Between our classes, extracurricular activities and social lives, the prospect of finding a high-paying job during the school year can feel out of reach, but whether we’re paying for school ourselves or we just need some extra cash, those minimum wage jobs around campus just aren’t cutting it. Turns out, finding a job that’ll earn you big bucks is possible! Her Campus has compiled a list of the top ten highest paying jobs for college students that will not only earn you the dough, but also give you killer work experience that will prepare you for real jobs post-graduation!
Tutoring elementary, middle and high school students is a great way to earn money, especially in college towns with local school systems or nearby independent schools. English, math, SAT prep, or all three – you pick! It’s a great way to use your areas of interest to help teach others, and you’ll gain lots of experience in working one-on-one with kids and professional clients. You can even set your own hours! Check local listings to see if schools in the area or individuals are looking for tutors. Some schools might even have tutoring programs, so once you’ve chosen the field you want to tutor in, ask the department head or a professor about those tutoring opportunities. “[A tutoring program at Harvard] provided me with the curriculum and all of the materials – I just had to find students and a place to teach,” shares Her Campus co-founder and Harvard ’10 grad Windsor Hanger. “I think I wound up averaging around $30 an hour – not bad when you’re working 20 hours a week!” If you’re unable to tutor off campus, apply for a job at your school’s writing center, where you’ll help edit your peers’ papers. Rates may range depending on whether or not you’re certified in the field or how experienced you are.
2. Computer Technician
If you’re good with applications, software and hardware, and the word “troubleshoot” excites you, working as a computer technician is the perfect job for you. It definitely requires a working knowledge of computer technology, but the pay is usually high and the hours are flexible. “I worked as a Special Projects Assistant in the office of the Harvard University CIO,” shares Her Campus co-founder Annie Wang. “I was responsible for updating some University websites and databases and putting together reports for various academic computing initiatives at the University. I found the job on a campus jobs board at Harvard, and was paid $19 an hour (an amazing salary, since the job required a technical background) for about 10 hours of work per week.” Check with your school’s computer lab or on-campus tech support for available positions; you can even ask your school’s IT director if they have any openings for student assistants.
3. Fitness Trainer
If you’re certified as a personal trainer, this job is a great way to help others stay healthy and it gives you a good workout at the same time! Certification can be done by yourself on your own time and can take up to 6 months through an online program. Once you are certified, apply for a position at your school’s sports or student center to be a peer trainer, or talk to any local gyms. Many colleges may also offer positions as fitness class teachers!
4. Bank Teller
If you’re considering a career in banking, don’t wait until you’ve graduated to get a jumpstart on your future — you can begin working as a bank teller as soon as you turn 18. The job pays well and looks great on your résumé, especially if you’re going into a business, economics or finance-related career. The only downside is the inconvenience with hours, which are during the day when you may be in class. Many colleges have an on-campus credit union, and almost all college towns have a nearby bank; stop by and ask if they’re hiring.
5. Professor’s or Administrative Assistant
As students, we have constant access to department heads, deans, and professors that are almost always looking for help with organizational and administrative tasks, or even teaching positions. Check your school’s career center, or try approaching a professor you’re close to about possible job opportunities. Not only will you be able to establish a great connection with the professor, you’ll get lots of experience working for someone in either your field of interest, or an area that could help you in your post-grad endeavors. Gina, a senior at Emory University, was one of three undergraduate TA’s for her professor in political science, and not only did she get paid for her work, she says the position enriched her knowledge in the field. “You always learn better when you teach something,” she says, explaining that though she had taken the class before, teaching the material helped her understand it more than she had previously.
6. Hospital Research Assistant
If you’re interested in clinical research, look at your school’s employment website online or talk directly to someone at your school’s hospital for job opportunities. This looks great on your résumé, as you’ll gain experience ranging from organizing data to screening patients for clinical trials on different drugs. Janice, a junior at Johns Hopkins University shares, “I submitted an application through [my school’s student employment] website, and received a phone call from the doctor, who brought me in for an interview and later offered me the position. I worked about 8 hours a week, and earned $12 an hour. My experience was variable — there were days during which I would spend hours tabulating data from bioequivalence reviews of generic ant-epilepsy drugs, or screening patients for a clinical trial on anti-epileptic drugs and suicidality. As a whole, however, it was a great introduction to clinical research and rewarding to know that this kind of work greatly contributes to the process by which generic drugs are approved.” Rates may vary depending on the level of work you are doing.
7. Lab Assistant
If you’re looking to go into science, working in a lab is an amazing addition to your résumé. As a lab assistant, you’ll gain experiences that will definitely give you a leg up when it comes to finding a post-college job or applying to grad school. Sara, a sophomore at Wellesley College, says, “the best part of the job is the experience I’m getting. I think that the job could give me a leg up in applying for grad school – and that’s worth way more than what I’m getting paid!” Check your school’s employment listings and ask your professors if they have job openings. It’s important to speak with them in person; they need to see that you’re responsible and easy to work with in the lab!
If you love kids and are good with parents, this job is a no-brainer. The hours are flexible, and you can set your own rate. Collegiette™ Alex shares, “I’ve worked making 10 to 15 dollars an hour and it can be as simple as feeding the kids, putting them to sleep, then sitting on the couch for hours until the parents come home!” Advertise in a local newspaper, or talk to professors who have children. Alice, a senior at Emory, says that many of her professors have contacted her about babysitting, so if you let them know that you’re available, chances are they’ll ask you before they look elsewhere.
9. Waitress or Bartender
If you love working with other people (or, like me, you just love food), waitressing is the perfect job for you. Being on your feet for a few hours is tough, but building rapport with customers and working in a fast-paced environment gives you great experience for all of your post-college jobs. Stop by a local restaurant and ask if they’re hiring; it’s important that they see your face and your great personality, so you’re not just an applicant on paper! Bartending is also another great option for college students. You earn tips, and the night hours are great for the busy collegiette™ lifestyle! However, you’ll need to get your bartending license first, so look online for bartending schools near you. Your hourly wage may vary depending on what position you are within the restaurant business, but on top of that you’ll likely earn tips — lots of them.
10. Freelance Writer
You’re already writing so much in college — and now you can get paid for it, too. Many local newspapers pay for freelance work, so check for openings on the paper’s website, or look for local and online work on resource websites such as Journalism Jobs, which features extensive job listings from all over the world, including remote work. Joe Emanski of Community News Service in Princeton, New Jersey comments, “[Princeton] University actually has a club for aspiring journalists, so we have this relationship with them where we take some of their best writers! What’s really important for us is that we see samples of your writing before we hire you.” He continues, “[The job] ends up paying pretty well too… about $35 a story.” How much you are paid varies from publication to publication: some pay you by the word, some pay by the story and those that are based online may pay by how many views your article garners.
Check your school’s employment opportunities website and career center, and start preparing those job applications, collegiettes™!
Joe Emanski, Managing Editor, Community News Service LLC
Collegiettes™ across the country