Are you looking for the best online jobs for college students?
According to numerous studies, you’re not alone because many Americans have side incomes. In fact, a reported 44 million Americans have side hustles!
It’s no surprise that side jobs are so popular, especially amongst college students.
College is a time of new experiences and freedoms but also crushing student debt. Side hustles can help you pay for your groceries, cover tuition, and in some cases, even leave you with enough money to enjoy some weekend trips.
But, of course, not all of these jobs are created equal. Before we dive into details, you should try to answer these questions first:
What Should College Students Look for in Online Jobs?
What’s your schedule like?
Some of the side jobs are demanding and will leave you with little to no time to concentrate on your studies. While others have flexible working hours, pay decent rates, and enable you to still focus on your education. While being an Uber driver might initially sound like an easy option to put some extra dollars in your pocket, you should realistically assess how much time you’re prepared to commit without sacrificing your studies.
What’s your budget and financial goals?
Generally, there are two types of online jobs:
- ‘Beer money’ online jobs – you can sign up for most of them literally right after reading this article. They usually involve some mini payouts that pay a few dollars for a few minutes of work. It’s tough to make ends meet on these sites, and the money you earn will be mostly used just for the occasional treat.
- Part-time online jobs – those usually require some initial time or financial commitment but have the potential to grow into a profitable side hustle or even full-time career that you can pursue after college.
It’s important to set your goals and expectations right at the very beginning and figure out whether you prefer the flexibility of online surveys or would like to truly commit to creating a very profitable online store.
What you’re good at?
Re-evaluate your skills and determine what you’re good at and play to your strengths. Business tends to favor people who are passionate about a particular niche and online jobs are no different. Doing something closely related to your major or something that you’re passionate about, not only will give you a financial boost but also will set you apart from other students and form a perfect soft transition towards a career that you can pursue after college.
The only question you might have is – How exactly can you get a decent-paying part-time job with flexible hours?
Well, thanks to the Internet, you don’t have to look far. However, with so much information online, it can be challenging to decide on the right online job for you. What skills do you need? How much will you earn? How do you get started?
All these questions and more will be answered as we take you through the 15 best online jobs for college students in 2021. We’ve also ordered them according to earning potential and effort required so you can see which opportunities will be best for you.
It’s time to start making money!
What Are The Best Online Jobs for College Students?
Here are our top picks for the best online jobs for college students this year:
Table of Contents
Doesn’t it seem like almost everybody has a blog these days? Travel blogs. Beauty blogs. Fashion blogs. Finance Blogs. What’s the deal?
While most people might see blogging as a hobby, some have found a way to make decent money out of this online activity.
As a rule of thumb, you should avoid most free blogging platforms such as Blogger, Tumblr, or Medium. Why? You might ask. The answer is plain and simple. They don’t give you the required autonomy you’ll later need to monetize your blog.
Some of the most frequent problems of free blogging platforms include but are not limited to:
- You don’t control your content!
- Your account can be shut down any time, without any explanation!
- Your content can’t be easily optimized for blog SEO
- You’re not allowed to place ads on your blog which limits your long-term earning potential.
Our recommendation? Self-host a WordPress.org blog with Bluehost.
Getting started with WordPress.org is free. However, you’ll need to have a domain name (this is about $14.99 per year) and web hosting (depending on the host, this can start from around $3 per month).
The great thing about blogging is that you can blog as little or as much as you want. But of course, the more you blog, the more you’ll earn.
The pay for blogging varies greatly. Some people earn nothing from their blogs, while others who put slightly more effort earn anything from $10 to well over $10 000 per month. It’s worth mentioning that with the rights skills and grit blogging can become a very lucrative long-term career with the crème de la crème bloggers such as Arriana Huffington making double-digit million figures per month.
How much you make depends on several key factors, including the topic you blog about, how often you post, and the number of visitors you’re able to attract to your site.
There are also certain blogging niches that tend to pay better than others. No matter what topic you decide to blog about, in general, the more value you offer your audience, the greater your following, and the larger your earning potential.
There are five main ways to make money through your blog:
- Affiliate marketing – You get paid a commission for any products that you recommend via your blog.
- Paid advertising – You can get paid for putting ads on your blog.
- Sponsored posts – You get paid in exchange posting specific content on your blog
- Selling your own products – You can sell your own digital products such as eBooks, courses, or physical products (e.g. T-Shirts).
- Services – A blog can be a great platform to get yourself out there and generate leads for your coaching or consulting business.
Considering the long-term potential and flexible working hours, blogging is our pick as one of the best online jobs for college students.
