Retirees Seek Second Careers Through Online Learning

Mar 18, 2013
  |  by Jennifer Cook

Retirement isn’t what it used to be. People are living longer, and while they may have craved the free time during their careers, even golf gets boring after a while. That, along with a host of financial reasons is leading more people to seek retirement careers, and they’re turning to online education for the convenience and opportunity that it offers.

For the Love of Learning

I don’t want to give the impression that retirees have all the sudden decided that heading back to school is a good idea; people have been going back to school for a long time, in all age groups. The trend is just increasing.

A love for learning and a drive to discover something new has long been a motivation for people who have left their original careers behind. A lifelong accountant decides that she wants to dive into teaching. A marketing professional finally has the chance to learn to program. Once you’ve had a rich career, you’ve earned the right to pursue your interests with the same rigor that you went after your profession.

More than a few people have always wanted to start their own business, and going back for an online MBA or second bachelor’s degree can give them extra knowledge and skill to help make that dream happen, using their wealth of life and professional experience to make strides where their current industry is lagging behind.

I know a lot of people who are heading back for a degree just because they want to make a difference. They’re going into social work, teaching and even computer science, just to graduate and head straight into working for a non-profit that needs their skills. That type of rewarding work is what many people may have been missing during their previous career.

Rise of the Retirement Career

A lot of maybe loved their first career, but are ready for something new, and they aren’t content just to study; they want to put their new degree into practice. And there are financial trends that are pushing people into a retirement career as well:

People are living longer, and the retirement age keeps getting raised, which reduces retirement benefits for everyone, regardless of when they retire. Some people can’t continue doing an intense physical job indefinitely, and they’re looking to make a transition that will earn them more money and provide them with working conditions they can continue for the long term. And the primary avenue to a cushy desk job with good pay is more education.

Doing the numbers, a retirement career can bring in extra income that makes your finances more secure; especially if your earnings weren’t as projected during your career, or like a lot of people, your 401k is still recovering from the Great Recession we’re still pulling out of.

One of the common pitfalls of retirement planning is the unknowns that can occur so far in the future. The cost of living has gone up, and many retirees may find that their retirement falls short of their actual living expenses, making a second career a foregone conclusion.

Why Online Education Works for Retirees

Hoofing it to campus isn’t always ideal, especially if you’re already working full time and preparing for retirement. Also, some seniors have physical limitations that make it uncomfortable or challenging to do all of their classes in full-time campus courses. That’s why Strayer University offers online courses to assist you in completing your degree; they adapt to your schedule, let you study from the comfort of home, and still give you the flexibility to choose in-class instruction when you want it.

Are you thinking of jumping back into school after retiring? Maybe even starting your studies before then? Tell us about your plans.


Author bio: Jennifer Cook writes on student life, going back to school and online learning technology for When she isn't writing, you can track her down in the library, trying to check out more books than her card allows.



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