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Any accountants out there that can give me advice on whether I should look further into a mid-career change into accounting? I've been active on the forums before, I'm using this new name to keep my personal situation here separate from my other postings.
I'm an engineer in my early 50's (living in CA) and don't expect my job to last a whole lot longer, certainly not long enough to get to retirement age of 65 or so. My branch of electrical engineering is in declining demand, so when my company has layoffs this area tends to be hit somewhat hard. And there aren't a heck of a lot of openings out there in my field for those that get laid off. I know I could learn a related branch but companies prefer to hire people who have resumes listing experience in the exact area they're being hired for. Plus age discrimination seems to be real in engineering; from people I know it just seems tough to get another job if you're let go after age 50.
So trying to figure out what I can do for the next 15 years or so, I was considering a career change to accounting. I am good at math and business related software like Excel. While I have no accounting experience I did take a couple of Econ classes in college and enjoyed them, for what its worth. There are some Cal-State schools that offer a 1 year Masters in Accounting that qualifies you for the CPA exam so the schooling itself seems to be affordable.
The real question I have, for which I'm hoping those in the field can offer advice, is to ask whether its worth it? For starters, would there be reasonable job prospects for someone just starting out in their 50's or would employers just look and laugh?
I must confess that I don't know any accountants so I don't have any in-depth knowledge of what the job is like on a daily or weekly basis. Aside from reading some career books (that are probably aimed at those of HS age, not mid-age), are there any suggestions as to how I should find out more to help make sure it would be a fit?
Lastly, as to salary. I expect that an entering accountant earns an entry level salary, but what might prospects be after 3-5 or more years in the field for someone doing this as a mid-career switch?
What I'm hoping to do by asking here is avoid pulling the wool over my own eyes. Its too easy to search out info that goes along with a sentiment of "go for it" and downplay sites with info that says bad idea. I have a lot of respect for the experience of the many people that take part in the Parents Forum, and am hoping to get the kind of advice those in a position to have an informed opinion would give to a friend or relative approaching them with a similar question.