what are the best jobs while you’re in school?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

I’m attending grad school in the fall to study in a very niche yet exciting and fast-growing industry (yay!). Since I’m older than 26 but still need health insurance and to pay rent, I’m going to be looking for either a part-time job with health benefits or a full-time job with flexible hours and health benefits. The obvious choices to me are Starbucks, retail, etc. but a friend of mine recently she said she worked at a country club when she went to grad school, which was great because it paid well and had weekend and evening hours.

I was wondering if your readers had any experience with/advice about jobs that provided them with flexibility and health insurance while attending school full time. (I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’d be a great fit for the food/bar industry, just because I have dietary restrictions and am not much of a drinker and would probably have difficulty speaking knowledgeably about food or drink I don’t consume myself!)

Readers, please share your ideas in the comment section.

{ 253 comments… read them below }

    1. Be Gneiss*

      Also other types of event venues/catering. Those are typically nights and weekends, and you aren’t expected to make recommendations or be knowledgeable about the food and drink, beyond maybe knowing a handful of things about that day’s menu.

      1. Mr. Tumnus*

        Seconding this. We have two events venues, and most of our employees are in college or grad school. They have very flexible scheduling and you don’t have to know a lot about food; most of the times there is a set menu and just a few appetizers or specialty cocktails to know.

        1. Cece*

          I agree with working in events support! During my PhD I worked at an arts/events venue, and the flexibility fit nicely around library time. I didn’t handle food directly, but it was nice to have a job where the evening’s program had a defined start/end (unlike academic work haha) and where are the problems to solve were logistical rather than intellectual.

      2. Office Sweater Lady*

        I will also chime on on the catering front. Specifically, if the university you attend has a catering section (for conferences, weddings, etc) that can be a great place to work while in grad school. They tend to hire students, so they are used to that type of employee. During my masters, I worked part time for the university as a catering assistant and it was great– flexible, with the option to work more or fewer hours as I was able, and fairly well paying. I think you are more likely to be offered benefits with a big employer like this than at a local cafe. Unlike restaurant work, the job is more about bringing out the pre-plated food quickly or making deliveries and set up around campus, so there is no expectation for a high level of food-related knowledge.

        1. New Mom*

          Great suggestion. I worked at the on campus catering when in undergraduate and it was fun, paid well, easy and not stressful.

        2. emo emu*

          Agreed – I was a cater-waiter during grad school – catering arm of a high-end restaurant that did rich folks’ weddings, charity fundraisers, and holiday gatherings. I was in a big city and it paid really well and didn’t require my brain (just a lot of walking) and was easier than restaurant waitressing.
          In undergrad, I worked on the events staff of the performing arts center – helping to load-in/load-out touring performers, set up hospitality, “guard” dressing rooms and the like.
          The upside to both of these work situations is the flexibility – if I wasn’t available for a particular event, that was fine. But that’s also the downside – it’s not as consistent/reliable an income as an hourly job on a set schedule.

        3. BethDH*

          One issue though is that I’ve never seen a university position directed at students that was eligible for health benefits.

    2. Lady_Lessa*

      Let me encourage this. At a work party, at the boss’s country club, a few weeks ago, one of the waiters is a college student studying accounting. As a waiter, he was both good and knowledgeable, and I applaud him for his choice of majors, since accountants are in many areas.

    3. I'm Just Here For The Cats!!*

      I know OP said they have allergies so food service might not be the best for them, but they might be able to work front of the house, like as a host.

    4. I have opinions...*

      This won’t address the insurance, etc. But if you can find part time work in your field of study, it is incredibly helpful. The teachers will be teaching theory to the rest of the students, but you will have direct experience actually doing whatever it is. It can make the school part infinitely easier.

  1. Justme, The OG*

    Look for admin or other type jobs at the university. For me that meant health insurance and a tuition discount.

    1. MsM*

      Plus, you don’t get nearly as much pushback when you say you won’t be available at a certain time because of exams.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        Absolutely. Also, some academic jobs for students (like library circulation desk workers, security guards swiping people into a building, or office assistants) often are fine with your reading or doing homework at your desk during quiet times. That time is GOLD when it comes to getting your homework done and being able to study.

        I’m finding that these days, my full-time students are often working 30+ hours per week in jobs like retail or food service that have no down time, and they are accordingly not completing their work.

        When I was in college, we were told to allow 3 hours outside of class to study/do homework for each class credit. So if you took 15 credits, you should allow 45 hours per week to do your work for those classes. Today, those hours are going towards students’ jobs, not their learning, and so many of my students aren’t learning nearly as much as they should. It’s very frustrating, even though I know the money is very important to my students.

        1. Rex Libris*

          I worked as a parking garage attendant for my university, which worked out to spending about 80% of my shift sitting in an air conditioned booth studying.

    2. Tio*

      This is what I did most of school. They had specific flexible jobs such as working with the cafeteria, campus safety (great if you wanna work mostly nights/weekends), or other admin things.

    3. kbeers0su*

      I see many other comments here that echo this, and I’ll confirm as someone who has worked at several universities. The perks of working on campus (and not just in “student” roles) is that you’re often eligible for tuition discounts, and they often have cheaper health insurance for students, but also some part-time jobs are eligible for benefits. I would encourage you to reach out to the person who oversaw admissions for your specific graduate program. Tell them you’re interested in both (jobs and health insurance) and see if they can connect you to both.

      1. Mztery1*

        I would add don’t look for work and retail. While they offer flexible hours their busy times often coincide with exams and other academic busy times.

        1. NotRealAnonForThis*

          “Flexible” hours in retail means “flexible in a way that benefits the employer”. Serves to remember this.

    4. Antilles*

      Many of these sorts of university admin jobs also come with a decent amount of downtime. The office needs somebody physically sitting at the front desk to answer the phone, help students who wander in with questions, sign for mail/packages, etc…but there’s chunks of time where nothing is happening that you can use the time to study.

      1. ecnaseener*

        Yes, idk if they’re always open to grad students but at least for undergrad the most coveted jobs were stuff like the theater’s box office.

      2. Nannerdoodle*

        Also if the university has a gym, work at the front desk. It’s all downtime other than the occasional question or making sure people are swiping their ID.

    5. PamMB*

      Second this. I was a teaching assistant in my dept in grad school and that provided healthcare and covered tuition for each quarter I was working. It was a bit of a hustle bc there weren’t enough jobs to go around for all the people in my program. I’d check for opportunities with your professors and in other departments that are either tangentially related to your field or any other prior experience you’ve had. We were in a public health program but one of my classmates was able to get a biology TA’ship because she used to do bench science. Also see if research assistant positions are offered.

      1. UncleFrank*

        Jumping here to recommend this too — even if your department doesn’t have funding for you, see if you can TA in another department. Try departments with overlap or that overlap your undergrad degree if it’s different. OR if you speak a foreign language they are often looking for people in the language departments in my experience.

      2. NotHannah*

        Does the program offer student health insurance? I went to grad school at the age of 53 and my school offered excellent health insurance. I was able to sign up my spouse as well. Then your job options are much more flexible.

        1. Ama*

          Yes, I had insurance through my grad school when I was a student (pre-ACA so I was kicked off my parent’s insurance as soon as I was out of undergrad). I’m sure it wasn’t the greatest coverage (luckily I didn’t really need it) but it was better than nothing.

        2. longtime ago and far away*

          thirding this. I used my grad school’s student health until I got a FT gig working in the university library system. It was a big benefit.

      3. Fart Noise*

        I was a TA in grad school that not only covered tuition, but also gave me a parking pass, a stipend, and a small locking study carrel in the library that I could use as an office. I did use my loan money to cover the insurance through the school, but ended up paying next to nothing for my Master’s degree.

    6. K*

      I was going to suggest exactly this. In undergrad, I worked first as a receptionist for one of the academic advisors, then as an operator for the university switchboard. Both were student-specific jobs and both allowed me to do homework if there was downtime.

    7. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I agree! I did both custodial and food service work at the university I attended. It was nice to listen to audio books or music while I vacuumed, wiped tables, or emptied trash cans. And because those things tend to be done when people are out of the way, I worked part time either late nights (8-12 pm) or early mornings (4-8 am). Admin work on-campus might be more difficult since those positions tend to work normal business days/hours. I had roommates that were tutors, lab assistants, grounds crew, concessions or box office at sport events…

      … but all of this depends heavily on what jobs your university makes available for students.

    8. LW #1*

      Yup, I did this for 2 degrees. It was fantastic. Pay wasn’t amazing, but benefits were very good. Came with loads of downtime to do schoolwork and I never, ever worked past 4 PM. A++.

    9. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      Ditto this. Many universities have benefits for part time positions. You pay a little more for the benefits than a full time, but they are one of the few part time jobs that had benefits.

    10. SometimesCharlotte*

      Just be aware of the difference in classification for regular staff vs student positions. Student positions may have more flexible hours that you can work around your class schedule, but tend to be fewer hours and no benefits. Staff positions will have benefits and possibly tuition remission, but they consider you staff first and you need to work your classes around your job.

      My daughter is currently working full time at a state university. In addition to full health benefits, she receives full tuition waiver, just paying fees and books. While the waiver will cover up to three classes per semester, she can only take one during work hours, with supervisor approval, and she needs to make up the time – usually by coming in early/staying late. It has worked out great for her though and highly recommends it if you can make it work!

    11. Mad Mac*

      Yes to this! I tutored undergrads in my field at my university, which was one of the best-paying jobs on campus and came with guaranteed raises not only every semester but also whenever we reached a new certification level. And since the tutoring center was on campus and mostly staffed by students, they were incredibly understanding about our workload and availability limitations—we could essentially work as much or as little as we wanted.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        Yes, tutoring through a tutoring center is another awesome option for while you’re in school. And again, it’s the kind of job where during slow times, like when someone misses an appointment or no one schedules an appointment, your boss will likely be fine with your studying and doing homework.

    12. Sparkle Llama*

      In addition to admin roles there are a wide variety of student roles that are generally filled by grad students. Depending on your skills and major some things I knew people did: tutor in the athletic department to help athletes keep their grades up while missing tons of cla

      1. Sparkle Llama*

        Coaching a club sport, working in tech support, writing assistance. Graduate assistant positions are the best since you tend to get great tuition benefits and I think we got full health insurance at 20 hours a week, but there are many other options.

    13. Becky*

      This was undergrad for me but yes I found on campus jobs were the most flexible in allowing me to schedule shifts around classes and exams. However, the pay for the on campus jobs I had was low.

    14. Hills to Die on*

      This is what I did. I was a research assistant in the same area as my major and it opened so many doors for me. I felt like I had an edge over my peers.

    15. Rock Prof*

      I second looking for TA/RA roles, though I went to grad school in a field where TA/RA positions were guaranteed, so it’s a bit different.
      For undergrads, on-campus jobs are really great. There’s actually a fair amount of higher ed research that ties working on campus to better outcomes in terms of graduating on time and general academic success (partially because these jobs can be very flexible around the semester and you’re on campus more and there for more likely to use available resources like office hours/tutoring). My current school (a tiny liberal arts school) really encourages on campus employment and does some organized career development stuff around it, like resume writing and so on. (Granted, I don’t know if their career skills information is particularly well done, but it sounds nice on paper.)

