You don't have to be a surgeon or ICU nurse. There are hundreds of areas of specialization, such as paramedical examiner, school nurse, medical records administrator, medical assistant, or homecare aide. All offer flexible work schedules.
If you have health care experience in your pre-retirement tool kit, you'll have a leg up. Stepping into this growing and ever changing arena, however, may require new skills to score a certification or renew a license. Many employers prefer applicants who are certified by a recognized professional association.
The soaring demand for skilled workers, though, will make the effort worth your while. Ideally you can plan ahead and add the necessary courses before you retire to smooth the move.
For retiree Denise Teifel, working part time as a paramedical examiner is the perfect financial safety net in her new stage of life. The bulk of her work for ExamOne, a subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics, is conducting medical exams to screen individuals for life insurance policies.
Her working hours are usually spent on the road, making house calls on applicants. She's fine with that — it's flexible work, and the pay amply cushions her retirement lifestyle.
The tools of her trade: a suitcase on wheels packed with a scale, tape measure, blood pressure cuff and sealed lab kits stocked with sterile syringes, and vials.
Her basic duties include drawing blood and obtaining urine specimens, then sending them off to the appointed lab for testing. She takes weight and height measurements and records medical histories. Depending on the age of the applicant, she may be asked to run a battery of mental and physical tests. In addition, she draws blood samples for cholesterol screens at health fairs for corporations such as Home Depot and Safeway, or she conducts random employee drug tests for corporate clients.
Six years ago, Teifel, 56, an accountant by training, retired from her post as an executive assistant for the El Dorado County Department of Veterans Affairs in Placerville, Calif. Stress was the impetus for her early exit. Juggling accounts payable and receivable, budgeting and hiring, were getting to her. Combine that with a serious health scare, thyroid cancer, and she decided to pump the brakes.
Her husband, a manager for an environmental oil and gas company, was on board with the decision. Seeking a slower pace of life, the couple moved to Albany, Ore., nestled in the bucolic Willamette Valley.
"I hadn't planned to work when we moved up here," Teifel says. The couple had adequate retirement savings and used the proceeds from the sale of their California abode to buy their dream home with mostly cash.