To get started blogging, all you need is a WordPress-based website and web hosting. Bluehost is a company that makes web hosting setup extremely easy and affordable, allowing you to run your blog for only $2.95/month.
It can be easy to assume that building an online store is a complicated process. But, thanks to various online tutorials and programs, you can actually start your online store in just a few minutes.
All you actually need is your computer, internet connection, your domain name (the name of your online store), and an eCommerce platform. After spending a few minutes on building your site, you can then start marketing and selling your products or services online.
Like blogging, there are numerous platform options to choose from. Some of the most popular are:
To help you decide on the most suitable platform for you, you can review the 10 Best Ecommerce Platforms.
To help you get started, most of these platforms offer a free trial. However, when you’re ready to really start selling and growing your store, you’re generally looking at a fee from around $29 per month + costs of promoting your business.
Having an online store allows for more flexibility with your time because once you’re set-up, you’ll just have to monitor the site, and not necessarily put in many hours per day, unlike other part-time gigs.
A popular selling model for online stores these days is dropshipping. This is where the seller doesn’t have to physically have the product they’re selling. So, when a customer purchases a product from your site, you will then buy it from a third party and send it directly to the customer. This way, you don’t have to physically handle the product, and the entire process can be online.
Your earnings per item will vary greatly on your targeted profit margins and the price of the product you’re selling. While cheaper items will sell in larger quantities, big-ticket items will bring more profit per item sold. Generally, you can expect to make anywhere between $5 – $500+ per item sold.
One of the best things about YouTube is that you can create a YouTube channel about almost any topic. Vlogging, reactions, unboxing gadgets, beauty, and educational channels are some of the most common. Different types of YouTubers have managed to make a decent income from the platform, and its versatility makes it one of the best online jobs for college students.
Creating a YouTube channel is a speedy process. You can check out this tutorial to help you get started.
What type of YouTube channel should you start? Well, it all depends on what you’re into and can commit to in the long run. You see, similar to blogging, the more you record, the bigger of a following you’ll earn, and the larger your earning potential.
Creating your YouTube channel is free. However, you’ll need to spend a little bit of money on microphones, editing equipment, lighting, and a camera (some smartphones offer decent images). This can cost anything from $300 to thousands of dollars.
If you’re just starting out, you don’t have to buy the most expensive equipment. First, concentrate on creating good content and growing your subscriber base. As you earn more, you’ll then be able to invest in better quality equipment.
You can allocate a day or two each week to creating your content. Concentrate on quality over quantity. This will help you grow your subscribers and earning potential.
There are various ways to earn through your YouTube channel, mainly through sponsored posts, paid advertising, or affiliate commissions from recommended products.
Some YouTubers make little to no money on the platform. And then there are those who hit the jackpot with Youtube. That being said, although there are a few who became an overnight success, for most getting a decent amount of potentially monetizable subscribers takes time and dedication.
Pay: Usually in the range of $0 – $2,000 per month with virtually unlimited potential.
Online tutoring is one of the best online jobs for college students. People with varying education levels can take full advantage of it. Whether you’re a college student or a full-time teacher, the opportunities are endless.
There are numerous platforms to choose from, including:
The cost to get started varies but it mainly comes down to your time and choice of the teaching platform. Check out our article to help you compare and find the best online course platforms.
Tutoring makes sense for college students because you are in full control of the number of hours you want to spend. When it’s exam week, you can tutor less, and when it’s not, you can dedicate more hours to earn more.
For Native English speaking countries such as the US, UK, and Canada, the most common tutoring option is to teach English to kids in non-English speaking countries like China. And based on your educational level and experience, you can expect to earn anything from $13 per hour to around $20 per hour or more.
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Our list of online jobs for college students would be incomplete without freelance writing. The best part about this option is that you don’t need much to get started. Besides having a computer and internet access, all you really need is the ability to write grammatically-free and engaging sentences.
The easiest way to start is by choosing a niche (a topic you want to write about) and then creating samples to add to your portfolio. You can then send these samples to clients when pitching to write for them.
You can also sign up for freelance writing job boards such as:
These platforms are free and advertise jobs you can apply to daily.
You don’t actually need money to start writing for clients. However, you have to consider the fact that there are many other decent writers out there and there is a lot of competition for getting gigs.
You can invest a little in online writing courses, the cost of which can start from around $19. To help improve your writing, you might also want to invest in writing software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid. Basic editing for these programs is free. However, to get the premium versions, which offer advanced editing checks, this currently costs $70 per year for ProWritingAid, and plans on Grammarly start at $11.66 per month.
