing bachelor's degree, an accelerated bachelor's of nursing, or BSN, degree usually takes 12 months to complete, and a BSN typically earns $65,000 a year.


The over-50 set can find success by parlaying their professional experience into an opportunity to consult for other businesses. "This is a huge emerging area," says Russell, of the increase of baby boomers wanting to become self-employed . "The whole consulting area is growing rapidly with mature workers who come with a lot of experience and can use it to consult on a variety of issues."

Real Estate

A real-estate appraiser can work independently or with a firm, giving the potential for flexible hours and small business ownership. And according to the Bureau of Labor, the field is expected to grow by 17%, which is faster than average. What does an appraiser do? Lots. An appraiser estimates the value of property to assess property tax, confirms adequate collateral for mortgages , helps to set a good sales price, settles an estate, or facilitates a divorce settlement .

After taking certification classes, an appraiser can expect to make about $66,000, although according to the Appraisal Institute, there's potential to make well into the six figures.

Whatever you choose, have a realistic understanding of what a second career means, and how you're going to get there. "Our research shows interest on part of boomers who are midcareer workers who are looking at the opportunity to do something new," Russell says.

"But get an idea of what that's going to look like. How are you going to transfer your skills to a completely new field? If you're a teacher all your life, and now want to go into nursing, what does that take? And does the market demand what I'm looking for?"

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