27 Best Degrees for Older Adults


Returning to college after many years in the same job position can represent an intimidating leap to take. However, this choice can also be a source of great satisfaction if you pick a degree that allows you to achieve your goals. Not all college courses are perfect for all professionals. Yet some yield more opportunities than others.

27 of the best degrees for older adults are the ones under these fields:

  • Technology
  • Healthcare & Fitness
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Teaching & Education
  • Business
  • Arts & Science

Below, we are going to have a look at the specific courses to take to increase your chances of success. So read on to find out the ideal options for you.

The motivations and benefits of returning to college 

Returning to college and undertaking a degree course can bring you face to face with challenges and obstacles. However, if you can pick the right degree to reach your goals smoothly, you can reap the benefits of this choice in no time. 

Therefore, before signing up for a course, you need to analyze and understand the reasons that led you to the decision to go back to school. 

Some of the most frequent motivations behind it include:

  • Willingness to stay competitive in a changing industry or market.
  • Breathing new life into the career professed for many years. 
  • Concerns about retirements and financial perspective.
  • Desire to increase salary and disposable income.
  • Following a passion.
  • Finishing the course started when younger.
  • Achieving more flexibility and a better work-life balance.

Once you have understood what your drivers and motivations are, you are better prepared to make an informed choice. In turn, this will lead to endless benefits, which often include:

  • Self-actualization and sense of accomplishment
  • Increased income and better job prospects
  • Better life balance 
  • Personal satisfaction
  • Achieving a more comfortable, healthy, and dynamic lifestyle

Of course, no two college degrees are the same, and there is no one-fits-all solution on which to rely. Below, you can find the degrees with the best job prospects, as well as income forecasts and school time needed for each.

27 Best Degrees for Older Adults

Technology

As technology is always on the rise and in continuous development, degree courses in this field have become incredibly popular among both younger and older students. Of course, there are hundreds of sub-specializations that might not be the perfect fit for your needs. 

However, if you want to stay competitive within your industry, market, or company, a degree in technology can help you advance in the same field. One of the most beneficial aspects of undertaking a degree in technology is that you can follow most of the courses through online platforms from the comfort of your home. 

Additionally, there are good chances that the demand for qualified employees in the field will keep increasing steadily in the medium to long term. So it’s most probably worth your time and energy to dive deeper and get a degree in the field if you’re interested.

1. Web and Software Development

If you have been working with some kind of technology and you would like to know more about the potential of this sector, learning how to code can get you a step further. Web developers are confident with back-end and front-end programming while being familiar with coding and design.

Alternatively, a software developer creates platforms and programs for laptops, computers, and smartphones. As you may know, the field is developing fast, and new opportunities and ramifications are just around the corner.

  • Time in school: up to 4 years
  • Median Salary: $67,990 to $103,560 per year

2. Information Security Analyst

The role of an information security analyst is to improve the protection of the data and information of a specific business. While you just need a Bachelor’s degree to land your first job in this field, many hiring managers prefer to see previous experience in the area. If your current job position or company relates to technologies, you should consider becoming an information security analyst.

  • Time in school: up to 4 years
  • Median salary: $71,747 per year plus bonus

3. Data Science

The decision to study data science or analysis can revolution your entire career. However, the process of obtaining the job position you desire can be lengthy, as you might have to go through entry positions to gain more experience. 

The options in this field are:

  • Data Analyst – aim at examining the information and data gathered to answer business-related questions, and it is the most accessible position in the field. 
  • Data Scientists – have more freedom to experiment with new strategies and can create machine learning models.
  • Data Engineer – manages the company’s data and information infrastructure. Software development skills are essential.
  • Time in school: up to 5 years
  • Median salary: $96,072 per year 

Healthcare and Fitness

If you have always been fascinated by healthcare and fitness, yet the number of years in college required made it impossible to pursue a career in the field, check out these options. Perfect for any professionals already in the sector as well as anybody who sees themselves caring and helping others, these jobs can lead to endless personal satisfactions.

4. Physical Therapist

Physical therapists help patients regain their flexibility and freedom of movement, often after an injury or accident. Becoming a physical therapist can take many years in college, and degree courses will not allow you to become qualified earlier than seven years. 

However, if you are planning a long term career change, and you are happy to keep working during your retirement years, the high salary and low-stress levels make this profession highly attractive. 

