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Written by Susan ShorSusan Shor

The best jobs for college students and how to choose the right one for you

12 min read
The best jobs for college students and how to choose the right one for you
Artwork by:Katya Simacheva
You need to make a few bucks while you earn your university degree, that’s totally understandable. To find a position that gives you what you need and leaves you time to study, take a look at our advice below.

Congratulations! As a college student, you are preparing for your future. You are focused on your classes, but you may also have the need or desire to work. You’re certainly not alone. Among full-time college students, 40 percent also work, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Whether you’re still living at home, are on your own for the first time, or are returning to school after a pause in your education, you are looking for a job that will accommodate your education schedule, but provide you with experience and a few dollars toward those college loans.

So what are the best jobs for college students? That’s a great question that this blog is designed to answer. Here, you will find helpful information about the following:

  • What features are most important to consider in a college job?
  • What are good jobs for college students?
  • Top 10 high-paying jobs for college students
  • Top 10 good college student jobs with flexibility

No matter what type of job you accept, remember that your priority is your studies, which brings us to the first question.

What features are most important to consider in a college job?

The first and most important feature of a good college job is flexibility. Why? Because, as a college student, your schedule is likely to change every semester and you may not be able to register for the classes you need to graduate at the times your job allows. Instead, your job has to allow for your class schedule.

Here are other key considerations:

  • Are you trying to develop skills?
  • Do you need to earn a certain dollar amount?
  • How long will your commute be?
  • Can you work on campus?

Are you trying to develop skills? If you answered yes to this question, your first task is to define the skills you want to develop. If you have not held a job before, these may be the basic soft skills of reliability, responsibility, organization, and communication.

For college students looking to boost their resumes, the best student job for you will be one either within your field or which requires similar knowledge and skills to those you will need in your career.

Expert tip

Brainstorm

Make a list or a mind map of all the skills, job responsibilities, and attributes you believe are necessary for your field.

Then, make a second map or list of the ones you already have or have done that will make you a valued employee in your field.

Compare the two. If you’re visual, you can create a Venn diagram or other representation of these skills. Take note of the attributes you need to develop, but don’t let that get you down. Seasoned professionals are also always learning and growing (if they are good at their jobs!)

This assessment will help you choose the best college job for you – and boost your resume.

Do you need to earn a certain dollar amount? The average four-year college tuition for a public school was $27,940 for the 2022-2023 year. For private schools, that amount leaped to $57,570. Those numbers mean money may be your primary concern. 

Below, you will find a complete list of good jobs for college students, including a section on high-paying options.

How long will your commute be? A long commute plus transportation costs will cut into your earnings and your time. If you can study or work on a bus or train, great! Otherwise, be sure you subtract your costs from your earnings to get a good sense of how much you will really take home. 

Can you work on campus? A campus job will eliminate the commute problem and can be an easy job for a college student since professors and other university employers understand the constraints that you live under. They may also be patient bosses because they are used to teaching and to young people just starting out. You also may be able to find a good college job within or adjacent to your career.

What are good jobs for college students?

So, what are good jobs for college students? The answer depends partly on your answers to the questions above, but typically, they are jobs in which you either entirely control your schedule or in which you can tell your boss what your schedule is and they work around it.

For instance, you may want to work fewer hours during the crunch times leading up to midterms and finals, or you may want a job that allows you to work full-time in the summer.

The best jobs for college students offer a combination of good pay, flexibility, and resume-building potential.

Top 10 jobs after college
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Some students understandably don’t worry too much about getting a job after college, but others plan their first career moves meticulously. Here are ten popular jobs for someone who has just left college. You need to start somewhere.

