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16 Best Part-Time Jobs That Pay Well

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My first jobs were not high-paying jobs. Not by a long shot. I earned a couple of quarters above minimum wage as a part-time usher at a small movie house. Then, I was a cashier at the supermarket across the street, earning $2 above minimum wage.

I still think fondly of my time at the supermarket. It taught me that not all part-time jobs are thankless, tedious affairs made worse by pitiful pay. Subsequent workplace experiences solidified this conviction. For instance, I now know what it’s like to take a job you love for less money.

And I’ve discovered plenty of part-time jobs — some of which require no specialized educational credentials and little relevant experience — that pay far better than my supermarket gig did.

Best Part-Time Jobs That Pay Well

These are among the top part-time jobs that offer decent hourly pay. Not included are gig economy job opportunities through app-based service providers like DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart — opportunities that may offer competitive pay, though usually without the legal protections of employment.

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Unless otherwise noted, wage and job growth data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook.

1. Real Estate Agent

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, but some brokerages prefer two-year degrees; state licensing is required
  • Training Requirements: Brokers may offer informal training or mentorship, but many real estate agents are self-taught
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $23.45
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 21,800 new positions (4% job growth)

If you have a high school diploma, a big personality, and a relentless work ethic, there’s a good chance you can make it as a real estate agent. Even if you only sell houses as a side gig, which most brokerages are happy to oblige. Flexibility is the name of the game.

Real estate agents don’t need real estate broker licenses, which typically take one to three years to obtain. State-issued agent licenses are easier and quicker to get, though requirements vary by jurisdiction. You may need to pass a background check to get a seat at a real estate brokerage.

Bear in mind that only real estate brokers may own and operate real estate brokerages and hire real estate agents. In other words, operate and grow a real estate sales business. Even after becoming licensed, agents must work under licensed brokers who may, in turn, operate out of franchised brokerages such as Re/Max or Coldwell Banker. Brokers take a cut of agents’ commissions, reducing take-home pay but not drastically.

2. Fitness Instructor

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, but postsecondary training in a fitness-related field can improve job prospects
  • Training Requirements: Self-employed instructors might not need any formal training, but many gyms offer short on-the-job training
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $19.57
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 121,700 new positions (39% job growth)

Fitness instructors typically work out of private or public recreation centers, private gyms and health clubs, and practice-specific facilities, such as yoga and spin cycle studios. Some focus exclusively on one-on-one or small-group training; others lead larger groups.

Direct-employed fitness instructors usually have the option — and may be required — to work part-time, depending on class schedules and client volumes. Self-employed fitness instructors string together multiple contract arrangements — leading an early-morning yoga class at one gym, then heading to another facility for a mid-morning Pilates session, for instance. Some basically work full-time jobs in the process.

Other instructors supplement or replace traditional in-person training with remote instruction built around dedicated YouTube channels and anchored by distinct personal branding. Selling subscriptions to your personal fitness training channel is a great passive income opportunity. And while not as passive, you could further boost your earning potential — and personal brand — by partnering with major fitness brands like Peloton.

3. Dental Hygienist

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: Associate’s degree and a state license
  • Training Requirements: Beyond licensing, many employers offer orientation and procedural training
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $37.41
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 23,100 new positions (11% job growth)

If you’re a regular at the dentist, you’re already familiar with dental hygienists’ duties. They include:

  • Using specialized tools to clean teeth, which requires good hand-eye coordination
  • Preparing patients for dental X-rays and operating X-ray equipment
  • Educating patients about oral hygiene
  • Communicating with dentists as needed

Many hygienists work part-time by choice, balancing family obligations or other income streams with the dentist’s chair. If you’re not planning to work full time as a hygienist, you might wonder whether getting an associate’s degree in this field is worth the expense and time commitment, but the high hourly earning rate may prove irresistible.

Plus, hygienists work in predictable office environments during regular business hours. That’s an appealing prospect for busy people.

4. Tutor

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: Most tutors have two- or four-year degrees or some postsecondary coursework
  • Training Requirements: Self-employed tutors may not need formal training; some tutoring companies have internal on-the-job training programs
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $14.72
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): Not available

Tutoring is an extremely flexible job that’s ideal for subject matter experts seeking part-time or seasonal work. It’s a popular off-season pursuit for full-time teachers as well. I’m friends with a math teacher who spends most of his summer break as a math tutor, pulling down a pretty impressive side income in the process.

You don’t have to be a licensed teacher to find success as a tutor, though. All you need is some sort of credential — ideally, a two- or four-year college degree — in your chosen subject. Many tutors are college students working toward said degrees.

Lots of tutors are self-employed, with flexible hours. But you’ll have an easier time finding clients and spend less energy managing your business when you work through a reputable company like EF Education First or VIPKid.

5. School Bus Driver

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; commercial driver’s license required
  • Training Requirements: On-the-job training, typically several weeks
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $18.05
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 215,300 new positions (25% job growth)

Growing up, you probably had a favorite school bus driver. I remember mine, a jovial older guy with jokes and stories galore. He seemed impossibly old at the time, but I’m pretty sure he was a recent retiree trying to stave off boredom.

