OBJECTIVE: This study investigated patterns of depressive symptoms and whether socioeconomic status (SES) across the life course affects these trajectories using the critical period, accumulation, and social mobility models. METHOD: This study uses data from 8,532 adults, age 51 to 64, collected over 12 years from the Health and Retirement Study (observations = 25,887). A latent class analysis was performed to examine distinct depressive symptom trajectories; life course models were studied with multinomial logistic regression. RESULTS: Four heterogeneous latent classes were identified for depression: Declining, Low, Increasing, and High and Increasing. The High and Increasing group was associated with a disadvantaged childhood SES, accumulated exposure to socioeconomic risks, and persistent SES disadvantage supporting the three life course models. DISCUSSION: There was evidence of distinct profiles of depressive symptoms in late middle age and of interrelated life course mechanisms underlying the influences of childhood SES on later life depression.