10 Great Jobs for Midlife Women

The best career moves you can make when you want to reinvent your job.

By Annetta Miller, with additional reporting by Patti Greco

The average salary in 2006 was about $59,000, according to the NSGC. Bruenner loves being in a "helping profession" that’s also on the cutting edge of science.

Must Love

The double helix; helping patients handle heart-wrenching decisions.

To Find Out More

National Society of Genetic Counselors

5. Landscape Architect

Envision the future of any outdoor space — garden on an urban street, beautiful but secure grounds for a high-tech headquarters — and make it come to life.

Why Now?

Demand for landscape architects is expected to grow by 16 percent in the next six years, according to ASLA, the American Society of Landscape Architects, as Americans focus on how public spaces affect community relations, economic health, the environment, and security.

Getting In

Licensing requirements for education and experience vary by state; passing a national exam is also necessary. Cheryl Chalfant, 43, got her master’s degree at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, working as a graduate assistant to help pay tuition. She is now with the Indianapolis office of Rundell Ernstberger Associates, where her favorite projects include a university amphitheater, with trellises holding 18-foot-tall hydrangeas.

Pay and Perks

Average earnings for landscape architects (including salary and bonuses) is about $90,000, according to a 2006 survey by the ASLA. Chalfant likes the combination of indoor and outdoor, intellectual and hands-on work. "I can spend the rest of my life learning, practicing, and being creative."

Must Love

Community politics; working in a team.

To Find Out More

American Society of Landscape Architects

6. Tax Expert

Help the average American taxpayer prepare forms and handle audits.

Why Now?

With the IRS increasing its audits of individuals and small businesses in recent years, taxpayers need specialized help. According to IRS data, the number of individual "sit-down" audits jumped nearly 23 percent from 2005 to 2006, and audits of small businesses more than doubled from 2004 to 2006. For taxpayers who want help, the IRS authorizes what it calls enrolled agents. The agents can be less expensive than an accountant or lawyer. They have specific training and can get access to taxpayer files and other IRS information.

Getting In

Mary Fran McCluskey, 58, of San Rafael, California, is a former graphic artist. She studied business, then paid $700 to take an online prep course, before taking the IRS’s rigorous licensing exam, which requires hundreds of hours of study.

Pay and Perks

Agents charge by the tax form, case, or hour, with rates ranging from $50 to $400 per hour, according to Eva Rosenberg, a California-based agent who also trains people to pass the exam. But the flexibility is the real draw for many agents. "You control your hours and choose your clients and area of specialty," Rosenberg says. McCluskey expects to get her license this spring and plans to work from her home in the Bay Area, from a vacation house, and from Europe, where her daughter is studying.

Must Love

Numbers.

To Find Out More

National Association of Enrolled Agents

7. Education Advocate

Fight the system — or at least negotiate it — to get children with special needs the right education.

Why Now?

What’s your reaction?

Comments

Post new comment

Click to add a comment