10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students

This list of the highest paying jobs for university and college students will help you find work. I also share a few tips on how to get hired and things to remember when you’re looking for employment as a college student.

You may be tempted to start your own business or work from home, because both jobs could pay more money than a job working for someone else. It really depends on the type of self-employment you pursue. Blogging, for instance, can be a lucrative job for a student — but it takes a TON of time and energy to blog for money. I describe why blogging is the highest paying job I’ve ever had in 8 Ways I Make Crazy Money With My Blossom Blogs, but you have to remember that blogging is more than a full-time job. I don’t recommend it as one of the highest paying jobs for university and college students unless you’ve already started a blog that makes money. It’s better for students to get one of these jobs that don’t a lot of time and energy…

First, lower your expectations. You won’t be making $100 an hour in any of these jobs! Why? Because you’re a college student. At this point in your career you don’t have marketable skills, valuable experience, or academic education.

You are at the beginning of your career – which means that the “highest paying jobs” you’ll find now are much different than the jobs you’ll enjoy later on. So roll up your sleeves, and prepare to go to work.

10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students

When I researched this list of jobs for university and college students, I discovered that Starbucks was listed as one of the highest paying jobs for college students. According to that article, Starbucks pays $6 to $13 per hour. Is this a high wage?

The problem is that “high paying jobs” is a relative term. I don’t think $15 or even $20 an hour is a high paying job for college students – but I’m in my 40s, so I have a different perspective. Just know that you can’t expect to make more than $50 or even $30 an hour with any of these jobs.

1. Bartender or waitstaff at a nightclub or posh restaurant

I worked at a sports bar when I was in university, and made $450 in tips in ONE NIGHT (plus my hourly wage, which was probably $5 or $6 an hour at that time). Waitressing or bartending is without a doubt one of the highest paying jobs for college students. It’s a good job, except the hours can be long. It is physically demanding, too – and serving people who are drinking can be painful. Avoid working for a bar or nightclub on your college campus; students don’t tip much. That’s why tending bar or serving tables at an expensive restaurant is a better idea.

How do you get hired? Go to the nightclub in person, and make sure your resume is as professional as if you were applying for a job at a law firm. Talk to the bartender and waitstaff, and ask for tips on getting hired.

2. Dog walker and pet sitter

How’s this for the number two spot in my 10 highest paying jobs for college students? My dog walker charges $40 to take my dogs on a two hour walk, and she takes six or seven dogs on every walk. This can become a good source of income – as well as a great way to stay healthy and fit.

How do you get hired? Call the dog walker businesses in your area…or drum up your own clients at the nearest dog park. I know I said that college students shouldn’t start their own businesses, but it may make more sense for you to find your own clients and dogs to walk.

An even better job for college students that pays a lot of money is working as a pet sitter. When I was in university the first time, I cat and dog sat for two professors. I think they paid $100 for three nights, which wasn’t bad back then. Pet sitting can become a high paying job if you have the right clients – and especially if you can combine it with another job.

3. Tutor for other college students

If you actually understand what the professor or instructor is teaching in physics, chemistry, or math, then you can earn great money teaching your peers the formulas and equations. This is a great job for college students because it reinforces your own learning, which means you can afford to study less later.

Highest Paying Jobs for College Students

10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students Who Need Money

Is tutoring one of the highest paying jobs for college students? It depends who hires you, and how you run your tutoring business.

How do you get hired? Find ways to prove you’re an academic genius at the subject matter (such as by creating a portfolio of your A+ tests, reports, or essays). You could post signs around campus, or approach your college’s guidance center. They may hire you to help other students – but I don’t know if a college can actually be the source of the highest paying jobs in your area.

4. Editor or proofreader of college essays, theses, reports, etc.

Writing is difficult for many university and college students, especially if English isn’t their second language. This could be one of the highest paying jobs for college students if you work for the right school or company. How much you charge per hour depends on the market, the organization you work for, and your clients.

You might even be able to find editing and proofreading jobs online – but I suspect you won’t get paid much. There is too much competition, too many editors, proofreaders, and even writers willing to work for a few cents a word or a few dollars an hour. However, this could be one of the highest paying jobs for college students if you find local clients who 1) have lots of money; and 2) aren’t online. A rich retired person who wants to write his life history, for example.

