8 Great Careers for Older Workers

by Staff Writer

If you are 55 or older and considering a change of career, we won't waste your time suggesting you look into greeting customers at Walmart or taking drive-thru orders at McDonald's. It may be that you don't want to work but have to, due to the current economic climate or other reasons beyond your control. Or maybe you just aren't ready to retire, want to continue working, and perhaps even transition into a brand new field. Consider the eight careers below if you're looking to try something new. We've included links to reputable resources that provide more information about each of these careers.

  1. Bed-and-Breakfast Owner

    Getting paid to live in and maintain a large, beautiful house in a community separate from the more touristy areas of the country and having the opportunity to meet travelers from around the world sounds pretty cool. But of course, running a bed-and-breakfast is a lot of work, and sometimes your guests behave more like children than adults. Fortunately, there's a lot of information for you online to help you with such a venture. Begin with the U.S. Small Business Administration website, a great site no matter what kind of small business you'd like to start. Spend a little bit of time online, and you will find free resources and advice for aspiring bed-and-breakfast owners.

  2. Grant Proposal Writer

    Those with a gift for creative and technical writing might consider a career as a grant proposal writer. A genuine passion for the mission of the organization you write for is crucial, as are up-to-date research skills and an eye for detail. Smaller-sized nonprofits and for-profits may only need a part-time writer who can work at home. Grant writing for larger organizations is a full-time position sometimes with a support staff. If you have solid writing skills, but are completely new to the world of fundraising, then seek out a mentor who can help you master the art of writing a grant.

  3. Public Relations and Communications Manager for a Nonprofit Organization

    Public relations and communications are actually two separate roles within a nonprofit organization. Two different people may head public relations and communications respectively, or one person may take on the responsibility of both roles. Nonprofits can benefit from the years of experience older workers bring to the table, especially those who have lived for some time in the community the nonprofit seeks to serve. The Public Relations Society of America offers plenty of free resources and breaking news about this field.

  4. Green Jobs

    The term "green jobs" is defined broadly, but generally refers to work providing goods or services to create a sustainable environment, economy, and culture. It is a relatively new industry that benefits from the experience, knowledge, and drive of older workers and retirees. If you are an older worker, you can look into the Environmental Protection Agency's Senior Environmental Employment program for green jobs. Or, you might consider starting your own business based on green initiatives. For example, Judi Henderson-Townsend created Mannequin Madness to recycle, rent, and sell discarded, non-biodegradable mannequins.

  5. Care Giver

    Older workers can be especially sensitive and responsive to the needs of the sick and elderly. After getting laid off from her job in real estate, Jan Albert took over the job of caring for her aging parents. Realizing she was good at caring for people in their homes, Albert took free, non-credit gerontology courses at a community college, and developed an overview of the field and opportunities that were available for small-business start ups. She now runs 24 Hour Angels, a care-giving company.

  6. Nonprofit founder

    Sure, just start your own nonprofit! Sounds easy, right? Well, of course it isn't. But in spite of this, many seniors and retirees are bringing some good to the world, and creating a legacy for themselves, by founding nonprofits across the country that support everything from the arts to the humane treatment of animals to the advocacy of underprivileged children. Older workers are especially suited to starting a nonprofit thanks to years of personal investment in their communities, as well as an accumulation of life experience. Consider what needs are not being met in your community; would people donate money and time to a nonprofit dedicated to addressing that need?

  7. Blogger

    Blogging may be more of a way for you to network than support yourself financially. There are ways to monetize a blog, but the truth is most bloggers make less than $100 a month from their sites. However, if you are looking for a creative outlet, and are interested in connecting to and interacting with a potentially limitless audience, consider starting a blog. If you know how to use keywords to drive traffic to your site, all the better. Check out ProBlogger.net for tons of information and resources for bloggers. There are plenty of subjects close to the hearts of older workers, seniors, and retirees that could be effectively addressed through a blog. You might consider blogging about your favorite historical figures, the nuances of a sport you love, or developments in business or politics.

  8. Golf Instructor

    Many golf courses staff their own pro golf instructors. But independent instructors are better suited to accommodate the schedules and location needs of clients, even teaching stance and swing in a student's home. If you're so inclined, you can obtain training and certification through the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America, who offer courses online, and will provide you with the qualifications you need to teach at schools and courses. But again, a good independent instructor can find students through word of mouth and a little bit of marketing.


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