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15 Good Summer Jobs for College Students

15 Good Summer Jobs for College Students
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated September 2, 2022
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Summer is a great time for college students to get a job that can help them pay for school. The break from classes, homework, and exams provides them with the flexibility to work as many hours as they want to. Besides the earnings, a summer job also looks good on a student’s resume. And since employers in the retail, hospitality, and tourism industries typically need extra help during the summer, the opportunities are out there. So which jobs make the most sense for college students? And what kind of money could they earn? Read on to learn about the best summer jobs for college students.

State of the Job Market for College Students

The job market is strong for college students this summer. At the beginning of the summer, the U.S. unemployment rate was low, at just 3.6%. With fewer people looking for work, college students seeking jobs may have more positions to choose from. In addition, there was job growth in categories that benefit summer workers, such as leisure and hospitality. For students who just graduated from college, the news is also good. There was growth in the professional and business services fields, as well as health care. Recommended: 23 of the Best-Paying Jobs for College Students

Jobs That College Students Can Get 

There are a variety of summer jobs for college students that can help them save up to pay off their student loans. Not sure where to start looking? Here are some of the best summer jobs for college students, plus the average hourly pay rate for each.

1. Waiting Tables

Restaurants are often looking for extra servers during the busy summer months, and waiting tables can help you earn good money in tips, especially if you’re personable. Plus you’ll gain customer service experience and learn how to juggle multiple responsibilities. If possible, apply at restaurants in hotels and those near a beach or other summer attractions, where there are likely to be plenty of job openings. The pay: $7.37 an hour plus tips

2. Landscaping

Homeowners often outsource their yard work in the hot summer months. Check around your neighborhood for opportunities. You may also be able to get a job with a landscaping company. You’ll do things like mow lawns, prune bushes, and weed gardens. The work can be physically demanding, but you get to be outside. The pay: $14.71 an hour

3. Dog Walking

When it comes to fun summer jobs for college students, dog walking is right up there. And if you love pooches, this could be the perfect gig for you. You’ll spend time playing with and exercising them—and as a bonus, you get exercise, too. You may be able to find dog-walking jobs in your neighborhood, or you can sign up with one of the dog-walking apps. Experience working with canines is helpful since you may be dealing with dogs of all types and sizes. The pay: 15.16 an hour

4. Lifeguarding

As a lifeguard, you’ll be responsible for the safety of swimmers, which typically requires training and certification. But if you like to swim and spend time by the water, this could be one of the good summer jobs for college students you’ll want to look into. Apply for lifeguard positions at your local pool or beach. The pay: $10.56 an hour

5. Camp Counselor

If you’re good with kids, camp counselor can be a fun and rewarding job. In addition to making sure the kids are safe and enjoying themselves, you’ll direct activities and games, which can let you indulge your own inner child. Search for openings at summer camps and local day camps.The pay: $10.90 an hour

6. Receptionist

This role provides a good opportunity to work in an office. You’ll answer phones and greet customers, among other duties. You can apply at local businesses or look for summer receptionist positions on a job search website. You may also want to consider working for a temp agency that can place you in receptionist roles. The pay: $13.88 an hour

7. Roofing

If you’re handy, this can be one of the high-paying jobs for college students that’s well suited to you. Construction work tends to pick up over the summer, and there is often demand for temporary workers to do jobs like roofing. As a bonus, you’ll hone skills that will be useful when you have your own house someday.The pay: $18.22 an hour

8. Retail

Students can take advantage of the back to school rush and work at one of the many retailers who are looking for seasonal help. You’ll learn how to make sales and handle purchase transactions, and you’ll gain customer service skills. The pay: $11.98 an hour

9. Delivery Driver

A flexible job for a college student with a car, working as a driver for a food delivery app or service lets you work whenever you want to. Plus, you have the opportunity to earn tips. Being a delivery driver could even make a good side hustle to help you earn extra money when you start your first job after college.The pay: $15.86 an hour

10. Barista

Working as a coffee store barista can pay off in more ways than one. You’ll get to interact with lots of people, gain experience working in a fast-paced environment, and learn how to make fancy coffee drinks—a skill that can come in handy back at school. Apply for a job at a local coffee shop or one of the many chains that serve the hearty brew.  The pay: $11.27 an hour

11. Tutor

School may be out for the summer, but plenty of parents take advantage of this time to help their kids catch up on subjects they’re struggling with. Look for local in-person tutoring opportunities, or use your computer to find jobs instead. Tutoring is a great online job for college students. Enterprising students can also sell off their college textbooks to make some extra cash.The pay: $18.31 an hour

12. Swim Instructor

Have strong swimming skills? College students who are former competitive swimmers or trained swim coaches can find plenty of summer work teaching kids how to swim and be safe in the water. Just note that you’ll likely need to have swim instructor certification.The pay: $13.30 an hour

13. House-Sitting/Pet-Sitting

Summer is such a busy travel season that plenty of people need someone to watch their pet or their home—or both. Offering your house- or pet-sitting services is an easy way to make some extra money, and it’s an ideal job for a college student  who wants to be self-employed. You can find these jobs online through house-sitting and petting-sitting websites. Or ask around your neighborhood.The pay: $12.15 to $12.82 an hour

14. Nanny/Babysitter

Working as a nanny or a babysitter means providing childcare and taking children to their activities, like sports practice. You might also make meals for them and supervise their games and play. The job can be flexible—you might work part of the day, or all day, depending on the family’s needs. You can find job opportunities online, or put the word out in your town.The pay: $15.56 an hour

15. Housekeeper

Being a housekeeper can be physically demanding work, but there are plenty of employment opportunities. Students can choose to work with a cleaning service, or they can do private house cleaning jobs and charge what they feel their work is worth. The pay: $11.92 an hour (it can be more if you do private house-cleaning work)

Should You Put Your Summer Job on Your Resume?

In a word, yes. Putting a summer job on your resume telegraphs the fact that you  have a strong worth ethic, and it highlights your skills and experiences. Plus things you learn in many summer jobs, such as customer service and dealing with a fast-paced workplace, can translate to a number of different careers. And if the job is relevant to the field you plan to go into after college, even better. 

The Takeaway

Summer jobs are good opportunities for college students to gain solid work experience, start to build their resume, and save money to help pay for their education or living expenses during the school year. Students can even start small businesses over the summer, such as working as landscapers, or doing house- or pet-sitting. A summer job can also help them get ahead on paying off their student loans, which can give them a financial leg up once they graduate.   

3 Student Loan Tips

  1. Refinancing your student loan can lower your monthly payments and help you adjust your loan term. Compare student loan refinancing rates to find a loan that works for you.
  2. Paying extra each month on your student loan can reduce the interest you pay and so lower your total loan cost over time. (The law prohibits prepayment penalties on federal or private student loans.)
  3. If you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in a low-income school, you may be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best summer job for college students?
What are the pros and cons of a college student getting a summer job?
What are some easy summer jobs for college students?
Photo credit: iStock/SDI Productions

About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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