The 30 Best Jobs For College Students

By Chris Kolmar - Feb. 24, 2022
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For many people, college is one of life’s most transformative, meaningful, and memorable periods. It’s an important time to expand your worldview, strengthen your confidence and sense of purpose, and develop your professional skill set.

It can also be a great time to add valuable, real-world job experience to your resume. Though many of your days and nights in college will be crammed with studying and socializing, many college students today manage to find slivers of time each week to commit to a gig or part-time job.

Besides providing you with practical skills that can translate into a permanent job later on in your career, these jobs can also help you acquire the extra cash that you’ll need to pay for books, tuition, food, transportation, rent, or future student loan payments.

However, it’s essential to bear in mind that not all jobs will be equally well-suited to the life of the average college student. Your college years, after all – in addition to being extremely fun and enriching – will also be very demanding.

You’re only going to have so many spare hours each week to be able to commit to a job, so it’s crucial for you to be able to select an employment opportunity that will be flexible enough to accommodate your busy academic schedule.

Luckily, the rise of modern communications and computing technologies have made flexible, part-time, gig-style, and online jobs more widely available than ever before. Furthermore, many of these jobs will be ideal opportunities for busy and inexperienced college students who are interested in earning a little extra income.

  1. Barista Jobs (Overview)

  2. Restaurant Server Jobs (Overview)

  3. Host-Hostess Jobs (Overview)

  4. Receptionist Jobs (Overview)

  5. Freelance Writer And Photographer Jobs (Overview)

  6. Tutor Jobs (Overview)

  7. Transcriptionist Jobs (Overview)

  8. Cashier Jobs (Overview)

  9. Nanny Jobs (Overview)

  10. Summer Camp Counselor Jobs (Overview)

  11. Research Assistant Jobs (Overview)

  12. Line Cook Jobs (Overview)

  13. Bike Mechanic Jobs (Overview)

  14. Film Editor Jobs (Overview)

  15. Yoga Instructor Jobs (Overview)

  16. Life Guard Jobs (Overview)

  17. Ice Cream Server Jobs (Overview)

  18. Bartender Jobs (Overview)

  19. Social Media Manager Jobs (Overview)

  20. Graphic Designer Jobs (Overview)

  21. Library Assistant Jobs (Overview)

  22. Campus Tour Guide Jobs (Overview)

  23. Dog Walker-Pet Sitter Jobs (Overview)

  24. Research Volunteer Jobs (Overview)

  25. Driver Jobs (Overview)

25 Best Jobs for College Students

Now that we’ve outlined the specific benefits that you should seek out in a job, as well as some self-reflective exercises to get you started on your search, we’re now ready to look at some real-world examples of ideal jobs for college students.

Here are twenty-five examples of flexible, online, and part-time jobs for modern undergraduate students:

  1. Barista
    Average Annual Salary: $24,000

    If you love coffee and you also enjoy socializing with people, then you may be the perfect candidate for a barista position at your favorite local or campus coffee shop.

    Working as a barista is an excellent opportunity to develop your social skills. And when business is slow, it can also provide you with the time and space to cram in a little extra studying. Free coffee is another major perk that attracts many college students to barista jobs.

    Find Barista jobs near me

  2. Restaurant server
    Average Annualy Salary: $23,000

    Restaurant server jobs tend to be fairly flexible and fun, a great job opportunity for any undergraduate student who is light on their feet, enjoys working in a busy working environment, and doesn’t mind occasionally working late nights.

    Find Restaurant server jobs near me

  3. Restaurant Host/Hostess
    Average Annual Salary: $21,000

    As the host of a restaurant, your primary job will be to welcome customers, engage in pleasant conversation, and help them find their seats.

    It’s a relatively undemanding position – often with flexible working hours – that can help you meet tons of new people and hone your conversation and negotiation skills.

    Find Restaurant host/hostess jobs near me

  4. Receptionist
    Average Annual Salary: $28,000

    Like a restaurant host, the receptionist’s role is primarily to greet customers and make them feel welcome as soon as they enter a business.

    Strong interpersonal and communication skills are an absolute prerequisite for most receptionist job opportunities, as is proficiency with most Microsoft Office programs, such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.

    Find Receptionist jobs near me

  5. Freelance writer
    Average Annual Salary: $52,025

    If you have a talent and a passion for writing, you may want to consider pursuing a freelance writer position. Companies and organizations frequently seek out writers who will help them develop marketing content on a freelance basis.

