Second Careers for Senior Citizens

Seniors make attractive employees for a number of reasons, giving them an advantage in the job market. They are experienced, often don’t need full-time hours with benefits and generally aren’t interested in office politics and climbing over others to make it to the top of the corporate ladder. With a little investment money, seniors can also use their decades of experience to start small businesses. Whether you want to work for yourself or start a second career with an established business, start with a self-assessment and a plan for updating your skills.


Pet Sitting

If you love pets and are able to visit pet owners’ homes, a career as a pet sitter can be fulfilling and financially rewarding. Pet sitting requires more than just dog walking. You’ll be responsible for feeding and exercising pets, taking them to the vet and giving advice to pet parents, depending on what types of services you offer. Start with a membership in Pet Sitters International or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, then apprentice with a pet sitter in your area. Be prepared to sign a no-compete clause when you work with another pet sitter, which means you’ll need to find one outside of your eventual service area.

Customer Service

If you like people, consider working at the desk or counter of a hotel, gift shop, tennis or golf retail store or other business that needs someone to greet and assist customers and answer phones. Think of your hobbies as you look for these types of jobs — the more experience you have in the businesses’ area of service, the more likely you’ll get the job. If you have a reliable phone line, you might be able to work from home as a remote call center agent.


Tennis Teaching

Not every tennis coach spends time in the hot sun training the next Grand Slam champion. Many parks and recreation departments, private clubs and public facilities need coaches to work with beginners, teams and children. You can get your certification in one weekend by taking one of the many U.S. Professional Tennis Association or Professional Tennis Registry workshops held across the country each month. The USPTA and PTR offer different levels of certification, taking into account the different skill levels of people who want to teach tennis.

School Teaching

The demand for school teachers will be critical during the coming decade as Baby Boomers retire, according to the Senior Journal. You can work with children and make an important contribution to society as a teacher. You might need to go back to school to get your certification if you want to teach full-time. Ask your local school districts about their need for teachers and what you’ll need to do to get qualified to become one. You can visit the website of your state’s board of education to learn what you’ll need to do to become qualified, which might include taking a number of classes and sitting for a certification exam.


If you enjoy cooking and can stand on your feet for several hours, look into becoming a cook or kitchen assistant at a local restaurant, institutional cafeteria or catering company. Look in your area for cooking classes that offer some type of certificate at the end of the course to build some professional credentials. To learn about starting your own business, visit your secretary of state’s website to learn the requirements for starting a catering company or other food-related business.