  • Time in school: up to 7 years
  • Median Salary: $71,086

5. Registered Nurse (RN)

Since it is one of the most in-demand professions, it is never too late to learn to become a nurse. Moreover, with options to work in private clinics, home care, or even physician’s offices, you won’t have to wait long to see your career started. You can become a nurse through two options: obtaining an associate’s degree (ADN) or a bachelor’s degree (BSN). Both come with pros and cons and different lengths.

  • Time in School: 2 to 4 years
  • Median salary: $29.62 to $41.33 per hour

6. Psychology

Psychology is an incredibly fascinating field that attempts at understanding and leveraging the mind and its abilities. If you have always been fascinated by the behavior and logical thinking of the people around you and would like to know more, you should consider obtaining a degree in psychology. Within such a diversified field, you can make use of such a degree to improve your company or just start a new career from scratch.

  • Time in School: 4 to 5 years (online available)
  • Median salary: $77,158 per year (however, the average salary for a psychiatrist is $205,327 per year)

7. Recreational Therapist

Recreational therapists (or therapeutic recreation specialists) have the delicate task to reduce symptoms of conditions such as depression and anxiety through arts, crafts, socialization, and sports. Some of the most common kinds of recreational therapy employed include music, dance, performance, games, and animal-related therapy. 

Becoming a qualified recreational therapist is straightforward if you hold a bachelor’s degree. Indeed you will need around one year of work experience before you can start practicing. 

  • Time in School: 2 years on average 
  • Median salary: $18 to $25 per hour

Finance

If you have been working in the field for a while, and you have grown tired of repeating similar tasks day after day, you could opt to undertake a finance degree. While applying for a degree while you are already in the field might seem counterproductive, it can help you close the skill gap and get you ready for new achievements. 

27 Best Degrees for Older Adults

8. Financial Analyst

If you are an expert accountant looking for a new exciting turn in your career, the next logical step is to become a knowledgeable financial analyst. Unlike accountants, financial analysts are mostly concerned with the company’s investments and funds. The tasks involved might make it a challenging yet more interesting job position.

  • Time in School: 4 years
  • Median salary: $60,574 per year

9. Accounting

Love crunching numbers, but your career took you somewhere else? You can go back to the roots with a degree or certification in accounting. Understanding taxes, cash flow, and incomes are essential for many businesses. Moreover, accounting can be a great career path if you look at improving your existing business.

  • Time in school: up to 2 years
  • Median salary: $51,079 per year

10. Personal financial advisor

Personal financial advisors, or Certified Financial Planner, guides its clients through retirement planning, stocks, taxes, insurance types, and general financial planning. A relevant bachelor’s degree in economics, accounting, business, or finance can help you land the job you want. However, if you have been practicing your profession in the field for years, a quick certification can get you up to speed in no time.

  • Time in school: up to 2 years
  • Median salary: $61,309 per year

Marketing

Marketing is among the fastest-growing fields, as well as being a sector that benefits from high diversification. Even if you are entirely new to marketing, no degree in such a discipline will go wasted! Indeed, if you feel creative yet liberal arts are not your passion, a career in marketing can offer you all the personal and financial benefits you desire. 

11. Market Research Analyst

A market research analyst analyzes the industry and identifies significant upcoming and current trends. The services of these professionals are highly in-demand in a variety of fields, from private entrepreneurs to online businesses. Their verdicts are essential to design successful products and marketing campaigns.

If you are interested in the field, a degree in marketing, as well as strong analytical skills, can help you make your way through to your ideal job position. Instead, if you are already working in the field but search for a different challenge to take on, a master’s degree in market research can be a great compromise.

  • Time in school: up to 4 years, depending on your background
  • Median salary: $55,348 per year

12. Search Engine Optimization Specialist

If you are looking at taking your marketing business online, understanding SEO can do the trick. Search Engine Optimization is a field in continuous evolution and one of the most in-demand. This profession is relatively new, as it was born just over ten years ago, yet it yields extraordinary financial and advancement potential.

The job of an SEO specialist is to analyze a website and its webpages and optimize it to rank on search engines such as Google.

  • Time in school: up to 4 years, depending on your background
  • Median salary: $45,546 per year

13. Public Relations Specialist

If you feel like you are an honest, outgoing, and composed person, you could consider entering the world of PR. Indeed, public relations specialists do their best to promote and maintain a positive brand image across the market. On a large scale, you will also be responsible for press releases and announcements.

