The 15 Best Jobs for College Students in 2020

college students

A recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) found that 81 and 43 percent of part-time and full-time undergraduate students, respectively, were employed.

It’s no mystery why so many college students are working a job alongside their studies—college educations have never been more expensive. To offset the cost of tuition, books, and room and board, more and more college students are looking for work.

If you want to boost your grades, it’s not a bad idea to work a job either. In 2017, CNBC Make It reported that undergraduates working 20 hours or fewer scored better grades than their non-working classmates. This research was based on an earlier 2009 study from Indiana University that found the same results—students who work jobs do better in school.

As a student, you’re busy enough as is. That’s why, to make your life a little easier, we put together this handy guide to the best jobs for college students.

Dog Walker

One of the best jobs for college students is a dog walker.

Animal lovers, rejoice! If you’ve got a soft spot for four-legged friends, consider opening up your own dog walking business. Depending on your location, student dog walkers can charge between $15-30 per hour for every hour they walk. Therefore, walking multiple dogs at once can prove to be a highly lucrative gig.

Before you dive into this side job, you may want to first have experience raising and walking a dog of your own.

Responsibilities:

  • Walking one or more dogs
  • Providing transportation
  • Pet waste cleanup
  • Emergency medicine administration and vet visits

Compensation: $15-30/hour

Retail Sales Worker

Most working college students in America are employed in the retail sector as a sales associate or representative. As a sales associate, students can work flexible part-time hours during weekends or evenings. Other perks of the job include employee discounts on clothing and other items that are sold in-store.

Peak holiday months (around November and December) are the best time to apply for a retail sales position. The main downside is that working seasonally often coincides with the scheduled exam period at many schools.

Responsibilities:

  • Customer service
  • Physical store cleanup
  • Inventory recordkeeping and display
  • Upselling
  • Cash management

Compensation: State minimum wage

Warehouse Associate

As the e-commerce industry continues to surge, warehouse workers are in greater demand than ever. Warehouses are often open 24/7 to fulfill customer orders by strict deadlines, which makes them in need of workers for weekend, evening, and nighttime shift work. In other words, warehouses are the perfect flexible employment solution for college students.

Students can find warehouse work today simply by taking advantage of the premium staffing agencies that help connect workers to the shifts they need. Best of all, warehouse staffing platforms like MyWorkChoice are designed with flexibility in mind. Meaning you can get paid by working shifts you sign up for through a mobile app, and not a single shift more.

Responsibilities:

  • Inventory and quality control
  • Product packing and sorting
  • Heavy equipment operation
  • Order picking

Compensation: $10-20

At-Home Health Support Worker

An at-home health support worker with an elderly woman.

The median age in America continues to climb higher and higher, with 2018 jumping up to 38.2—an entire year older than the average the year prior. As an increasing number of retirees and seniors move into assisted living centers, a sizable segment of the older demographic will also opt to stay at home with home-based support.

Students are the ideal candidate for a home-based health aide: they’re energetic, compassionate, intelligent, and hard-working. Plus, there’s no need for formal nursing credentials to get your foot in the door. Instead, all you need is basic CPR and first aid training to get hired for this position by most recruiting agencies.

Responsibilities:

  • Administering medicine
  • Preparation of meals
  • Providing transportation
  • Assisting with basic living functions

Compensation: $15-25/hour or up to $20,000 annually (part-time)

Call Center Worker

Working in a call center ranks among the best jobs for college students because of their flexibility and 24/7 availability. These days, customers often expect customer support at all hours of the day—and they don’t want to speak to a machine or robot, either.

To meet this growing demand, call centers must be staffed around the clock. During weekends and evenings, students can work at call centers and sit back with headphones on taking calls from inquiring customers.

Responsibilities:

  • Customer support via phone
  • Instant messaging
  • Managing sensitive customer data
  • Script reading
  • Empathizing with customer complaints

Compensation: $7.25-$15.00 hourly

Coffee Shop Barista

One of the best jobs for college students is a barista.

Working at a coffee shop as a student is so common that it’s almost a stereotype. As a barista, students are expected to take customers’ orders, manage a cash register, prepare hot beverages and light fare, and clean the store.