    16. Y'all come back now, ya hear?*

      I worked full time for my university during grad school. I got good benefits, made a not great salary but got into faculty/staff housing, and made a deal with them that I would work there for two years I graduated Because of that, I got my MBA for $500.

    17. Lazy Cat's Mom*

      I worked at the campus library while in college. They understood student schedules and sometimes I worked an hour or two in the morning and another hour later in the day.
      And they have very early time slots (before classes) so staff can pick up discarded books and re-shelve when students aren’t around.

    18. Part-time Poet*

      I had health insurance through the school when I went to grad school (as an old person) and also applied for a scholarship, which I received, and also applied for and got an assistant position tutoring and doing research for several professors. So, if they have those types of opportunities and positions, apply for those as well. They also allow for a very flexible schedule.

    19. higheredrefugee*

      I worked full-time based on my JD in a university to do my graduate work. It covered tuition, I was paid a lawyer salary, and I continued to save toward retirement. Look for Coordinator and Asst or Associate Director titles in higher ed listings.

  2. kendall^2*

    You might look at part-time jobs at universities: I’ve had two, and both came with insurance and other benefits (one was better about how much they paid, but both had something reasonable). Added bonus: possible tuition benefits as well (both my jobs had it, but in wildly different versions, so may or may not be useful).

    1. Mantic Re*

      Depending on the nature of your grad program on-campus positions might be a really good options I worked my way through my PhD by taking on TA and graduate student researcher positions. I focused on finding positions with few remission so that my fees were covered (including health insurance). It was a bit of a hustle since the same positions aren’t available each semester and so we had to keep our ears to the ground and sometimes seek out positions in different divisions. This can be easier if your a doctoral student than a masters student though since not all grad programs are eligible for these type of positions. Usually anyone is eligible for non fee-remission positions though. Outside of the university positions most folks I knew did tutoring and during the summers worked as adjuncts or in summer schools/camps. I also knew a couple people who did child care or worked as a caretaker (but they had training in those fields).

    2. Rc*

      Agree to look at on campus jobs. I was a writing tutor at my university among other jobs I had. No benefits but it paid pretty well.

    3. KatieP*

      Came here to second this. Depending on your University, this will probably come with benefits, and may also include tuition if you’re able to get an Assistantship. Don’t be afraid to look outside your degree for an Assistantship – there may be faculty who need exactly what you bring to the table.

  3. mcm*

    Some grad programs have grad student insurance that you can opt in to, in case that expands your job options.

    1. Harper the Other One*

      This was what I was coming to suggest – I’m in Canada so didn’t need insurance to cover all health care needs, but it was definitely cheaper to buy into the grad plan for prescription and dental coverage than it would have been to get myself a separate plan.

    2. Sue*

      Yes, check out your school plan. Our daughter got better coverage for less $ with her school than if we had kept her on our insurance.

      1. Newly minted higher ed*

        yes, both my grad schools required grad students to have insurance and to opt out your plan had to be silver level on the state exchange or better (2 different states). We were looking at this for when my husband returned and the student insurance is a lot less than an unsubsidized exchange plan.

        I used mine for a number of specialty visits and ongoing management of health issues and other than some short-sighted rules about certain medicines they wouldn’t cover unless I took the very dangerous to me cheap version first, my out of pocket costs haven’t been much different than employer insurance. if you’re getting a waiver from the school, it won’t cover the insurance. plus, if you have a decent to good student clinic, you don’t have to pay out of pocket for anything there.

        granted it’s been a few years since I worked closely with student insurance, but as of 2015 theey did require referrals, and sometimes won’t pay for ER visits if they could have been handled by going to urgent care or if one doesn’t get pre authorization, which left more than one of my students with uncovered expensive ER and hospital visits, so that should be looked at. But they do have an extensive, free telehealth service that can handle most regular needs.

    3. Begonia*

      The grad program I used to work for required all students to have insurance, either through the school or externally.

    4. Silver Robin*

      My grad program did, it was limited but it existed. I did not use it except for a couple appointments but I had classmates who made more use of it.

    5. JSPA*

      Came to say this–in tech fields, and with major or first-string state universities, it’s quite common for grad students to be able to access student insurance and/or have free access to student health services. I’ve heard that in some places, they instead can access the same insurance as post-docs (which may have a higher deductible, but likely more flexibility as far as going outside of student health services).

    6. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

      Was coming to comment just to say this. My (big, private, US) university had that option for all students and it was, while not free, much cheaper than other options I had when I was attending college, and I had no issues using it.

    7. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      This is probably your best option. The number of part time jobs with flexibility in hours AND insurance is very very limited. Go for the job that works for your schedule and get the benefits through the university. It seems expensive when you are seeing it in a lump sum vs payroll deduction, but it tends to work out to less than you would pay for payroll deduction at a full time job.

    8. RecoveringSWO*

      +1. While I was in school, my spouse’s Employer increased their rates for dependents and I ended up using my school’s insurance for the last half of my program.

    9. Three Flowers*

      This! Check to see if grad assistantships might be available, even outside your department. If you can chase one down, you might get a subsidy on student health insurance. (I hated almost everything about my large grad institution, but that insurance was gold, and nearly free.)

    10. Pretty as a Princess*

      Yes! I am at a university and our student insurance plan is VERY affordable. Far less than the premiums for lots of employer plans and the coverage and network are excellent (including gender affirming and abortion care).

    11. irritable vowel*

      Yes to this. Most of the people commenting here about student jobs are overlooking the fact that hourly jobs for students on campus don’t typically come with benefits. Most US universities will offer a health plan for students (and depending on the state, may require you to take it unless you can show proof that you have coverage through a job). This is going to be a better bet and offer you more flexibility in the work you can take than trying to find a part-time job with benefits, IMO.

  4. EMP*

    Have you looked into health insurance through your school? I was eligible as a grad student. It was extra money but it would mean you could be more flexible in your job hunt if you didn’t need to find one that would get you insurance in a part time position.

    Tutoring is a classic student job for a reason! Especially in a major city you can get quite high hourly rates.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Yes! Or if that isn’t an option, it’s possible it would be easier to obtain insurance through your state’s exchange (depending on the state) and focus on getting jobs that pay well enough to let you afford that, versus being limited to jobs that provide insurance themselves.

    2. MsM*

      Standardized test prep might be a good option, too. I admittedly don’t know how great the benefits are, but it helped pay the rent for a few of my friends for a while.

    3. NorthernTeacher*

      Tutoring can be good because of the flexible hours, but only if you can get health insurance through another source. But be cautious as there are many sites out there that take big commission fees, have scammers trying to get personal information or require unpaid time (e.g. mandatory free trials) to connect with students. It is possible to sign with a company that arranges students for you. But they have less flexibility and pay less. Once you have some success, you may have some students schedule with you directly. More independence, but the added stress of tracking payments.
      Anyone considering this should keep in mind that you will be responsible for your own taxes, and it is considered self-employment by the CRA if tutoring in Canada. I auto-transfer 30% from every payment into a saving account, so it is ready for tax time. Then once taxes are paid, the remaining is put into an RRSP. Essentially trying to make up a little for this not being a side job with a pension.

      1. EMP*

        I just did jobs for cash through the university job board >_> Definitely under the table but basically parents would post ISO tutors and I just worked it out directly with them, no commission/websites/needed

    4. June*

      Seconding tutoring – Wyzant is a reliable site (not an ad, I swear, but my partner tutors through them.) They take 25% but you can set your rate accordingly, and my partner’s built up some repeat clients who now pay him directly. Not sure what kind of degree you’re getting, LW, but my partner’s doing a PhD and once he passed his initial exams he raised his rates.

    5. Harry*

      An overnight weekend secretary job at a hospital might work for you! They’re often 7pm-7am, but after 11 the phone rings very rarely and you’d be able to do schoolwork. You could work two shifts and have 24 hours, leaving the weekdays free for classes. No special training required, and the health insurance is good!

  5. Cmdrshrd*

    I have hear from some people evening 2/3pm to 10/11pm, gas station clerk, currency exchange, office door person and other similar retail environments. It depends on the specific location but if you work evening hours they will often not care what you do when it is not busy. I know a few people who said they were able to study/do homework when it was slow. It mainly involved sitting at a desk, and checking people out/in.

    1. Not like a regular teacher*

      Security guard and parking lot attendant also spring to mind as evening jobs with a lot of downtime!

    2. mskyle*

      Yes, while I was in grad school (for a library degree) I worked second shift in university libraries (you don’t have to be in library school though!) and it was great for getting stuff done. I worked Sunday-Thursday, 3:30pm to midnight at one job, then 3pm to 11pm at a different one. I was able to take mostly morning classes and there were a couple of semesters where I negotiated to be able to start late because I had an early-afternoon class that meant I couldn’t get in until 4 or something.

      The other double-edged sword of second shift is that it really cuts down on your availability for social events – even more time for studying/classes!

    3. Mutive*

      Definitely! I had some great evening receptionist jobs for companies that wanted the phones answered and the doors opened, but weren’t really open. So my job was to sit at a desk, maybe take one phone call an hour, and do my homework.

  6. Less Bread More Taxes*

    I had two part-time jobs in college: a movie theatre and a computer repair shop. I only worked weekends at the repair shop, but it was a small company, and I enjoyed it. The movie theatre was great because of the hours. I organized my class schedule to be in the mornings and then worked evenings from 5pm to 12 on weeknights and 5-2 or 3am on the weekends. Plus, free movies and popcorn!

      1. Jinni*

        I did! I was just telling my son about this job. I was happy to work weekends, which full-time folks weren’t. Once I saw how the popcorn (at that chain) was made, I opted out. But free movies were great.

  7. GigglyPuff*

    I worked in my field part time during grad school for the school, but undergrad I worked for a doggie daycare and pretty much loved it. Yes it was gross sometimes, probably doesn’t pay great, but it was a period of time where I didn’t have to “think”, didn’t have to be on for anyone, and had a set list of things to get done each shift. Plus dogs.

  8. fine tipped pen aficionado*

    There are almost definitely better options because the conditions are pretty terrible and the work is brutal on your body, but UPS gives full benefits to part time employees in their warehouses, including health insurance. They operate 24/7 so there are options for shift times. Again, not an easy or comfortable job, but if you want to save your brain for grad school and you don’t yet have joint pain… it’s an option?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      In a similar vein, 2nd shift manufacturing/assembly jobs. May be more or less taxing than warehouse work, depending on the specific job. 2nd shift generally runs from 3pm to midnight, so it’s a good option if you want to take morning/early afternoon classes and 2nd shift positions are generally easier to get than 1st shift positions.

      Positives include free weekends and (depending on your degree) a possible chance to transfer to an office job at the same company.

      Drawbacks, in addition to the physicality, are that the hours may not work for your circadian rhythm and shift times are rigid.