If you’re willing to sit for your state’s commercial driver’s license exam and endure a couple of months of on-the-job training to learn routes and safety requirements, you too can become some kid’s favorite school bus driver.

Depending on class schedules, passenger volumes, and personal preference, school bus drivers generally work early mornings and mid- to late afternoons. There’s a great deal of part-time potential here, though scheduling may be strict and drivers may be subject to minimum hours-worked requirements. But the hourly pay is pretty good, and many drivers belong to labor unions, which offer job and wage security.

6. Phlebotomist

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: Postsecondary certification
  • Training Requirements: Training typically occurs during certification, although many employers have orientation programs
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $17.97
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 28,800 new positions (22% job growth)

Phlebotomists collect and manage blood samples, which is why they’re sometimes — uncharitably — called “vampires.”

But part-time phlebotomists have the last laugh. Most work in clinical settings, such as hospitals and outpatient medical facilities. Others work on contract with nonprofit organizations such as the American Red Cross. In addition to drawing blood, phlebotomists are responsible for labeling, storing, and entering data for blood samples.

Phlebotomy isn’t a job for the squeamish. Strong nerves, sound hand-eye coordination, healthy reserves of compassion, and attention to detail are all essential to success in this field. If you’ve got those basics down, you’ll find plenty of part-time or occasional work in phlebotomy at outpatient clinics and blood drives, respectively.

7. Child Care Worker

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; supervisory roles may require postsecondary education
  • Training Requirements: On-the-job training, typically a week or two
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $13.22
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 84,200 new positions (8% job growth)

Child care workers work in a variety of settings: at pre-K schools, multilocation childcare franchises, independently operated day care facilities, and private homes. Although supervisory and specialty positions generally require some postsecondary education, it’s easy for high school graduates and GED holders to find entry-level work in this field.

It’s also easy to find part-time work in child care, whether that means a morning shift at a licensed day care facility or two days per week in a private home that you find through Sittercity. Despite falling birth rates, child care work is likely to be in high demand for years to come.

Because larger day care facilities may pay less than private families, you might need to explore that sort of relationship to maximize your income. You might want to earn extra income with one-off or recurring sitter jobs as well.

8. Massage Therapist

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: Postsecondary certification
  • Training Requirements: Training typically occurs during certification
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $22.55
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 46,500 new positions (32% job growth)

Massage therapy isn’t the laid-back profession you might assume it to be. Many massage therapists work alongside physical and occupational therapists, helping seriously injured or impaired patients cope with severe pain or impaired physical function. Even massage therapists working at resorts or day spas, where patients are more likely to be physically healthy, must be patient and attentive to detail.

Massage therapists typically work in half-hour or hour-long blocks, which makes for flexible scheduling. If you only want to work three or four hours per day as a massage therapist, you should have little trouble finding a home for your services.

The downside is that massage therapists often work as independent contractors, losing out on some of the protections of traditional employment. These include OSHA health and safety regulations and protections against certain types of discrimination, including age discrimination.

9. Income Tax Preparer

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent, but some employers may require postsecondary education
  • Training Requirements: Limited on-the-job training
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $22.25
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 1,400 new positions (2% job growth)

Income tax preparation is highly seasonal work, so it’s not ideal for people seeking year-round part-time work. Tax preparers’ peak season runs from late January through mid-April. During this period, tax preparation companies need as much help as they can get. If you’re looking for full-time work, it’s yours, but if you’d prefer to work a few hours after you get out of your day job, you can probably make that happen too.

Tax preparation isn’t particularly skilled work, although you do need to be familiar with tax preparation software and know basic math. Income tax preparers are not certified public accountants (CPAs) or enrolled agents, both of which require extensive study — and, for CPAs, the equivalent of a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Still, tax preparers must be patient, attentive to detail, and tolerant of repetition. If working face to face with taxpayers, you need strong communication skills too. And you must also be prepared to find work elsewhere during the nine or 10 months that your skills aren’t in demand. Becoming a part-time bookkeeper is a good option as it requires similar skills and training.

10. Web Developer

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: Many employers require two- or four-year degrees, but freelance developers don’t need formal education
  • Training Requirements: Limited on-the-job training; many freelance developers are self-taught
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $37.12
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 25,500 new positions (13% job growth)

Nearly 20% of web developers are self-employed. They find their own clients, set their own hours, and otherwise march to the beat of their own drum. If they want to work part-time, they are free to do so.

A close friend of mine spends a few hours each week, usually in the evenings or on weekends, on freelance Web development projects referred to him by mutual acquaintances. I don’t know exactly how much he makes on Web development, but it’s significant. When he went back to school full-time, he was able to support himself without really upping his development workload.

Web development is also surprisingly easy to break into. Many developers are self-taught, though more senior full-time roles may require an associate degree in computer science or graphic design. You’ll also need to pass pre-hire development tests, which can be rigorous.

If freelancing or part-time work is your thing, it may be best to put together a portfolio of your best work, hang out a shingle on a digital job board, and let your results speak for themselves.

