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Top 25 Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Whether you need the money or just want to stay active, there’s a great job for you

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School bus driver is No. 4 on our list of top 25 jobs for retirees.

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Working in retirement might seem like an oxymoron, but today’s retirees and near-retirees are redefining what it means to transition into the next phase of life. In fact, the majority of American workers (55 percent) plan to continue working in retirement, with 41 percent going part time and 14 percent full time, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. Research cited by AARP’s Public Policy Institute shows that workers 65 and older are twice as likely to work part time as workers ages 25 to 64.

Their reasons for working in retirement vary: Most (53 percent) of those polled by Transamerica who expect to work in retirement say it’s because they want the additional income. Others (35 percent) report needing to work because they couldn’t otherwise afford retirement. Many also point to health advantages, wanting to stay active (47 percent) and keep their brains sharp (39 percent). And some actually enjoy working and see their jobs as giving them a sense of purpose (34 percent) and a way of maintaining social connections (21 percent).

Whatever your reason, we can help you find the right part-time job for your retirement. To get started, we identified the 25 most common part-time jobs held by workers over age 55, based on data collected by compensation research firm Payscale from nearly 190,000 workers over the past two years. Then, we ranked those part-time jobs from 1 to 25 based on our analysis of five factors: percentage of part-time workers over 55; typical hourly pay; percentage of workers who say they are either “extremely” or “fairly” satisfied with the job; whether workers say the job gives them a sense of meaning; and the physical demands of the job. Here are the results.

Take a look at our list of the top 25 part-time jobs for retirees.

1. Full charge bookkeeper

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 73 percent (All part-time jobs: 19.1 percent)

Median hourly pay: $20.56 (All part-time jobs: $14.68)

Satisfaction rating: 77 percent (All part-time jobs: 63 percent)

High-meaning rating: 51 percent (All part-time jobs: 57 percent)

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 10 percent (All jobs: 70 percent)

Have a knack for numbers? These workers have sole responsibility for a company’s accounting matters, including creating and tracking invoices, paychecks and other financial records. They may also supervise lower-level bookkeepers and accounting clerks. You’re most likely to find this opportunity at a small firm with relatively simple finances.

2. Bookkeeper

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 47 percent

Median hourly pay: $17.72

Satisfaction rating: 76 percent

High-meaning rating: 45 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 10 percent

Remove “full charge” from the job title, and free yourself from extra responsibility. Bookkeepers focus on creating and maintaining financial records, including issuing payments to suppliers and invoices to customers. They do not supervise others. Just note that with less responsibility comes less pay: Bookkeepers pull in a median hourly pay of $2.84 less than the full-charge cohort, but still $3.04 an hour more than the median for all part-time jobs.

3. Dental hygienist

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 17 percent

Median hourly pay: $35.42

Satisfaction rating: 75 percent

High-meaning rating: 76 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 25 percent

To become a dental hygienist, you typically need an associate degree in this field, as well as a license to practice, for which you have to pass written and clinical exams. You also have to complete continuing education requirements and pay fees ranging from $37 (in Utah) to $325 (in New Mexico) to maintain your license. (Specific licensure requirements vary by state.) Be sure to factor in those demands when deciding whether working this jobpart time for extra years is worthwhile. Also note that this is the highest-paying job on this list.

4. School bus driver

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 73 percent

Median hourly pay: $16.96

Satisfaction rating: 64 percent

High-meaning rating: 71 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 14.3 percent

Surrounding yourself with school-age children in your retirement can help you feel young again — or age you exponentially, depending on your tolerance for extreme kid behavior. Be sure you’re ready to not just chauffeur students to and from school safely, but also maintain order and enforce school rules on a bus packed with antsy adolescents. More straightforward job requirements: a commercial driver’s license and a clean driving record and background check.

5. Office manager

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 30 percent

Median hourly pay: $17.26

Satisfaction rating: 75 percent

High-meaning rating: 67 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 25 percent

Experienced workers should know well what it takes to make an office run. Specific duties can vary greatly from business to business, but in general, you can expect to plan, direct and coordinate all administrative services required for the organization to operate efficiently. You can find opportunities in this field across a wide range of industries, but you’ll likely also find stiff competition. If you’ve already been working in a similar position full time, your best bet may be to talk to your boss about cutting hours and going part time for a slow transition into retirement.

6. Registered nurse

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 24 percent

Median hourly pay: $31.84

Satisfaction rating: 68 percent

High-meaning rating: 76 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 75 percent

Health care professionals in general are in high demand, and registered nurses are no exception. The number of positions for RNs in the U.S. is expected to grow 12 percent by 2028, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, far faster than the projected job growth rate of 5 percent for all jobs. But while opportunities may abound, standards for filling them are high: On top of the rigorous education and training necessary to become an RN, you must also have and maintain a nursing license in the state where you plan to work. (Licensure requirements vary by state.) Still, both the high pay and high sense of meaning can make it all worthwhile.

