Michael JN Bowles
En español | Maybe you're not ready to fully retire because of financial constraints or because you enjoy your work, but you don't want to stick with the 9-to-5 grind, either. A part-time job could give you the best of both worlds: fulfilling your needs while leaving plenty of spare time for friends, family, hobbies, travel or whatever else you like.
Take Sue Walbert. When she retired from her position as head librarian at Fauquier High School in Warrenton, Va., in 2009, she wasn't ready to quit working. "I was OK with the idea of retiring, but I didn't want to not work at all," she says. "And I definitely wanted to keep my earnings going."
Her solution: working part time at the library. Walbert arranged to clock in two days a week through a job-sharing arrangement with a colleague who also wanted to cut back on hours.
"I liked being with the kids," says Walbert, who was 63 when she cut back her hours. "They laughed at my jokes. And it was fun learning how to do different things in the library that I didn't handle before, like online cataloging."
After a few years, Walbert was ready to really retire from that job. Now she works part time as a bookkeeper, helping out with monthly billing for a horse boarding and training business, where she stables her own horse. "I've always been good with numbers, so I enjoy it," she says.
"What I did in 2013 and really enjoyed was to put a lot more time and effort into my stock investment portfolio. As it turned out, that was very profitable," she says. And in her spare time, Walbert is also slowly working on an associate degree in business at a community college.
Whatever your motivation for working after retirement, here are five great part-time jobs to consider. Pay ranges, which vary based on experience and where you live, are derived from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, which was last updated in May 2015.
1. Librarian Assistant/Aide
The nitty-gritty: Duties might include fielding questions, shelving books, helping patrons check out, tracking overdue material and sending notices, as well as cataloging and keeping an eye out for lost and damaged items.
The hours: Schedules vary widely. Big libraries or ones on university campuses may keep the doors open 24 hours a day, while small local libraries might offer limited day and evening hours.
Pay range: Pay can vary widely based on location and type of library, with some smaller ones relying on volunteers. The BLS reports that the median hourly wage for a library assistant is $11.77.
Qualifications: Experience working in libraries is desirable, as is an undergraduate or master's degree in library science. Larger libraries favor research skills using library resources, databases and other tools, as well as the ability to get along with people. Some skills that will help: word processing, data entry, online searching, the ability to keep accurate records, an understanding of library operations and general secretarial skills. Love of books is a given.
The nitty-gritty: In small businesses, bookkeepers handle a full range of financial records. You might take care of purchasing office supplies and processing the payroll. Other duties can include establishing and maintaining inventory database systems, tracking accounts receivable and accounts payable, maintaining checking and savings accounts, producing financial reports, following up on delinquent accounts and overseeing audits and reviews.
The hours: Vary by business. Frequently limited to one week midmonth and one week at the end of the month for invoicing or bill-paying functions.
Annual pay range: Pay depends on advanced training, degrees and location. According to the BLS, the median hourly rate for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks is $17.91.
Qualifications: A degree in accounting is desirable. Relevant experience or formal training in accounting or auditing services is a plus. Other key skills: doing data entry and being detail oriented, adept with financial and related computer software, and handy with a calculator.
3. Personal and Home Care Aide
The nitty-gritty: You typically help elderly, ill or disabled people with everyday activities ranging from bathing and getting dressed to running errands. Other duties might include light housekeeping, companionship, grocery shopping, meal preparation and medication monitoring.
The hours: If you're working at someone's home, the client may require only three or four hours a day for two or three days a week. These jobs are often booked through a home care agency. You might opt for a part-time position in an assisted living facility or hospice. A word of caution: Some positions require lifting patients and lots of time on your feet. If you have physical limitations, ask about the requirements.
Pay range: There tends to be a lot of turnover, so job openings are plentiful, especially helping the elderly in-home as well as at assisted living and hospice facilities. Wages can be higher depending on experience and certification. The BLS reports that for nursing, psychiatric and home health aides, the median hourly wage is $11.56.
Qualifications: Some employers may require a certified nurse assistant (CNA) certification. CPR training and a driver's license are helpful, too. Good bedside manner is a must.
The nitty-gritty: If you tackle this as a self-employed fix-it-up service, figure on a smorgasbord of odd jobs that range from tightening loose door handles to repairing running toilets. It can be a toss-up of woodworking, plumbing, electrical and even painting projects. There are more structured opportunities in this arena with building owners who hire part-time workers to perform basic maintenance. This is one job, even on a part-time basis, that requires a certain level of fitness and stamina.
The hours: If it's your own business, you can call the shots, even working weekends only. Part-time schedules for building maintenance will depend on the owners' needs. Some might prefer to have a handyman on call for emergencies, while others might like to have you on site and available to residents during specific hours.
Pay range: A handyman's responsibilities can range from highly technical work (which pays better) to routine jobs. The BLS says installation, maintenance and repair workers earn a median hourly wage of $18.14.
Qualifications: Be competent in various aspects of home improvement, have your own tools, be self-motivated and have good customer service skills. Be on a first-name basis with the manager of your hardware store.
5. Medical Assistant
The nitty-gritty: Administrative tasks in doctors' offices are usually the bulk of the workload. In essence, you're performing front-office duties, such as checking in patients, verifying insurance information, answering telephones, scheduling appointments and typing. You may also be the one who maintains supplies. Some assistants help physicians with procedures and prepare medical records. If you have the training, you may perform direct patient care such as conducting an EKG, specimen collection, wound care, medication administration and checking vital signs.
The hours: Vary by practitioner but are generally on weekdays during typical office hours.
Median pay: The BLS puts the median hourly wage at $14.71.
Qualifications: Some employers permit you to learn on the job, but a certificate from a nationally recognized medical assistant program is preferred. Related experience can sometimes serve in lieu of formal training or certification. Knowledge of medical terminology is useful. The sight of blood shouldn't make you squeamish.
Kerry Hannon, AARP jobs expert, is the author of What's Next? Finding Your Passion and Your Dream Job in Your Forties, Fifties and Beyond and Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy … and Pays the Bills. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.