Jobs that Pay for Your College Degree

While it can be a challenge to keep up with both work and school, getting a part-time job while in college can help you cover your expenses and gain valuable work experience at the same time. In addition, some employers may even offer to pay a portion of your college tuition as a part of their benefits package.

There are all kinds of jobs for college students — from on-campus jobs with regular hours to side gigs you can do in your spare time. While students often find work in the retail and service industry, it’s also worth exploring other avenues for employment, including office work and even jobs related to your field of study. Read on for a basic guide to finding a job that can help you pay for college.

Part-Time Jobs That Help Pay for College

Part-Time Jobs That Help Pay for College

Working part-time while you’re in college can help you pay for tuition and other expenses. These jobs typically offer flexible hours, allowing you to work around your class schedule.

You might start your search for jobs that help pay for college with businesses you already know and love. For example, you could see if your favorite cafe is hiring or ask about opportunities at the yoga studio you love. Even if they don’t have a paying position, some small businesses offer “service swaps” where you might be able to score free coffee, meals, or exercise classes for some light work. It pays to ask!

Here’s a look at other job opportunities that can help students earn money for college.

💡 Quick Tip: Make no payments on SoFi private student loans for six months after graduation.

On-Campus Jobs

Colleges and universities hire students for a variety of jobs on campus. Part-time on-campus jobs are not only convenient but typically provide flexibility so you can work around your class schedule. Plus, a lot of on-campus jobs can help you build relevant skills that will serve you after graduation.

The career center at your school will likely have lots of resources that can help you find employment on campus, including an online job board. Your school can also help you find a job campus through the federal work-study program. To see out if you’re eligible for work-study, which is a needs-based program, you need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

Below is just a sampling of on-campus job options you might consider, plus what they pay, on average, per hour:

•   Administrative Assistant: $16.80 per hour

•   Teaching Assistant: $17.56 per hour

•   Research Assistant: $20.62 per hour

•   Fitness or Recreation Center Attendant: $14.10 per hour

•   Lifeguard: $16 per hour

•   Peer Tutor: $12.73 per hour

•   Library Assistant: $14.49 per hour

•   Campus tour guide: $14.81 per hour

Paid Internships

Your school’s career center may also be able to provide information about internship opportunities in your field of study. Some college internships provide college credits, which can help you pay for college by reducing your tuition bill. In other cases, internships are paid. On average, college interns in the U.S. earn $24.63 per hour.

Don’t want to work during the school year? Summer can be a great time to focus on a career-boosting internship without distracting you from your coursework. According to a 2023 Glassdoor report , some summer internships are paying as much as $9,064 a month.

Securing a paid internship tends to be competitive, so it can be wise to apply early and make sure your application materials are compelling and complete. Internships can provide valuable learning opportunities and some of the top-rated internships even offer the opportunity for future full-time employment.

Serving, Bartending, or other Service jobs

Many college students work part time in the service industry because the hours are flexible and you can often earn tips in addition to an hourly pay. This can be especially helpful during peak hours and holidays because your income could be higher than usual. Here’s a look at some service jobs and their average hourly pay and tips:

•   Barista: $14.86 per hour (plus $20 in tips per day)

•   Restaurant server: $16.06 per hour (plus $100 in tips per day)

•   Restaurant host: $14.79 per hour (plus $35.00 in tips per day)

•   Bartender: $15.97 per hour (plus $150 in tips per day)

Recommended: Guide to Paying for College

Retail jobs

If you’re looking for a part-time job that will help pay for college, you might consider working in a local boutique or other type of retail store. These jobs also provide you with valuable human and workplace skills that can be used later in your professional career.

A retail sales associate is typically required to set up store merchandise and assist customers with their shopping needs. You also might even be able to get employee discounts or earn a commission. The average retail sales associate salary in the U.S. is $14.90 an hour.


You’ve been hitting the books and now it’s time to put all of that newfound knowledge to good use. You may be paying for your education, but there are also people out there willing to pay you to share what you’ve learned, which can help make college more affordable. Consider tutoring other college students or younger students in your area of expertise. Rates will vary based on location, subject matter, and your experience level. On average, private tutors earn $25.12 an hour.

Virtual Assistant

Sometimes small businesses and entrepreneurs need someone who can answer their emails, perform odd jobs online, and otherwise provide administrative support virtually. You might look for these gigs online or through your school’s career development office. Before you take on a role, it’s important to know what’s expected: Are they looking for someone to be available during specific hours or could you get everything done on your own time?

On average, a virtual assistant makes $19.19 an hour.

Recommended: 3 Summer Jobs Ideas for College Students

Babysitting or Caregiving

Babysitting can be another job option to help pay for college if you’re looking for flexibility. You can schedule jobs for weekends or nights if you’re worried about work conflicting with your school schedule. As a bonus, you may be able to squeeze in some studying while the little ones are asleep. On average, part-time college nanny jobs pay $25 an hour.

Keep in mind that caregiving isn’t just limited to little kids. You may find meaningful roles working with elderly or ill people who need help, either with day-to-day tasks or with errand running, housekeeping, or even just keeping someone company while they shop. On average, a part-time caregiver earns $15 an hour.

Dog Walking

Having flexibility during the day can mean everything for people who work 9 to 5 and need someone to care for Fido. Consider working for a walking service rather than striking it out on your own: It may provide guaranteed hours or jobs, so you can get to know the pooches you work with. The average salary for a dog walker in the U.S. earns $17 per hour.

