Working while studying can be a great way to ensure that you leave university without unmanageable debts, but you need to make sure that you’re not burning the candle at both ends and putting your studies at risk.
Can you work while studying?
Absolutely, and lots of companies offer part-time jobs for students these days. The key is finding one that fits in around your scheduled classes and leaves you with enough time for private study and socialising. Student loans only go so far, so the chances are that earning some money will be a necessity, not just a good idea or something you are vaguely considering.
Is working while studying a good idea?
Spiralling student debt is easy to fall into, but a part-time job can prevent all the stress of needing some extra cash. As long as you can prioritise your workload and be realistic about assignments, working while studying is a good idea. It can actually be a very good idea, if you manage to find something that can be linked to your course and future career goals.
Benefits of working part-time for students
Let’s start with the obvious one – money! You need it, and part-time jobs can supply it. Plus, depending on the job you take, it can be sociable, an easy way to meet new people and can even keep you fit if you take on something physical. Find something relevant to your degree and you might even improve your long-term prospects as well. The only real downside is that you’ll need to say no to a few nights out.
How many hours can a student work?
As many as they can reasonably manage, but studies should come first, which makes working while studying rather tricky to manage. Extra hours can always be taken during the holidays and at weekends, when assignments aren’t piling up. Any full-time student should be able to manage between 10 and 15 hours of work a week, especially when most of these hours can be worked in a single weekend shift.
Time management for part-time student workers
If you want to earn extra money but not fall behind with your studies, creating a roster for yourself can be a great help. It might not sound fun, but by scheduling private study time around classes, you can then work out how many hours you can dedicate to working. Remember that failing to plan is the same as planning to fail and while the myth is that first-year results don’t count, they do.
Check out this article by The University of Edinburgh on time management for students (with downloads like weekly planner and time management self-assessment)
How do you get a job as a student with no experience?
If you’re not looking for a skilled position, a lack of experience shouldn’t be too much of a stumbling block, but start by looking at vacancies on campus, as your student status will help you a little more. Student-specific roles usually require little or no experience and you can always ask your student union for advice if you are finding it hard to secure a position.
What jobs can you do while studying?
The employment world is wide open for students but choosing the right sector to break into can help you focus and avoid disappointment when it comes to part-time jobs.
On the one hand, you could go for an unskilled local role, something seasonal, or perhaps you’re determined to stay within the parameters of your future aspirations? If your goal is to earn money but focus on your studies, choose something easy, local and undemanding.
If you want to start gaining meaningful experience for your career, you can be a little choosier and consider opportunities that are less convenient but have more value to you.
What are the easiest jobs for students?
What’s easy for one student can be hell on earth for another, so this comes down to personal abilities. For ultra-fit students, part-time hours at a local gym or swimming pool could be a good option, but for a gym-phobic, it would be a nightmare!
Similarly, if you love to clean and find it easy (and possibly have mild OCD), it could be a great earner, but if organising isn’t your forte, it should be avoided. It’s all about recognising your strengths and interests and trying to use them to make money easily.
The less work feels like a chore, the more you’ll be willing to find time for it and the money earned will become a bonus, rather than the only motivating factor. Have a look at some options!
Local part-time jobs ideas for students
Local jobs can be a good option for students as transport will be less of a factor and experience is generally less important. When high-street shops, restaurants and other companies need reliable people with general skills, students can take their pick.
Some popular options include:
- Fast food and restaurant jobs – Roles could include coffee shop jobs, delivering, waitressing, assisting in the kitchen and cleaning. It’s not glamorous, but it pays.
- Part-time retail jobs – Potential jobs include Saturday roles, late-night shifts, shelf-stacking and window display work. Basic skills are usually taught.
- Part-time cashier jobs – Roles will include till operatives and theatre cashiers. Anywhere open until late is a potential spot for a cashier role that can fit around studies.
- Childcare – After-school nannies, nursery assistants and classroom assistants are all viable options for easy-going students.
- Receptionist jobs for students – Working in a doctors’ surgery, as a dental receptionist or at a vet practice will give access to flexible hours.
- Airport part-time jobs – Baggage handling, cleaning and customer service roles can all be easy ways to earn for extra money.
- Night shift part-time jobs for students – Weekend night-shift options, supermarket shelf-stacking and manning helplines can all be done during anti-social hours.