7. Administrative assistant

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 22 percent

Median hourly pay: $14.77

Satisfaction rating: 72 percent

High-meaning rating: 59 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 12.5 percent

These workers take care of all the nitty-gritty needed to make an office run efficiently. That may include providing administrative support to high-level executives. Unfortunately, demand for executive secretaries and administrative assistants is expected to fall 20 percent by 2028, according to the BLS.

8. Secretary

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 33 percent

Median hourly pay: $12.94

Satisfaction rating: 71 percent

High-meaning rating: 55 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 12.5 percent

This broad category of workers (which excludes specialized secretarial positions such as legal, medical and executive secretaries) can be found across all sectors, including schools and government offices. They perform a variety of functions, including communicating with clients, vendors and the public, as well as managing office emails and schedules. Note, however, that the number of positions for secretaries is expected to decline 9 percent by 2028, according to the BLS.

9. Licensed practical nurse

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 27 percent

Median hourly pay: $21.89

Satisfaction rating: 63 percent

High-meaning rating: 71 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 75 percent

To become a licensed practical nurse, you must successfully complete an approved educational program, which you can typically find in technical schools and community colleges (where older adults may be able to take tuition-free classes) and take about a year to complete. You must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing to get a license that you’ll need to maintain by completing continuing education requirements periodically (details vary by state). But the high sense of meaning, not to mention the high pay, may be worth the extra effort.

10. Paralegal

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 20 percent

Median hourly pay: $17.48

Satisfaction rating: 73 percent

High-meaning rating: 52 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 20 percent

Along with legal assistants, these workers provide support to lawyers by performing myriad tasks, including conducting legal research, organizing and maintaining documents and files, and writing reports. And demand for their services is expected to rise much faster than most other jobs, with the number of positions for them projected to grow at a rate of 12 percent by 2028, according to the BLS, compared with just 5 percent for all jobs in the U.S.

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11. Nanny

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 11 percent

Median hourly pay: $15.03

Satisfaction rating: 75 percent

High-meaning rating: 80 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 75 percent

While the physical demands of child care are great, the sense of meaning that comes with the work is greater. No wonder nannies tied with home health aides for the highest high-meaning rating on this list. (The high-meaning rating shows the percentage of Payscale survey respondents in a given job title who say their work makes the world a better place.) The pay could be better, though: While the median hourly rate is 35 cents more than it is for all part-time jobs in the U.S., it is $1.79 less than the typical hourly pay for part-time workers over the age of 55.

12. Home health aide

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 31 percent

Median hourly pay: $11.50

Satisfaction rating: 64 percent

High-meaning rating: 80 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 75 percent

Tied with nannies for the highest high-meaning rating on this list, home health aides unfortunately do not find such high financial value in their work. And the physical demands of caregiving can be taxing. On the bright side, the number of positions should increase by 37 percent, compared with just 5 percent for all jobs in the U.S., by 2028, according to the BLS.

13. Orderly

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 33 percent

Median hourly pay: $11.71

Satisfaction rating: 67 percent

High-meaning rating: 76 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 95 percent

Mainly employed by hospitals, as well as a smattering of nursing care and other health care facilities, orderlies mainly help transport patients and maintain a clean environment. Warning: The physical demands of this job are high. Not only do orderlies spend almost all of their time on their feet, they (along with nursing assistants) suffer one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, according to the BLS. Upside: They report having a high sense of meaning in their work, a highly sought-after quality especially among older workers.

14. Dental assistant

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 8 percent

Median hourly pay: $17.70

Satisfaction rating: 72 percent

High-meaning rating: 69 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 50 percent

Depending on your state, you may be able to become a dental assistant — who performs routine tasks at the dentist’s office, including sterilizing equipment and maintaining patient records — with no prior experience. But in some states, you have to complete an accredited training program. You’re likely to find one at a community college or vocational or technical school. (Ask about tuition-free classes for older students.) It typically takes about a year to complete.

15. Receptionist

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 20 percent

Median hourly pay: $11.90

Satisfaction rating: 64 percent

High-meaning rating: 56 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 20 percent

These workers are often the welcoming face of an organization, with typical duties including greeting visitors and answering phones. The majority are employed in health care and social assistance, according to the BLS, but you can find receptionist opportunities in a variety of industries. If you’re hoping for off-peak work hours, consider checking hospitals and nursing homes for evening and weekend openings.

16. Office clerk

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 18 percent

Median hourly pay: $12.68

Satisfaction rating: 61 percent

High-meaning rating: 44 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 12.5 percent

With positions for general office clerks in a variety of industries, they are most often employed in educational services and health care and social assistance, according to the BLS. They’re expected to perform myriad tasks, such as answering phones, sorting mail and filing records.