    2. Need a good default*

      I’ll add, as I work at Amazon as a second job, but they also will work with you.

    3. Hillary*

      I was coming here to say this – UPS & FedEx both have half-time early morning and late afternoon schedules. It’s physically demanding but leaves brain cycles free, pays well (UPS is starting at $26/hr in my city), has good benefits + tuition reimbursement. Locations with “Hub” in the name are busier. Similarly, a lot of trucking companies have 2nd or 3rd shifts where they’ll teach you to drive a forklift and work the dock. Some of them pay well and have decent benefits.

      A lot of manufacturers are getting more creative because they have to. My last employer had a during-school shift for parents and an after-school shift for high schoolers. Turns out it’s pretty great to make better money than fast food, have a predictable schedule, and not have to talk to customers.

      1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

        It may be because I have ADHD, but I really think people undervalue how nice it is to work in a job that doesn’t require a lot of decision-making. Or a job that truly ends when you leave work.

        One of my favorite jobs was running the stock team at an Old Navy. It’s very clear what you have to do and how to do it and when you leave work, it’s over. Unfortunately my joints could not sustain that work long term but I did genuinely love it and it was soooo much less stressful than what I do now.

        My dad started at UPS as a second job just because the insurance was so crap working for the Girl Scouts, but now it’s his only job because the benefits are so good and with like 20 years of longevity and the opportunity for overtime whenever he wants it, the pay is better than he would be making elsewhere. But it is really physically demanding and the conditions have been really dangerous for the last several years including on the job deaths so folk should really think that through.

    4. ChrisZ*

      I can also put in a plug for UPS. My son works there loading trucks. Roughly 5 hours in the very early morning, you won’t need a gym membership anymore, full benefits and great pay. He works M-F with weekends off. And they are often hiring! Not the job for everyone, but he says if you push yourself through the first couple of weeks you will be fine :)

  9. ABBBK*

    schools provide health insurance plans for their full time students (for a $$$$). I also had good luck on medicaid as a grad student. as for rent: I worked on campus or as an RA/TA or in an office job related to my studies.

  10. Ana Gram*

    Personally, I worked as an EMT in college. It’s super niche but it has the best pay and most flexibility of anything I could find. I worked two 24 hour shifts each week and they were willing to switch them up each semester for my class schedule. I got full benefits and 8 hours of overtime every week. 24 hour shifts could be hard but the payoff was worth it. EMT in my state is typically a 4 month class but shorter, more intensive classes are available.

  11. Jade*

    I worked on campus during college. No comprehensive health insurance but many campuses have a health clinic and you could buy insurance through the exchange.

  12. Former Retail Lifer*

    Whole Foods, CVS, and Costco offer insurance to part-time employees. You had to maintain a certain number of hours for insurance but I don’t remember what it was. Because those are retail jobs, lots of different shifts are available. Costco is known as a very good place to work. CVS is decent as far as retail goes. They pay overtime for holidays, and TRIPLE TIME for Christmas. A friend worked for Whole Foods years ago and loved it but I don’t know anyone who’s worked there recently so I don’t know how it is these days.

    1. OrdinaryJoe*

      Whole Food is still great! Plus, if you work in the prepared food section, they start around 4:00am, from what I understand from a friend.

    2. Former Retail Lifer*

      Whole Foods might not offer insuance anymore to part-timers, but I know that the other two I mentioned still do, or did up until recently.

  13. Eliza*

    When I was in grad school I worked full time at another university in the city doing admin stuff. Because I was working with people who were working with students, they were very understanding when I needed to take off for school-related things. I also intentionally chose classes that met in the evening so I could work standard full-time hours, so that’s something to consider.

    Both my graduate and undergraduate institution offered student health insurance plans, and I think that practice is pretty common, so I would also look into that.

  14. OrdinaryJoe*

    A good friend got in with a hotel call/customer service center. It was 24/7 and they had shifts that were always opening in the evening (US evening hours) and the weekends. Plus, even 5 years ago, it was ‘work from home’, giving them a lot of flexibility.

  15. Rose*

    My husband worked security through grad school for a well known rent a cop” company.

    He mostly sat alone in old buildings. He used almost all of the time to do his homework.

    My garden Programa, so intense. It was worth it for me to just pay for the health insurance. I couldn’t have made it out alive working and being in school full-time. Once I was in school, I wound up getting highly paid part time work with some professors. It looked great on my résumé, and I made triple what I would’ve made in food service.

  16. Lemon Squeezy*

    My sister-in-law worked nights as a hotel desk clerk while she was in school. It worked really well for her because the nights didn’t interfere with her school schedule and when it was not busy (which it pretty frequently was, due to most guests being checked in) she was able to do her homework at her desk.

    1. Interplanet Janet*

      Came here to recommend this! I worked many jobs in school full-time and all had to be flexible. Some are easier to break into than others:

      2nd shift hotel desk clerk: Probably the easiest of the jobs that I had to find. I typically worked 3pm-11pm or 4pm to midnight, so I was out of class by the time my shifts started and after the initial check-in rush, I had lots of downtime to do homework.

      Coverage-based nursing home custodian: Admittedly not for the faint of heart. I was a floater for full time custodians at a VA Veteran’s Home to cover shifts when others were sick or on vacation, so it wasn’t full time and scheduling was flexible.

      TV Master Control / Radio DJ : This would probably be the hardest to break into. I worked at a local PBS / NPR affiliate. I was able to asynchronously record my on-air segments whenever it fit into my schedule, and in the TV master control, there were always evening or weekend shifts that other students didn’t want I was able to grab. I made good money eating packed food and watching an 8 hour marathon of Downton Abby on Thanksgiving one year!

      Through the universities:

      Computer Lab Monitor for evening classes: exactly what it sounds like. I got teachers set up, was around to answer basic troubleshooting questions, and then cleaned up and locked the labs at the end of the night.

      Grad Program Intern Supervisor: This one was through my program, so I worked on campus supervising undergrad students working more simple jobs in my field. Basically, I was a wave-breaker between the full fledged professional that supervised me and the students, handling minor issues like scheduling, simple inquiries from our users, etc. This one was great because I was able to work up to 30 hours if I wanted to.

      I’m pretty sure all of these offered insurance, although some plans were definitely better than others!

    2. DEEngineer*

      I came here to recommend this also! I worked the 11pm-7am shift at a hotel and the owners never minded me doing my homework as long as I was prompt to help guests and did all my work. At least they knew I was awake and being responsible. My duties averaged about 4 hours per 8 hour shift, so it was often easy to get all my homework done. The challenge was the schedule – it isn’t easy. It also doesn’t pay particularly well, and I had no social life, but it worked for me at the time.

    3. J*

      One of my college friends had a boyfriend who was doing this. He used all his perks to basically get them free lodging on their grad school scouting trips and eventually their honeymoon too. He definitely chose one of the less weird hotels in town though and managed to choose the one that had really good cinnamon rolls which he often brought back to us, so maybe I’m biased.

  17. Noble Jay*

    You also might want to look at museums and cultural institutions. Some of them have benefits for part time work, and can be flexible with hours as well. :)

  18. Biologist*

    I can say that my university is absolutely desperate for clerical and administrative staff right now, and very willing to work with candidates on part-time and remote arrangements. I suspect that this is the case at many public institutions. I would look closely at postings on your institutions web site and also follow up with the graduate school for guidance.

  19. Rage*

    Do you have any group homes for people with disabilities? Many times they require weekend and/or overnight staffing, and those are the hardest shifts to fill. I work for an org that has these, and many of our weekend/weekend 3rd shift staff are full time students because it works so well for them to have their weekdays free for class. They are still full time employees and have access to health insurance.

    A plus is if the org will allow you to work on classwork during your overnight shift, as the residents are usually asleep and you are only there for monitoring and support.

    1. Laughably Bear*

      I was also going to suggest group homes! That is my field and I have many students at my sites. Depending on the site, there is a lot of downtime for homework but also many find it more rewarding than retail. It depends a lot on the site and agency though. Many offer a lot of perks and flexibility now due to the staffing shortages. Training is usually provided so often no experience required.

      1. Rage*

        Oh, I totally forgot that part – training! Yes, we don’t require any initial experience for our direct care professionals, and we have a very extensive training program. I actually work at a residential school, not a group home for adult services, so it’s a little different, and some of our kiddos are under age 12, so there is definitely a variety. But it is SO very rewarding! These kids are amazing, and I’m now on the path to a Masters degree because of them.

  20. Taquito*

    Hotels often have overnight shifts that are pretty quiet, and allow you to do work at the desk, as long as you’re available for guests. I think the shifts are long, but there is flexibility depending on your class schedule.

  21. Peanut Hamper*

    I had a third-shift security job once. I manned a gate that maybe three or four semi-trucks came through each night. I had the rest of the time to read and study. Except for the hours (which meant I slept after classes but before work) it was great.

  22. TerraTenshi*

    Night Audit at a hotel might be an option depending on your sleep schedule. It usually runs overnight 11pm to 7am and is a quiet time for customers so you can get some studying in. If overnights don’t work, most hotels also have 3pm to 11pm shifts as well.

    If you’re looking for part-time with benefits, try looking for either a lab or something like a blood bank as a driver moving samples/products around. In my experience a lot of them offer off hour schedules that work better with school and decent benefits.

  23. Michelle Smith*

    Find out how much it will cost to get health insurance through your university. For me as a law student, that was a far cheaper and better option for me than getting insurance on my own (until the ACA was passed and I was thankfully young enough to return to my parents insurance, which I understand you can’t do). I was not able to work for money as a first year law student, so I can’t speak to part time jobs at the grad school level. Back when I was an undergrad though, I got an extremely cushy job at the undergraduate library in the microfiche department. As you can imagine, very few people needed to use that equipment, so I got to spend a lot of my hours getting paid to study. It was great! Highly recommend looking into on campus opportunities and particularly at a library.

  24. Koala Tea*

    I loved my time working at my local library. Hours were flexible and the work low key. I was able to read/study when it was slow. It also expanded my literary exposure which led to finding some great new books to read.
    I also worked for the theatre department during my summers at college. Loved it! I learned so many skills; using various power tools, basic sewing techniques, basic electrical and rewiring… Lots of skills that have paid off over the years in my daily life. I can repair my clothes, rewire a lamp, execute small projects. Super handy! Hours were evenings and weekends. Folks traveling through had The Best stories to tell too.

    Good luck finding something that fits your needs!

    1. Jenny*

      Libraries generally don’t pay a ton but they are a great place to work. Public & university libraries have weekend and evening hours usually. Special libraries and archives can be neat places to work and quieter.

  25. Emmie*

    – The opening shift at the front desk of a gym. Executives often work out that early. Country clubs are good too.
    – A part time job at the university.
    – Working security. It’s often a boring desk job where people can do homework.

  26. AGC*

    also had health insurance through my university position, but that is very school-dependent. If they do offer it, that’s probably your best option.

