En español | If you're considering working in retirement, you're not alone. The majority of Americans (55 percent) plan to work during their golden years, with 41 percent opting for part time and 14 percent full time, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak has ravaged the U.S. job market and dimmed the prospects for Americans to stay employed in retirement. A stunning 41 million people have filed for unemployment benefits since the global pandemic was declared a national emergency in March. Add the fact that the risk of suffering the worst COVID-19 outcomes rises with age and it's easy to understand why retirees can expect big challenges in seeking part-time work right now.
The good news is that working from home has quickly gained acceptance during the outbreak. To help you find a good part-time work-from-home role, we started by identifying the most common part-time jobs held by workers over age 55, based on data collected by compensation research firm PayScale. Then, with the help of FlexJobs, an online job market specializing in flexible and remote work, we sifted through the list for positions that can be done remotely and are available now. (Note: FlexJobs charges users a fee to view its full job postings.) Bonus: A few of these occupations score highly among workers in terms of satisfaction and meaningfulness.
Take a look at these eight popular part-time jobs that retirees can do from home.
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 46 percent (All part-time jobs: 24.5 percent)
Median hourly pay: $17.74 (All part-time jobs: $14.76)
Satisfaction rating: 77 percent (All part-time jobs: 63 percent)
High-meaning rating: 48 percent (All part-time jobs: 57 percent)
Bookkeepers create and maintain a company's financial records, which includes issuing payments to suppliers and invoices to customers. Step up to the title of full-charge bookkeeper and you'll take on sole responsibility for a company's accounting matters, including supervising lower-level bookkeepers and accounting clerks. More older workers go for the full-charge role and enjoy the higher pay that comes with greater responsibility; 74 percent of all full-charge bookkeepers are over 55, and their median pay is $21.10 an hour. Either way, you can find opportunities to keep your accounting expertise at home and provide your services virtually.
2. Registered nurse
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 23 percent
Median hourly pay: $32.03
Satisfaction rating: 66 percent
High-meaning rating: 76 percent
Telehealth services were growing in popularity before the coronavirus hit the U.S. and got an extra boost from the pandemic. As a result, nurses and other medical professionals can continue providing care and expertise from the safety of their own homes.
But the standards for filling such jobs remotely are no more lax: You still need to have completed the rigorous education and training necessary to become a nurse. Plus, you have to maintain a nursing license in the state where you plan to work, which can be tricky if you're working remotely and are able to assist patients who live elsewhere. For example, the telemedicine nurse practitioner position with Forward requires a license in California; New York; or Washington, D.C., with a preference for candidates licensed to practice in multiple locations. (Licensure requirements vary by state.) Still, both the relatively high pay and the sense of meaning can make the hurdles worthwhile.
3. Administrative assistant
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 22 percent
Median hourly pay: $14.84
Satisfaction rating: 70 percent
High-meaning rating: 59 percent
You don't always have to be physically at the office to ensure that it runs efficiently. Virtual assistants are able to provide administrative support from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Specific duties can vary greatly from gig to gig, but tasks are likely to include a range of services, from scheduling and email management to social media strategizing and event planning. In addition to checking out the opportunities available via the staffing agencies listed above, you can use freelance job boards such as FreeUp and Upwork to connect with potential clients.
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 20 percent
Median hourly pay: $17.46
Satisfaction rating: 70 percent
High-meaning rating: 53 percent
Who's hiring remote workers: Equivity
Paralegals, along with legal assistants, provide support to lawyers by tackling a range of tasks, including conducting legal research, organizing and maintaining documents and files, and writing reports—all of which can be done from anywhere. You may need experience in a particular field or geographic location to qualify. One opportunity, for example, available through staffing agency Equivity, seeks candidates with litigation experience in California; another position requires estate planning experience.
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 11 percent
Median hourly pay: $15.15
Satisfaction rating: 76 percent
High-meaning rating: 74 percent
If you hadn't known it already, weeks of required homeschooling has surely proved that child care assistance is an essential service for parents. And while care providers cannot exactly replicate their work via screens and remote services, they may be able to apply some of their skills in a work-from-home opportunity as a tutor, teacher or camp counselor.
Of course, you'd need expertise in a particular subject to teach it, but demand for knowledge goes beyond what you might think of as standard academic curriculum. For instance, Outschool, a marketplace for online classes, offers a platform for teachers to share their knowledge and talents in a wide range of activities, such as shoe tying, French braiding and creating a Dungeons and Dragons character. You can even host your own show-and-tell or storytime session.
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 20 percent
Median hourly pay: $11.99
Satisfaction rating: 65 percent
High-meaning rating: 56 percent
You don't have to be on location to be the gatekeeper for an organization. Virtual receptionists can respond to calls, emails, web chats and other messages on behalf of one or more companies from any location. Traditionally, most receptionists have been employed in health care and social assistance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but you can find opportunities in a variety of fields.
7. Customer service representative
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 16 percent
Median hourly pay: $11.82
Satisfaction rating: 50 percent
High-meaning rating: 36 percent
If you have a phone, computer and internet connectivity, you have a shot at making your home a one-person call center. Virtual customer service representatives assist people by phone for a variety of businesses in a range of industries, from retail to health care to technology. You may also provide your services online, helping customers via email, text messaging, online chat or social media.
Although these jobs are remote, you may have to live in a certain state to do them. Be sure to check the fine print before applying.
8. Sales associate
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: 13 percent
Median hourly pay: $10.72
Satisfaction rating: 53 percent
High-meaning rating: 33 percent
Companies across a range of industries, including retail, finance and health care, are seeking star salespeople with various experience levels (and a license to sell, if necessary) to push their products and services from a remote location. And despite the low hourly pay, you may be able to earn more through commissions — potentially much more if you're moving cars, electronics or other high-ticket items. Workers in some higher-level (and higher-earning) positions may even manage a sales team remotely.
Notes on employment data and sources
Portion of part-time workers over age 55: Provided by PayScale, based on data from 180,332 respondents, collected between May 1, 2018, and May 1, 2020. “Part time” is defined as less than 35 hours a week.
Median hourly pay: Provided by PayScale, based on data from 180,332 respondents, collected between May 1, 2018, and May 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 job.
High-meaning rating: Provided by PayScale; percentage of respondents in a given job title who say their work makes the world a better place.