Today, there is a greater demand for teachers nationwide than there has been in many years. Of course, there is not an equal demand for every teacher in every specialty, but there is a tremendous need for teachers precisely because so many baby boomers are leaving the teaching profession due to retirement. This development, in turn, offers a great opportunity for other men and women, who are also baby boomers, to take those positions from the retiring teachers.

Let me give you an example. A person who came into the picture as a substitute high school math teacher for our then junior in high school the following year joined the staff of Woodstock High School and became a full-time math teacher in her late 50s. I believe this is the type of transition our nation will see happen with greater frequency all across America.

In the past, my mother also went back to school to finish her Associate of Arts degree in her early 40s. Then, she earned her Bachelor's degree, received her Master's degree, and subsequently taught high school photography through the age of 70 at Parkway South High School in St. Louis County, Missouri.

And while the individual paycheck may not be significant relative to private industry, public sector pensions for teachers are really excellent. For example, the formula in the State of Missouri for a retired teacher is 80% of your previous income after 30 years of service. Teachers are paid a salary based upon their education level, with the max pay level probably being a Master's degree plus 30 hours.

In my own circle, I have a good friend in St. Louis, who earned a Master's degree plus 30 hours, and let us estimate that he retired at $60,000 in annual income from his Suburban St. Louis position. His retirement at 30 years would be 80% of that figure. However, since he actually worked 33 years, the percentage on the retirement formula was 88%. So, by taking 88% of $60,000, my friend made approximately $52,800 per year, which began at age 55.

Please bear in mind that teachers throughout our nation do NOT qualify for Social Security. So this becomes both a substitute for Social Security and a private pension added together.

But, if someone goes back to school and they qualify to become a teacher in their 40s, they could still work for the next 20 or 25 years. In other words, taking my mother's case as an example, age 45 + 25 years = age 70.

The school districts, in turn, want good teachers, so they may continue to extend that teacher's contract even beyond the normal retirement point, if it's appropriate in a unique circumstance.

Continuing adult education instructor

One of my best friends from St. Louis retired as a public school teacher in mathematics after a 33 year career in a suburban high school. But, his real love has always been music over the years. So each week, he takes a one hour lesson on the mandolin and a one hour lesson on the guitar.

Then, at the local junior college during both the fall and spring semesters, he teaches a class on guitar. He said he doesn't make much money doing it, but it's very gratifying to him on an emotional level.


Individual men and women may also feel the call to ministry later in life. That scenario pertained to my own father and my wife. My father went to seminary and graduated in his mid 40s and went on to a longer term career in the ministry. My book, "Now What? Discovering Your New Life and Career After 50," contains 19 profiles, one of which is of my 85 year old father. My Dad is literally the senior associate pastor -- senior meaning oldest -- on the staff of St. Louis Family Church, which is perhaps the largest Protestant church in the Greater St. Louis area.

Ministry today is actually a common career track for men and women, as we get older. This happens with Catholic priests, it happens in the Protestant clergy and it happens in the Jewish clergy as well. My wife is also an ordained pastor, who is a full-time minister in charge of Fresh Harvest Church in Woodstock, Illinois and who is also the point person for Fresh Harvest Ministries. She is also involved with a ministry organization, which has a call to our nation and is located in Washington D.C.

Fitness trainer

I am also a member of the McHenry County College Fitness Center, which has every kind of conceivable exercise machine you can imagine from rowing machines to stationary bicycles to treadmills to a cross country ski apparatus, as well as all sorts of different weight-related machines. MCC's Fitness Center employs fitness coaches, who have degrees, and these trainers come in all different ages. The oldest one, who once served as a coach for one of the Olympic teams, is today in his 70s. But, he still works on a part-time basis at McHenry County College in the fitness center.

I believe fitness should be one part of the transition we pursue, as we get older. In fact, many of the people in my exercise group, who work out three to five days per week at the same time in the early morning, when I use the facility, are actually in their late 60s, 70s or even 80s. The name of this group is "the Wild Bunch," where I am perhaps the youngest person in the group.

Of course, it is always good to be "the youngest," no matter how the group is defined.

Author's Bio: 

James O. Armstrong, who serves as Editor and President of,, which is The Resource for Job Transitions over 40, also wrote "Now What: Discovering Your New Life and Career after 50." In addition, he is the Cofounder with his wife of Armstrong Solutions Inc.,, which is a Counseling, Coaching and Career Management Practice with a reduced fee schedule to expand their services to a larger group of men and women with needs. Armstrong also serves as President of James Armstrong & Associates, Inc., which is a national and international media representation firm serving Central US and Canada out of his Suburban Chicago base.