    I also worked at Starbucks several years ago, right after college, both full-time and part-time with a paid internship. The store environment is *highly* dependent on your manager (I worked at 2 stores and for 4 managers), but the pay and benefits were very good and honestly even my bad managers were very flexible with scheduling. Evening and weekend shifts are not the most desirable for most full-timers. It also doesn’t require extensive knowledge of food/drink. They train you on coffee tasting notes, so even if you don’t drink it yourself, you can regurgitate some facts at inquiring customers. The (lower) number of options and the short time spent talking to each customer make it easy to say “oh yeah, people love that!” even if you’ve never tried it. (I should add that this was before any of the organizing movements, so it’s possible that has changed the work environment.)

  27. Meghan*

    I worked at target all through undergrad and grad school. I liked it because I was able to take leaves of absences for breaks and stuff when I went home. That said, also look to see if the school itself offers jobs. And usually the schools offers health insurance to its grad students, so look out for that. That said, a country club would be an excellent choice if you’re searching outside of the school for jobs.

  28. LHOI*

    I would start with the school you’re attending–a lot of schools have grad student-specific work-study jobs. If not, see if they have resources or connections that can help you find something that will work well. There’s a big difference between “flexible” and “compatible with being a grad student.”

    1. ccsquared*

      This is key – grad school is a lot less structured than college, which means it can be easy to get distracted. This is doubly true if you are in a research program where you need to keep up with your coursework but also be constantly working on building up your resume of publishable work. Overnight shifts or physically taxing jobs are likely to create an uphill battle for staying on task; I had enough trouble the semester I had to trade my cushy RA job for TAing a section.

      My thought would be on-campus jobs for steady income and insurance if possible, then look for something like tutoring, seasonal jobs, etc for extra cash that could be picked up during periods where you are not taking classes. There is nothing wrong with being a little broke if it means extra time to get the full value out of your degree.

  29. DisneyChannelThis*

    You don’t have to drink/eat the high end food to work at a country club, plenty of folks do so, just be able to make up suggestions (usually the more $$$ option) if asked. 90% of front of house staff are BSing anytime they say “Oh the ravioli is great here!” anyway….

    Catering through the university is another similar option, you can work random events.

    If you can, look at what related jobs your school has, if you are a masters/phd student can you work in a lab related to your subject? Can be a huge career booster. Just make sure you can get insurance through the school then.

    Night auditor at hotel someone already mentioned upthread, lots of downtime, lots of boring overnights.

    Private childcare/Date nights babysitting can be great supplemental income but don’t offer benefits.

    1. Gumby*

      I second the childcare option if you can get student health insurance. And depending on where you live. I was a nanny when I was in undergrad and made $20/hour. In the late 1990s. Which was more than retail or on-campus student aid positions at that time. (Student aid positions were various jobs reserved for students with a work-study component in their financial aid package. They paid more than minimum wage. Though not $20/hr. In fact current on-campus minimum wage is just $17.25/hr. I think it was maybe… $12ish back then.)

      I had one main family that was extremely flexible about my time and were able to adjust depending on my class schedule each quarter. Roughly 15 – 20 hrs/week from them. Then an occasional side gig with 2 or 3 other families. The thing is – if you are reliable, etc. you don’t even have to look for opportunities because your name will be passed around from parent to parent.

  30. Kari-Ann*

    I can’t reccomend catering enough! you don’t have to know the food or drinks that well because they’re paid for already. Depending on the employer it may be opt in so you can add more shifts or cut back based on your need and availability. Plus, you can take leftover food home with you.

    1. Roland*

      I loved all the delicious free food from my days in catering. The fact that it was so common to order 3 pans of something and eat 1.5 was sad from a food waste perspective, but great from a leftovers perspective when it was something I liked.

  31. fallfromfaith*

    I worked at a theater box office during college. Weekend and evening hours, only short shifts. I also had one regular daytime shift, where all I did was answer phone calls. Hardly anyone bothered me during the day shift and I got a lot of studying done.

  32. MourningStar*

    If you are going to university in the United States you will be required to carry health insurance, and many of the larger ones provide it. I work at one – and our student health insurance is FANTASTIC. Some students look at it as just an extra cost per semester, and try to shop around for something cheaper, but for the price (a little under $700 a semester, that can be covered by your student loans/scholarships.etc), you will never have as good of health insurance in your life. Everything is covered almost 100%, with just copays – including ER visits, hospital stays, doctor visits, etc.

    1. ArchivesPony*

      “If you are going to university in the United States you will be required to carry health insurance” No not always. My grad program in the US didn’t require students to carry health insurance

  33. TeenieBopper*

    If you have a UPS hub (specifically UPS, not FedEx or DHL) in your area, you could try there. From what I remember (which, admittedly, was 15 years ago) starting pay was decent, and they had a health insurance plan because it was a union shop. It’d pretty physical work, and it’s only during the evenings, but it’s another option.

    1. TeenieBopper*

      Additionally, depending on your state, you might qualify for medicaid. Coverage is really good. Not as good as Medicare, but better than every private plan I’ve been on since finishing grad school 10 years ago.

  34. Amanda*

    I had a receptionist job at a pretty quiet insurance office when I was in grad school. I had some tasks each day, but also plenty of time where my task was to look busy and wait for the phone to ring, and course readings and homework were perfect activities for those times.

    1. Mona Lisa Vito*

      I did the same in grad school! I was able to take only night classes, so while it took a little bit longer (I think I had to do one extra semester? it was a decade ago now!) it was a great way to do my homework during the day and dedicate my evenings to classes, if you have flexibility in your class schedule.

      1. Amanda*

        Yup, I was in the same situation – I took all of my classes either at night or online, and my program was structured in a way that this was possible.

  35. Professional Button Pusher*

    When I was in grad school, I worked multiple PT jobs in libraries and IT on campus. This worked out well, bc I was always close to my classes and study spaces. The hours added up to full time, but didn’t qualify for benefits, so I bought student insurance through my university. After the first year, I was able to get an assistantship related to one of my IT jobs that paid my tuition and insurance and came with a monthly stipend. I’d recommend regularly checking job postings for assistantships that aren’t necessarily research positions in your department. Lots of departments at large universities use grad assistants to fill regular jobs at a lower cost than hiring a full time employee. For example, I worked as a web content developer for a department totally unrelated to my area of study.

  36. ranunculus*

    I recently left my field to go back to school and I’ve found a flexible job as a funeral service director. Roughly 1/3 of the services we provide are visitations that take place at night and many of our directors are college students who only work that shift. Friday and Saturday are our busiest days, and again, some directors only work those days. I work ~20 hrs/wk but have the option to work more or less as my schedule allows. Insurance and 401k are offered by my company but I don’t know if that would be the case at every funeral home.

  37. meep*

    Work at a dying retail chain. You get all the benefits but no one comes to the store so you can just chill in the back and do homework on your laptop. I did this all through college and loved it.

  38. J!*

    I got a job through a neighbor doing data entry for the company she worked at when I was in college. It was boring as hell, but I was able to start shifts in the evenings after my classes were over and if I finished the stack of work that was left for me by the day supervisor I could do homework at my desk as long as I was on site and on call in case more came up.

  39. sara*

    I did mostly catering all through university and it was great. Could generally get as few/many hours as I wanted. The hours were almost always outside of class hours. Plus was nice to have something active rather than sedentary.

    I actually worked for a tourist attraction/venue that had on-site catering and that was a great fit for me. We’d generally hire on extra staff for big events but most small events were just the same crew all the time. It was nice because I only worked at the one place so didn’t have to travel all over the city. Also would get some really nice short shifts that fit in nicely – we’d do breakfasts for bus tours/cruise ship passengers and it would usually be a 5:30-9 shift with very minimal setup/tear down. And all I had to do during was bus tables or fill up coffee/tea. Because it was so low effort for pretty solid tips, I tried to arrange my school so I could do these (and it was on the way from my house to school anyways).

    So ya, I’d say country club or events venue would both offer similar perks like flexibility of hours but predictable work environment compared to normal catering work.

  40. pippin*

    co-signing everyone who mentioned jobs at the university even admin jobs (myself and all my friends did that in grad school) and wanted to add to that- libraries! big univs will have more than one likely, and look at the public libraries there too! (I worked in the back library office as well as my public library for like 10-20 hours at each all while getting my MA) and they are really used to changing schedules for classes etc.

    1. pippin*

      also! YMMV, but i am pretty certain you should be able to get health insurance through your school

  41. Ssssssssssssssssssssss*

    I worked in a real estate office – corporate real estate, where the chaps were getting business tenants to rent out whole floors in high rise office buildings. I started as a summer student with a decent rate of pay. I negotiated my work hours around my school schedule during the school year and they were very flexible as my school schedule was pretty fixed. Bottomless coffee was a perk as well as access to a printer and photocopier. Xmas gifts from the real estate reps were generous (hello, $50-dollar bill in 1990!) and it was enough for me to pay my bills (shared with my boyfriend) and pay my tuition (which was low in the early 90s). The reps were often given gifts or perks to promote certain office towers; when it was baseball tickets, they weren’t always able to go. I saw at least three baseball games for free thanks to this.

    Alas, no health insurance. BUT my university did offer some health insurance at the time so I was able to get my birth control pills covered (80%) and they did have a health clinic on campus where I could drop in anytime for free (but I am in Canada). (I was sad to see my son’s uni does not have an onsite health clinic.)

    A country club sounds great and very possibly a way to get meals, good ones, for less or even free.

  42. pally*

    My high school history teacher and his buddy worked at the post office during grad school. They were able to return to the job during summers when they were not in school. Not sure if that’s a viable option these days.

    I know that both scored jobs at the high school and then one went on to earn a Ph.D. while teaching at the high school. I gather that teaching was a better gig than the post office.

  43. It's Hot Outside*

    Our kids both had part-time jobs with a car rental agency. I’m not sure if they offer health insurance for part-timers, because they were either on ours or had the student insurance. They liked the late shifts (waiting for the last plane to come in), where they could do homework. Also working holidays was double pay, which they loved and asked for (and it wasn’t too disruptive, so shifts of 6am – 2 pm or something we could schedule a big meal around).

  44. Juniantara*

    I know you said you aren’t much of a drinker, but you really don’t have to drink to be a good bartender, especially for catering companies or event companies. The money is really good and the flexibility is excellent. I have known many a grad student who bartended through college, and the portability of the skills and schedule flexibility really made it a great fit.

    1. I'm Just Here For The Cats!!*

      yeah, I think all you’d have to do is know how to create the drinks. And if someone asks you for your recommendations, you can always just list a few options. Maybe ask friends or others that you work with what the best drinks are such as what is a good red wine, a sweet drink, etc.

  45. Over It*

    The health insurance part is trickier, but I definitely recommend any job that doesn’t use a ton of mental energy on your part and where you can mentally leave work at work. Flexible hours are important too. I just hired a full-time employee who is in their last semester of grad school. This is a regular, full-time office job requiring logic, reasoning and decision making, and I can tell they are really preoccupied with balancing work and school and not performing at the level I’d expect a few months in, a lot of calling out last minute for reasons I suspect are actually school-related, and asking for tons of extra WFH when our hybrid policy isn’t actually that flexible. They’ll be done by end of summer so we’re almost there, but had I known I may have picked a less qualified candidate who was not still in school. I can also speak for myself that I appreciated having jobs in both undergrad and grad school like working at my university’s package office or at a guard desk that were very low stress and mental energy; I had enough stress in my life with school and didn’t need to add any more!

