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The 20 Best Summer Jobs for College Students in 2024

Navigating college life can be a whirlwind of assignments, internships, and the looming specter of rising tuition costs. Amidst it all, the age-old advice often rings true: “Get a part-time job and dip your toes into the working world.” But here’s the kicker—it’s not always that simple.

Unfortunately, the job market isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. In recent years, job scams have been on the rise, leaving approximately 14 million individuals out of pocket to the tune of $2 billion. And during the pandemic, the situation only exacerbated, with 32 percent of individuals reporting that they were never compensated for their work. College students, eager to gain experience and earn some extra money, aren’t immune to these scams either.

Moreover, even legitimate part-time jobs may not always be the best fit for students. Sure, the paycheck might be tempting, but inflexible schedules can wreak havoc during exam season. Plus, some roles offer little in the way of skill-building or networking opportunities for future careers.

So, what’s a college student to do? In this post, we’re diving into the world of summer jobs—specifically, the best gigs for students looking to earn some cash and gain valuable experience without falling victim to scams or sacrificing their academic pursuits. Hint: it’s not all about slinging burgers or serving tables. Let’s explore some alternative options that strike the perfect balance between earning potential and professional experience and growth.

If you’re looking for a great summer job that you can even do during the school year, check out these 20 jobs listed below.

The 20 Best Summer Jobs for College Students

1. Lifeguard

Do you have your lifeguard qualifications? If so, do not hesitate to apply to a lifeguard job. Although the job may seem silly as you’re watching over a pool deck, you will learn communication and problem-solving skills.

Often there is a community pool, country clubs, water parks, and even summer camps who are in need of a responsible lifeguard during the summer break. You may also be able to get a job as a swim instructor on the side.

These skills will help you during group assignments in college, or projects in the postgrad world. Furthermore, you will learn how to think quickly and thoroughly in emergency situations. Are you up for the challenge? 

The 20 Best Summer Jobs for College Students

2. Day Care Worker or Camp Counselor or Nanny Jobs

Many people may say that being a camp counselor is tiring: You have to oversee dozens of children, plan activities beforehand, scream out the guidelines of the camp, and constantly play games with everyone.

It may not be everyone’s idea of a summer vacation, but if you don’t mind an early morning during the summer months, it can be a great opportunity to work at camp. Plus, if you are looking for outdoor jobs, working at a cap is a great option.

Sure, camp experience is exhausting but it will be valuable in the future, especially when you’re planning to become a teacher.

You’ll be able to deal with children of various backgrounds, learn to cope with mismanaged behaviors, and work with a team of determined individuals, and develop leadership skills. It may be a seasonal job that matches up with the school year and summer break, but if you build a good reputation with the companies, you could be hired back year after year.

Being a nanny is also one of the most popular summer jobs for college students and is a great way make good money year after year!

best summer jobs for college students

3. Dance Instructor

Have you ever taken dance lessons as a child? Whether you have taken them at a community center or a studio, you can definitely put those skills into use. This would be great to pursue as a summer internship program!

If you enjoyed your dance lessons and want to give back, you can apply to teach dance at your local studio or municipal center. Some studios may require you to do an in-person demo or workshop, so be prepared for that during the interview process. 

4. Fitness Instructor

If you’ve been on social media, you probably know how much hype there is over gym culture.

A lot of people are going to the gym these days, especially college students and young people, and if you’re one of those enthusiasts, you can easily obtain certification to become a fitness instructor. It is costly but you’ll feel the payback in no time! 

best summer jobs for college students

5. In-Person Tutoring and/or Online Tutors

You may ask, “What if dance, fitness, and art is not for me?” Well, fear not – you can also become a tutor as well. If you enjoyed a particular subject in school or love the program you choose, you can put that knowledge into use by becoming a tutor.

Some companies only hire tutors with a degree, but that does not mean that you cannot freelance and set up your own business. You can help kids of all ages, which can feel rewarding. See which companies are willing to take you on, check with your local high school, and always put your best effort in each session. Students will leave your class with a smile!

college student tutoring a young kid

6. On-Campus Jobs 

If none of the options work, you can also look for an on-campus job – colleges and universities hire plenty of students.

In order to do this, you will need to look through your institution’s portal, to see which positions they have available, and look through your school’s student association job portal as well. There may be options for a full-time summer job where you can live on campus, too.