    Freelance writing is the perfect opportunity for any college student looking to work from the comfort of their home or dorm and who is interested in developing their skills as a communicator and as a writer.

    Find Freelance writer jobs near me

  6. Tutor
    Average Annual Salary: $33,000

    Working as a tutor is an ideal job for many college students because it provides them with an opportunity to (a) teach others, (b) become even more familiar with their field of study, and (c) earn some extra money in a fun and flexible manner.

    Tutoring is one of the most engaging and rewarding job opportunities available for college students.

    Find Tutor jobs near me

  7. Transcriptionist
    Average Annual Salary: $28,930

    The transcriptionist’s role is to convert recorded speech or in-person conversations into text that can subsequently be shared and used as a permanent record.

    For example, transcriptionists are essential in the legal industry (they sit in on courtroom hearings and record – to the letter – all of the verbal exchanges that take place).

    To be hired as a transcriptionist, you’ll need to have a keen attention to detail, strong concentration skills, a knack for verbal fluency, and (above all else) exceptional typing skills.

    Find Transcriptionist jobs near me

  8. Cashier
    Average Annual Salary: $24,000

    The typical cashier’s most notable job responsibilities include overseeing financial transactions, operating a cash register, and interacting with customers.

    This is a flexible and low-stress job opportunity that will require strong social skills, a willingness to stand for long periods, and a demonstrable ability to organize and manage large quantities of cash responsibly.

    Find Cashier jobs near me

  9. Nanny or babysitter
    Average Annual Salary: $25,000

    If you love to interact with children, we strongly encourage you to seek a job as a nanny or babysitter. This is an ideal job opportunity for any college student who is only looking to commit a few hours each week to work outside of school and enjoys being around kids.

    Keep in mind that most parents and nanny agencies will require you to obtain your child and baby first-aid and CPR certification before you’ll be allowed to begin working.

    Find Nanny jobs near me

  10. Summer camp counselor
    Average Annual Salary: $22,000

    Working as a camp counselor is a fantastic and lucrative way to spend your summers as a college student. You’ll be guaranteed to make a ton of friends and get plenty of exercise, too.

    Find Summer camp counselor jobs near me

  11. Research assistant
    Average Annual Salary: $43,000

    As a research assistant, you’ll be responsible for scouring multiple sources of data – including academic texts, the internet, and public records – to provide the person that you’re assisting with the information they need.

    It will require a knack for investigation and data analysis, as well as a strong ability to identify patterns across multiple sources of information. One of the additional benefits of working as a research assistant is that there are often opportunities to collect and analyze information directly relevant to the major you’ve chosen to pursue.

    Find Research assistant jobs near me

  12. Line cook
    Average Annual Salary: $27,000

    Line cook jobs tend to be fairly flexible, and they also provide an excellent opportunity to work in a dynamic, engaging, and social working environment. Like many restaurant jobs, however, they may sometimes require you to work late into the evenings.

    Find Line cook jobs near me

  13. Bike Mechanic
    Average Annual Salary: $32,696

    If you’re a bike aficionado and a passionate rider, then you may be a great fit for a job as a mechanic at your favorite bike shop.

    This is a job opportunity that will enable you to work alongside others who share your passion, and that can give you the flexibility that you’ll need as you continue to attend classes on a full-time basis.

    Find Bike shop mechanic jobs near me

  14. Freelance Film editor
    Average Annual Salary: $57,000

    Do you have a love for film, a personal computer, and proficiency with essential video editing platforms (such as Adobe Premiere Pro)? If so, then you may be the perfect candidate for a freelance film editing position.

    Like many freelance positions, this is a role that will likely give you the freedom to work from home and build your own work schedule.

    Find Film editor jobs near me

  15. Yoga instructor
    Average Annual Salary: $46,000

    Working as a part-time yoga instructor is a great way to stay in shape, explore your passion for wellness and fitness with others, and earn some extra cash.

    Bear in mind that most yoga studios will require you to complete a yoga teacher training course before they consider hiring you.

    Find Yoga instructor jobs near me

  16. Life guard
    Average Annual Salary: $24,692

    Similar to working as a summer camp counselor, working as a lifeguard is a relaxed, rewarding, and lucrative way to spend a summer during your undergraduate years.