  46. Lavender*

    I’m a grad student and I work part-time in my university’s library. Several departments at my university (library, housing, career center, academic writing center, etc.) are offered a budget each year to hire students, and grad students are sometimes given priority depending on the type of job. The managers in those departments are used to working with student employees and can usually offer flexible scheduling—my boss told me when I was hired that I was free to arrange my schedule however I wanted.

    I live in a country where it isn’t typical for employers to provide health insurance, so I can’t speak to that part of it—but I’d say it’s definitely worth looking at what your university has to offer. (Even if they don’t pay for health insurance, it might at least be a decent way to earn some income while you look for something better.) My university typically hires for those kinds of positions in July and August for the following school year, so now would be a good time to look.

  47. Jennifer Strange*

    I’ll be honest, I worked at a country club and it was undoubtedly the worst experience of my life. Part of that was the owners, so it may not be the same for you, but I really hated it.

    The best part-time job I ever had was working at a Smoothie King. Simple (they’ve literally got the recipes posted for you), one free smoothie a day, whatever snacks I wanted, and a really easygoing boss (the last part is definitely not always the case). Another idea is working in the box office for a local theatre/arts organization. Those tend to also have weekend and evening hours, plus you’ll be learning their database system (which can be a transferable skill).

  48. academic*

    If you can work for your college that is often an option that is best- especially as a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant since those jobs come with tuition remission.

  49. Llama Lover*

    I’m assuming you’re in the US since you’re linking health care to employment, but you can always look at healthcare.gov to see what options are available to you on the exchange. My daughter is in your situation, and she pays nothing for her coverage. That opened up way more options for her for jobs too.

  50. Filthy Vulgar Mercenary*

    I worked in my school’s computer lab all through college! My job consisted 90% making sure the printer was full, so I worked on homework the rest of the time. I could swap or pick up nearly as many shifts as I wanted, and was on a campus that had a ton of computer labs including 24 hour ones. Is that an option for you?

  51. hihello*

    Please look at graduate assistantships at your university. I worked for Student Life during grad school. They paid my tuition, room and board (so including a meal plan), and I got a stipend.

    1. Librarianna*

      Coming here to say look for jobs that are specifically “graduate assistantship” which comes with a tuition waiver, or “graduate hourly” which doesn’t but often pays very well per hour. Resident life might be a good option too, as that comes with room and board. They want people around your age to be resident directors.

  52. Lemon Zinger*

    Working at your college/university will simplify your life a lot. There might be part-time jobs specifically for graduate students at your institution. They might have a graduate student health plan too.

    I was already working at a university full time when I decided to do a master’s degree there. My classmates who worked elsewhere had to deal with fighting rush hour to get to our evening classes. They often felt less connected to the school and program because they didn’t spend much time on campus. By contrast, I was able to participate in on-campus events, be active in the graduate student society, use the health center, chat with professors during my lunch hour, etc.

  53. I'm Just Here For The Cats!!*

    I know a few people who worked at a call center in college and grad school. Many now even allow WFH. The call center I worked at right after college had weekend and evening hours that were needed the most. We were open until 1am to cover the west cost and Hawaii, although it was really slow most nights after 11. You might even be able to do some light homework between calls.

    I know of others who worked at their university, or a neighboring university doing admin work.

    There is always options for places like Walmart who need stockers, etc.

  54. urguncle*

    Depending on what kind of university you’re attending, you may be able to access health insurance through a student plan for less than a lot of employer premiums. There are exceptions to this, obviously, but I’m married and my partner has been in a PhD program for the past 4 years and has been on university insurance since then since it is cheaper than adding her to my plan through work. You may even be able to join a working student union if you have an on-campus job. Other on-campus work that is typically unionized are food service and support positions (security, janitorial, mailroom) jobs on campus.

  55. Young Business*

    My partner worked at a market research firm while in grad school. He had to phone people but it was to follow up that they received products they agreed to test out. It seemed pretty relaxed and because he worked a night-time shift it was quiet in the office.

    Maybe an admin or front desk role at your campus or a public library?

    It’s maybe not as ideal in a Covid world, but there are also roles for doing intake at hospitals and helping to direct people.

  56. Jellyman Kelly*

    I was a resident assistant in undergrad and my boss was a master’s student. Might be an option to get a job through the university you’re attending.

  57. CommanderBanana*

    I nannied in grad school, which was great – I could do homework while the toddler snoozed.

    Before that I worked in a coffeeshop that was open very late and I was on the evening shift, because my grad classes were mostly evenings, but I couldn’t really do homework or read at that job. But it did leave my days free for schoolwork.

  58. Fruit Bat*

    I’m not in the states- but I’m currently in grad school and do a part time database admin job for a nonprofit and couldn’t recommend it enough. The nonprofit also does work in the field I’m studying, and this year is making me a known and well liked quantity for when a role in that workstream comes up.

  59. ArchivesPony*

    If you can, it’s varied form state to state but see if your state has Records (like archival records) repositories near you and if you can apply for one of those positions. The one I’m at, they don’t pay health insurance it pays okay and the work is super low key and I tell my students (who are all grad students) that if they need too and there are no pressing requests, they can do homework.

  60. JMR*

    I went to grad school at a university that had a medical school and a health campus. The university administered its own health insurance program, and it was offered at a tremendous discount to all university employees, including part-time employees (all employees of the entire university, not only employees of the hospital/medical center). I think it’s rare for part-time roles to come with full benefits, but if you happen to be attending a school affiliated with a medical center, that’s worth looking into. And as several other commenters have mentioned, there’s a huge diversity of university jobs, so it’s likely you’ll find something aligned with your interests.

  61. IluvCarbs*

    i worked overnight as a front desk auditor at a hotel. my hours never interfered with classss. during quiet time (which was most of the night) I would do homework or study for class. Its a bit of a pain because you have to balance class with sleep during the day but was great for me.

  62. Hiring Mgr*

    If flexibility is important, something like Uber/Lyft/Doordash etc where you can basically set your own hours might be the way to go

    1. Rear mech*

      The poster specifically mentioned needing a job with health insurance so gig apps a a big no

  63. Andy*

    I work in Higher Ed and we absolutely hire students (grads, and undergrads) and we absolutely make their education a priority with respect to scheduling.

  64. Risha*

    I highly recommend working in a group home for the mentally disabled. I did that all thru nursing school. Just about everyone there is going to school since the setting is laid back and low stress. And there’s no dealing with the public. The only people you may have to work with are the families of the residents, but most of them don’t have families (which is very sad).

    If you never heard of this type of job, it’s pretty much working inside a house with about 4-6 residents and 2-3 other staff. Many companies allow you to sleep on the overnight shift, since the residents are sleeping too. You would have to cook for them, help them get dressed (if they need help), take them on activities, just anything that you would do in your own home you would do with them. You would also most likely be doing a med pass too. They provide all the trainings you need, and once you have them, you can go to any agency since the trainings are state specific, not company specific.

    Every agency I’ve worked for gives health insurance. Most agencies also have lots of overtime and have 401k/stocks/etc. The hours are flexible, and you get the chance to help those that most people cast aside. It’s really a great job for those in college imo.

  65. Regina Phalange*

    When I was in grad school, I worked as a research assistant for the dean of the school. It was hands down the most miserably, mind-numbingly boring job I’ve ever had, which was a bummer because it sounded kind of cool on paper. BUT, I got health insurance, enough money to pay rent, 50% tuition remission, and since I was so bored, I often just did my homework at work. It was a pretty good deal! I’d definitely look into jobs at your university…and they’re likely to be very understanding about your schedule.

  66. Csethiro Ceredin*

    My colleague once worked part time as an administrator in a church, though they aren’t really a religious family. She was a new mother and had to work evenings and weekends when her husband was home. It sounds like the church (United, I believe) was a conscientious employer who paid well and had good benefits.

    Funnily enough she also worked at a golf/country club at one point, but I don’t know about the benefits there.

  67. Hudson*

    I worked as a tutor and test proctor in grad school. I’m in a big city with a lot of wealthy people, so there were parents willing to pay a premium for tutors, and the proctoring was great because I just sat there while students took tests, so I used that time to do my homework. No health insurance though, but I was able to get insurance through my school, so I’d look into that as well.

  68. Ipsissima*

    Hospitals are always looking for afternoon/midnight lab assistants. There’s a huge variety in what the exact job entails, and many of them don’t require medical experience. Some positions provide direct patient care, while others are more isolated, so you can pick your level of public interaction. A lot of hospitals will offer health insurance if you work 20 hours/week, and if you *want* the weekend shifts, they’ll be falling over themselves to hire you. (Caveat: do not apply if you are grossed out by urine or blood.)

    1. I edit everything*

      My brother did this right out of college, with a bio degree. It’s a common first stop for science grads.

  69. Princess Jellyfish*

    Look into graduate assistant positions if your school has them! I was a GA in grad school and got a tuition discount and a stipend. It may or may not cover your expenses depending on how many hours it is, but if you can make it work, it’s fantastic. It was not all perfect by any means and there were definitely some challenges, but overall the work I got to do as a GA was interesting, related to my field, and honestly helped me land the great job I have now.

  70. Looper*

    Workplaces that are open during nights/weekends (thus have shift-based scheduling) will be the best bet. I did non-clinical work in an ER during college which had a great base pay but also paid differentials for working nights, weekends, and holidays so could make extra money pretty easily in addition to health/retirement benefits.

  71. LarsTheRealGirl*

    Look into your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace through ACA! I just helped my younger cousin sign up for insurance when she turned 26 and was out of her parent’s plan. At her income level, it was zero-cost for a lot of good plans. I think she ended up choosing something that was like $60/month and included dental and vision.

    That doesn’t solve the job piece, but you can expand your job search to places that don’t offer insurance (and if you have a job role that does offer insurance, it may impact how much you pay if you opt for the marketplace instead.)

  72. I edit everything*

    If you can get health insurance through your school, then the ultimate flexibility is some kind of freelancing/tutoring work, or gig work generally. Or check out the undergrad student services office for on campus tutoring work.
    I started freelancing when I needed to be drop-of-a-hat available for family health care and able to work in hospital rooms and waiting rooms.

  73. Theranon*

    I nannied part time while attending grad school. Because of my income, I qualified for Medicaid. It’s not a plan for everyone, but for my specific circumstances it was best for me.

  74. Cimorene-turned-Morwen*

    The *best* job when you are in grad school specifically will not only pay rent and cover health insurance, but also give you experience and contacts in your field. So my first recommendation would be to talk to your department advisor about jobs that may be specifically aimed at grad students in your program. Without knowing more about the kind of program you’re in, there may also be companies or organizations that have paid internships that could meet your needs (a colleague of mine in grad school worked for our local government doing related work). If there isn’t anything related to your field that meets your needs, I’d go for “potentially transferrable skills/contacts” as the next-best criteria. In my experience (I’ve paid my way through an undergrad, master’s, and PhD) there’s a big difference in expectations when you graduate from undergraduate/college and when you start looking for jobs post-grad.