Online or remote part-time jobs ideas for students
As a student, you’ll no doubt have a fast internet connection, mobile phone and computer, which means that you can look for remote part-time working opportunities, especially if you have a talent for something that translates well in written formats. Some potentially lucrative ideas include:
- Creative freelance part-time jobs – Blog writing, graphic design and editing roles can all be completed at home and if you have experience, the rates get better.
- Part-time tutor jobs – English language tutoring and IT lessons can be conducted online, thanks to messaging apps such as Skype.
- Part-time call-centre jobs – Helplines, customer services and enquiry forms can be answered through a remote forwarding service now. You don’t have to be stuck in an office to earn a living.
Seasonal part-time jobs ideas for students
Seasonal roles can help students to take advantage of breaks scheduled well in advance, such as summer holidays. Some promising job prospects include:
- Summer part-time jobs ideas for students – Leaflet distributor, festival crew roles and golf caddie are all fun for the warmer summer months. Anything outdoors will be a lot more pleasant when the weather is good.
- Winter part-time jobs ideas for students – Order pickers over the Christmas period, grotto staff in large department stores and temporary retail jobs are all popular during winter and come with a short lifespan, so you shouldn’t get too bored.
Student part-time jobs ideas by industry
If you’re keen to look for part-time roles that would benefit your ongoing studies, you need to be selective about the sectors you are willing to work in and the companies that you apply to. As long as you can translate the skills earned in a position to your future career or current studies, you aren’t wasting your time. We have a few industry-specific suggestions for you:
- For law students – Being a paralegal assistant/trainee or a virtual assistant.
- Bank jobs for students – Saturday cashier and treasurer for local groups.
- For accounting students – Freelance bookkeeping and payroll jobs.
- For criminology students – Laboratory assistant positions are a good way to stay in the realms of pathology and sample-handling.
- For architecture students – Freelance design work, estate agency admin and property photography.
- For interior design students – Working in a homewares retail outlet, blogging for interior design websites and writing for design magazines.
- For graphic design students – Freelance web design, opening an Etsy art shop, registering on freelancing sites that offer fixed-price jobs.
- For journalism students – Blogging, content creation, writing for local newspapers and magazines.
- For computer science students – Web design, app developing, freelance mobile repairs.
- For civil engineering students – Local council roles, road surfacing and water board helpline answering.
- For social work students – Care home night shifts, residential centre activity coordinator, receptionist for a medical practice.
- For business students – Personal assistant roles, e-commerce support, online selling vacancies.
- For marketing students – Charity fundraising, social media influencer and promotions staff at trade shows.
Read more: How to become a virtual assistant
Part-time healthcare jobs for students
Healthcare students are fortunate in that their field of study is very specific and therefore allows for more related part-time jobs, with definite links to their final careers. There are also so many options to choose from that something is bound to offer the right shift patterns. Some accessible options include:
- Part-time options for medical students – Medical receptionist, hospital porter and emergency first-responder.
- Part-time jobs for nursing students – Nursing assistant, pathology laboratory assistant, private carer.
- Ideas for physiotherapy students – Assistant sports team physiotherapist and Pilates or yoga instructor (if suitably experienced).
- Pharmacy part-time jobs for students – Saturday chemist cashier, weekend pharmacy assistant, retail assistant in a health store.
- Psychology students – Residential care home assistant, private tutor and nanny.
Read more: Becoming a self-employed private carer
Fun part-time jobs ideas for students
Jobs don’t have to be boring or tiresome and if you find something that can fit around your studies and give you a bit of a giggle as well, you’ll never dread your next shift. Your version of a fun job won’t be the same for everybody else, so have a think about what you actually enjoy doing in your spare time and go from there. Some potential roles to start you off could be:
- Part-time event jobs – Catering staff, waiting jobs, singers, trade-show hosting and event planning assistant roles are all popular. Promotional staff always seem to have fun as well and can travel the country promoting certain brands.
- Photography jobs – Snapping houses for estate agent websites, shooting weddings, maternity pictures and pets are fun ways to make a living and you could also consider taking pictures and uploading them to image sites, to be licensed for a fee. Some part-time photographers make a living taking pictures for potential book covers!
- Modelling jobs – Life modelling, promoting new clothing ranges, character work for agencies and social media influencer pictures are all potentially lucrative.
- Part-time animal jobs – dog walking and pet sitting are perfect for animal lovers and evidence suggests that spending time with animals reduces stress, so these could be perfect for students.
Being a full-time student might seem as though it leaves little time for anything other than studying, but if you plan your free time carefully, you can make room for a part-time job that will ease the burden of your loans and maybe even give you some valuable work experience.