College Students Don’t Have to Starve in Today’s Job Market

Forget unpaid internships, with unemployment at a two-decade low and labor shortages affecting nearly every industry in the country, it’s never been a better time for college students to find paid work. The best part? These opportunities also give students valuable, real-world experience.

Traditionally, college students have taken part-time jobs in the service industry to earn extra money. These roles provide valuable customer service skills. In fact, according to ZipRecruiter data, customer service consistently ranks near the top of the list of skills employers look for, regardless of the industry. But in today’s tight job market, it’s possible to find part-time work in a variety of fields related to just about any undergraduate major.  

We dug through our troves of data and found the best possible opportunities for working college students to earn a solid paycheck and get a headstart on their career. Each of the jobs listed below are entry-level, offer abundant part-time opportunities, and pay significantly more than minimum wage.

Junior Software Developer

Entry-level Pay: $21 hr.

Top Job Market: College Station, TX

What better way to perfect your coding skills than to put it into practice with a real-world application. Software Developers are in such high demand, many employers are more than happy to bring on Junior Programmers, even to work part-time.

One out of five Junior Programmer jobs posted to ZipRecruiter this year are located in College Station, TX, home to Texas A&M. There is also a strong demand for Computer Science majors to put in part-time programming hours in Miami, FL and St. Louis, MO.

Human Resources Assistant

Entry-level Pay: $20 hr.

Top Job Market: Los Angeles, CA

With so much hiring happening right now, human resources departments across the country are in desperate need of extra help. There are nearly 14,000 part-time Human Resources Assistant openings on right now, with an average salary of $20 an hour.

This is a great role to take on for business majors and budding entrepreneurs. Whether you plan to start your own business or become an executive at a top company, knowing the ins-and-outs of the hiring process will be crucial to your success.  

Patient Care Assistant

Entry-level Pay: $13 hr.

Top Job Market: Phoenix, AZ

About 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, which has recently led to  healthcare becoming the largest employer in the U.S. If you’re pre-med, studying to be a nurse, or enjoy helping people, working part-time as a Patient Care Assistant may be a suitable job.  

As a Patient Care Assistant, you’ll not only get the valuable experience of working directly with patients, but you’ll also learn what the day-to-day is like for Physicians and Registered Nurses, which you can’t get in the classroom. Plus, since healthcare never rests, it’s easy to tailor your hours around your class schedule.


Entry-level Pay: $20 hr.

Top Job Market: Los Angeles, CA

If you did well on the SAT or ACT, you’ve already got what it takes to be an SAT/ACT Tutor. And there are lots of companies waiting to hire you at a pretty great wage.

This can be a great part-time gig for any major, but if you plan to be a teacher, this is your opportunity to gain some experience early on and start honing your teaching skills. If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit, try cutting out the middleman and advertise your services on your own. This will take a little more work since you’ll have to manage your own clients and perform some administrative tasks, but by taking this approach you not only increase how much you can earn, but you also can add business experience to your resume as well.

Construction Administrative Assistant

Entry-level Pay: $18 hr.

Top Job Market: Charleston, SC

A booming real estate market and thriving economy has led to a severe labor shortage in the construction industry. As a result, it is one of the first industries to respond with significant wage increases.

The average wage for a general construction worker right now is nearly $30 an hour and there are great opportunities across this industry. Specifically, administrative positions offer valuable experience for anyone studying architecture or engineering. Yes, the role will likely include making copies and answering phones, but it’s also bound to offer important lessons about the construction world.

Methodology: Job choice was based on job titles requiring entry-level skills that fell within the disciplines of technology, business, healthcare, education, and engineering with the greatest number of part-time job postings to from January 2018 to date. The top job market for each role is the metropolitan region with the greatest share of job openings for the corresponding title based on all ZipRecruiter data from January 2018 to date. Salary information was sourced from and jobs posted to with available salary information.  


Jeffery Marino

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Jeffery Marino is a Los Angeles-based writer who previously covered emerging job market trends using proprietary ZipRecruiter data.

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