Ridesharing or Delivery Driving

Driving for a ride-sharing or delivery service can be a good option during college, since you can generally set your own hours and fit the job into your schedule. How much you could make will depend on your location and the times you’re available to drive. Many Uber drivers make between $15 and $25 per hour, while the average hourly wage for food delivery drivers nationwide is $19/hour.

It can also be helpful to talk to locals to get the lay of the land — national earnings surveys may be very different from your local area, and it can be helpful to anticipate just how much demand there might be before you sign on.

Recommended: 11 Ways to Make Money While You Drive

Freelance or Start a Side Hustle

If you have a sought-after skill or talent, such as writing, website design, photography, or coding, you might consider starting your own freelance business or side hustle. You can advertise your skills on a freelance platform like Fiverr or Upwork. Or, you could solicit clients in your community. For example, you might be able to build a website for a local small business or get hired to manage an off-campus store’s online brand and marketing.

Consider Companies That Help Pay Your Tuition

Part-time jobs can be one option to help you pay for college, but what if you can find a job that not only pays you a salary but also pays for tuition? There are some major companies that offer stipends or reimbursements toward college tuition or expenses like books, even for part-time employees.

Companies That Help Employees Pay for College

Employers generally offer tuition assistance in one of three ways:

•   Tuition reimbursement Here, the company reimburses you for tuition you’ve paid. There may be a tuition cap and/or a requirement to work a certain number of hours or months before the benefit kicks in.

•   Direct payment Some employers will pay eligible college costs directly to the school. In some cases, they only partner with certain schools.

•   Scholarships Some employers offer education scholarships to employees for a set amount of money. As with other types of scholarships, you typically need to submit an application for the award and may also be required to maintain a certain GPA.

Here are some national companies that have well-publicized tuition assistance policies:


At Chipotle , tuition reimbursement (up to $5,250 each year) is available for both part-time and full-time employees. They also offer a Debt-Free Degree program, which covers the full cost of a four-year degree at one of 10 universities. Typically, employees must work at least 15 hours a week for four months to qualify for tuition benefits.


Smucker’s helps employees further their knowledge and skills by reimbursing them for some of the costs of qualifying continued and/or higher education. The company also offers a scholarship program for children of employees.


At Publix , associates with 90 days of continuous service who work an average of 10 hours a week are eligible to participate in the company’s tuition reimbursement program. The program covers graduate and undergraduate degree coursework, as well as some individual courses, online programs, and technical training.


Starbucks is often featured on these lists for a reason: They partnered with Arizona State University (ASU) to create the Starbucks College Achievement Plan which offers 100% tuition coverage for a first-time bachelor’s degree through Arizona State University’s online program. All employees eligible for benefits (this includes part-time employees) may take advantage of this program.

If an employee doesn’t qualify for admission to ASU, they can take part in the Pathway to Admission program, which will help them qualify for admission, tuition-free.


UPS offers a tuition assistance program at most locations in the U.S. Through their “Earn and Learn” program, you can receive up to $5,250 per calendar year, with a lifetime maximum of $25,000. There are no course or subject restrictions.


Walmart will pay 100% of tuition and books for an associate or bachelor’s degree program through several online accredited universities. This benefit is available to hourly part-time and full-time associates without a prior bachelor’s degree starting on day one.


Amazon offers tuition assistance for employees seeking a Bachelor’s degree, a high school GED, or English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) proficiency certification. You’re eligible for the program after 90 days of employment for as many years as you work in a regular, full-time role at Amazon.

Recommended: Finding Jobs That Pay Off Student Loans

Think About Your First Job Out Of School

Another benefit of finding a job that helps pay for college: You can figure out what you do (and don’t) want to do for a living. It can also be helpful to assess certain job paths, including how much they may pay entry-level employees. While there are always lists of most and least lucrative majors, the reality is that your major doesn’t necessarily determine your career. Talk to alums and people a few years out of school and have them give you the lowdown on their job path.

When looking for your first full-time job out of college, it’s also important to consider not just your salary, but what benefits may come into play. For example, many companies now offer employees assistance in paying off student loans. How it works varies by company, but the typical plan offers matching funds or a predetermined recurring monthly payment towards your loan. Usually, there’s a maximum dollar amount you can receive and some employers require a minimum amount of time on the job.

💡 Quick Tip: Would-be borrowers will want to understand the different types of student loans that are available: private student loans, federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, Direct PLUS loans, and more.

The Takeaway

The combination of scholarships, student loans, and a part-time job can help you cover the cost of going to college for four (or more) years. A part-time job will not only help you earn some money, but it could also help boost your resume. In addition, some companies offer tuition reimbursement or assistance programs for part- or full-time employees pursuing higher education. These programs may have specific requirements, such as attending a certain school or working a set number of hours per week, so be sure you understand the requirements.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.


How do you ask a company if they offer tuition reimbursement?

To find out if a company offers education benefits like tuition assistance, you can talk to your manager or HR representative (if you already work there). If you’re in the interviewing process, you can ask the recruiter or hiring manager. Or, you can check the company’s website (often they will describe their benefits, including who is eligible and any other stipulations).

What are the disadvantages of tuition reimbursement?

One disadvantage of tuition reimbursement is that you typically need to pay for your classes upfront, then submit the bill to your company for reimbursement. Some tuition reimbursement programs also have strict requirements and limitations, such as a cap on the amount of money that can be reimbursed, or only covering certain types of courses or degrees.

Also keep in mind that balancing work and courses can also be challenging for some employees to manage successfully.

Why would a company offer generous tuition reimbursement?

Many companies offer generous tuition assistance programs in order to attract, develop, and retain high-performing employees.

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