Editing or proofreading is an especially attractive job for students who can work independently. Read Best Jobs for Introverts and People Who Like to Work Alone for more ideas.

5. Nanny

I’m including this on my list of the highest paying jobs for college students because my niece made $25 an hour babysitting, and had to turn down jobs. Part time nannies in wealthy areas of big cities make more than this. You might even be able to live with the family as part of your earnings, which will eliminate your rent and household bills. That’s one of the best ways to make college cheaper!

How do you get hired? You need previous experience as a nanny or childcare worker and excellent references. Then, you might approach a formal babysitting service or put your own advertisement in the local newspaper. A nanny isn’t one of the best jobs for people who like to be alone, though.

6. School bus driver

I found a list of highest paying jobs for college students that pay up to $40 an hour, but they all require some sort of training (eg, makeup artist, dance teacher, flight attendant). So they’re not really for teenage college students who’ve never worked formally – those jobs were for mature students who were going back to school for additional education.

But according to this article, school bus drivers earn $12.40 to $16.70 nationally. Pay is often higher in urban areas, such as New York City, where the hourly median wage is $29.50. How much training do you need to be a bus driver – and is it feasible for college students? It depends on your past experience and college schedule. The other thing with the list I found of of high paying jobs for college students is that it’s based on at least five years’ experience on the job. Here’s the article: 7 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Up To $40 An Hour.

7. Freelance writer

I hesitated to put this on my list of the highest paying jobs for college students, even though freelance writing can pay lots of money. For example, I regularly earned $600 to $1,000 per magazine article when I was working as a freelance writer. And, that was only at .50 cents a word. When I was freelancing full time, I earned $1 a word. If you’re a good writer, freelancing for magazines can be a great job opportunity.

How do you get hired? Learn how to pitch article ideas to magazine editors. This is time-consuming though, because freelance writers are essentially self-employed. So writing is definitely not my number one work suggestion, but you can read Freelance Writing Pay Rates – How Much Do Writers Get Paid? if you’re curious.

8. Commissioned salesperson

If you work on commission, you don’t earn an hourly wage or base salary, but, you do have the potential to earn more on sales than some employees make in a whole day or week!

High Paying Jobs for College Students

10 High Paying Jobs for College Students

The most successful salespeople work at car dealerships, electronics stores, and investment banks. Rumor has it they regularly earn up $100,000 or more per year in commission. This is why this is one of the highest paying jobs for college students.

How do you get hired? You have to know how to sell yourself before you can sell anything, my friend. Go to the car dealership, store, or investment bank in person. Take your resume. Hustle. It’ll definitely help to have sales experience or a mentor, because selling isn’t easy.

9. Dancer

Some years ago, the Canadian government passed a law banning dancers from other countries to work here. The idea was to protect immigrants from being taken advantage of in different ways. So, nightclubs recruited college and university students to dance. In fact, Tim Lambrinos of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada says almost half the dancers at some clubs are college students.

I don’t know what the hourly wage or tips are, but dancing is definitely a high paying job for college students. How do you get hired? Prepare to audition, and search the internet for more specific tips on getting hired.

10. Cleaning person

I tried cleaning houses when I was in university, but got fired after the first day. I’m not a detail person, and I’m fine with streaky windows and dusty shelves. But, it was one of the highest paying jobs when I was a student. I think it paid $15 at the time – and that was 20 years ago. How do you get hired? Call a cleaning service, find out what their requirements are.

If none of these “highest paying jobs for college students” appeals to you because you’re a mature student, read 10 Tips for Making a Career Change.

Final Tips – Getting a Job for College Students

Here are eight things to remember when you’re on a job interview:

  • Stay on point – don’t talk about other subjects
  • Talk about why you want to work for the company
  • Be genuine – you might even be honest about why you’re looking for the highest paid jobs for college students
  • Be results-oriented
  • Think about what you want the hiring manager to remember about you
  • Think about what the employer wants to hear
  • Try to look at your previous work experience you have through their perspective
  • Explain why your job experience is important to a company

One of the best ways to prepare for a job interview is to practice. It feels awkward and dumb, but roleplaying a job interview can be incredibly effective. Search for a list of job interview questions on the internet, and write out your answers before your mock interview.

