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In a nationwide survey, we asked midlife women to define the most important elements of a great job. In addition to a good salary and benefits, you told us you want a profession with a bright future, a high level of control and a flexible schedule.

We grilled the experts to find careers that deliver. Ready, set, reinvent! (saying Kate Ashford in More.com)

1. Community Service Coordinator/Manager

(volunteer coordinator, program director)
Salary: Most earn $42,110 to $73,470
Top 10% Make: $96,000+
Why Now: The field is expected to grow 48% by 2016
What You’ll Need: BA, passion for a cause
Entrepreneur Opportunities: Most in the field work for nonprofits or the government

2. Personal Financial Adviser

(financial planner)
Salary: Most earn $46,390 to $119,290
Top 10% Make: $166,000
Why Now: One of the 10 fastest growing occupations, it’s projected to boom 41% by 2016
What You’ll Need: A solid business background plus education in the field. You’ll probably also need Series 7 and Series 63 or 66 licenses
Entrepreneur Opportunities: 30% are self-employed

3. Environmental Scientist

(hydrologist, environmental ecologist, environmental chemist, ecological modeler)
Salary: Most earn $45,340 to $78,980
Top 10% Make: $103,000+
Why Now: The field is expected to grow 25% by 2016
What You’ll Need: Most positions require a master’s degree in environmental science, hydrology or a related natural science
Entrepreneur Opportunities: About 2% are self-employed

4. Registered Nurse

(critical care, emergency, oncology, clinical)
Salary: Most earn $51,640 to $76,570
Top 10% Make: $92,000+
Why Now: A projected 587,000 new nursing jobs will be created by 2016
What You’ll Need: A BS in nursing (four years), an associate’s degree in nursing (two to three years) or a diploma from an approved nursing program
Entrepreneur Opportunities: Although some nurses provide care as independent contractors or wellness coaches, most are employees

5. Computer and Information Systems Manager

(chief technology officer, management information systems (MIS) director, information technology (IT) director)
Salary: Most earn $88,240 to $141,890
Top 10% Make: $166,000+
Why Now: This field will add 43,000 jobs by 2016
What You’ll Need: A bachelor’s degree and sometimes a master’s degree—consider an MBA with a focus on technology
Entrepreneur Opportunities: These tend to be leadership positions within a company

6. Education Administrator

(principal, assistant principal, provost, dean of students, school district administrator, director of student services)
Salary: Most earn $68,360 to $102,830 (elementary and secondary school)
Top 10% Make: $125,000+
Why Now: Many will retire in the next decade
What You’ll Need: Experience as a teacher or in a field such as recruiting. Some positions require a master’s degree
Entrepreneur Opportunities: Most work for school districts or universities

7. Strategic/Crisis Communication Professional

(crisis manager, strategic communication specialist)
Salary: Most earn $38,400 to $71,670
Top 10% make: $98,000+
Why Now: The field is expected to create 43,000 new jobs by 2016
What You’ll Need: Public relations experience
Entrepreneur Opportunities: With the right expertise, it’s possible to provide this service as an independent contractor

8. Accountant

(public accountant, management accountant, government accountant, internal auditor)
Salary: Most earn $45,900 to $78,210
Top 10% Make: $102,000+
Why Now: The field will grow 18% by 2016, adding 226,000 jobs, and these positions are available in every industry
What You’ll Need: A degree in accounting or a related field. You have to pass an exam to become a CPA
Entrepreneur Opportunities: 10% are self-employed

9. Human Resources Specialist

(job analyst, compensation manager, employee benefits manager, training and development manager, recruiter)
Salary: Most earn $35,020 to $67,730
Top 10% Make: $84,000+
Why Now: There will be 147,000 new specialist jobs created by 2016
What You’ll Need: Depends. To specialize, you may need an MBA with a focus in HR management
Entrepreneur Opportunities: About 2 percent are self-employed

10. Small-Scale Niche Farmer

Salary: Most earn $26,800 to $76,230
Top 10% Make: $97,000+
Why Now: Small farms are growing at a rate of 10,000 a year
What You’ll Need: Nothing—training is done on the job
Entrepreneur Opportunities: 80% are self-employed

Comments on: "10 Best Jobs / Careers for Women Over Forty" (4)

  1. My comment is about the Small-Scale Niche Farmer. I think you are very uninformed if you think you need nothing in this field as training is on the job. What about land? What about knowledge of what you are farming, produce, vegetable, animal? What about knowledge in Agriculture? Farming or Ranching is usually something passed down through generations. Farming is very difficult as your product has a small shelf life and needs to get to the market quick and fresh. This appears to be a comment from a urban person that only values education as something you need to succeed. In farming years of experiance and lot's of money for land and equiptment is what it takes, If you are the employee you will not make the $97,000+ as you indicated probably minium wage or a bit more.
    I would take this job off your list for 40+ women. Unless of course they marry a farmer or rancher, then they will defenitely get on the job training but not much pay.

  2. seriously – farming is both an art and a science as well as a business.

  3. Farmer? Women over 40? I hate to state the obvious, but physical labor is tough work at any age. I used to be a broadcast systems installer, climbing ladders & installing cable & equipment in TV studios & control rooms. I also used to jog. I am 50 & can no longer do either. I have a bad knee, I am told it is the beginning of osteoarthritis. Nothing gets easier with age.

  4. Gender aside, I think this is a very nice list of career options.

    I particularly like the info on entrepreneur opportunity %s and the breakdown of average income and how much top 10% is making for each category, assuming the data has been validated.

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