College students work hard throughout the school year to achieve good grades and to build up their abilities. So when it comes time for summer, it is time to unwind, spend some time in the sun, and refresh in preparation for the next semester. However, you don’t want to spend your whole summer lazing around. Summer break is also a phenomenal time to work and save up some money for the coming year. Unless you are working an internship in your field, the best kinds of summer jobs for college students are ones that don’t require a heavy time commitment and allow you to engage in other activities on the side, such as taking classes, exercising, reading, making art, or simply enjoying some time outdoors.
Here are 15 perfect jobs for the summer.
Do you love to spend time with kids? Then a job as a babysitter or nanny could be the perfect summer job for you. Working as a babysitter can be loads of fun, but it also requires plenty of patience and energy. Those little ones can be a handful after all. However, if you’re up for the task, your workday will consist of games, snacks, and fun activities. Sometimes you might not even feel like you are working!
- Estimated hourly wage: $10-$35
If you’re looking for a slightly more slow-paced, low-stress serving gig, consider looking for a position at a coffee shop. If you already know the difference between a French roast and Columbian, this job could be perfect for you. Be ready to rise early — many coffee shops open as early as 6 or 7 a.m.! Early shifts can have their advantages, however, as you’ll get off work with a full day in front of you. Before you apply, make sure to learn all about the different types of espresso drinks and roasts.
- Estimated hourly wage: $11-$15
Are you a voracious reader? Do you love to give out book recommendations? If so, you will be perfectly suited for a position as a bookseller. Working at a bookstore is a relatively relaxed retail job, particularly during the slow summer months, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore your store’s selection and gain tons of inspiration for your reading list. Furthermore, if you are interested in working in publishing, working at a bookstore gives you a great opportunity to gain insider knowledge into the trends and workings of the publishing industry.
- Estimated hourly wage: $8-$15
4. Contractor or construction worker
If you like waking up early, building things, and doing manual labor, look into working as a contractor or a construction worker over the summer. While employers aren’t always looking for temporary workers in these positions, they frequently need an extra hand on jobs, providing plenty of opportunities for college students on summer break with few commitments to get down to work. The pay is good for a summer job as well!
- Estimated hourly wage: $18-$22 per hour
5. Delivery driver
There is always a high demand for take-out, particularly in big cities, and someone needs to get the meals from point A to point B. That’s where delivery drivers come in. Get ready to spend your time navigating your way through your city or town. If you don’t already have a good sense of direction, you surely will by the end of the summer.
- Estimated hourly wage: $11-$17
6. Dog walker
If you live in a metropolitan area, you will find that many people are simply too busy to take proper care of their pets during the day. If you’re a dog lover, this presents a perfect opportunity to make some extra cash and spend some time hanging out with some furry friends while you’re at it. Many people hire dog walkers to make sure their dogs are getting the exercise they need. To get started, you might find employment at a dog walking and pet care business, or you could simply take matters into your own hands and start advertising your dog walking services. If you work for a dog walking service like Wag, you can expect to make between $15-20 per walk. Private dog walkers can charge their own rates, however, and may charge up to $20-30 for a 30-minute walk. Keep in mind that you’ll have to travel to each pup’s home in order to pick them up, so the pay may be a little inconsistent on an hourly basis if you’re self-employed.
- Estimated hourly wage: $15-$30
7. Freelance writer
If you have a keen ear for language, a strong sense of grammar, and love working with the written word, consider trying your hand at freelance writing. If you are an English major or an aspiring journalist, writing for online and print publications is a great way to dip your toes into the waters of professional writing and may even lead to a full-time position after graduation. With the growth of online media, opportunities abound in the field. Online job boards and websites such as Mediabistro and Freelancewriting.com list hundreds of websites and publications looking for freelance writers. You can also go straight to the source and pitch article ideas directly to the editors magazines and websites that you love to read. Also consider reaching out to local newspapers and magazines. These publications may not be able to pay much, but they often have small staffs and are constantly looking for new writers to consistently contribute. In positions like this, you can develop strong relationships with editors and begin to build a professional network. If you dedicate a full summer to writing freelance, you will come out with a strong writing portfolio, complete with a long list of writing clips. Beginner writers will often make between $50 and $75 for a short article of between 500 and 750 words. Your hourly wage will depend on how much work you can find and how quickly you can write!