    Like working as a babysitter or nanny, it’s also a job that will require you to undergo some sort of legitimate first-aid and CPR training before you’ll be allowed to begin working.

    Find Lifeguard jobs near me

  17. Ice cream server
    Average Annual Salary: $22,087

    Scooping and serving ice cream is a fun (and delicious) way to make money as a college student. If you’re looking for a flexible and undemanding job this summer, then look no further than your favorite local ice cream shop.

    Find Ice cream server jobs near me

  18. Bartender
    Average Annual Salary: $22,000

    Are you licensed and old enough to work at a bar? If so, then a job as a bartender can be a super fun and flexible way to earn some money on the side. It’s also a great way to build new friendships and expand your social circle.

    Find Bartender jobs near me

  19. Social media manager
    Average Annual Salary: $58,000

    In recent years, social media has become a primary marketing and hiring tool for businesses across almost every industry. Consequently, many employers today place a high value on young people who are intimately familiar with the finer points of social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

    So if you’re an expert on all things related to social media, then this might very well be a perfect (and highly flexible) job opportunity that’s well worth pursuing.

    Find Social media manager jobs near me

  20. Freelance Graphic designer
    Average Annual Salary: $45,000

    If you have a penchant for graphic design and access to essential design platforms (such as Adobe Photoshop), then we strongly encourage you to seek out employment opportunities as a freelance graphic designer.

    In this capacity, you’ll be able to deepen your passion for graphic design, expand your professional network, and hone the creative skills that can land you a more stable job after you graduate.

    Find Freelance graphic designer jobs near me

  21. Campus library assistant
    Average Annual Salary: $25,000

    Working behind a desk at your campus’ library may sound a bit boring, but try thinking about it this way: Yes, you’ll probably have to spend long hours in quiet solitude as an employee of your campus’ library – but that’s the perfect setting if you’re trying to fit in a few extra hours of studying or reading each week.

    It won’t all be downtime, of course, but the fact remains: This is an excellent opportunity for anyone who’s seeking to work a flexible job in a quiet, relaxed setting.

    Find Campus library assistant jobs near me

  22. Campus tour guide
    Average Annual Salary: $27,800

    Do you possess strong public speaking skills and a knack for memorizing fun facts about your neighborhood and your school?

    If so, then pursuing a job as a campus tour guide – in which you’ll meet prospective students and show them around the area – could be the perfect job opportunity for you.

    Find Campus tour guide jobs near me

  23. Dog walker or pet sitter
    Average Annual Salary: $20,000

    If you love animals, you should strongly consider seeking a role as a dog walker or a pet sitter. In addition to being very flexible and fun, these jobs will provide you with an opportunity to get outside, exercise, and interact with other pet owners.

    Find Dog walker or pet sitter jobs near me

  24. Research Volunteer
    Average Annual Salary: $51,505

    There are typically several opportunities throughout the year for students to be paid for their participation in research studies at most college campuses across the country.

    Just remember that most of these will be a one-and-done sort of a deal and not a long-term employment opportunity that will provide a regular paycheck.

    Find Volunteer for a scientific research study jobs near me

  25. Rideshare Driver
    Average Annual Salary: $29,000

    Driving for a company such as Uber or Lyft is a fun and highly flexible way to earn some extra cash as an undergraduate student.

    It will require, among other things, a strong sense of direction and a willingness to remain seated for long stretches of time. Strong conversation skills are not necessarily required for this type of position, but they certainly help.

    Find Rideshare driver jobs near me

5 On-Campus College Jobs

If you’re looking for a job that won’t require a commute, an on-campus job can be just the answer. It’s easy to weave into your class schedule and if you get in your FAFSA early enough, you might even be able to offset your tuition costs with an on-campus job.

Here are five common on-campus jobs:

  1. Proofread your classmates’ written assignments

    If you always get A’s on your written assignments, you’re a good candidate for a peer-editing job. Some schools have writing centers that help connect writing advisors with students who need help. The pay might be low (or non-existent), but it can still provide good experience if you’re interested in a writing-heavy field after you graduate.

    On the other hand, if you make a freelance business and drum up customers of your own, you might be able to charge a solid rate.

  2. Campus tour guide

    College tours are an important part of selling the experience to prospective students, and schools typically prefer to have current students lead tours. They’re able to provide on-the-ground insight that administrators just don’t have.

