Many people are quick to assume older adults are retired, but the fact is, millions of Americans age 55-plus work  either  full- or part-time. During 2015, 33 million Americans age 55 and over were employed, according to the National Council on Aging, and those age 65-plus outnumbered the teenage workforce for the first time since 1948.

The reasons for remaining in the workforce – or going back to it – vary: For many, it’s a matter of necessity, especially in the aftermath of the Great Recession, when many people lost their jobs, homes and retirement savings. For others, it’s a matter of choice – to stay active, challenged and engaged in their communities. (You may also be interested in Why Most People Need to Work Past the Age of 65 and The New Retirement Age.)

Popular Jobs If You’re 65-Plus

Most people who work beyond retirement age – which is 65 years old, according to the U.S. Census Bureau – do so in “bridge” jobs that span the period between leaving a career and leaving the workforce altogether. Thinking about working after retirement age? Here are six popular jobs for people 65 and older.

• Accounting/Bookkeeping Accounting and bookkeeping clerks use specialized computer accounting software, spreadsheets and databases to post financial transactions and produce financial reports, such as balance sheets, income statements and totals by account. About one in four workers are part-time, and the median pay is about $17.50 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

• Adjunct Faculty Non-tenure-track faculty (“adjuncts”) now account for about 75% of the instructional faculty at nonprofit colleges and universities nationwide – and you don’t always need a Ph.D. to snag one of these teaching jobs. While the pay is low – the median, per-course remuneration for part-time faculty is only $2,700, research from the Coalition on the Academic Workforce has shown – many retirees find the work fulfilling. Plus, once you’ve taught a course a couple of times, you won’t have to devote as many hours to class prep. 

• Event Coordinator/Planner Even if you’ve never worked as an event planner, you may have planned (or helped plan) dozens of events over the years – birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries and the like. You can put this experience to work to find a job or start your own business – plan on tapping into your network of friends and family. Job growth through 2024 is expected to be 10%, and the median pay is $22.35 per hour, according to the BLS.

• Project-Based Consultant Rather than filling a full-time position, many companies will find a consultant to help with a specific project. This can be an excellent way to put your decades of experience to work without committing to a full-time job. Depending on your skill set and experience, it’s possible to earn upwards of $50 or even $100 an hour. 

• Retail Sales Retail sales workers held about 4.9 million jobs in 2014 (the most recent data available from BLS) – in clothing stores (20% of all retail sales workers), general merchandise stores (19%), motor vehicle/parts dealers (11%), building/garden stores (10%) and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores (7%). About one in three workers are part-time, and the median hourly wage is $10.42, according to the BLS. The biggest perk: employee discounts. 

• Teacher Assistant Teacher assistants (or aides) work under the supervision of a licensed teacher to give students extra attention and instruction. They may work with an entire class, in small groups or one-on-one – in elementary, middle and high schools, preschools and childcare centers. Job growth thru 2024 is expected to be 6%, and the median pay is $24,430 per year, according to the BLS. About two in five work on a part-time basis – and, in most school systems, you’ll get your summers off.

The Bottom Line

More people are working past retirement age – for extra cash, to stay active and challenged, or some combination of reasons. Some switch to new jobs within the career fields where they worked for years. For others, however, a retirement job means trying something entirely new.

While the jobs we listed here are popular among the 65-plus crowd, there are, of course, many other options for older adults – including working as a member of an event staff team (think: music and sport venues), a tour guide/docent, a patient advocate, or an online or in-person tutor.

You may also be interested in 8 Popular Post-Retirement Jobs and The Best Jobs for Retirees.




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