Both of these organizations will have positions available all the time, especially if they are in need of staff. What’s more, they’ll look great on the resume and you’ll be able to meet like-minded peers in the community.

7. Hotel Front Desk 

Are you looking to step your feet into the hospitality industry? Your first stepping stone can be a job at a hotel, managing the front desk and doing some paperwork.

Sure, it’s not a glamorous job but you’ll learn organizational and communication skills, which will help you in your academic career. Keep in mind that your company may require you to take some overnight shifts as well, so always prepare your schedule beforehand. 

research assistant job

8. Research Assistant 

If you’re in your third or fourth year of college, and you are passionate about a specific topic or situation, you can contact your professor and become a research assistant. These positions may also be available on your college’s job portal, as long as you keep an eye out.

If you’re looking to get into grad school or obtain further education, a research assistant position will be vital on your resume. Furthermore, you’ll also get great references and that’s always a bonus. 

9. Receptionist 

Similar to the front desk position at the hotel, you may want to look for a receptionist position in a company in the field that you want to get into. You’ll not only be able to flex your communication or organizational skills, but network with professionals in the field that you aspire to be in. This will give you an advantage in the job-search process. 

10. Social Media Freelancer or Influencer or Coordinator 

Working in social media is an excellent summer job for college students due to its flexibility, relevance to modern communication, and potential for skill development. Students can work remotely, allowing them to balance work with internships, classes, or other summer activities.

The role provides valuable experience in content creation, community management, and digital marketing—skills highly sought after in today’s job market. Additionally, students can leverage their familiarity with social media platforms to excel in the role, making it a seamless transition from personal to professional use. Overall, working in social media offers students a chance to gain practical experience while enhancing their digital skillset.

best summer jobs for college students

11. Photographer

Are you a gear-head and do you love creating art with technology? If so, you can definitely master photography.

Once you are familiar with your camera and your style of photography, you can apply for photographer-related positions for small e-commerce companies. Then you’ll be able to create your own portfolio and work with more agencies. 

12. Data Entry 

This one definitely sounds like the less-glamorous option compared to the others. But, there are plenty of positions for the job role.

Data-entry is perfect for the individual who has godly typing abilities as well as is detail-oriented. And it also may give you a head-start, if you’re looking for further positions in the company. You can find plenty of data entry jobs in the US on career websites, so it’s clear that this role is in high demand.

college student summer jobs

13. Retail Associate

Working in retail can provide college students with a plethora of transferrable skills that are valuable in both academic and professional settings.

From customer service and communication to problem-solving and teamwork, retail roles offer opportunities to hone essential skills that are applicable across various industries. Dealing with diverse customers and navigating fast-paced environments can enhance adaptability and resilience, while handling transactions and managing inventory fosters attention to detail and organizational skills.

Additionally, resolving conflicts and addressing customer concerns cultivates empathy and conflict resolution abilities, essential for effective interpersonal relationships. The experience gained from working in retail can greatly contribute to a student’s personal and professional development, equipping them with valuable skills that extend far beyond the sales floor.

14. Usher 

Are you a fan of live entertainment, music or theatre? If so, you can apply to be an usher at the local cinema or the film festival.

These positions are definitely hard to come by, so you may need to spice up your resume or contact the employer before applying to the job. Having customer service skills is helpful, too. You’ll not only be able to watch free shows, but provide an excellent experience as well. A great option for summer work!

college student bookkeeping

15. Bookkeeping Assistant 

Are you studying accounting in university? If so, you can apply to become a bookkeeping assistant as there are tons of positions during tax season.

The average pay is minimal but you’ll be able to learn new skills, interact with potential clients, and write a related-experience down on your resume. 

16. Dog Walker

Being a dog walker is an excellent summer job for college students for several reasons. First and foremost, it offers flexibility. As a college student, schedules can be unpredictable with classes, exams, and extracurricular activities, but being a dog walker allows you to set your own hours. Whether you prefer early morning walks, midday strolls, or evening outings, you can tailor your schedule to fit around any other commitments.

17. Gymnastics Instructor 

Are you a fan of gymnastics and want to be part of the industry? Fear not, you can easily obtain a gymnastics coaching certification and work for your local gymnastics club. Be mindful that it is costly and you may need to save up a bit before investing in your first class. 