    This job is somewhat seasonal, as certain times of year are more popular for college tours, but you can make a decent amount of money for very little commitment as a campus tour gude.

  3. Department assistant

    Working as an administrative assistant on campus is the best of both worlds. You don’t have to commute to a foreign environment, but you still pick up all the essentials of American office life.

    Many of these jobs will involve one or two basic functions (checking out books or equipment, answering the phone, etc.), and will leave plenty of free time for you to study.

  4. Resident assistant

    Being an RA isn’t for everyone, as it demands a lot of effort (depending on who you’re responsible for). If you luck out though, this gig can be a simple way to reduce the cost of your room and board.

  5. Library attendant

    For those who love the peace and quiet a library affords, a job as an attendant might be the dream occupation. You’ll have to make sure that the space remains quiet and clean, check out books, assist students with hardware, or perform any other tasks the librarian needs from you.

    Of course, if you already spend a lot of time in the library, this might be the last place you want to work. But on the plus side, working as a library attendant is usually a very homework-friendly job.

Three Things to Look for in a Job While You’re in College

Everyone has their own unique college experience. The amount of tuition that you’ll have to pay, for one thing, will entirely depend on the school and the program that you’ve selected, as well as your financial situation at the time of your admission.

Your schedule, similarly, will depend on how rigorous the program of your selected major turns out to be. Some college students enjoy financial security and relatively easy classes throughout their entire four-year undergraduate careers. Others struggle to make money, all the while putting themselves through incredibly intensive classes.

But there’s a truism that applies to all college students, regardless of your financial background or your field of study: Success (or lack thereof) after graduation will be determined not only by your money or your grades – it will also be determined by the amount of professional experience that you’re able to gain before your college graduation.

This is one of the many reasons why internships can have such a major payoff in the long run. The problem with internships, of course, is that many of them are totally unpaid. While they can certainly lead to future job opportunities, internships are often not useful in obtaining financial security in the present moment.

This is where finding flexible, freelance, online, or part-time gigs come into play. Like an internship, many of these jobs can provide you with valuable job experience that will help you catch the eye of prospective employers in the future. Unlike many internships, on the other hand, these jobs come with the added benefit of compensating you in the here and now for your time and effort.

However, it’s important to be selective in your process of finding a job as an undergraduate student. If you’re not careful, you may end up signing onto a role that demands more than you’re able to give under the constraints of your busy school calendar.

With all of those ideas in mind, here are three qualities that you should look for in any job while you’re in college:

  • Flexibility. Most four-year university programs are like full-time jobs in and of themselves. Therefore, it’s going to be crucial to find a job that will be flexible enough to allow you to maintain it on top of – and in addition to – your already busy schedule.

    In an ideal world, that flexibility will include both of the following:

    • Flexible scheduling options. Inevitably, there are going to be times in college when academic or personal appointments need to be prioritized over your side hustle. For that reason, it’s always preferable to acquire a job that’s able to offer flexible scheduling options while you’re attending college.

    • Flexible location options. As an undergraduate student, you’re probably currently living close to campus (unless, of course, you’re attending an online-only program, in which case you might be living further away or at home with your parents).

      As such, your travel-to-work options are fairly limited. You might have a car or a bike and thereby be able to travel across large distances relatively quickly. Still, your aforementioned busy academic schedule is likely to make long-distance work-related travel an impractical option.

      The best way to connect with job opportunities that are outside of your immediate neighborhood while you’re attending college, then, is to seek out jobs with flexible location options. In other words, jobs that will allow you to work from home or another secondary location, such as a coffee shop.

  • Relevance to your chosen field or major. For most college students, the main point of finding a job while attending school is to learn a little extra cash on the side. But if that job is directly relevant and applicable to your chosen field of study, that’s even better.

    In that case, you’ll get paid – sometimes hourly, sometimes daily, sometimes by another metric – while simultaneously building the skills and professional network that can ultimately lead to more lucrative and prestigious job opportunities in the future.

  • Not excessively demanding. Finally, it will be essential to look for jobs that aren’t going to demand too much of your time, energy, and bandwidth. As we’ve already discussed, your academic responsibilities are going to very nearly require your full and undivided attention.