11. Graphic Design

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: Many employers require two- or four-year degrees, but freelance designers don’t need formal education
  • Training Requirements: Limited on-the-job training; many freelance designers are self-taught
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $24.38
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 7,300 new positions (3% job growth)

Graphic design is another field popular with freelancers and solopreneurs. Those seeking full-time employment with blue-chip ad agencies and marketing firms generally need bachelor’s degrees to get noticed, but talented designers can get by on the strength of their work product alone.

Plenty of graphic designers work as glorified hobbyists who happen to attract paying clients. My Web developer friend moonlights as a graphic designer and seems to do well. If you’re just starting out, create a profile on freelance work platforms such as Upwork, which are far more visible than a personal website.

12. Caterer

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Training Requirements: Limited on-the-job training
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $12.49
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 740,000 new positions (17% job growth)

Caterers belong to the broad and vague category of “food and beverage serving and related workers,” which the BLS defines as pretty much any food service occupation other than restaurant servers.

Most food service jobs are ideal for part-time workers, and catering is especially so. While professional caterers might work enough to qualify as full-time employees, less-seasoned caterers might pick up a gig every week or month to supplement income earned elsewhere or while studying full time.

At upscale event venues and posh private residences in major metro areas, caterers may earn substantially more than the median hourly rate for food service workers — perhaps $15 or $20 per hour before tips.

13. Local Delivery Driver

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Training Requirements: On-the-job training, typically a few weeks
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $17.62
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 182,900 new positions (12% job growth)

The flip side of the online retail boom is healthy growth in local delivery driver positions. Local delivery drivers, which the BLS defines as “delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers,” typically drive commercial trucks or vans within local delivery areas. These areas may range in size from many rural counties to a few square miles of an urban core.

Local delivery hours and pay vary by specialty. When I worked in the restaurant business, I crossed paths with produce and meat delivery drivers whose days began well before dawn and ended by mid-morning. These days, I’m more likely to wave to the UPS woman delivering packages during regular business hours.

Generally, parcel delivery is seasonal, spiking around the holidays, while wholesale delivery remains busy year-round.

14. Restaurant Server

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Training Requirements: On-the-job training, ranging from a few days to a few weeks at higher-end establishments
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $12.50
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 407,600 new positions (20% job growth)

Restaurant service is the granddaddy of all part-time jobs and arguably the original “customer service representative” gig. According to the BLS, more than 2.6 million restaurant servers work in the United States, with about 400,000 predicted to join their ranks through 2030. Automation may eventually curb or reverse food service job growth, but the work is there for the taking until that time.

Not all restaurant service jobs are created equal, however. Fast-food and fast-casual service workers earn little more than minimum wage and may not be eligible for tips, making the job appropriate more for extra cash than supporting a family. But full-time veteran servers at Michelin-starred — or aspiring Michelin-starred — restaurants may earn close to six figures after tips.

Whatever the type of establishment, it’s not difficult to find part-time restaurant service work with little training required. 

15. Mail Carrier (Postal Service Worker)

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Training Requirements: Several weeks of on-the-job training, depending on the role
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $24.87
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 43,300 lost positions (negative 9% job growth)

Like being outside? Love walking? Have a high tolerance for heat and cold? Don’t mind getting rained, snowed, or sleeted on? 

You’d be a great part-time mail carrier. You’ll earn a decent wage doing it — around $25 per hour, on average, with starting positions closer to $20 or $22 per hour. But you will have to work at least four hours per shift, possibly more.

Prefer to spend your working hours indoors? Postal facilities need a steady supply of warehouse workers, customer service clerks, and machine operators too. Wages are competitive in those part-time jobs too.

16. Administrative Assistant

  • Degree or Certificate Requirements: High school degree or higher; some employers prefer two-year degrees 
  • Training Requirements: On-the-job training, typically a few days to a few weeks
  • Median Hourly Pay (2021): $19.08
  • Growth Outlook (2020 – 2030): 226,000 lost positions (negative 7% job growth)

Office-based administrative assistants aren’t as plentiful as they used to be now that lots of professional services work gets done remotely. But they’re still needed, and overall demand for professional assistants hasn’t declined much — it has merely shifted remote, giving rise to an army of virtual assistants who can work from anywhere and make their own hours.

Virtual assistants do have to contend with an international labor market. Lots of U.S.-based companies use assistants based in lower-wage countries like India and the Philippines. That holds down wages across the industry — although plenty of employers are willing to pay more for assistants in their own time zones.

Final Word

If none of these jobs call your name, don’t despair. Many occupations not on this list are amenable to part-time work, from being a freelance writer or mail carrier to working part-time in an entry-level health care position. And many employers happily oblige full-time employees looking to downshift to part-time work for family or health reasons.

This flexibility isn’t limited to low-skill or modestly compensated occupations, either. Most of the physicians at my wife’s clinic work less than full time. Keep that in mind as you ponder going back to school or changing careers. If your employer is willing to be flexible, you might not have to quit your job entirely before you’re ready to make the leap.

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