18. Campus Tour Guide

Becoming a campus tour guide is a fantastic summer job for college students for numerous reasons. Firstly, it offers an opportunity to showcase their school pride and share their enthusiasm for their alma mater with prospective students and their families. By leading campus tours, students can impart valuable insights into campus life, academic programs, extracurricular activities, and student support services, helping prospective students make informed decisions about their college choices.

Moreover, being a campus tour guide provides valuable public speaking and communication skills. Delivering engaging and informative tours requires confidence, clarity, and effective storytelling—all of which are essential skills that can benefit students in their academic and professional pursuits.

19. Security Guard 

Are you looking to work as a police officer or even in law enforcement? If so, your first step can be by becoming a security guard. You’ll learn communication, conflict resolution and problem-solving skills, which will help you in the industry. However, this job may require you to work odd hours, so be aware and plan accordingly. 

20. Ride-Share Driver

Being a ride-share driver is an ideal summer job for college students for several reasons. Firstly, it offers flexibility in scheduling, allowing students to work around their class schedule, exams, and other commitments. This flexibility enables students to earn money on their own terms, whether they prefer to work during peak hours or during their downtime.

Additionally, being a ride-share driver provides an opportunity for students to earn a steady income without the need for a traditional 9-to-5 job. With the ability to set their own hours and work as much or as little as they choose, students can tailor their driving schedule to suit their financial needs and personal preferences.

Why Should You Consider Getting a Summer Job as a College Student

You might be wondering if getting a summer job is even worth it as a college student and the answer in general is yes! Not only will you make some money in your free time (hopefully more than minimum wage — which will be great for your bank account and paying off student loans!) but you’ll develop a useful skill set for future employers. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider getting a summer job:

  1. Gain practical work experience: Summer jobs provide an opportunity to apply classroom knowledge in real-world settings, helping students develop practical skills relevant to their field of study.
  2. Build professional networks: Working over the summer allows students to connect with professionals in their industry, potentially opening doors to future internships or job opportunities.
  3. Earn money for expenses: Summer jobs offer a way for students to earn income to cover tuition, textbooks, rent, and other living expenses during the academic year.
  4. Develop soft skills: Beyond technical skills, summer jobs help students develop essential soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and time management.
  5. Explore career interests: Trying out different summer job roles allows students to explore potential career paths and gain insights into industries they may be interested in pursuing after graduation.
  6. Enhance resume and LinkedIn profile: Adding summer job experience to a resume or LinkedIn profile demonstrates initiative, work ethic, and a willingness to gain practical experience outside of academic studies.
  7. Learn financial responsibility: Managing income from a summer job teaches students valuable lessons about budgeting, saving, and financial planning for the future.
  8. Improve time management skills: Balancing work responsibilities with personal and academic commitments during the summer helps students hone their time management skills, which are essential for success in college and beyond.
  9. Boost confidence and self-esteem: Successfully completing tasks and meeting job expectations during a summer job can boost students’ confidence and self-esteem, providing a sense of accomplishment and validation.
  10. Stay productive and engaged: Rather than idling away the summer months, engaging in a summer job keeps students productive and engaged, preventing academic skills from becoming rusty and maintaining a sense of purpose during the break.

In an ideal world, good college summer jobs will offer your a little bit more than just a paycheck. They’ll give you valuable experience, even if they are just part-time work. Real-world experience is valuable for young adults and looks great on your resume as well.

The Best Summer Jobs for College Students

Summing Up What We Discussed

As you navigate the job market for these a summer job, it’s natural to feel intimidated, especially when some roles require prior experience. However, don’t let that deter you.

By networking within your community and establishing connections, you’ll increase your chances of securing one of these coveted opportunities. And remember, the list doesn’t end here—there are countless other options out there waiting for you to explore and conquer. For instance, for animal enthusiasts and budding entrepreneurs, venturing into dog walking or pet sitting offers flexibility, autonomy, and the chance to build your own business.

Throughout your job search journey, maintain a professional demeanor and conduct thorough research to steer clear of potential scams. With determination, preparation, and a proactive approach, you’ll be well-equipped to seize the summer job of your dreams.

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About the Author


Candice is currently attending school for social service work. One of her passions is helping others through my writing. In her downtime, you'll find her listening to music, watching random YouTube videos, and writing about career goals and resumes. She hopes to start freelancing for writing and obtain a leadership position in a public services sector.