Plus, coffee shop baristas are often tipped for their service, which can make for some extra spending money. If you don’t mind washing dishes and putting on a smile every day, working as a barista can be one of the best jobs for college students.

Responsibilities:

  • Managing cash balances
  • Preparing light food and drinks
  • Taking and fulfilling orders
  • Cleaning the storefront
  • Creating espresso-based beverages

Compensation: Minimum wage plus tips

Lifeguard

If you have a knack for public service, love getting your feet wet, and have your Red Cross lifeguard certification, you may want to consider working part-time as a lifeguard. Whether at a public beach or your local rec center swimming pool, working as a lifeguard is often a laid-back and highly rewarding career that pays well.

As a student, having your summers off can be a great opportunity to spend your days at the beach. However, if you have the right credentials, you can get paid to do it as a lifeguard. Not a bad deal, huh?

Responsibilities:

  • Monitoring swimmers
  • Watching weather conditions
  • Performing first aid and CPR
  • Opening or closing the facility

Compensation: $11.50 hourly on average

Social Media Manager/Consultant

One of the best jobs for college students is a social media manager.

As a college student, you’re probably already using social media. So, why not apply your social media and branding skills to your job by working as a social media manager or consultant. Plus, you can boost your income easily if you’re acquainted with basic search engine optimization (SEO), photo editing, and video production skills.

An increasing number of small businesses and Fortune 500 companies are now seeking out Millennials, Gen-Zs, and students to handle their social media responsibilities. If you can take a good photo and know how to accurately brand a company for their target audience, consider applying to handle their social media.

Responsibility:

  • Blog and caption writing
  • Content management and scheduling
  • Engaging with customers online
  • Taking photos and videos
  • Staying on top of social trends

Compensation: $14-18 hourly

Brand Ambassador

You don’t have to be a model or socialite to be a corporate brand ambassador. These customer-facing careers rank among the best jobs for college students because they’re flexible, fun, and well-paying positions.

Typically, brand ambassadors for sports teams, clothing or lifestyle brands seek out outgoing young students to represent their organization. If you’re extroverted and love engaging with the public in a high-energy environment (usually during weekends), this is the job for you.

Responsibilities:

  • Engaging the public
  • Building trust and rapport
  • Traveling to locations
  • Setting up booths
  • Handing out products

Compensation: $15-20+ hourly

Tour Guide

Whether you’re a theater student or a math major, being a tour guide is one of the best jobs for college students. If you live in a city with a thriving tourism industry, you can put your knowledge and people skills to the test by finding a job hosting tours. Tour guiding is one of the most rewarding student jobs, especially if you know a thing or two about local history.

There are few part time jobs for college students that generate as much money in tips as tour guiding. So, why not put your knowledge of local lore to the test and apply to work as a tour guide during weekends?

Responsibilities:

  • Researching local history
  • Public speaking
  • Walking from location to location
  • Answering questions from tourists

Compensation: $10-20 hourly plus tips

Resident Assistants (RAs)

Student leaders often gravitate toward the role of resident assistant (RAs), who live in dormitories alongside their fellow students. These high-achieving students monitor the halls during evenings and often provide programming and other activities to build a sense of community on campus.

RAs often benefit from a strong social life by living on campus and are usually compensated with free room and board. In other words, RAs get to live with their friends and get paid to do it—not a bad deal if you ask us.

Responsibilities:

  • Supervising fellow students
  • Event planning and hosting
  • Enforcing rules in dormitories
  • Helping students feel comfortable in their new home
  • Assisting with move-in procedures

Compensation: Free room and board

Personal Trainer

A personal trainer consulting his client.

You don’t have to be a kinesiology student to work as a part-time fitness instructor or personal trainer. If you have an impressive physique and want to impart your knowledge of health and fitness on others, apply to train clients at your local gym or campus fitness center.

Personal training tops our list of good jobs for college students because these jobs tend to pay well, and you can get fit while on the job. Although you may be asked to pick up a personal training certificate, it’s a worthwhile investment if you want a safe fallback career out of school.

Responsibilities:

  • Teaching exercises
  • Performing fitness audits/evaluations
  • Scheduling and booking clients
  • Providing fitness and nutrition advice

Compensation: $15-40 hourly