10 Great Summer Jobs For College Students

There’s something liberating about leaving the sheltered confines of a university for a job in the outside world. The change of pace and scenery can be both enlightening and exhilarating.

Even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, there are a number of great summer jobs for college students. Best of all, you’ll earn valuable experience, meet new people and make some money. And you don’t even need to wash dishes or work a fryer. Here are some great options.

Paid Intern

The best possible scenario is to find an internship in your field of interest. Summer is a prime time to find these positions. Many of them are very selective and require an extensive application process, usually months in advance. But even if you don’t score a coveted internship at Google or the White House, there are numerous internships available for bright students ready to learn.

National Parks Services

There are thousands of opportunities—from entry level to graduate level— for students to work with the National Park Service. Many of these jobs are filled directly at the individual parks. But others are advertised and recruited nationally by the National Park Service or in partnership with several national organizations.

Lifeguard

What could be better than spending your summer at the beach or by the pool, enjoying the view, working on your tan, and meeting beautiful people? Once you’ve taken a certification course from your local Red Cross or YMCA, you’ll be ready to apply at country clubs, beaches, day camps and resorts.

Landscaper/Groundskeeper

If you’re into plants and prefer the smell of soil and cut grass to stale office air, you might consider joining a landscaping business or offering your landscaping or lawn care services yourself. And since many people don’t have time to care for their lawns, this job is often in high-demand through the summer months.

Hospitality

Summer is a time for tourism, which opens up lots of jobs in the hospitality sector. Hotels, resorts and restaurants are all hiring extra staff for the summer.  Many of these jobs pay well and include tips. And you’ll have the opportunity to meet a wide cross section of people.

Nanny

Before you discount this job as potentially boring and tedious, keep in mind that nannies can make anywhere from $12 to $20 an hour depending on where you live. On top of that, kids, especially older ones, thrive on fun activities, so your summer could be spent taking them to the beach, amusement parks, movies, or the zoo. This could be wonderful if you enjoy kids and kid stuff, or quite terrible if you don’t.

Sales Associate/Retail

If you have a particular affinity for some kind of consumer good, such as apparel, electronics or books, now would be a good time to apply your knowledge and enthusiasm. Best of all, you’ll get to dress like a grown-up and stay cool in air-conditioned comfort.

Construction Worker

Want to feel like you’ve truly earned your keep this summer? Construction jobs offer a wide variety of opportunities – from building things to taking them down. Examples include highway construction, tunnel excavation, residential construction, and commercial projects. Of course, you’ll need to be physically up to the task before you sign up!

Pet Sitter

Similar to nannies, people will pay a premium to have their beloved furry friends pampered and taken care of. It’s not unusual for dog walkers and pet sitters to make anywhere from $15-25 an hour. If you’re an active, outdoor person, this could be your dream job. Like kids, dogs like to be outside having fun in parks and on hikes. But unlike kids, they don’t talk back and are less picky about what they eat for lunch.

Camp Counselor

If you like to lead and enjoy the company of kids, a summer job as a camp counselor is an ideal pick. This job will allow you to spend time outdoors, mentor younger kids and develop useful skills transferable to both life and work, including leadership abilities, communication and conflict resolution skills.

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Nicole Cavazos writes about the job market for ZipRecruiter.

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