Best part-time jobs for college students
Where to find lucrative work that you can fit in around your studies.
Part-time jobs for college students are almost as coveted as college acceptance letters. Besides searching for classes, college students are just as eager to look for jobs. That's because many students need to find jobs to support themselves or pay for their studies.
But that's not all a part-time job is good for. Experts say that looking past the dollar sign today can make a difference tomorrow.
“Students have to look at their part-time work in college as much more than just a paycheck,” says Alfred Poor, author of 7 Success Secrets that Every College Student Needs to Know. "This is prime time for them to acquire, practice, and demonstrate essential soft career skills that won't show up on their college transcript, but that potential employers will look for when they apply for a job after graduation.”
What's the best job for a college student?
The answer to that question depends on why you want a part-time job in the first place. Are you looking to your job as a step toward career planning? Or are you looking for the job that will earn you a substantial paycheck? You could find a job that does both.
“We encourage students to find jobs in their field of study to generate hands-on experience and to have something substantial on their resume,” says Heidi Jacobson, a career services coordinator at the University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona.
This advice particularly applies to upperclassmen, adds David Melnyk, a financial planner with Verus Wealth Management. “A good number of managers are looking for a part-time student employee who will transfer into a full-time employee after graduation," he says. "If you harness the opportunity to show managers that you are there to work, learn, use your education to help improve the firm, then you may have a golden ticket to a job after graduation.”
If finding part-time jobs in your field of study comes up empty, returning students should consider any of these highly lucrative jobs, according to Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, co-founder of Her Campus Media.
- Tutoring: “You can earn $20 to $40 per hour by tutoring either your fellow
students on campus or elementary school, middle school and high school
students near you,” Lewis says. “It's a great way to use your area of interest to help
teach others, and it will look great on your resume. You can set your own
hours, too, which is always ideal.”
- Computer technician: “You can usually earn around $25 per hour at this
job. It's best for people who are good with application of software and
hardware,” she says. “Obviously it requires some extensive knowledge of computer
technology, but the pay is usually high and the hours are flexible.”
- Fitness trainer: “You can typically earn $20 per hour by offering your
fitness training skills to others,” she says. “If you love working out and helping
others, all you need to do is get your fitness training certification
, which you can get through inexpensive online programs that only take a few
months, and you'll be all set. You can either offer your services
personally or apply to work for your school's fitness center or local
- Bank teller: “For around $18 per hour, you can work as a bank teller and add an impressive new line to your resume,” she says. “If you're looking to go into economics, business or accounting, this job will be a great start for you. You just have to be 18 years old. The only downside may be the hours, but some banks are open later or need weekend workers, so stop by a credit union near you and see if they're hiring.”
The next tier jobs when it comes to pay can fetch students anywhere from $10 to $15 an hour.
"Incoming fall college students can expect to find these jobs at local call centers, retail stores, in information technology, customer service and quality assurance," says Joel Walton, a career services advisor at UAT.
Remember that once you get the job, you'll still want to go above and beyond to prove yourself.
“Students that show initiative and a willingness to go above and beyond the requirements are rewarded with additional opportunities and many are taken under the wing of industry professionals,” says James Robert Webb, owner of Banner Music, an independent music publishing company.
And those who impress are usually the ones thought of first when a real job opens up.