Best Careers for Your Golden Years

Careers Fit for Seniors

Are you thinking of making your golden years shine a little brighter by going back to work? Learn more about these five careers that could be a good fit for older adults.

By Terence Loose

Have you reached your golden years, but find that retirement isn't all it's cracked up to be? Maybe you enjoy being productive and miss having a career. Or maybe your financial situation isn't as golden as you'd hoped, and a little extra income would be nice.

Whatever the reason, there are plenty of careers that could be a good choice for older adults.

And working during your golden years could also benefit your well-being, according to Susan Heathfield, a management consultant and About.com's Guide to Human Resources.

"I think a big benefit seniors get if they choose to work is they stay active and in contact with people of all ages," says Heathfield.

So if you want to go back to work, check out this list of careers that could make your golden years just a little more golden.

Career #1: Accountant

Have you always been good with numbers, but never got to use that passion in your former career? Your golden years could be the time to let your love of digits shine with a second career as an accountant.

As you'd expect, accountants generally deal with financial matters. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, common duties include examining financial records, putting together financial documentation, and preparing tax returns.

Why It's a Golden Choice: According to Heathfield, this career could be suited for seniors because it's not a physically demanding career.

And an even more enticing reason: you might be able to work a flexible schedule, says Heathfield.

"It's a job that can be done part time. Or you could work for a number of companies that need supplemental staff at various times of the month," says Heathfield. "That also means you don't have to sign up for the daily grind to and from the office, which I don't think many seniors want."

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Education Options: Most accountant positions require a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, says the Department of Labor. But note that some employers look for candidates with master's degrees in accounting or business administration (MBA) with an emphasis in accounting.


Career #2: Elementary School Teacher

Are you the energetic type of retiree who wants to help guide the next generation? If so, a career as an elementary school teacher could be a good fit.

Just make sure you're ready to create lesson plans for subjects like math or reading. Or how about assessing student's strengths and abilities? Or preparing students for tests? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these are common job duties for elementary teachers.

Why It's a Golden Choice: If you're a senior with a lot of energy and patience, this is the type of job that could keep you young and lively, says Heathfield.

"It's a position in which you'd be mentoring the younger folks, and that's such a wonderful thing for an older adult to do: passing on all their life experience to the next generations," says Heathfield.

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Education Options: Every state requires public elementary teachers to have a bachelor's degree in elementary education and be certified with a teaching license, according to the Department of Labor. And in certain states, elementary teachers are also required to major in a specific content area like math or science.


Career #3: Dental Assistant

Were you always good at making people feel relaxed? As a dental assistant, you could help patients feel more at ease while they're in the dental chair.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, dental assistants could do everything from scheduling patient appointments, keeping patients' records, instructing them on proper dental hygiene, and processing X-rays and other exams.

Why It's a Golden Choice: According to Heathfield, interacting with patients could make this a good career option for seniors.

"They do some of the hygienist's duties, and they are still the front desk greeters," says Heathfield. "So they have a lot of positive interaction with people, which I think is great for seniors."

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Education Options: According to the Department of Labor, there are several paths to prep for a dental assistant career. For example, some states don't have any educational requirements, while other states require dental assistants to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam. Accredited programs include certificate or associate's degree programs.


Career #4: Personal Financial Advisor

If you're good with numbers but also desire more personal contact with adults, a career as a personal financial advisor could really add up for your late-in-life career.

Just as the title implies, the duties for a personal financial advisor seem to have a healthy mix of personal interaction and studious financial work. How so? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, these advisors could meet with clients to discuss financial goals, recommend investments or choose them for their clients, and research investment opportunities.

Why It's a Golden Choice: If given a choice, career expert and author Laurence Shatkin says that personal financial advisor would be a good option for a retiree who has a solid business background or a love for finance.

"It's one way a person can leverage business - especially financial - experience, and for those who want to cut back to part-time work," Shatkin says.

Another perk for older adults: it's a job that might offer a flexible schedule, so you could still keep up with your hobbies.

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Education Options: For this role, the Department of Labor says a degree in finance, mathematics, economics, law, accounting, or business is good preparation. Although advisors generally need a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in finance or business administration could help with advancement into a management position.


Career #5: Pharmacy Technician

Do you enjoy interaction with people and helping people stay healthy? And how do you feel about standing a majority of the time? If those are both thumbs up, a career as a pharmacy technician could be an easy pill to swallow.

Pharmacy technicians are those nice workers at the counter when you pick up your prescription. Working as a pharmacist's right-hand helper, they generally take information from customers for prescriptions, fill prescriptions, compound or mix medications, and accept payment for prescriptions, says the U.S. Department of Labor.

Why It's a Golden Choice: This is a great option for older adults who don't want to retire anytime in the near future.

"I think [pharmacy technicians] can be employed until they're 90 if they want," says Heathfield. "Full time, part time, whatever; it's a field where there's not enough people to fill the spots because of all of the baby boomers who are becoming elderly and require more medication to stay healthy."

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Education Options: According to the Department, most pharmacy technicians learn their skills on the job, but requirements can vary by state. In fact, some states require technicians to pass an exam or earn a certificate through a formal education program.

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