Top-Paying Summer Jobs

summer jobsWhether you're looking for a summer job or are simply job-hunting during the warmer months, it pays to think beyond the traditional standbys like lifeguard or amusement-park attendant, both of which have a median pay of less than $10 an hour. A better bet is to seek employment in industries that operate year-round but see a boost in clientele and responsibility during the summer, such as wedding- and vacation- related occupations, says a new report issued by online salary database

Al Lee, PayScale's director of quantitative analysis, says the increased demand for hotel managers and freelance photographers during the summer can create employment opportunities that can last long after Labor Day. "It's way to break into a field that you could turn into a year-round career if it works well," he says.

1. Resort Manager

Median Pay: $23.30 per hour

Summer is a great time to begin a career in hotel management, says Lee, since many hotels in Northern resort areas are only open from May to September, leaving managers scrambling to find staffs at the beginning of the season. "It's a challenge because you want highly qualified people," he says. While you may still have to start at a relatively low position, like front-desk clerk, during the summer there is more opportunity to move up and become, for example, the night manager. Granted, you'll be out of work once the leaves start turning, but you'll also have a beefed-up resume to send to hotels that are open all twelve months.

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2. Wedding Consultant

Median Pay: $25.60 per hour

Since summer is high season for weddings, there is an increased demand for consultants to help couples plan their big day. Laurence Shatkin, PhD., author of The 50 Best Jobs for Your Personality, 2nd Edition, says that the job requires excellent organizational skills, as the consultant will need to keep tabs on a myriad of details-from the reception venue to the bride's maid's gifts. "You also need a pretty thick skin, because you often have people who make impossible demands on you, want to change things at the last minute or demand things that are hard to arrange," he says.

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3. Golf Course General Manager

Median Pay: $24.50 per hour

If you've dreamed of a career on the green, Lee says this is a perfect time to pursue it. "This is a cyclical job where demand picks up in the summer," he says. "You might break in as a member of the grounds crew or the pro shop staff and gradually work your way up to a management role." In addition to a good understanding of the sport and basic management skills, Shatkin notes that this position requires knowledge and understanding of landscaping and maintenance.

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4. Freelance Photographer

Median Pay: $20.10 per hour

As bridal couples prepare for their close-ups, many photography organizations seek good photographers to send out to summer weddings. "They may have ten times the staff in June that they have December," says Lee. But just because you take good vacation pics, doesn't necessarily mean you have the chops to go pro. "You need great people skills," says Shatkin, "since you have to be able to put people at ease and make them feel natural in front of the camera. You also have to be able to recognize those social moments that the couple will want to preserve," he says

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5. Recreation Coordinator

Median Pay: $17.00 per hour

With the kids out of school, the demand for outdoor-enthusiasts who love (or at least like) kids skyrockets. Lee says that sleepaway camps, sports leagues, YMCAs, municipal recreation programs, and family resorts all have a high demand for people who can keep the kids away from their computer games. While these jobs can be a lot of fun, they also carry a heavy responsibility, especially if they involve sports like horseback-riding or scuba-diving. "You need training, and you also need to understand your legal liabilities," says Shatkin. A working knowledge of sand-painting and leather-wallet crafting also helps.

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Next:Where the Summer Job Opportunities Are >>

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