Navigating a Career Change in Your 30s or 40s


It’s not uncommon for people to periodically evaluate their career choice and decide whether it’s still aligned with their goals and needs. If you’re in your 30s or 40s and thinking about starting a new career path, you might feel like it’s too risky.

Everyone’s journey is different, however, and it’s completely possible to make a shift during this time in your life. While it might feel a bit scary at first, changing career directions and feeling more fulfilled is possible.

Keep reading to hear more about how to start the process of making a career change during these years — and beyond!

Questions to Ask Yourself

When considering a new career in your 30s or 40s, it’s important to think about the reasons why. Is there something you’re passionate about that you haven’t pursued? What are the potential benefits of changing career directions?

It’s also important to consider your strengths and interests during this time. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are my values?
  • What excites me?
  • What transferable skills do I have?
  • What am I good at?

Once you’ve thought about some potential career avenues that interest you, it’s also important to think about what your desires are for a new role. Consider things like:

  • Is flexibility in my schedule important?
  • Do I prefer working in person or remotely?
  • What would be a comfortable pay range for me?

Having answers to these questions ahead of time can help make shifting careers less stressful. It’s also important to keep in mind that there’s no rush to make this transition. Taking your time will help ensure you’re making an informed choice.

Tips for Changing Careers in Your 30s or 40s

Anxiety and fear over pursuing a career change later in life isn’t abnormal, but you can also view this decision as an exciting opportunity to shift courses!

Here are some tips to keep in mind that can help make this transition as simple as possible.


Once you’ve decided on a potential new career, make sure you investigate the qualifications, estimated salary and demand. Knowing these things can help you feel more confident in your decision.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in the industry that interests you to discuss how they got there and what’s important to them! This can help you tailor your résumé for the specific role you’re applying for.

Emphasize Your Strengths

Switching careers in your 30s or 40s can bring some benefits, including experience in the workforce! Even if the job you’re transitioning to is in an unrelated field, you can still emphasize your years of work experience and transferable skills.

You can focus on both work and life experience. Maturity and confidence are attributes that employers value, so don’t be afraid to promote yourself and what you can bring to a new position!

Remember, employers want the best person for the job, so don’t focus on your age. Focus on your passion for the new avenue you’re pursuing.

Consider the Skilled Trades

If you’ve been working in the same industry for a while and enjoy working with your hands, there’s nothing to stop you from pursuing an education in the skilled trades. You wouldn’t be alone — many people have been choosing to leave their office jobs in pursuit of these types of careers.

What’s great about attending a trade school like Universal Technical Institute, for example, is that it takes much less time to graduate than the traditional college route. If you’d like to start a new job sooner versus later, this can be a great route to take.1

Another benefit to enrolling in one of the skilled trades programs at UTI is that you don’t need any prior experience. A common concern when it comes to changing careers is the thought of discarding past job experience or an educational background, but attending a trade school is a way to minimize these worries.

Courses at UTI help students build a foundation of knowledge from the ground up to help them learn the skills they need to pursue entry-level careers, so you don’t have to worry about having prior job experience in these fields.

Skilled Trades in Your 30s

If you’re seeking a new career at 30 and are interested in a job that lets you work with your hands, the automotive and diesel industries are looking for skilled technicians.

The 51-week Automotive Technology program at UTI helps students gain industry-related experience maintaining, repairing and diagnosing a range of vehicles. While training is designed to prepare students for roles as an entry-level technicians, there are many types of careers to choose from in the automotive field. These include service advisors, fleet technicians, department managers and more.5

An instructor trains students in the Diesel Technology program at UTI Houston.

UTI’s 45-week Diesel Technology program helps train students to work on diesel-powered vehicles and other equipment that utilizes diesel technology. There are several industries that you can explore once you’ve completed training, from automotive to agriculture to construction.2

These programs tend to require more physical activity and can be great options to consider when you’re seeking a career change in your 30s.

Skilled Trades in Your 40s

If you’re looking for a new career at 40, the skilled trades offer some interesting career pathways that aren’t as physically demanding as working as an automotive or diesel technician.

Welding can be a great field to investigate that’s a bit less physical but still allows you to work with your hands. UTI’s Welding program is just 36 weeks and helps train students in the four main types of arc welding processes: SMAW, GTAW, GMAW and FCAW.

Welders are found in a variety of industries, and once you gain experience in an entry-level position you can explore different career pathways. These might include roles as a pipeline welder, welding machine operator or welding inspector.

The 36-week CNC Machining Technology program offered at NASCAR Technical Institute helps prepare students for entry-level careers as computer numerical control machinists. CNC machinists are detail-oriented and work with different equipment to craft parts and tools from various materials.

Machinists work to ensure machinery is set up properly and running smoothly. Those trained in CNC machining can explore different career paths after gaining entry-level experience, like quality control inspectors, machine assemblers or programmers.

You can check out our blog for suggestions on questions to ask before you decide to attend UTI!

Train for an Exciting Future

UTI has campus locations nationwide and 7 core programs to explore, making it possible to make a shift. Making a career change in your 30s or 40s doesn’t have to be scary!

Consider attending UTI if a future in the skilled trades interests you! Many programs allow you to graduate in less than a year ready for an entry-level position in the field.7

It’s not too late for a career change. Request more information to get in touch with one of our Admissions Representatives who can help you through the process!

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit
5.1 ) UTI programs prepare graduates for careers in industries using the provided training, primarily as automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a technician, such as: parts associate, service writer, fabricator, paint and paint prep, and shop owner/operator. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
7 ) Some programs may require longer than one year to complete.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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