    1. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

      Just another point of view, depending on the nature of the program you are entering, having work unrelated the to field you hope to enter can sometimes provide some balance and relief from the stresses of the academic program. I waited tables while in law school and it was an EXCELLENT reminder that not all humans are obsessed with outlines, competitions, and esoteric arguments. I found the stakes to me much lower in the restaurant as well, typically an angry person can be placated with a comped meal or drink and the worst thing that happens is someone skips out on a bill. I needed that when every day in my program was designed to feel like it could make or break the next 30 years of my career.

  75. NB*

    When I was in graduate school, a lot of my friends worked security at a nearby insurance company. It was fulltime, and they spent most of their work time studying. It was a boring, suburban office building–so no REAL security work. Just sitting at a desk with a badge.

    When I was in college in northern California, I had a classmate who dealt blackjack on the weekends. She made enough money at South Lake Tahoe each weekend that she didn’t have to work at all during the week.

  76. She of Many Hats*

    Don’t discount food service/retail jobs on account of your personal food/beverage restrictions. Unless there is a concern about secondary and/or environmental contamination like with nut allergies, you can usually spin an excellent description to customers without actually tasting it. On the other hand, actually dealing with all the entitled or poorly behaved humans is a legit reason not to take on those jobs.

  77. CityMouse*

    I worked for a theater. I worked during performances so almost entirely night and weekend shifts. Very compatible with school.

  78. Don't Send Your Kids to Hudson University*

    If waiting tables in a restaurant isn’t for you, I definitely endorse the country club/yacht club suggestion, particularly if they are hiring for banquets or special events. Catering companies, hotels, and other event venues might also be worth looking into. I used to be a banquet server at a yacht club while in school and the pay was better than a typical server job, the work was straightforward and fun, and the schedule was very flexible.

    Also, for health insurance, look into whether your university offers a student health insurance plan. Many started offering plans to students after the Affordable Care Act was passed and it’s something that can be included in your “total cost of attendance” for federal financial aid purposes.

  79. AR*

    I am on the other side of this – finishing grad school and leaving my full-time job that I found for this period of my life! I found a lot of flexibility and support at a small business in the medical recovery field – think physical therapy, etc. I’ve been working as a receptionist and general admin and it’s been lovely! The thing that’s made it the best is the people – when you’re interviewing, remember Allison’s advice that it is just as much about your assessment of them as it is their assessment of you. Ask the questions you want to know, be straightforward about how school is your priority, and hopefully you’ll find something that fits what you need! Good luck :)

  80. JustMe*

    I work in higher ed. See if you can get graduate assistantships with tuition remission. In some instances, you can go to school at a huge discount or for free. You may need to pay for student insurance depending on the state you’re in, but that’s honestly one of the best deals I’ve found. This may be related to your field (helping your prof do research) but sometimes it’s something like managing the dorms (with the benefit of free housing) or working at a front desk (which may not be glamorous but will mean you have work experience and references for after you graduate–plus, if you say, “I’m studying accounting, any chance I could help with that end of your office so I can get some experience?” they’ll probably take you up on it.)

  81. DeeDee*

    I had so many jobs in grad school! (I did a masters and then a PhD so we are talking about 7 years here):
    Coordinating the Tuesday lunchtime speaker series for my department
    Working as a managing editor for a journal one of my professors was the editor of for a year
    Working in an affiliated research institute on campus on a data project
    Working at a research institute at a different university on a qualitative research project
    Leading spring- and winter-break service learning trips for undergrads through a nonprofit
    Working at a different nonprofit laying out their publications (nominally in my academic field)
    Adjuncting classes at 3 different area universities
    And one of my PhD besties taught kids bike riding lessons in the summer.

    I would say that being enrolled in my program led to most of these opportunities. I should aslo add that my university provided health coverage as part of the offer, so that wasn’t a consideration–I just needed cash. It was annoying to have to go to campus to see a doctor in the on-campus clinic (I didn’t live close) but I never had to pay a copay for anything).

    1. DeeDee*

      I also TA’d a bunch of classes for less money than adjuncting but also way less responsibility.
      Oh, and I taught hebrew school for middle schoolers on Thursday evenings for a year. That wasn’t my favorite job (the Rabbi was a weirdo and would interrupt my lesson and say nonsense to the kids about intelligent design), but it paid pretty well.

      1. 2 Cents*

        I also had insurance through my grad school, but I:
        –TAed for classes I majored in during undergrad
        –transcribed interviews for studies conducted by a research team at the university
        –participated in every psych test that paid (even if it was just $15
        –freelanced as a proofreader

  82. T.N.H.*

    A lot of temp/placement agencies offer health insurance now and will find you steady part-time work. You can easily get on their email lists and see what jobs they have available for those with your skill set.

  83. Alex*

    I was a nanny all through graduate school. My classes were at night, though, so it worked out. It was great because during the day I was active–on my feet, interacting with the kiddos, not looking at a computer or books. It used a different part of my brain, which I felt helpful. If I had been doing research or data entry or something I might have felt burned out. Also, the kids napped (they were babies/toddlers) so I had time to catch up on homework.

    Another side gig that is similar to a country club is a gym. No food involved.

    A friend of mine did tour guiding in a highly touristy area and that seemed to work well for her.

  84. Tamtam*

    I haven’t seen this posted yet, but depending on how much you make, you might qualify for expanded Medicaid in your state. I work at a university with a terrible student health insurance plan (way more the ACA for little coverage), and most of our grad students, who do work as teaching assistants, qualify and use the state Medicaid program.

  85. Athletic Country Club Ops Mgr*

    OP, feel free to ask me any questions you’d like—I run the operations department of an “athletic country club.”

    My operations team is responsible for cleaning the locker rooms, the fitness floor and our group fitness studios. Currently, I have three college students who work my Thursday-Sunday 3p-11p shifts because they don’t have class on weekends and most evenings. I also have another student who works as my “project person.” She has a set schedule Friday, 9a-5p where she just does projects and then on floats Saturday and Sunday wherever I need her. She also picks up call-offs throughout the week and will ask for additional hours as she wants them.

    It’s a great job for students because the environment’s fun, the schedule’s are flexible, and the membership, which costs a whopping $259 per month, is 100% free.

    We also have great opportunities for students within our cafe, childcare center and front desk.

  86. Claire*

    I worked as a server for a catering company while in undergrad and it was great. Granted, this was 20 years ago, but the hourly pay was excellent, and I could pick the shifts I wanted to work. However, no benefits, so definitely check into health insurance through the university. (Also, at my current university, as a grad student, we are paid so poorly that we’re eligible for some pretty hefty discounts through the Obamacare insurance markets, so that might be worth calculating too.)

  87. MA*

    I know you are looking for benefits, but I’d consider self-employment. Depending on your income, you may qualify for Medicaid or an Affordable Care Act plan. Yesterday my college-age daughter spent 8 hours gardening at $25/hr. Last week she helped a professional organizer at $50/hr.

  88. Random Dice*

    Front desk staffing at your apartment building.

    When I was in grad school, I worked full time but would also take evening shifts at my apartment building’s front desk. It was mostly about being there and ready to help residents, and meanwhile I could do my homework (which I’d have been doing unpaid down the hall anyway).

    No benefits, but it can be a good money maker that fits around your life.

  89. Rachel*

    I was a bank teller during college. I had evenings and weekends off (except Saturday morning), all federal holidays off (paid). I accrued paid vacation and sick leave, had 401k match, health/vision/dental insurance, an entire benefits package and worked 20 hours a week. It was a great college job.

  90. Ridiculous Penguin*

    My university offered insurance to all of its students so I didn’t have to worry about that, but in terms of work: the first year I was a graduate assistant in the student affairs department and subsequent years I was a teaching assistant (both of which came with both a salary and full tuition remission).

  91. 2 Cents*

    You don’t need to eat or drink the food yourself to competently serve, imo. If you can say “This dish is the most popular on the menu” or “Folks have been ordering X drink to beat the heat,” I know, as a diner, I take those recommendations just as much as the staff’s personal recommendations.

  92. Mari*

    I’m a later in life non-traditional student who works at the academic library of my college. About half of us there are students. We’re not hired through “work-study” financial aid, just regular employees. Honestly, a lot of our co-workers in other departments are also students. It works very well because our supervisors are willing to work with our course schedules and we’re usually first in the know about stuff with the school.

  93. HappySummer*

    Look at federal government internships. I did one while I was in grad school and you can get insurance through it. I didn’t actually do that (had insurance through my grad school), but the pay was competitive and the office was really friendly. I was able to work in my field and gain directly relevant experience, while having a relatively flexible schedule and lots of understanding around exams. It also really opens you up to other federal positions and permanent roles. I ultimately decided federal service, at least in that office, wasn’t right for me, but I would have been brought on full-time if I had wanted to. That’s of course not always a guarantee, but the office I worked for was very good at placing interns into permanent positions, either in that office or related ones.

    Also definitely check out teaching and research assistant positions, as others have suggested. I did both through grad school. That got me free health insurance. Pay for TA was by stipend which was honestly not great, but pay for the RA job was hourly and union so that was better. I also babysat through grad school which paid the most of any of the jobs I had, but obviously doesn’t have benefits.

  94. KitKat*

    I had a great job at a college library circulation desk. Very quiet and could even do my homework.

  95. Mitford*

    I was a bank teller for a year in college, working the drive-in window on the, for lack of a better term, late shift which mean afternoons and weekends.

  96. Just a Manager*

    As a hiring manager, I’d say try to get something even remotely related to your major. When you start looking for a permanent job, it will give you a huge leg up on other people.

  97. Captain-Safetypants*

    First of all, your university should provide student health insurance. At my university the grad student health insurance was an insanely good deal–not that expensive for great coverage at the university’s excellent health centers (it was a medical research university, so there were many, many different health providers associated with it).

    Second, for work I would look for graduate assistantships, which are like work study for grad students. Even if your particular program doesn’t have any, you might well find some in other departments you can apply for. The most well-known kind of assistantships are teaching assistantships, and I believe those tend to be pretty coveted and usually go to students within the same program (people gunning for teaching assistantships are usually trying to get teaching experience so they can work in academia when they graduate), but ones that are more administrative or technical usually don’t have such stringent requirements or hot competition. They don’t even have to be in academic departments–I had an assistantship in university health and safety, and I knew of someone else who had one inspecting and collecting hazardous waste from university labs. You might find one doing admin work for some department, or working in a campus library or museum, (depending how big and fancy your university is), or even the bookstore. I’d check the student job listings. I would agree with other commenters that a university job is likely to be easier to schedule around classes and exam weeks and things like that, and they’re probably going to be located on campus, which might make getting to work easier. They usually pay better than Starbucks, but possibly not as much as you might make doing high end table-waiting or country club things, where you could reliably get big tips.

