Careers

9 Summer Jobs That Pay Above Average

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Summer is only a few weeks away, and you may already be thinking about how to spend it. Although you may have multiple options this summer, many students are focused on getting a summer job so they can make money, gain valuable skills and explore career options.


If that's the case for you, clarify what's available based on your location, preferences and abilities. Although some areas are still offering limited opportunities in the wake of COVID-19 closures, many businesses are looking for seasonal help. Summer jobs don't all pay the same so you may want to research options before committing to one. Below, I've listed nine possibilities, and though you may be tempted to go for the highest paying one, I recommend you consider the ones you're genuinely curious about.

Tutor | SAT Prep Instructor

A great opportunity that can help you solidify knowledge, practice your communication skills and earn a decent paycheck is tutoring. Knowledge and skills in a variety of subjects, especially math and English, are in high demand. You could explore becoming a private tutor, working with kids in your neighborhood; working for a local school or college; or — if you happen to be an SAT wiz, you may secure an opportunity with a test prep firm. Depending on what's possible and available, you could make between $15 and $100 per hour so evaluate your options, online and offline, before making a choice.

Summer Camp Counselor

If you enjoy working with kids, organizing events and activities, and spending time in nature, consider positions at a summer camp. Your overall earnings will depend on your location as well as your specific duties. For example, you could have a certain base rate for overseeing daily activities, providing guidance and offering overnight support. You could then earn more if you choose to do additional specialized activities such as horseback riding, art, drama, music or swimming. You may be required to have current first aid and CPR training. To look for opportunities and create job alerts, visit the American Camp Association website. According to ZipRecruiter, the majority of camp counselors make about $10 per hour.

Landscaping | Painting

If you prefer working with your hands, doing physical labor and being outside, landscaping and painting opportunities — both in high demand during the summer — could be what you choose. Yard and landscaping work varies and could include mowing lawns, planting flowers or trees, clearing areas, or managing parks and gardens. The difficulty level of what you choose to do determines how much you could make, ranging from $15 to over $40 per hour. Another option that requires hard work is painting, and your earnings depend on the quality of your work, your ability to price a paint job, and the length of time it takes you to complete a project.

Food Service

If you are a people-person who loves fast-paced environments, working in food service could be the best summer opportunity for you. This may mean that you handle take-out orders and deliveries, or it could allow you an opportunity to showcase your cooking skills. In some cities, waiting tables is an option as restaurant dining rooms begin to open again. Choose your role and location wisely so as to ensure higher earnings in tips in addition to your base rate.

Virtual Assistant

If you want to make some money and minimize expenses and you have exceptional organizational, technical and communication skills, consider exploring remote work by becoming a virtual assistant (VA). As a VA, you provide administrative help including answering emails and calls, creating marketing campaigns or videos, managing social media posts, identifying potential clients, conducting research and paying bills. Options include working on an hourly basis or a project basis. According to PayScale, VAs can make between $10 and $28 per hour, with the average hourly rate being $15.76.

Web Designer

Do you love computers? Building websites? Coding? Then pursuing opportunities as a freelance web designer could be a great option for you. The role allows you to work from home and to enjoy a flexible schedule, and it could help you design a career beyond graduation. According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for web designers is $20, and the exact amount you make depends on the quality of your portfolio, your education and experience.

Content Editor/Writer

Another role that allows for a flexible schedule and working from home is that of a content editor or writer. An excellent grasp of grammar, strong research and writing skills, and knowledge of different editing styles are all required for success in finding opportunities. To ensure that this is a financially sound option, consider showing the quality of your work on a personal website, a blog or another platform (a school publication, perhaps?). That would allow you to pursue contract roles with individual employers instead of lowering rates to compete for gigs on one of the many freelance writing sites. Payment for such roles could be hourly, per word, or per article (which often includes a certain word limit).

Pet Care

The pet industry is thriving, and according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), in 2019, Americans spent over $95 billion on their pets, over $10 billion of which went to such services as boarding, grooming, pet sitting and walking. So if you love animals and have an animal-friendly home, you may want to check out this option. Some owners may want you to come take care of their pets in their homes while others will expect you to do so in your own home.

Taking care of someone else's pets takes hard work and dedication; it's not simply about taking a dog out for a walk. The more attention a pet requires, the higher the pay and the greater the responsibility. The national average is $15 per hour but depending on your location, the number of pets, the type of pet, the time of year, and the specific demands, you could make more. For example, an owner may pay you $30 per day per pet, but you could increase earnings by working with multiple owners during the same day, as long as you are still able to deliver quality care.

Golf Caddy

Depending on their age and years of experience, golf caddies can make between $15 and $30 an hour. Caddies could also make extra money through tips, the amount of which varies from club to club. In addition to boosting your budget, the role allows opportunities to expand your network by building meaningful connections.

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