How to Change Careers at 30: Top 12 Ideas to make the Transition a Success

By | August 30, 2016
Changing your career in your 30s

If you are not happy with your career in your 30s, you should have the courage to change it.

How to Change Careers at 30: Top 12 Ideas to make the Transition a Success

Many people who intend to change their careers at the age of 30 often do so due to wrong choices they made when they were in high school or college.

If you fail to properly plan your career during your early age, there would always be a tendency to change it later and doing so in your 30s is a great idea.

That is the age where making a career change becomes paramount in your mind if you are not happy with what you are currently doing.

You got to think of other remaining years you have and how you can possibly get your dream job or business started, which is intended to bring you the career satisfaction you need.

Another catalyst that causes most people to go for a career change at 30 is lack of time, happiness, and low salary.

If you are in your 30s and are thinking of switching your career, here are 12 ideas you can use to achieve a successful transition:

1. Changing careers requires preparation: You have to prepare for your new career while in the current one, this makes the switch seamless. For instance, Nikki M Lee who had been working as an IT professional for 15 years knew she needed a career change at 32 because, though she was successful on her IT job, it wasn’t giving her the fulfillment that she wanted. She discovered her real joy was in creating innovative products. So, while still on her IT job, she created and patented a product and built a business around it before she left her paid employment to do what her heart has been longing for – run her business. Today, she is quite happy in her new career, which was made possible because she prepared for it.

2. Focus on the gains and not the stress: Most people their 30s have come around their mid-level career qualifications. Changing a career at this age can seem difficult, regarding the fact that you have to go for more qualifications. To help you overcome the discouraging feeling that comes with this reality, you should focus on the benefits, including the comfort, time, happiness, and money your new career will bring, and not the stress of having new qualifications.

3. Work harder: According to David F. Giannetto, a 46 year old who changed his career in his 30s from a high-level operations manager at Airborne Express, which is now DHL, to a consultant in a professional services firm, you should expect to work harder to achieve your new career. However, the experience you have acquired up to your 30s will help you to know what you really want to do and the amount of work you need to put in to get to your desired goal.

4. Work in different job positions: You can develop various skills, such as sales, leadership, and technical skills, by working in different job positions earlier in life. These can become useful in helping you achieve a career change in your 30s when you are now sure of what you really want to do.

5. Thoroughly research your next move: Jeff Kear was 37 when he switched from ad agency copywriter to software startup co-founder of Planning Rod in Denver, Colorado. Jeff stated that his biggest challenge in his career transition was when to shut down his former career. According to Jeff, if you want to succeed in changing a career in your 30s, you have to conduct a thorough research over your next move to ensure that you have passion for your new career, and that the career will bring in the income that you desire.

6. Analyze opportunities of your new career: Warren Harrison changed a career in his 30s from being a cameraman to a media production teacher at Teesside University. According to him, it is very necessary to thoroughly check if moving to a new career is the best option to take. You need to analyze the opportunities of your new career to see if they are genuinely better than what you already have. If they are, think of how to use your current abilities and skills in another role.

7. Have a strong financial back up: You will need to have some financial support to help you through the process of making a change in your career. Aimee Tritt, 36, recently changed a career from business/technical writer to a registered dietician. She courageously took up the new career and attended the University of Minnesota where she received a master’s degree in her new field. It took Aimee several years to complete her career change, and throughout this period she had someone supporting her financially.

8. Become a healthcare practitioner: Earning a nursing degree will take you two years or less, which is incomparable with other careers that require many years to complete. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for nurses is going to grow by at least 26% or more through 2020. Only 9.1% of working nurses are under the age of 30 and the average age of registered nurses nationwide is 45.2, according to Nurse Together. More than half of all nurses will be older than 50.

9. Take care of yourself as you change career at 30: Going from management consultant to teacher in her 30s and now making a second career change as founder of Prepwise (a company that develops mobile educational games), Kate McKeon, 38, suggests taking care of yourself as you change careers. Pursuing a new career at 30 makes you uncomfortable, so you need to develop new habits to help you through. Those habits such as associating with people, eating well, taking little extra wine with dinner, running and mindfulness are what to pump you up while transiting to a new career in your 30s.

10. Become a consultant: By 30, you should have developed enough experience in your field to offer your services as a consultant in your industry. While building your business, you still have enough to save for retirement. As a consultant or freelance agent, you will have more flexibility in your life to pursue the hobbies and interests that might seem difficult to achieve if you wait for too long. You are more likely to be able to do physical challenges while still in your 30s, like running marathons and climbing mountains, and being a consultant gives you the flexibility to do them, as the work of a consultant entails writing, educating, accounting, and marketing.

11. Supplement your skills prior to taking the new career move: Ian St. Clair, 33, switched to internet marketing after spending close to a decade in newspapers. He advises those who want to move to a new career at 30 to supplement their skills prior to taking the career change move. Ian wished he had known more about PPC, SEO, and internet marketing earlier while he was still with the newspapers. He would certainly have taken courses and developed immense skills in those areas.

12. Pursue a fitness training career: There are no special credentials to becoming a personal trainer or run exercise classes at the local gym. However, you may need a certification in fitness training to help you with more jobs. The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) is one of the organizations that offer online classes which, after successful completion, lead to certification. You can study for certifications while still working as a fitness trainer, and then channel your credentials into your own business, or find work with a group that values your credentials and experience. Many fitness coaches are being hired even before completing their six-week training because of the potential in the field, according to life coach and author Barrie Davenport. As you move on with your new career, by the time you are 35, you should have enough patience to deal with a wide range of clientele.


There are some ugly myths about changing careers in your 30s, but these should not prevent you from pursuing your dream career.

After reading how Nikki M Lee turned from a paid IT professional to a business owner, and others who had the courage to make a career change in their 30s, which has enabled them to have fulfillment in what they do, you should be encouraged to take the bull by the horn.

You should think of how happier you will be with a new career and have the confidence to do what you need to do to achieve the goal.

How did you find our ideas to help you make a career change in your 30s? Please make a comment in the box below.

Ref: Skilled UpThe Guardian