Freelance writers can make money writing about any topic you can think of; nutrition, school, houses, finance, real estate, music, you name it. There’s someone out there who’s willing to pay you for it. The fact that you can get paid for writing about any topic, make this one of the ideal online jobs for college students.
But of course, different topics will earn you more than others. Some of the most profitable freelance writing niches are:
- Personal Finance
- Case Studies
- Long-form blog posts
- Technical Writing
Pay: $50 – $500+ per article
One of the best ways companies keep and retain their customers’ attention is through attractive design and graphics. If you’ve got this skill, then you start making money online today.
There are many online jobs for college students who know a thing or two about graphic design. You can design flyers, edit photos, design logos, and so much more.
Assuming you already have a skill in graphic design, to actually land a gig, you’ll probably only need a graphic design software such as Adobe Photoshop to create a great portfolio which you’ll use to advertise yourself to your target market. You can display your portfolio on sites such as Behance, Clearvoice, and Dribbble.
As a freelance graphic designer, you can decide how much time and energy you’re willing to allocate to each project, taking into consideration that you still have classes.
Generally speaking, freelance graphic designers make between $15 – $63 per hour. Your earning potential depends on different factors, including how skilled you are, your experience, as well as your clients.
You’ve probably heard the term “gig economy” before. But what exactly is it? Well, the concept is actually nothing new. You see, before the digital age, the gig economy was at times called the “freelance economy,” “temporary work,” or even “agile workforce.”
The online jobs for college students that fall under this category include:
- Ethical hacking
- Final Cut Pro editors
- Instagram marketing
The great thing about these jobs is that almost every company is offering temporary work to freelancers, across different sectors.
So, depending on your industry, the platforms are quite varied, and naturally, so will your earning potential. To help you see which gig-economy jobs are most profitable, you can have a look at this article, which details the 10 highest paying gig-economy jobs, based on a study by FitSmallBusiness.com.
Do you have marketing skills? Are you able to sell products and services to almost anyone? If so, then you could make good money by becoming a digital marketer.
As the name suggests, a digital marketer is basically an online marketer. Companies and entrepreneurs hire digital marketers to help them connect with their audiences online.
Digital marketing includes:
- Facebook Ad Management
- Google Adwords
- Content Marketing
- Email marketing
- SEO Management
- PPC Advertising
Similar to many of the above options, online jobs for college students who are interested in digital marketing are advertised on freelance sites such as Upwork and Fiverr.
The best way to get into digital marketing is through networking with potential clients through social media. Creating professional profiles on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook has helped many digital marketers connect with clients, and the best part is that it’s free. You can also set up a simple, professional website, through any of the previously mentioned platforms.
One area you might want to spend some money on is digital marketing courses, which vary in cost and time. If you can wrap your head around some of the basic concepts of digital marketing such as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), PPC Ads, and Social Media Marketing, you can earn a pretty decent income from this option.
Salaries for digital marketers vary greatly. The amount of time you put into this business and your specific area of interest will dictate your earning potential. For instance, the average hourly rate for a social media manager is $15.57, and you can earn an average of $19.20 for your skills in Google Analytics. To make great money as a digital marketer, you’ll need to get the right clients, and that usually takes time and a lot of initial outreach and networking.
One of the best online jobs for college students that the digital age has brought is that of a virtual assistant. What exactly is it? Well, a virtual assistant is basically an individual who works remotely and handles different tasks for clients. These tasks vary greatly, depending on the needs of the client. They include administrative tasks, email management, data entry, social media management, WordPress publishing, and content writing, to name a few.
The easiest way to start is by choosing one task (e.g., social media management) and creating a portfolio website to showcase some of your best work. This portfolio can be hosted online platforms such as Fiverr and Clearvoice, which will cost you nothing. You can then start approaching businesses that need your services.
It’s easier and less intimidating to begin by contacting smaller businesses, as opposed to larger, more established companies. And luckily for you, many small business owners and startup founders don’t have enough money to hire a full-time employee, but they still need help with these various administrative tasks.
So, the next best thing is to get a virtual assistant who will carry out these tasks for a couple or so days a week. This is where you come in! As a virtual assistant, you can expect to earn anything from $10 to $28 per hour.
The job of a Search Engine Evaluator is invaluable to online businesses. What exactly do they do? They analyze Search Engines’ (e.g., Google and Bing) search results for quality and relevancy.
You see, whenever you search for a term on Google, the results you get back aren’t random. Google determines those results based on various algorithms. As a Search Engine Evaluator, your task will be to rate these results, as well as the ads displayed in the search and on social media.
