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  • Writer's pictureJohn Karras

A Delicate Balance: Job Options for College Students Who Have to Work: By Patrick Young, ableUSA

Many college students have to walk a very fine line. Their future, not to mention their academic careers, depends on performing well in the classroom and maintaining a good grade point average. However, that’s hard to do if you also have to be a wage earner.

A majority of students have to earn an income, whether it’s to pay living expenses or to keep up with the rising cost of college tuition. Flexibility and convenience are important, but so is salary. If you have to keep the paychecks coming while earning a degree, you might as well earn as much as you can. The most important first step in getting a job is your resume. A quality resume or CV gives a potential employer a snapshot of your experience and capabilities, so consider working with Job Transitions to create the perfect encapsulation. Once you have your resume in hand, it’s time to look into a job that can carry you through your degree.


Starting receptionists can earn as much as $14 or $15 dollars per hour. The ideal situation for a college student would be to work part-time to earn enough money to cover your monthly needs, and being a receptionist can make that possible. If you can find a receptionist position in the right field (i.e. dentistry, doctor’s office, etc.) it can give you a leg up on a career opportunity if it happens to be in line with your academic path.


This might be the best job of all for a busy college student taking a full course load. Nannies earn anywhere from $16 to $18 per hour, and the potential for flexibility in your schedule is ideal. And any college student would immediately recognize the best perk of this job — the opportunity for studying once your charges have been put to bed or down for an afternoon nap.

Hospital Orderly

You’ve seen those nice young people in the hospital. They’re the ones who make sure you get where you’re going safely, on time and in good spirits, like the guy who made you feel better as you were being wheeled into surgery for that appendix operation. That’s the hospital orderly, a job that requires you to interact with people who may be scared and really need a friendly voice and a smiling face. You can make a positive difference in a job that allows you to work a flexible schedule while learning about the healthcare profession.


If your class and study schedule absolutely require you to find work with flexibility, you can’t do better than to work as a tutor. Tutoring lets you focus on subjects where you excel to help elementary, middle, high school and college students in classes where they’re struggling. If you’re a whiz in math, science or English, you can do really well as a tutor.

For example, foreign students who come to study in the United States may still be learning the English language, which means writing and literature courses can be a real problem for them. Your grasp of grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure can make a difference for someone whose ability to earn an advanced Chemistry degree may depend on his English class. Of course, if you need to brush up on the finer aspects of English and its intricacies, you can rely on some apps to help you provide the best experience for your students.

Restaurant Host

This is a popular choice for many college students because it allows students to choose when they want to work based on their course schedule. It can be a pleasant job meeting new people in a challenging and fast-paced work environment. One of the best perks for a college student working as a host is the opportunity for free food and discount meals.


Don’t rule out the possibility of starting your own business; it can be an ideal solution, since being your own boss means choosing when you work, with whom, and where. Think about something you really enjoy doing and that fulfills a need, then make it official by registering with your state. To register, you’ll need a name for your business, and you’ll need to choose a business structure. Many young entrepreneurs prefer an LLC since it’s scalable, so if you expand later it’ll grow with you. It’ll also protect your personal assets if the business gets into trouble later on. Plus, it’s easy and inexpensive to create an LLC Illinois if you partner with an online service. Once that’s complete, draw up a business plan, which helps you home in on your goals and create a budget. It’ll also be handy if you decide to apply for funding.

With your official details out of the way, think about things like marketing your business to attract customers, creating a customer service plan, and keeping any data you collect secure. By starting out things properly, your business could be a long-term sideline, and maybe even become your lifelong career.

College is a fun but stressful time of life. You’re charting the course of your professional life and learning lessons that transcend the lecture hall. Choosing the right job while you work toward that degree can help you grow in many ways.

The more experience you have when working your way through college, the more marketable you become when it’s time to enter the workforce. Get a leg up through career advising services through Job Transitions to help you make the right choice for this next chapter.

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