6 Types of Part-Time Jobs for College Students

The majority of students do work at least some hours while they are in school. When picturing jobs for students, many people likely envision working in fast-food restaurants or retail establishments. These are certainly very common jobs for college students. However, they are by no means the only options.

Today, college students have a wide variety of options when it comes to finding part-time jobs. In fact, the same changing, employment trends that are having an impact outside of colleges and universities are also bringing new opportunities to students. If you’re a student who is unhappy with the part-time job options available to you, keep reading. There may be some opportunities you’ve been missing.

A student working at a food stand.

On-Campus Part-Time Jobs for College Students

The federal government offers an attractive work-study program. This is a great option for students who qualify, and who would like to work on campus. Because these jobs are part of a student’s financial aid package they do not pay federal income taxes on the money they earn up until they reach their maximum award.

Students who are not part of the work-study program may also find employment on campus. Paid jobs may be available at the student newspaper, cafeterias, bookstores, the maintenance department, even the school mailroom. Talented students may be able to work in the school’s library, computer labs, or learning centers to help other students.

Graduate students who are interested in going into a career in higher academics may wish to consider looking into an assistant-ship. Work as a TA isn’t necessarily lucrative. However, it does pay and offer relevant experience.

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Traditional Part-Time Employment

A large number of working college students opt for traditional part-time jobs. These are jobs in restaurants, bars, bookstores, grocery stores, clothing stores, big-box supercenters, warehouses, even factories. Students seek out these jobs because they often involve varying shifts that can work around a student’s schedule.

For many students working in restaurants and bars is particularly attractive. Depending on the position, there is frequently an opportunity to earn tips in addition to a paycheck. In most college towns there is no shortage of places to eat and drink.

These jobs can also be more lucrative than people think. For example, Amazon is opening up fulfillment centers all over the country where the pay is often significantly more than minimum wage. UPS has long been a part-time employer of college students and they pay quite well also.

Some students may be hesitant about pursuing these jobs. They may perceive them as not reflecting their skills, or not being relevant to their future goals. Students who think this way may want to reconsider their views.

Students with these jobs learn customer service skills and work ethic. They learn to work as part of a team and to be detail-oriented. These are highly sought after skills.

Part-Time Entrepreneurship

Many of the most lucrative businesses today were started by college students. That’s a great statistic, but the truth is, students don’t need to form empires to work for themselves and operate profitable businesses. Many start their own businesses as a means to earn money and learn about business. Many like the idea of not having a boss, and having control over their time.

This doesn’t mean that students who own their own small businesses are simply free to do what they please. Many learn the painful lesson that foregoing one boss means taking on several bosses, also known as customers. Still, there are several businesses that students can start depending on the skills that they have:

  • Housekeeping And Cleaning
  • Home Maintenance And Repair
  • Tutoring
  • Moving
  • Lawn Mowing And Landscaping
  • Babysitting
  • Planning Children’s Parties
  • Deliveries And Personal Shopping
  • House painting
  • Photography
  • Web Design
  • Computer Maintenance And Configuration

To be successful at these jobs, students must be highly motivated, and willing to take on the responsibilities of owning a business. This includes keeping track of finances, paying taxes, and marketing the business. Students who are successful will pick up valuable skills that they can apply in virtually any field.

Gig Work

Gig work or side hustles are ways for students to earn money in addition to traditional jobs, or instead of them. For some students, working gigs is an option if they are unable to find traditional employment. For others, the ability to work when they want is appealing.

One example of gig work is driving for Uber. There are also websites such as Fiverr and TaskRabbit where students can find gigs. These may include running errands, completing office tasks, or doing minor maintenance or cleaning. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is another source for online gigs such as completing surveys or performing other short term tasks.

Craigslist and other advertising sites are also popular for people looking for gig work and for those looking to hire them. Craigslist specifically has a ‘Gigs’ category in its employment ads section. These jobs usually last one or two days, sometimes less. The work varies and might include:

  • Event Tear Down And Set Up
  • Bartending For Wedding Receptions And Parties
  • Parking Lot Attendant or Concessions For Sporting Events And Concerts
  • Moving Help
  • Translation Work
  • Assembling or Disassembling Furniture or Other Objects
  • Minor Car Repair
  • Clearing Lots
  • Driving
  • Freelance Writing
  • Modeling or Acting
  • Day Labor

The pay for these jobs can vary greatly. However, the pay is often in the form of cash, and sometimes tips depending on the type of work. In many cases, gig work is more lucrative than traditional employment. People seeking this kind of help are often in a bind. They need help quickly and are willing to pay a premium to get it.

On the other hand, when compared to other types of part-time employment, the risk of being scammed or ripped off is higher. Students pursuing these jobs should do as much research as possible into the person or company hiring them. It’s also a wise idea to get details about payment upfront.

Paid Internships

Not long ago, the vast majority of internships were unpaid. Today, more and more companies are opting to pay their interns. This may be to ensure that they stay within the bounds of the Department of Labor regulations. In any case, many students can now enjoy the benefits of an internship while earning a bit of money as well.

Students who intern can pick up valuable skills and experience related to their field of choice. They can also make important connections with employers, future coworkers, and others. These are invaluable during the post-graduation job search.

There are some myths involving internships that may impact the student’s expectations about their internship as well as the process of finding an internship. Here are just a few of them.

  • Myth: Only Graduate Students And Seniors Qualify For Internships
  • Truth: Many Companies Welcome Interns at All Grade Levels
  • Myth: Internships Are Only Available During The Summer
  • Truth: Internships Are Available Year-Round
  • Myth: Internships Are Always Short Term
  • Truth: Some Firms Offer Long Term Internships That Lead Into Training Programs
  • Myth: Getting an Internship Virtually Guarantees a Job
  • Truth: An Internship is Helpful But No Guarantee of Being Hired On

Students interested in paid internships should check with their advisor, on job boards, or consider simply reaching out to companies they are interested in working with.

Summer Employment

Summer employment may not technically be its own type of employment. It’s still worth mentioning. Many students are unable or unwilling to work during the school year. They may have intense class schedules that don’t leave time for work. They may also attend schools in places where jobs just aren’t readily available. For them, summer employment is a viable option.

Frequently, the summer season also brings more job opportunities. Here are just a few places where summer jobs are very common:

  • Local Parks Departments: Maintenance And Clean up, Concessions, Umpiring
  • Amusement Parks Museums And Zoos: Various Temporary Positions
  • Movie Theaters: Concessions, Ushers, Ticket Sales
  • Summer Camps: Counselors, Maintenance Workers, Office Help
  • Construction Companies: Temporary Labor, Canvassing, Office Work
  • Landscaping Companies: Mowing, Planting, Installing

If you live in an area where tourism is high during the summer, many traditional employers such as restaurants, hotels, and retail shops have additional opportunities as well.


While the job market may not be healthy everywhere, college students have more options when it comes to finding part-time jobs that work for them. If you’ve been struggling to find a job, one of the options outlined above may open you up to an opportunity you had not yet considered.

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