  • Time in school: up to 4 years, for a bachelor’s degree in public relations
  • Median salary: $48,518 per year

Teaching & Education 

27 Best Degrees for Older Adults

Teaching can represent the ideal challenge to take up by many professionals and navigated second-career adults. Indeed, you can now pass on to others the experience and know-how that you have collected throughout your life. By opting to become a teacher, you can enjoy a job that involves responsibilities, yet it is not overly demanding.

14. Elementary School Teacher

Jobs in elementary schools are in steady growth and can offer you a rewarding option for your second career. Through this occupation, you can talk face to face with your student and take pride in teaching them new knowledge. Moreover, automatically, you will feel part of their achievements and success. 

Salary expectations can be relatively low during your first years in the field, yet there are opportunities for personal growth. A bachelor’s degree is essential to understand the fundamentals of the job, yet you will need to equip yourself with a certification or teaching license. 

  • Time in school: at least four years
  • Median salary: $45,680 per year

15. Academic Success Counselor

If you love the idea of a career in education, yet you would like to avoid the stress associated with teaching in front of a classroom, becoming an academic success counselor can be an optimal choice. Many students in higher education struggle to find a career or study path that satisfies their passions and goals. 

The job of an academic success counselor is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each student and guide them through education and job choices. This occupation, however, requires you to have a master’s degree as well as a bachelor’s degree in training and teaching certification.

  • Time in school: over four years on average, but depends on your current qualifications
  • Median salary: $46,868 per year

16. Higher Education Teacher

If you are after a more challenging and dynamic job position that allows you to stay social while holding responsibilities that you can be proud of, opt to train yourself to become a higher education professor. The older students you will be dealing with can offer you endless mentoring satisfaction.

For this job, you will need to hold at least a master’s degree, yet a doctorate is preferable by most employers. Working as a professor is the ideal solution for elementary school teachers and other educators that are already expert instructors and understand the basics of:

  • Classroom management
  • Teaching psychology
  • Critical thinking
  • Communication strategy
  • Teaching techniques

 

  • Time in School: 2 to 8 years, depending on your current qualifications
  • Median salary: $87,406 per year

17. Online Tutoring

With the current technologies on their side, many tutors and teachers have become online tutors. This type of online learning strategy is growing steadily and can become a significant trend in the near future. 

This option is ideal for teaching a language, as many students might not have access to mother-tongues where they live. Instead, online systems allow you to connect with international students without obstacles. 

If you are teaching a classroom online, you will need to meet educational certification requirements, and a bachelor’s or master’s degree might become essential. Yet, to teach English as a foreign language, a specific certification such as TEFL allows you to start working in under a month.

  • Time in School: 6 months to 2 years
  • Median salary: $11 to $20 per hour

Business

Studying business can be an excellent option if you have decided to make the most out of your current knowledge and open your own company. Alternatively, if you would like to work in the dynamic environment of a successful corporation or company, a degree in business can allow you to reach your career goals quicker.

18. Business Administration

Independently on whether you have returned to college to benefit your developing company or you wish to apply for a job in a major corporation, business administration can offer you unparalleled insights.

Many less-experienced entrepreneurs might have a brilliant, successful idea on which to base their businesses, yet they are not necessarily skilled administrators. Instead, if you know how to keep everything under control, you are calm and love to organize. And logically, becoming a business administrator can unlock your potential.

  • Time in School: 2 to 4 years
  • Median salary: $54,255 per year

19. Communications

Learning how a company communicates through the various channels at our disposal today (TV, media, the internet, etc.) offers you a wide range of career opportunities to pursue after your course ends. If you would like to move to another department within your company or change the environment completely, studying communications allows you to offer your services to most companies out there.

Moreover, communications degrees are available both on-campus and online, enabling you to choose the option that fits your needs best. At the same time, you can work in the field for both physical companies and online-based enterprises and shops.

  • Time in School: 2 to 4 years
  • Median salary: $51,723 per year

20. Conflict Management Trainer

Many companies – online and not – have turned to a different management style compared to the traditional one. An accent on training, retention, and development of talents has taken over many industries. With it, many enterprises opt to hire external specialists to deliver specific training to employees and management teams alike. 