    If you’re careful in your job search, it’s possible to find employment opportunities that you’ll be able to manage and succeed in while you’re also attending classes full-time.

    If you’re not careful, on the other hand, it’s all too easy to sign up for a job that demands more time and energy than you’re able to give. If that happens, both your academic and your professional careers are going to suffer.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Searching for a Job in College

The three criteria above are not absolutely mandatory.

It’s entirely feasible for a college student to work a job that doesn’t offer much flexibility, that isn’t directly relevant to their major, or demands a considerable amount of their energy.

Again, it ultimately depends on your specific circumstances. In light of that, you should always be sure to carefully define your ideal employment opportunity before you begin looking for a job as an undergraduate student.

To that end, here are a few self-reflective questions that you can ask yourself:

  • “How many hours each week – after factoring in time for classes, socializing, and studying – will I realistically be able to commit to a job?”

  • “How important is it to me that I find a job that will allow me to build skills and a network that’s relevant to my major?”

  • “How much energy do I typically have at the end of the average weekday? Would it be possible for me to work a job in the evenings (and still be able to get enough sleep so that my academic performance won’t be compromised)?”

Best Jobs For College Students FAQ

  1. How do college students get high-paying jobs?

    College students get high-paying jobs by creating a stand-out resume, aiming for the right role, and being diligent in their job search. You’ll better your chances of landing a high-paying job even further if you can find a role that coincides with your major at college.

    While a student’s job search is the same as anyone else’s, students are at a disadvantage of not having a degree to show potential employers, and lots of people think that’s a deal-breaker to find a high-paying job.

    Students who apply for jobs that clearly state the position requires a degree or several years of experience in the field will get a lot of rejection.

    It’s discouraging to get turned down from many different jobs, so it’s best not to waste time on jobs you’re not qualified for. Alternatively, you shouldn’t go exclusively for the low-hanging fruit of employment just because you’re a student.

    Find a happy medium. A role as a virtual tutor, nanny, or bartender can all be great, attainable options that will make a student lots of money. On the flip side, there’s always the option of freelancing or starting your own side business to supplement a high-paying job.

    Some smart freelancing options for students that pay well include:

    • Graphic Design

    • Writing

    • Social Media Management

    • Photography

    • Website Development

  2. What jobs pay the most out of college?

    The jobs that pay the most out of college are nurses, financial analysts, software developers, or any type of engineer. While many jobs will eventually lead to earning a high salary, these positions pay the biggest check to recent graduates.

    The graduate must have studied the focus topic extensively to land one of these jobs. If you want a high-paying nursing job right out of college, you need a nursing degree.

    If you’re hoping to land a lucrative engineering position, you need at least one degree with an engineering focus. This is a good thing to keep in mind when choosing a college major.

  3. Is Starbucks a good job for college students?

    Yes, Starbucks is a good job for college students. There are a few reasons why Starbucks is a smart choice for students in need of employment. The company is a leader in its industry when it comes to benefits.

    Starbucks offers strong health insurance coverage, even to part-time employees, as long as they work an average of 20 hours a week. Plus, they offer 401K options and stock in Starbucks after an employee’s first year.

    All of these offerings are very tempting for a college student who likely hasn’t had many job offers with so many benefits. Not to mention that if you work at Starbucks, you’ll be supplied with all the coffee you could possibly need to get you through finals week.

    Literally – Starbucks employees get to choose one free item per week like whole coffee beans, tea, or K-cups, and they receive a 30% discount on anything else they want.

    To top it all off, Starbucks has locations everywhere. That means if you ever transfer universities or move after graduating, you’ll probably still have a stable job anywhere you land.

  4. Is an internship better than a part-time job?

    Whether an internship is better than a part-time job depends on the student, as well as what benefits the internship or part-time job will provide the student. Some students are looking to make enough money to support themselves through school, and others hope to strengthen their resumes before they graduate.

    Internships usually offer college credit or grant you opportunities to build up a career in your desired field. However, internships often pay very little money, if anything at all.

    On the other hand, a part-time job usually doesn’t have much to do with your studies in college (unless you’re very fortunate) and doesn’t offer college credit. However, you’re guaranteed to earn money with a part-time job, and it may give you the chance to broaden your horizons beyond your focus at college.

    Before you take on an internship or part-time job, it’s best to evaluate your situation and what you’re hoping to gain from this new addition to your schedule.

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Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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