  98. collateral damage*

    When I was in graduate school, I worked for a test-prep company (GRE and GMAT classes). The one I worked for had weekend crash courses, and I usually worked a couple of weekends a month, sometimes traveling to cities of my choice to do so. The company eventually expanded into evening classes too (2x a week locally in major cities). At the time, I got my health insurance through my graduate school, and I never worked enough hours to get benefits, but there were full-time teachers who did. It paid well and eventually allowed me to launch an independent tutoring business later, which was even more lucrative (but again, no benefits).

    You need to be very good at standardized tests (i.e. perfect or near-perfect scores) and a good teacher to do this. But I thought it was a perfect grad school job, and I honed a lot of my teaching/speaking skills while doing it.

  99. MsHandle*

    If it’s possible for you to get insurance through your university, I recommend overnight child-care . I did this for single parent who worked night shifts in health care. I slept over on the nights the parent worked. The school-age kids were already asleep when I arrived, and still asleep when I left. I actually only spoke to them once! The timing worked well; I started late in the evening and I was then essentially paid for studying and sleeping.

  100. Willow Sunstar*

    When I attended college, I worked a few short-lived fast food jobs, but most of the time was a full-time student. In the summers, I temped in offices and saved my money. If you can find a part-time job that won’t interfere with your studies, I’d say go with what will be the least annoying jobs. Even better if you can get a part-time internship to put on your resume.

  101. Just a Name*

    I worked in a hospital on a 3-11 shift. Every Thursday and every other weekend. I could pick up extra hours. They paid extra for the 2nd and 3rd shift, employee discounts at the hospital pharmacy. I had insurance from the school though so check on that. I worked as a tech in the hospital pharmacy- started with delivering orders, stocking items, and computer input (billing, preparing labels for orders). This was ages ago, but something to check.

  102. Katydid*

    I worked as registration/check-in at a clinic during grad school and the hours were pretty flexible and I wasn’t full time, but got benefits.

  103. Dobermom*

    I worked as a part-time bank teller when I was in grad school. It paid fairly well, wasn’t super complicated, and had benefits.

  104. DannyG*

    Lab assistant: I started as a glorified test tube washer, by year 3 I was lead research assistant. TA & paper grader as well. A lot depends on the major (mine was Biomedical in nature). Another option off campus would be in the local hospital: people who can work nights & weekends are always needed: housekeeping, runners, nursing assistants & pharmacy technicians (the level of training on the last two might be an issue, it varies from state to state). If you can work 3×12 hour shifts a week full benefits are usually available (Friday/Saturday/Sunday 12 hours each is referred to as a “Baylor Plan” if you see that listed)

  105. fluff456*

    Two things I did in grad school – 1. admin job on the university campus. it was during the day, but you’re on campus and i would often check school email / do school reading during downtime etc. 2. the other thing i did was catering, which was great – lots of nights and weekends and holidays and i t was first come first serve for shifts, so i could work as much or as little as i wanted. highly recommend catering!

  106. Mel*

    Hospitals are often looking for unit clerks (answering/ directing phone calls, letting people in the unit, etc). Shifts usually 24/7.

  107. Seriously?*

    My company is involved in hiring custodial/shelf stockers. These jobs are often PT at night. Are you near a military base with a commissary? Or check grocery stores.

  108. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    I didn’t have these jobs in school, but I worked 2nd shift production which would be a good option. 3-11:30 PM, with decent wage, insurance, 401k, and PTO. Some folks were part time but most of us were full time. I mostly portioned out food. Some other people I know worked a similar shift in polishing, grinding down welding beads. No experience necessary for either. And there are a ton more jobs like them.

    Cons are set hours, no ability to do homework, and fairly low thinking work. Often very messy or exhausting too. But if you want decent pay, no customers, low toll on brainpower, and a nice tangible pile of completed work every day, production could be a good option.

  109. The Ginger Ginger*

    Depending on your class schedule retail banking can be nice. It’s not evening hours, but the national holiday schedule can line up with your school’s so you can end up with days off from both school and work – which can be so, so good for your wellbeing. Some regional banks do PT health insurance, but it’s not across the board, so it may not be what you’re looking for, but if it ends up being doable, knowing you don’t have evening hours or national holidays is so nice. And someone who consistently WANTS weekend hours is such a boon to a schedule maker at a bank.

  110. Clisby*

    I went back to school to get a computer science degree after about 12 years of working for newspapers as a reporter or editor. Luckily, I got a full-time newspaper copy editing job for a morning newspaper, which meant I started work about 4 p.m. That worked perfectly with my going to classes during the day. (It did not work perfectly with my preferred sleep schedule, but you can’t have everything.) I got the degree, and wound up working about 27 years as a computer programmer, so it all worked out.

    I know this is one particular case, but working at night while going to school during the daytime is one way to navigate this.

  111. Prof. Murph*

    A little left of center, but you might explore nearby music venues and concert halls for staffing positions. Most events will happen at night or weekends. They won’t offer health insurance (U.S. health care system sucks!!) but I also echo the calls to see what student health insurance programs your school might offer. I actually ran a small record record label while completing my PhD. I loved it because all the concerts/events were at night, where I could network (read: party) and do my school work during the day. And other business-related duties like advertising, booking, etc. had flexibility on when they needed to get done. It was a lot of fun and really helped my mental health in giving me other things to do besides stress about school and dissertation. Good luck in your program – I loved graduate school!

  112. Nozenfordaddy*

    A coworkers kid worked at Costco while they were in school. They provide health insurance for people who work 24 or more hours a week (It take a while to kick in though like 4-6 months before you’re eligible) and pay pretty well. They also have sick leave, PTO – I think she got a free turkey every Thanksgiving. I assume they’re still offering these sort of benefits even though this was like 5-10 years ago.

  113. Chilipepper Attitude*

    Back in the day, there was insurance students could buy through the university. Is that an option for you?

  114. periwinkle*

    Before starting grad school, I left my toxic full-time position in low-level HR and took a part-time admin job in an adjacent field (tiny specialized recruiting firm). This allowed me to earn money, gave access to benefits, and learn about an HR area I hadn’t been exposed to before. The owner and other employers were super encouraging, and very understanding when I had to take a half-day here and there for academic reasons.

    I only left that job because I landed a research assistant role in my department. And that’s an even better option if it’s available to you. Free tuition, some benefits, and the opportunity to work closely with a couple of the professors to a degree you normally wouldn’t get at the master’s level.

    (that toxic job I left supplied SO much material for research papers regarding how not to manage workplace performance… )

  115. Elbie*

    When I was in both college and graduate school, I worked part time at my local hospital. Some hospitals will start giving benefits at either 20 hours per week, or 25. And the pay is good too. They definitely have the need for weekend / evening / overnight shifts (and if you are not in a salaried position, you may be eligible for shift differentials which can bump your salary up more). I worked in patient transport and also as a unit coordinator (think admin assistant). My UC job sometimes had downtime, so I was even able to study a bit during the slower evenings. There are lots of different types of positions in healthcare, even if you are not wanting to work directly with patients. (E.g. Telecom, environmental services, food services, shipping and receiving). The healthcare industry is in desperate need for help, so there could be some great opportunities. I highly recommend checking out hospital job listings and applying for things that sound of interest!

  116. Clover*

    During college I worked at the campus copy center. The clientele was civilized, the hours were humane, the work was varied and surprisingly interesting.

    Best of all, I gained some basic troubleshooting skills on copiers, printers, and other office equipment, which has been invaluable in every subsequent workplace.

  117. Vanilla Candle*

    I’m biased because I just founded a caregiving agency–but become a home care aide! You provide in-home assistance (nothing medical) and companionship to an elderly person or person with disabilities. The pay is usually just a couple of dollars above minimum wage, but where I live it’s comparable to what my grad school paid student workers AND there should be opportunity for overtime, schedules are pretty flexible, and you can even get paid to sleep in a client’s home. In most states you’ll have to register with whatever govt dept oversees home care, take a few hours of classes, and pass a background check.

  118. CoffeeCoffeeCoffee*

    I worked part-time in a city government job while in grad school; I worked primarily answering phones and basic questions for the city’s Zoning Division; it was hourly pay, had health benefits and they were flexible with scheduling around tests/presentations, etc. I also got to meet a lot of local politicians and business people; which led to a full-time job in an adjacent field that I loved after graduation. The application process can be tedious and time-consuming, but if you see a job you’d be interested in, definitely check it out!

  119. allhailtheboi*

    Seconding catering: see if your university needs staff for in-house events. I used to work graduations and fancy events with guest speakers and it kept my bank balance topped up. I was also an ambassador for the uni – it was an extremely specific role to my uni (recruiting students from mainland UK to study in Northern Ireland) but similar roles might be available. What was good about that job was that is was only outside of lectures and seminars, because part of our marketing of the job was being able to talk about our studies! That one it’s own wouldn’t have kept me in the black, but every little helps.

  120. waffles*

    in my state (Indiana), Culvers (which is a fast food chain) gives health insurance to part time workers. Worth looking into if that is a parameter for your search. Others have given great suggestions for part time work, so I wanted to address the health insurance piece specifically.

  121. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    Urgent care clinic – front desk staff. They’ll need odd shifts like retail because of the hours they’re open. Collect people’s info, write down what their health thing is, and pass it on back to the medical professionals. Use a computer but you won’t need billing/coding knowledge.

  122. MansplainerHater*

    I worked at REI when I was in college. We had health insurance as part-timers, and I managed to save a little $ for rent/food while also getting A LOT of high-quality discounted gear. There was a big break room that I would use for homework, and we had shower/towel service so I would bike there to get in some exercise.

  123. Scrubbing away*

    You might look at what kind of jobs are open at your local hospitals. I work in sterile processing, which is often on-the-job training, and many hospitals are open 24-7 and would love to hire evening or weekend people. Same with some positions in the lab or custodial departments. If you wanted to get a CNA while you were studying, you could get a job almost anywhere in healthcare or retirement care for a variety of hours. Hospital jobs usually come with great benefits, although not great wages. Good luck!

    1. sewsandreads*

      My sister in law got a job at our uni, which she adored — I want to say it was assisting some of the professors with admin and things, and it was in the faculty she was studying within.

      My first uni job was waiting tables at our uni cafe, which meant free food, so I was stoked. Second uni job was PR and journalism. I’d completed an internship with a magazine, whose editor then set me up to keep writing for them, and also put me in touch with a friend of hers for PR work. Both jobs were WFH at a time when WFH was very limited, which was such a benefit when I saw a lot of my uni friends having to rush from class to job and back again. It helped that my degree was in comms, and it helped again when uni let me use those jobs as my professional practice.

  124. Bees*

    I had a friend in grad school who was an RA in the undergrad dorms. It meant free lodging and a meal plan. I am working part time in my field while in grad school. Just enough hours for insurance and benefits. It did require being upfront about desired flexibility and hours in the interview though.

  125. tzipi the kitty*

    I worked at my uni library when I was a student, during evening shifts it was pretty slow so I could get some work done as well but even during busy periods it was a pretty nice job.