Becoming a conflict management trainer can offer you the chance to work in contact with some of the most innovative entrepreneurs out there, as well as gaining a better understanding of how intra-team relationships work. This occupation is perfect if you are interested in both business and psychology.

  • Time in School: 4 years
  • Median salary: $53,788 per year

21. Human Resources Management

Becoming an HR Manager offers you endless career advancement opportunities. A human resource manager is responsible for recruiting employees and providing orientation, training, and development strategies. HR managers are at the core of leading companies, and they cover a significant role in motivating employees and scouting talents.

  • Time in school: up to four years
  • Median salary: $67,138 per year

22. Training and development specialist

If the idea of interviews and paperwork does not attract you as much, you can opt to build a career in training and development. This job involves close contact with employees and team members, yet you will be able to devise developing strategies and techniques. 

The salary, schedule’s flexibility, and duties related to this position can make it an excellent choice for more mature professionals. However, you should keep into consideration that you will need to already have a degree in business or HR (or similar fields) before starting a training and development course.

  • Time in School: 2 to 4 years
  • Median salary: $58,124 per year

Arts & Science

If the motivation behind such a drastic career change relates to the willingness to follow a passion, you already know what field you would like to study. However, not all degrees are the same, and some can turn out to be more useful certifications than others.

Below you can find examples of the majors that can not only breathe new life into your existing career but also allow you to experience different perspectives. Each of these options enables you to achieve the financial and career-satisfaction results that you desire.

23. Creative Writing

A degree in creative writing is the perfect choice for anybody that has a passion for writing. While it might have been hard to make the most out of a few years ago, today, this degree will open several brilliant career opportunities.

Aside from being able to launch a personal website, this degree allows you to write for other major blogs and newsletters. If you are looking at publishing your book, the Amazon Self-Publishing tool can cut the cost of the process, as well as allowing you to see your words on paper. If you are incredibly knowledgeable about a specific subject, opting to write technical articles and prices can also increase your financial projections.

  • Time in School: 2 years
  • Median salary: $49,588 per year, but $59,841 for technical writers

24. Anthropology

This accessible degree course is perfect if you love working outdoors or in museums and galleries. Anthropology is the study of the history of human beings, primates, and culture. Specializations involve language and physical development.

Undoubtedly, it can involve a significant career change, but it is also a versatile field that offers considerable progression opportunities. Again, some of the features to appreciate the most about this profession include:

  • continuous learning, 
  • the possibility to attend a degree through online platforms, 
  • and the possibility to work in inspiring locations such as archeological sites.

 

  • Time in School: 4 years
  • Median Salary: $50,771

25. Graphic Design

Since graphic design is a field in continuous progression, a degree in such a discipline is highly valuable. Of course, there will be chances to learn the ins and outs of the job while working. Yet, having a strong foundation of visual concepts, communication, and software development is critical.

  • Time in School: 4 years
  • Median Salary: $45,060

26. Liberal Arts

If you have wanted to pursue your artistic calling, there are no better degrees than liberal arts. These arts, also known as humanities, refer to history, writing, philosophy, literature, sociology, and creative arts, among many other disciplines. Becoming a student in liberal arts can broaden your perspective, allow you to communicate and face debates better.

  • Time in School: 4 years
  • Median salary: depends on the specific field

27. Sociology

If you are after a career in public services, one of the most exciting fields to explore is sociology. The study of social relationships and patterns in society can indeed be highly sought-after knowledge in public offices. At the same time, opportunities in journalism, education, and administration become accessible for sociology students.

  • Time in School: 4 years
  • Median Salary: $53,169

Conclusion

Of course, this is only a selection of the degrees that can help you obtain a successful second career. However, independently of the kind of college course you are after, you should ensure that you are clear on the motivations that are leading you toward this choice.

Deciding on whether you prefer to achieve your degree through online courses while keeping your current job or opt for an on-campus alternative is also essential.

Lastly, if you are after a more flexible schedule or following your passion, a career in arts, education, or consulting can be ideal. Alternatively, if you are aiming at increasing your monthly income, business, marketing, and management studies can help you achieve your goals quicker.

Sources

Anja

Hey there, my name is Anja, I’ve seen and supported my mom’s incredible transformation in her fifties. Seeing how my mom “awakened” and took full control over her life really impressed me. I got inspired and started dreaming about how we could inspire more people, especially women, to open up and create a second life for themselves. That’s how the idea of aginggreatly.com came to life…

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