7 Jobs That Make You Retire at a Certain Age (Most Before 60)

Delve into careers that dictate when it's time to hang up the hat.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Most jobs don't have a mandatory retirement age. Instead, you can work as long as you want.

In fact, it's generally against the law for companies and organizations to set a mandatory retirement age for their employees.

But there are some exceptions where you might be forced to retire early, or at least earlier than you'd like. Here are a few careers where you have to pack it in after a certain age.

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Airline pilots

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe smiling pilot in cockpit

Don't expect to see old pilots on your next commercial flight. The federal government requires airline pilots to retire when they reach 65.

There's some debate in Congress about raising the age limit to age 67. But the Air Line Pilots Association is against a change, saying such a move wouldn't help to increase the number of active pilots.

The Federal Aviation Administration is also against the move until it can study it further.

Air traffic controllers

David Fuentes/Adobe air traffic controller

Like airline pilots, air traffic controllers have a stressful job that raises potential safety issues once controllers grow older. That's why air traffic controllers are required to retire when they turn 56.

However, there are some exceptions for air traffic controllers with "exceptional skills and experience" that might allow them to extend their career until they turn 61, according to the federal government.

Foreign service employees

Elnur/Adobe businessman with canadian flag

Foreign service officers — often known as “diplomats” — have a mandatory retirement age of 65.

Fortunately, these workers receive a government-funded pension, which should help them get by during retirement.

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National park law enforcement rangers

kellyvandellen/Adobe us park ranger vehicle

National park law enforcement rangers are required to retire when they're 57. However, the rules do allow for some exceptions.

FBI agents

Straight8Stock/Adobe special agent fbi

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation must retire by 57 years old. Because they need at least 20 years of experience to qualify for retirement, agents are not hired if they are 37 or older.

However, waivers might be granted to some applicants who are 37 or older.


LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe firefighter with water hose

Federal firefighters are required to retire when they turn 57. The military and several U.S. government agencies hire federal firefighters.


Gorodenkoff/Adobe judge striking gavel

Several states restrict how long a judge can serve in state court systems.

Restrictions can vary from state to state. Michigan, for example, says judges can’t run for election if they're over 70.

States such as Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Maryland require judges to retire when they turn 70. In Oregon, the retirement age is 75.

Bottom line

goodluz/Adobe senior couple relaxing by the sea

If you're in one of the lines of work on this list, it's important to consider the likelihood of an early exit from the workforce when preparing for retirement.

For example, knowing that you will have to leave the workforce early might motivate you to save more money, so you have a bigger nest egg.

Or, you might start training for a second career so you'll be ready to transition when your first career ends.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.