  126. It's me.*

    If you’re good at math and down to learn, dealing at a casino is awesome. Amazing pay (tips $$$) and super flexible hours. Whether or not they offer benefits to part time employees will depend on the casino, but it’s pretty common practice where I am!

  127. Yoyoyo*

    I worked full-time third shift in a residential facility during grad school. It was terrible but it paid my bills. It would have been less terrible if I hadn’t been doing a clinical program and thus also doing two years of unpaid internships as well as working full-time (one year at 16 hours a week, one year at 24 hours a week). I would work my overnight shift and go directly to my internship, come home in the evening for a couple hours of sleep and do it all again (plus classes). The one plus was that I didn’t have a whole lot of actual work to do, so I got a fair amount of schoolwork done during my shifts – my boss was fine with this.

  128. cass*

    I worked at a music school for several years, I wasn’t a student but it would have been a good job for a student. It was the same schedule every week, which was a huge perk you wouldn’t get in most retail/food service jobs, but still typically afternoon/evening/weekend hours because kids typically need music lesson times when they’re not in school. Looking for admin jobs at any type of extracurricular kids activity might be a really smart way to go.

  129. Nina*

    I can’t speak to health insurance (not in US) but I know in my college town there were nine or ten companies that were pretty well known for running very odd shifts (a 8 to 4, and a 4 to midnight, 7 days a week) and hiring undergrads in the same general field e.g. if you were studying a physical science you’d go to the analytical testing lab for the night shift or half the night shift, if you were studying something that required wide reading you’d go do night shelving at the big library, if you were studying engineering you’d go work maintenance or on the line at one of the packing plants. Often these jobs would let you pick up more shifts over summer or during semester breaks, because they knew where their staff came from.

    The working conditions weren’t great, the pay wasn’t great, and there were a few senior staff and a three-yearly rotating cast of college students who mostly moved on as soon as they got their degrees, but it was vaguely in field so you got three years’ part-time experience to leave college with, and the companies had working relationships with professors in the relevant fields so they could just ring up and say ‘hey we need four more bench techs this semester, what do you have?’

    Could be worth asking around, see if there’s any businesses in your town that preferentially hire from the college.

  130. Donkey Hotey*

    The first time I was in college, I had two jobs with the University.

    One was with the Disabled Students Union, pushing students in wheelchairs and escorting blind students between classes. Very flexible and able to fit in between classes.

    The other was ahem undraped model for the Art Department. There was always a need and i could set my with schedule based on when my classes were. Laugh if you will, but at the time, it was the highest paying job on campus.

  131. Anon-e-mouse*

    Check out admin or document processing jobs at big law firms, accounting firms etc. (I’ve spent a lot of my career at law firms.) At a minimum, you’ll need strong document processing skills (probably Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, Excel would be great, too).

    Some of the larger firms have evening or night shifts for document processing. Some firms split the functions of legal practice assistant (which often requires some experience and good people management skills) from document processing skills. The latter role likely is more flexible.

    There also are opportunities to work as a paralegal at some firms without specialized training-you can make good money but the hours could be tough.

    Once you’re at a law firm, other roles can open up (eg in marketing and BD, finance and HR).

  132. job suggestions*

    I worked at an off-campus gym (just at at the front desk) and a country club in my medium-sized midwest college town that were frequented by a lot of professors, university higher-ups, and “pillars of the community” types. Neither offered insurance for part-timers but holy cow the connections that were made if you were generally personable and helpful were invaluable. I got lots of interviews through members of both. Tips were great from the CC gig, and the gym was great because you got a free membership – that was a big deal to me at the time because we didn’t have access to free gyms at school unless you lived in the dorms. So there were definite perks to the jobs, plus early morning/late evening/weekend hours that were great for scheduling around school.

    Also, tutoring is very lucrative if you can find some private students!

  133. Laurora Borealis*

    No insight on health insurance, unfortunately, but I did fund my graduate school years by working at residential academic summer camps (check out CTY through John Hopkins,for example). they provide room and board and I saved my pay to supplement some small grad school stipends/assistantships.

  134. Anon for this one*

    I worked as a hospital porter during my undergrad and it was a great job. It was unionized, so had a decent wage (including a shift differential for evening, weekend and holiday work), good job security, and health benefits. The hospitals I worked in were big, so there were always lots of shifts to pick up as a casual, but I also worked in .7FTE, .5FTE, and even a .4FTE (weekends only) positions which were great because I really disliked being on call.

    Hospitals are good because there’s always something going on, they’re a 24/7 endeavor. Supply management, housekeeping, kitchen, linen department, there are a lot of options for the type of work you could do in a hospital, and the nice thing about that variety is that once you have your foot in the door, bargaining agreements often mean you’ll have seniority that can be applied to other jobs, even after graduation.

  135. Frinkfrink*

    If you’re going to try to look for on-campus jobs as suggested above, start looking NOW. I worked in academia for two decades, hiring students and grad students for part of that, and we always needed workers before the semester started. The students who applied in the summer were more likely to be hired in the fall, and the students who waited until classes started were too late.

    The university will probably have a website where all student jobs are listed, and you can ask the admin staff in your department for leads on professors needing aides and other admin jobs.

  136. Trying to Herd the Cats*

    Some of the earlier suggestions are probably a better first choice, but I once worked for a national temp agency that provided a low-cost health insurance option. That was like fifteen years ago, so no idea what it’d be like now, but maybe worth looking into as a possibility.

  137. Rear mech*

    I’m going against the grain of all the commenters recommending night audit at hotels. This position is typically a true graveyard shift 11pm-7am. Unless your class schedule is consistently early mornings or late evenings, the sleep schedule is going to be miserable. Unless you are a legit night owl who has a strong preference for going to bed at dawn each day, it’s difficult to get enough restful sleep even when you don’t have midday classes. Also, front line workers’ pay in hospitality is poverty level unless you can get in with a high end hotel, and the benefits tend to be expensive.

    1. Athletic Country Club Ops Mgr*

      I agree! I was in the hotel business for seven years, going from a kitchen expediter to a general manager (I started while I was in college). I’ve worked all of the positions, night, audit included, and I can say that it’s absolutely awful. Unless you’re a true night owl, who chooses to stay up late in your free time (like, regularly goes to bed at 4am or 5am BY CHOICE), don’t do it.

      And, for what it’s worth, I left the hotel industry entirely about a year ago. The burnout rates are crazy in that field because it’s truly 24/7.

  138. Taco Temptress, PhD*

    While other commenters have mentioned that grad school tends to come with insurance, I will say as an older (went back to school at 28) student that has gone through an MA program and a PhD program, school insurance is usually awful. You generally have to visit the school student services first and get a recommendation for any specific type of treatment which then has to go through your school insurance. If you need to see a specialist for anything, you first have to convince a campus doctor (which, even though I have a medical history that includes a diagnosis for a thing, the campus doctor outright told me I didn’t have the thing and didn’t need a recommendation) to write you a recommendation and then you have to wait for campus insurance to approve it. If you are at all able to get part-time work that has medical, it’s such a better option.

    As for jobs, I actually picked up adjunct roles at community colleges in my area once I had my Master’s degree. Those come with really nice medical insurance (even if half your pay goes towards it). I will also echo the earlier recommendation to find a campus admin job and add that mentorship or advising undergrad positions are also nice gigs to look into, as far as working on campus goes.

    The only real downside to campus work is sometimes you aren’t able to pick up extra hours, even if your grad work is low at the time, because there’s a set number of hours you can work as a student on that campus. Another downside is that sometimes, you can’t pick up work outside of your department at all. It really depends on the program – some are okay with you working while enrolled and others will ask you to be part-time if you plan on working. My MA, for example, was geared towards people who were working and classes tended to be at night so we could work a 9-5. My PhD program had the expectation that we’d only work for our department on our TA assignments and nothing else outside of our department or campus, despite the low pay. Be sure you know what the expectations are around work for your program before you look for on campus jobs. Off campus jobs are easier to hide/work around.

  139. Megan*

    Local government could be an option. Many are now allowing flexible scheduling and hybrid schedules. Some allow a 32 hour week. Some offer tuition reimbursement. Insurance can vary quite a bit. One job I had offered a $300/ insurance voucher. My most recent job is something like $60 the first two pay periods of each month.

  140. Seeking Second Childhood*

    A former co-worker worked for his college facilities management department– primarily landscaping where he was. He specifically wanted something physical so he would get paid to exercise and not have to schedule that around school/work/sleep.

    If you’re in the north, snow removal can be an unpredictable source of extra hours.

  141. Teapot Wrangler*

    I’d also look into whether you can do something part time in your chosen field. Maybe you can schedule so you’re available a day or two a week?

  142. Lapis Lazuli*

    I worked at Whole Foods for most of college (before that, at a bakery so the food/retail experience was there). Because I was knowledgeable about things like gluten-free and vegan options in baking and could draw on some basic customer service skills/personal anecdotes, it worked out well. There was a location near my university and I was able to be part time while still having health insurance and a store discount. During summer/winter break, I picked up more hours if I didn’t have any coursework. This was before the amazon takeover so I’m sure things have changed a bit, but it was a good gig at the time and paid well. I also got the added bonus of some wild stories for parties and casual celebrity meetings. I will say this: sexual harassment is very real in food and retail so know your rights and go into things with eyes wide open. Whole foods also has a shameful history of union busting – even before the amazon takeover. Again, eyes wide open.

    I also knew someone who worked in a call center/third party admin environment and had an arrangement to be part time during their active semesters and full time during their summer/winter breaks. They also were able to work from home sometimes, but I think that was because they had been a longer-term employee with a proven track record.

  143. Some Bunny Once Told Me*

    I’m just going to point out that if you’re in the US (which I’m assuming you are based on your need for health care benefits) many states still have Medicaid available for people who qualify based on income, which I believe is 133% of the federal poverty limit, or around $18k a year. If

    I don’t know if you’d be interested in doing any kind of elder care, but that’s what I did when I was going to school and it’s an option I don’t think all that many people are aware of. The pay isn’t spectacular, usually in the high teens to low twenties hourly, but your schedule is generally extremely flexible, and a great many people who need in-home care don’t actually require help with things like going to the bathroom. A lot of them need help running errands or cooking and cleaning, and it can be a really rewarding job. I worked 20 hours a week, was able to more or less pick my clients and when I worked, and because I was able to keep my income just under the cut off for Medicaid I didn’t have to worry about affording insurance.

    1. Some Bunny Once Told Me*

      Sigh. Please excuse that dangling “If”. I believe what I was going to say is that if you can financially get by on that income, it’s a great option for health care while you’re in school – you’re limited on what doctors you can see, but the coverage is comprehensive and co-pays aren’t really a thing. I had major surgery while I was on Medicaid and both it and my rehab/pt were fully covered. The system isn’t perfect, but I will say it was significantly better than the health care I’ve received at any of my lower paying jobs.

  144. AceyAceyAcey*

    Look hard for graduate assistantships at the school, as they’ll come with a tuition waiver plus a stipend.

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