- Estimated hourly wage: $15-$20 per hour
Landscaping certainly isn’t easy work. However, it can be both fun and rewarding. A job where you get to indulge in the great outdoors, landscaping allows you to work outside, get your hands dirty, and get some exercise while you’re at it. Oftentimes, the work hours are flexible and the hourly pay can vary wildly depending on the job. Landscaping is also a gig that is filled with variety. Whether you’re mowing a lawn, digging holes, or laying sod, you will rarely do the same thing two days in a row.
- Estimated hourly wage: $15-$45
There’s no better way to enjoy the summer while making some cash than to be a lifeguard. As a lifeguard, you have the opportunity to work outside, enjoying the summer sun at a pool or the beach. However, being a lifeguard carries with it a lot of responsibility as well — you’ll be responsible for keeping all the swimmers safe. As a result, in order to become a lifeguard, you will have to undergo a swim test, lifeguard training, and complete a CPR certification course.
- Estimated hourly wage: $12-$15
10. Retail sales associate
If you love clothing and have a knack for talking to strangers, consider looking for a job at a clothing store. While you will spend plenty of time on unglamorous tasks like folding clothes and working a cash register, this retail job also comes with a major perk in the form of clothing discounts. Plus, you will have ample opportunity to sharpen your people skills.
- Estimated hourly wage: $8-$15
11. Rideshare driver
With the growth of Uber, Lyft, and other rideshare companies, you no longer need to have a taxi to get work as a driver. If you have a relatively new, clean, and functional car, you can become a professional driver with only the download of an app. Being a driver for a rideshare company is a great opportunity for college students, primarily because you can set your own hours so that you work only when you want to. This gives you a unique amount of flexibility that you simply won’t find in other jobs. However, the opportunities to find riders vary pretty significantly by city and by the hour. The best pay often comes in big cities and at night, so be prepared to work nights and weekends from time to time if you wanna make the big bucks.
- Estimated hourly wage: $10-$20
Restaurant work is fast-paced, exhilarating, and can be loads of fun. Serving tables may not seem like a glamorous job, but you will be surrounded by colorful characters and rarely face a dull moment. Plus, most restaurants give their employees free meals! The pay can vary depending on where you live and what type of restaurant you are working at. In a busy restaurant in a metropolitan area, you may make upwards of $20 per hour between your hourly wage and tips. Working for tips also comes with one huge perk: you will always leave work with cash in hand.
- Estimated hourly wage: $12-$25
School may be out, but there are still plenty of students who need help with their studies. During the summer months, tutors can find work helping students prepare for the SAT and ACT, helping students who are taking summer classes, or students who are just trying to keep their minds fresh for the upcoming school year. Tutoring can also pay very well. Depending on the subject you are tutoring and the area you live in, you could command quite a high rate for your services.
- Estimated hourly wage: $17-$25
Concert venues, sports arenas, and events spaces often look for new employees to help manage attendees. Ushers are responsible for checking tickets, helping attendees find their seats, and managing the crowd. In the summer months, outdoor concert venues and events spaces open back up, creating plenty of opportunities for college students to find work as ushers. While the job itself may sound monotonous, dealing with diverse crowds is often much more interesting than it seems at first glance. The job often comes with plenty of perks as well. While you may have to work some weekends, you often also have access to free or discounted tickets to events that occur on your nights off. Even when you’re working, you get to experience shows on the job!
- Estimated hourly wage: $10-$15
Valets are drivers who are responsible for parking cars at parking garages, fancy events, and high-end restaurants. This is a job for only very capable drivers — you don’t want to accidentally wreck someone else’s car! However, if you fit the bill and are a true car lover, you will have the opportunity to get your hands behind the wheel of some very cool vehicles, and make some good tips while you’re at it!
Estimated hourly wage: $10-15
There’s a whole host of job opportunities out there for college students on summer break. Whether you’re working in a clothing store, a restaurant, or down at the local pool, take this summer as an opportunity to relax, make a little cash, and recharge for the upcoming semester.
Sam Benezra is a graduate of Ohio University with a B.A. in History from the Honors Tutorial College. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York. Sam enjoys writing on a variety of subjects, including science, music, politics, film. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, playing guitar, and writing songs.