Women over 50 can find themselves in the position of needing to begin or change careers. Starting over at this point in life can be discouraging, but there is good news. According to JobsOver50.com, a web-based employment service that caters to the 50+ crowd, people in this age group make up 1/3 of the workforce and there aren't enough younger workers to replace them. Growing industries, such as health care and technology, need to hire qualified workers now, and the demand is growing. The AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management honored 50 companies with the 2013 AARP Best Employers for Workers Over 50 award, given in recognition of "employers with exemplary practices for recruiting and retaining mature workers." Among the 50 winners were many health care facilities and universities.
Health Care Jobs: Associate Degree
There are many careers in the rapidly expanding health care field that require a two-year asssociate degree, making them ideal for women over 50. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational therapy assistants averaged $47,490 a year in 2010 with predicted job growth of 41 percent from 2010 to 2020. Average job growth is 14 percent, so this is a fast-growing field. Occupational therapist assistant programs are offered at some community colleges and technical schools. These two-year programs focus on the sciences and provide students with supervised clinical practice. Another health care job which requires an associate degree is diagnostic medical sonographer, with an average annual salary of $64,380, according to the BLS. This career has a predicted job growth of 44 percent from 2010 to 2020. Colleges and universities offer associate degrees in this field; some of the classes focus on areas of specialty, such as breast sonography.
Health Care Jobs: One Year or Less
To get a job as a medical records or health information technician, students take courses that includes medical terminology, anatomy, health data requirements and standards, classification and coding systems, health care reimbursement methods, health care statistics, and computer systems, according to the BLS. Average salaries in 2010 were $32,350, and the projected job growth from 2010 to 2020 is 21 percent. Medical transcriptionists earned on average $32,900 a year in 2010, and the projected growth from 2010 to 2020 is 6 percent, which is slower than average. The upside is, transcribers can work from home and can potentially freelance in areas outside of the medical field. The one-year certificate program covers anatomy, medical terminology, legal issues, English and grammar.
Universities offer a wide variety of jobs, including clerical, technology jobs and library technicians. Secretaries and administrative assistants earned an average of $34,660 in 2010, according to the BLS; the BLS predicts average job growth in this field from 2010 to 2020. Community colleges and vocational-technical schools offer training in computer and office skills which qualify people for administrative assistant positions. Library technicians earned on average $26,330 in 2010, with an average predicted job growth. They typically earn an associate degree and study acquisitions, cataloguing, circulation, and automated library systems, according to the BLS.
Develop Current Skillsets
Women should also consider the skills they have when planning further education and employment. Many skills can be developed into small businesses: child care, accounting, pet grooming, home design, baking, house cleaning, writing and party planning are just a few possibilities. The U.S. Small Business Administration offers an online introductory course on business planning for women over 50 along with other courses.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Diagnostic Medical Sonographers
- AARP: Best Employers for Workers Over 50 Winners
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Medical Records or Health Information Technician
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Transcriptionist
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Medical Transcriptionist
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer
- Bureau of Labor Statistics:Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Library Technician or Assistant
Janet Clark has written professionally since 2001. She writes about education, careers, culture, parenting, gardening and social justice issues. Clark graduated from Buena Vista University with a degree in education. She has written two novels, "Blind Faith" and "Under the Influence." Clark has received several awards from the Iowa Press Women for her work.