Avoid long commutes to work

The closer your job is to your home or college campus, the happier you’ll be! Don’t waste your time sitting in traffic – you need that time to study, exercise, and prepare healthy meals for your body and mind. Try not to get a job that is more than an hour from your home, and find ways to be productive on that commute time.

Remember that where you live affects how much money you make

Your environment dictates your wages – which means that this list of the highest paying jobs for university or college students means something different in small town Nebraska versus Los Angeles, CA. If you live in a small college town, you won’t earn as much as if you live in New York City, Vancouver, or London. You can work at the exact same job in two different cities, and earn widely different amounts of money.

Don’t start your own business if you’re new to self-employment

One of the highest paying jobs for college students is NOT to start a business because it takes too much time and effort. As I mentioned at the outset, blogging is my small business. I went back to school for my Master of Social Work (MSW), and I had a really hard time doing both. I love blogging, and of course couldn’t stop going to classes so I could write! I know this tip contradicts some of my high paying jobs for college students (such as starting your own dog walking business), but I think it’s better to work for someone else when you’re in school.

In this blog post, I listed the best paying jobs for college students who have time to work. In my next post, I’ll share tips for college students who are too tired to study.

Have you had experience with any of the jobs on this list? Comments welcome below…


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11 thoughts on “10 Highest Paying Jobs for College Students”

  1. Bartender/waitressing and nannying seems like the only legitimate options on this list. (And I’d add bouncer to that). One of the options listed is literally just being a stripper. Pet sitting? Dog walking? Really? These are supposed to be options for college students. You cannot pay 40,000 tuition with dog walking. You will not get hired for a commissioned salesperson job, especially not one paying 100,000 a year, with no work experience. For the cleaning person, you didn’t even bother to research an average salary or pay. The only information you had was a (maybe) 15/hr salary! From 20 years ago! And you got fired after ONE day!

  2. Rats! Thanks for pointing this out, Paula….that article was on my old website, which is gone. Horrible, because that was a very popular article. I thought I’d transferred all the best articles from that website to this one, but I obviously missed that one.

    Sorry…thank you for pointing this out, though. I hope you find a high paying job that gets you through your college degree without a penny of debt!

  3. Hi Laurie,

    in the paragraph above about dog walkers,
    there’s a line that mentions,
    “At the end of that article, I link to a book about making six figures as a house or pet sitter. That’s an excellent high paying job for a college student, because it doesn’t require much extra work.”

    I looked and didn’t see that article. Could you let me know which one you meant?

  4. Hi Jane,

    Are you a college student looking for a part time writing job? Blogging can be high paying, but it takes a long time to build up readership and traffic. It’s definitely a small business – and small businesses take a lot of time!

    If writing isn’t your thing, I’d recommend one of the other part time jobs on this list. College students need to focus on their studies, not starting a new business…unless the business requires almost no time or effort.

    Just my two cents 🙂

    In peace and passion,

  5. The best high paying jobs for college students are ones that don’t trade time for money. Working a per hour job (eg, at McDonald’s) is not as lucrative or profitable as starting a blog.

    Blogging can be a great source of passive income, but it’s not easy.

  6. This is an excellent list for college students. I never took the opportunity to be a waitress or bartender when I was younger, but I wish I had. It would have been better pay than working an hourly wage. If you’re great at what you do, you can make amazing tips, especially at the higher end restaurants.

  7. I don’t think most freelance writers make $1 per word…but I know the pay rate can go higher than $2 per word! But, like with any high paying job, it takes time and experience to get there. College students may not have the time or energy to work their way up the freelance writing ladder.

  8. There’s some great job search suggestions here–and they all take some initiative and willingness to work! If someone wants a college degree bad enough, they’ll find a way to get it. A student loan is a good way to pay for college if one of these high paying jobs doesn’t work out.

  9. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    I am a freelance writer and I DEFINITELY DONT make that much money! WOW!!!!!! I need to start upcharging or get one of these high paying jobs for college students. Thank you for this list!!!