Some of the basic requirements for this job are:
- Research skills
- Fluency in English
- Knowledge of pop culture and current events
These online jobs for college students can be found on platforms such as:
Like many of the jobs on this list, very little starting capital is required. You basically need a computer, high-speed internet, understanding of how search engines like Google and Bing work, and you’re good to go.
You will be paid an hourly rate of around $12 to $15. Of course, the more experience you get and the bigger the company, the more you can earn.
This one on our list is great for all the photography enthusiasts out there. If you can take professional photographs, why not make some money from it?
The key here is to ensure that your pictures are unique and to get them on the right platform.
You can upload your stock photography on platforms such as:
Most platforms, like Shutterstock, are free to use, so you don’t need to worry about spending money to get your images out there. To ensure that you take good quality photos, you can invest in equipment such as cameras, tripods, and lighting. Anything around $300 to $500 to start off with can get you the right equipment.
The time you’ll spend on this side hustle is very flexible, making this option one of the best online jobs for college students.
When you upload your photographs on microstock websites, you’ll earn on commission. So, your pay will depend on the platform and how well your photos are received. It’s essential, then, to try to get your photographs on well-paying microstock platforms.
If you have an inner entrepreneur, buying and selling websites may just be for you. For this to be a lucrative experience, you’ll have to have an eye for a bargain. The aim is to buy a domain at a low price and sell it at a higher price.
The starting capital for this one on our list varies greatly. For instance, you can buy one site for just $10, and buy another for $1000. Understandably, if you’re going to opt for this as your side hustle, you’ll need to have a little money saved up to be able to buy the sites you want, so that you can have higher returns.
Unlike many side hustles, this option is less taxing on time. Once you’ve put your domain up for sale, all you need to do is wait for the offers to come in. This can take anything from a few hours to days or weeks.
As you might have guessed, there is no fixed rate for this side hustle. This makes it one of the most exciting and unpredictable online jobs for college students. To make really good money here, you’ll want to buy domains in niches that are consistently popular and will be over the long-term. These niches are generally:
- Money and finances
- Personal growth and relationships
- Health and wellness
- Sports and hobbies
Major companies and brands know the importance of a good, quality site. This is a big part of their businesses. To make sure that their website visitors have a good experience, they hire testing companies so that real people can test the user experience of their websites. Since apps have become so popular in recent years, app companies and brands do the same.
There are plenty of platforms that will pay you to test websites. They include:
Signing up on these platforms is free. The amount you make depends on how many tests you perform because you get paid for every test you complete. Generally, a test can take up to 20 minutes, so if you have a free weekend, you can set aside a couple of hours and earn some decent money.
As highlighted above, you get paid for each test you complete. So, the more you test, the more money you’ll make. Typically, the starting rate is about $10 per test.
Online surveys are one of the most popular online jobs for college students. The great thing is that they’re often quick, easy to get started with, and generally don’t require that much of your time.
Some of the best survey sites include:
You won’t need much to get started with this, just a computer and an internet connection. And the time you take varies, depending on how fast you answer the questions and how long the survey is.
Unlike many of the above side hustles, you won’t make a whole lot of money from survey money. Depending on how many surveys you can get through, you can make around $100 to $150 extra cash per month. These surveys are completed in just a few minutes and require minimal effort from your part, which is a good part of the reason why they’re often preferred online jobs for college students.
Accuracy and attention to detail are the key attributes needed to become a successful data entry professional. If you choose this as a side hustle, your task will be to ensure that you enter or update company data (information) into a computer system. Some jobs will require you to have knowledge of software programs like Microsoft Office. The great part about this option is that if you’re hired for this position, the company will train you on the software program they use.
You can find most data entry jobs on freelancing platforms such as Fiverr, Craigslist, and Indeed.
Another interesting option is Amazon’s crowdsourcing program – Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Once you register, you’ll have the opportunity to take on small data entry, data mining, and transcription jobs.
You generally won’t need to invest money into this option, just your time. And this is the main reason why this option is the last one on our list. College students generally don’t have a lot of free time.
As a freelance, work from home data entry worker, you can expect to make around $10 to $15 per hour, based on experience, amount of work, and the company that you freelance for.
There Are So Many Online Jobs for College Students to Choose From
Thanks to the digital age, working from home (or anywhere else) has never been easier. But of course, how much you earn depends on different factors, including the type of work you do and how much time you can spend on it.
As shown on the graph above, for college students who want to see a real return on investment, blogging and starting an online store are the most promising online jobs for college students because they offer both the highest long-term earning potential as well as great time flexibility.
Thinking of starting an online business?
Start a podcast with Buzzstream
Get a free website with Wix
Create an e-course with Thinkific
What side hustle have you tried so far? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.