17. Nurse assistant

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 11 percent

Median hourly pay: $13.22

Satisfaction rating: 61 percent

High-meaning rating: 75 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 75 percent

Though the pay is low, this job’s value is high, with workers frequently reporting that it gives them a great sense of meaning — a quality that older workers may find particularly attractive. But is it worth the risk? The physical demands help give nurse assistants, along with orderlies, one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations, according to the BLS.

18. Security guard

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 28 percent

Median hourly pay: $12.38

Satisfaction rating: 56 percent

High-meaning rating: 52 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 60 percent

Protecting property from theft, vandalism and other illegal activities may be a good way to keep your mind alert and body fit. But the physical demands of this job can vary greatly, as many positions require guards to patrol a given area and stay on their feet while others are stationary or even seated to monitor security cameras. And it’s not all about action. Security guards may also need training in public relations, report writing, first aid and other areas.

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19. Merchandise displayer

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 31 percent

Median hourly pay: $11.81

Satisfaction rating: 60 percent

High-meaning rating: 30 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: n/a

These workers combine their artistic abilities with their business savvy to create displays — for example in a retail window — meant to lure customers. The low pay is less alluring. And unlike other jobs with below-average pay, it does not seem to offer a great sense of meaning in exchange.

20. Customer service representative

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 15 percent

Median hourly pay: $11.73

Satisfaction rating: 50 percent

High-meaning rating: 36 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 6.3 percent

Working in a range of industries, these workers provide assistance to customers, often helping to process orders and resolve complaints. They may do this in person or via email, text, live chat or social media. But usually, they work over the phone, possibly from call centers or even from home.

21. Pharmacy technician

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 8 percent

Median hourly pay: $13.46

Satisfaction rating: 54 percent

High-meaning rating: 67 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 100 percent

Pharmacy technicians help pharmacists with filling prescriptions, maintaining patient records, organizing inventory and many other tasks, mainly at pharmacies and drugstores but also at hospitals and some general stores. You may be able to get this job with a high school diploma or the equivalent and zero prior experience; just do your training on the job. Or you can get a leg up on the competition and complete a postsecondary education program in pharmacy technology. Such programs are often offered by vocational schools or community colleges (where older students may be able to take classes tuition free) and take a year or less.

22. Housekeeper

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 19 percent

Median hourly pay: $10.89

Satisfaction rating: 58 percent

High-meaning rating: 53 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 100 percent

You can help clean up at private homes or businesses, including hospitals or hotels. Taking on individuals as clients can afford you some flexibility with your schedule and allow you a bit of control over how much you work from day to day. That may be particularly helpful so you can schedule yourself some rest and recovery time from the great physical demands of the job.

23. Retail sales worker

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 15 percent

Median hourly pay: $10.73

Satisfaction rating: 53 percent

High-meaning rating: 31 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 99 percent

Working retail can be physically taxing, as you spend much of your time your feet, and not very financially rewarding. But you get to work a lot with people (which may be a pro or con, depending on your temperament), greeting and helping customers with shopping and completing transactions. And the jobs are ubiquitous. Not only is the occupation the biggest in the U.S. with more than 4.4 million workers, according to the BLS, but workers are needed at all different types of retailers, from bookstores to garden centers. Bonus: Pick your favorite store and rake in the savings with an employee discount.

24. Sales associate

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 12 percent

Median hourly pay: $10.63

Satisfaction rating: 53 percent

High-meaning rating: 33 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 99 percent

The need for salespeople spreads beyond retail. In addition to department stores, where they might also act as cashiers, sales associates can work in a variety of fields such as telemarketing and auto sales. And while the hourly pay is low (and the physical demands high, requiring you stay on your feet almost all the time), if you get commissions, you may be able to earn more — potentially much more if you’re moving cars, electronics or other high-ticket items — with little extra effort.

25. Cashier

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 14 percent

Median hourly pay: $10.01

Satisfaction rating: 52 percent

High-meaning rating: 32 percent

Portion of time spent standing/walking: 100 percent

The lowest-paying job on this list also demands you be on your feet the entire time you’re working and offers most people who do it little satisfaction or sense of meaning. And yet, with more than 3.6 million cashiers working in the U.S. — in positions at a multitude of businesses, especially grocery stores, general stores and gas stations — and a low barrier to entry, it remains a go-to part-time job for people of all ages.

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Notes on jobs data and sources:

Portion of part-time workers over age 55: Provided by Payscale, based on data from 189,555 respondents collected between February 1, 2018, and February 1, 2020.

Median hourly pay: Provided by Payscale, based on data from 189,555 respondents collected between Feb. 1, 2018, and Feb. 1, 2020.

Satisfaction rating: Provided by Payscale; percentage of respondents in a given job title who said they are “extremely” or “fairly” satisfied with their jobs.

High-meaning rating: Provided by Payscale; percentage of respondents in a given job title who say their work makes the world a better place.

Portion of time spent standing/walking: Provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Requirements Survey.

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