If I am retired, can I still work for a community college in California without restriction?

Ask Jack Jack Ehnes

If you are a CalSTRS retired member looking to work in retirement within the California public school system, including the community college system, you are subject to the annual earnings limitation. The limitation for fiscal year 2014-15 is $40,173.

If you return to work after service retirement in a position with the California public school system as an employee, an employee of a third party, or an independent contractor, there are restrictions. You cannot:

  • Work in a classified position except, under certain circumstances, as a teacher’s aide.
  • Earn more than the annual postretirement earnings limit without affecting your CalSTRS retirement benefit.
  • Earn any pay without affecting your retirement benefit if you return to work before a 180 calendar day separation from service.
  • Keep the additional service credit you received under the CalSTRS Retirement Incentive Program, if you return to work within five years of retirement with the employer that offered the incentive.

You can continue to receive your full CalSTRS retirement benefit, with no earnings limitation, if you take a job outside of CalSTRS-covered employment. This includes work in:

  • Private industry outside of the California public school system.
  • Private schools.
  • Public schools outside of California.
  • University of California or California State University system.