Top 10 Summer Gigs

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Where can a willing, eager and cash-hungry student go for employment during these short summer months? The following is a list of both classic and unexpected jobs for college and high school students during summer vacation.


1. Lifeguard

Oceans, pools and lakes this summer will be loaded with swimmers – some of whom may struggle to stay afloat. That's where you step in, brave lifeguard. Besides maintaining a fabulous tan on your toned body, you need to be physically fit, make quick decisions with ease and be First Aid certified. And, hey, if you start lifeguarding this summer, maybe you'll be ready for the International Life Saving Federation's Rescue 2010 competition in Alexandria, next year! Dream big.

Median hourly salary:$8.18


2. Athletic Coach

From T-ball to soccer, kids across the nation will be donning uniforms, shouting cheers and hoping for a championship come August. Could you coach them to a win? Local leagues, camps and schools all look for coaches for nearly every sport imaginable. There are even certification programs you can complete to make yourself a better candidate, starting with a simple First Aid and CPR certification.

Median hourly salary:$14.28


3. Concession Stand Attendant

State fair taffy shops, beachside ice cream stands, and outdoor theater popcorn carts will all need friendly folks to keep customers well-fed and happy. This gig requires a good dose of patience, likely a food handler's permit and a willingness to work while everyone around you is goofing off. But, this job will make a great story for your grandkids one day, "I remember back when I sold hot dogs in 2009..."

Median hourly salary:$8.86 plus tips


4. Restaurant Cook

Vacation travel and a break from the school year routine usually means more dinners out in the summer for families. Can you work the grill and fry basket fast enough to keep up with a bustling restaurant scene? Some advantages include getting food costs covered by eating on the job and not having to deal directly with customers. Experience cooking and a food handler's permit will be needed for this job.

Median hourly salary:$10.28 plus tips


5. Painter

After spring cleaning comes summer repairs and updates for most homeowners. Take advantage of doing the hard work for them by grabbing your bucket, brush and spray gun. Whether you specialize in exterior work under the hot sun or getting in to the nooks and crannies of kitchens and bathrooms, you're likely to find neighbors and friends who need some help sprucing up the place this summer.

Median hourly salary:$15.06 plus tips


6. Tutor

If Junior didn't do so well in school this year, it often means that he needs to spend time studying over the summer. Do you have an area of expertise, like reading, math, writing or foreign languages? You can work directly with a school or tutoring company, or put up your own ad online or around the neighborhood. Be sure to get creative on motivating your tutees so they come back to school more confident and not too bummed about the summer vacation time they spent studying prepositions or the Pythagorean Theorem.

Median hourly salary:$16.91


7. Landscaper

What do sun, water and soil make? Weeds! Lots of them. If your back is strong and you have a knack for creating outdoor beauty, consider helping your neighbors tend their lawns and flower beds this summer. With some basic tools you can start your own business or join a larger company to get experience before you work for yourself.

Median hourly salary:$11.14


8. Tour Guide

You will know them by their fanny packs, cameras and upside-down maps – tourists! If your city is a hot tourist destination, offer up your services to travelers by giving them a tour of your nearby historical district, factory or local beach. It helps in this job to have a friendly personality, good leadership skills and foreign language ability. Plus, once they've fallen for your charming style, maybe one of these out-of-towners will have an even better job opportunity for you somewhere else come fall.

Median hourly salary: $13.40 plus tips


9. Construction Laborer

The country may be in a recession but, that said, any construction that is being done is likely to take place between April and September. If you already have a skill to offer – such as driving a front hoe or using a nail gun – you'll have a better chance of being hired. But, if you barely know the difference between a Phillips and a flathead screwdriver, you may still be able to find someone who will help you get started in the business. If you are under 18, check the Department of Labor website as some construction jobs may be considered too dangerous for you.

Median hourly salary:$14.66


10. Waiter/Waitress

And finally, the most humbling job of all, the quintessential customer service challenge – waiting tables. If your patience is high and your short-term memory rock solid, you can clean up on tips this summer working as a waiter or waitress. If you're old enough to serve alcohol you'll make even more money, but may have to deal with some tougher customers as the night wears on.

Median hourly salary: $5.16 plus tips


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Source: All salary data is from PayScale.com. The salaries listed are median, hourly salaries for workers with 5-8 years of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit sharing.

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