Top high-paying jobs for college students

While you may not be able to take a low-paying internship, working for yourself will afford you flexibility and the ability to set your rates. Here are some top-paying ideas for self-employment during college:

  1. Tutor. Put up a sign on campus, or register with one of the many online tutoring sites such as Wyzant.com to find students.
  2. Rideshare driver. Be aware that if you are less than 25 years old, you will need three years of licensed driving experience to drive for Uber. Lyft drivers must be between 21-25, depending on the state.
  3. Virtual assistant. You will need to create an online presence that touts your skills and what you can do for your clients. Your services may include administrative, technology, marketing, accounting, sales, or any other area in which you have proven abilities.
  4. Nanny/babysitter. Babysitters average more than $20 an hour for one child and $23 for two, according to UrbanSitter. Websites such as Care.com or Sittercity.com can help you get started.
  5. Freelance graphic designer. Payscale reports average hourly rates of $30.15 for those with this skill. DesignerHire has curated a list of 11 sites you can register with.
  6. Food delivery driver. There is a multitude of delivery services out there that allow you to work when and where you choose. According to Talent.com, you can also earn more than $20 an hour bringing people their dinners.
  7. Pet carer. Dog walking, cat sitting, fish feeding, etc., are all great ways to earn a few extra dollars. Websites such as Rover.com or Wagwalking.com allow you to register and seek out one-time or consistent work with pets.
  8. Bookkeeper. Studying to be an accountant? A part-time bookkeeping job may be the way to go. While you earn $20+ an hour, you will also be gaining valuable resume skills.
  9. Interpreter/Translator. This may be the best job for students who are multilingual. In an increasingly global world (and on campus), your skills are in demand and can earn you an hourly rate of $24 or more, Salary.com reports.
  10. Temporary staffing. Companies sometimes need replacement workers or short-term employees during peak seasons. If you like working in different environments and don’t mind the uncertainty of having a job end and not knowing what the next one will be, this can be a great college job. The Ladders offers a list of its top seven agencies.

Top 10 good jobs for college students with flexibility

  1. Call center representative. While this job may not be glamorous, there’s a high probability that you can work from home and earn more than $16 an hour.
  2. Barista. Yes, this is a classic, but you will meet a lot of people, have a flexible schedule, and join an ever-growing club of workers who have done a stint making caffeinated beverages.
  3. Senior or companion care. An aging population and a deficit of healthcare workers means there’s high demand for workers to check in on seniors and others with special needs and to help them with simple tasks. No medical training is necessary.
  4. Bartender. If you’re friendly, can work quickly on Saturday nights, and schedule late classes, this may be the job for you. While your hourly rate may not be high, you will make up for it in tips.
  5. Transcriber. Can you type quickly? Then you can be a general transcriber. As long as you make your deadlines, no one cares when you work. Be aware, however, that medical transcriptionists need to earn certification through a one-year program.
  6. Warehouse worker. If you don’t mind standing for long stretches of time, you can earn upwards of $15 an hour in a fulfillment center or other warehouse setting.
  7. Wait staff. While it may not be an easy college student job, many people have worked their way through college waiting tables.
  8. Sales. Whether it’s in a brick-and-mortar store or online, a sales job may pay above minimum wage and teach you excellent customer service and problem-solving skills.
  9. Tour guide. If you live near a historic site, in an interesting city or town, or can put together a foodie walk, and don’t mind semi-public speaking, you can earn an hourly rate plus tips at this great college job.
  10. Data entry clerk. This is a good job for college students because you probably won’t have to leave your dorm room to do it. As long as you are focused and pay attention to the details, you will be able to pull in at least $13 an hour.
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Key Takeaways

  1. College is expensive and many full-time students also work, but make sure you keep your perspective and focus on your studies.
  2. There’s no such thing as the best college job for everyone. Your needs are different from your roommate’s.
  3. Search for a position that offers the right combination of pay, flexibility, and growth.
  4. Begin your search with intention and the understanding of what you want out of a good college job.
  5. No matter what job you apply for, you will need a great resume and cover letter.
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Build your resume in 15 minutes
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Build your resume in 15 minutes
Build your resume in 15 minutes
Use professional field-tested resume templates that follow the exact ‘resume rules’ employers look for.
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