14 Lucrative Jobs Where You Can Work Less Than 40 Hours a Week

Whether you’re looking for a side hustle or are just sick of the full-time grind, these jobs can pay the bills on a part-time schedule.

Female artist painting
Updated May 28, 2024
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Earn more while working less — that’s the dream for many workers who are sick of clocking in 40 or more hours per week.

Working fewer hours can lead to lower job stress and better work-life balance, or a part-time job can allow you to boost your bank account with a weekend gig or side hustle. If you’re interested in part-time work, however, finding the right job can be tricky.

To kickstart your search, FinanceBuzz crunched the data to find less-than-40-hour-a-week jobs that pay well. Here are what we found to be the highest-paying jobs for 35 hours or less per week.

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Dietitians and nutritionists

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe mature man cooking in kitchen

Dietitians and nutritionists can work in many settings, offering nutritional advice and designing meal plans to help people achieve their health goals.

Most will earn a bachelor’s degree to work in this field, and they might also complete additional training or apply for a state license. It can be a rewarding job that helps you earn extra income

Working part-time is definitely an option for these professionals, with 26% of dietitians keeping average weekly work hours under 35. The average annual wage of dietitians and nutritionists is $69,350.

Dentist

Drazen/Adobe Orthodontist checking child's teeth

If you’re aiming at part-time hours with six-figure pay, consider the dental profession. Among dentists, 27% work 34 or fewer hours in a week, and the average annual income is more than $165,000.

It’s also fairly common for dentists to own their own practices, and about 16% are self-employed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Becoming a dentist isn’t fast, easy, or cheap, however. Dentists must spend four years training in dental school and must pass a test to earn a license to practice.

Dental programs are also expensive, resulting in an average student loan debt of just under $300,000, per the American Dental Education Association.

Psychologist

Photographee.eu/Adobe psychoterapist interviewing

Psychologists may conduct research or work directly with clients and patients, all with a flexible schedule — 28% work fewer than 35 hours per week.

Psychologists who own their own practice or work as independent consultants, in particular, are likely to have the freedom to set their own schedules and hours. They’re also compensated well, with an average annual pay of $99,560.

Most psychologist positions require at least a master’s degree, and many require a doctorate. You’d likely need to earn a professional license, as well.

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Chiropractor

andreaobzerova/Adobe Chiropractor examining patient

Just over 32% of chiropractors work part-time, keeping their work hours to less than 35 per week. Chiropractors earn $41.28 per hour on average, or an average annual salary of $83,720 per year.

You’ll need special training to become a chiropractor, which is a health professional who treats the neuromusculoskeletal system — most commonly through spinal adjustments.

Chiropractors must earn a Doctor of Chiropractic degree, which is typically a four-year postgraduate program. They must also earn and maintain a state license to practice their trade.

Artist

Seventyfour/Adobe male artist painting on easel

The starving artist might be something of a myth. The average artist or related worker earned $33.59 per hour on average, and the average annual wage for this profession is $69,870. Overall, 33% work fewer than 35 hours a week.

Plus, this broad occupation includes several more specialized artistic jobs with varying levels of pay. The best-compensated are art directors, who earn $59.76 per hour on average but typically need at least a bachelor’s degree and often experience working in their field.

Becoming a craft artist, by comparison, has no specific schooling requirements (though a bachelor’s degree is common), and the average pay is $23.65 per hour.

Musician or singer

thirawat/Adobe musicians playing violins in the garden

More than 2 in 5 musicians, or 43%, work less than 35 hours per week. But musicians, singers, and “related workers” earn an average of $50.21 per hour. If a musician works about 35 hours per week, that could result in about $91,382 per year.

There are no specific education requirements to become a musician or singer, though many do complete a bachelor’s degree.

But musicians and singers will need to train and practice to gain the skill to professionally perform music.

Author or writer

Rido/Adobe Man doing paperwork

Around 35% of writers and authors work less than full-time, yet they’re still making decent pay. The median hourly wage for writers is $35.17, while the median annual wage is $73,150.

Education including a bachelor’s degree and hands-on experience writing is helpful to qualify for jobs as a writer.

However, writers and authors may also be self-employed as freelancers, authors, or other content creators.

Real estate agent

fizkes/Adobe real estate agent showing couple about new great offer

Real estate agents and brokers work to help their clients in selling, buying, or renting properties, earning commissions for their work. Most real estate agents are self-employed or work independently, though they might also work for a real estate firm or other business.

Part-time work is fairly common in this profession, with 25% of real estate agents averaging less than 35 hours of work per week. Average annual earnings are $65,850, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To become a real estate agent, you’d need to complete a licensing program with your state. 

Actor

Rawpixel.com/Adobe Actors on movie set

More than half of actors (55%) work part-time schedules that average less than 35 hours per week. Median pay is $17.94 per hour, which at 35 hours per week comes to about $32,650 per year.

Professional actors do have to build and maintain the level of skill needed to get paid for their performances.

They may have earned college degrees in acting, enrolled in acting classes, or hired acting coaches, for example.

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Dancer or choreographer

chaoss/Adobe Breakdancer

Another career field in which more than half of workers clock less than 35 hours per week is dancing. Half (50%) of dancers and choreographers work part-time, with a median pay of $22.62 per hour. 

Like other performers featured here, dancers and choreographers spend many years training and building skills and experience in their profession.

Some types of dance, such as ballet, have more rigorous or formal training requirements. Dancers and choreographers might attend a dance school or a college dance program to train.

Bus driver

Africa Studio/Adobe Bus driver smiling

Driving buses may not be the most lucrative career, but it can offer a flexible schedule that many workers are looking for. Among bus drivers, 37% work fewer than 35 hours per week.

The average pay for transit and intercity bus drivers is $25.92 per hour — or $53,920 per year.

To qualify to be a bus driver, workers must earn and hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). They also need to have a clean driving record and meet vision and hearing requirements to continue safe driving. 

Photographer

producer/Adobe wedding photographer takes pictures of bride and groom

Just under 40% of photographers work less than 35 hours per week. The average pay for a photographer is $24.14 per hour or $50,210 annually.

The range of education required for photography ranges widely, however. Most photographers will take some classes to gain both technical and artistic skills in this trade.

They’re commonly self-employed as portrait photographers (think wedding or family photographers), though many also work for an employer as an in-house photographer.

Recreation or fitness workers

Halfpoint/Adobe group of cheerful seniors in gym with a young trainer

Several types of jobs could fit into this group, from fitness instructors and personal trainers to workers at recreation facilities such as community centers, parks, or summer camps. About 47% of people with these jobs work part-time, and the median pay is $21.82 per hour or $45,380 per year.

But what you earn depends on the specific focus you pick and the type of facility you work for. 

Qualification and education requirements can vary, as well. Most jobs will be seeking applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent, and at least a few weeks of on-the-job training.

Tailors or custom sewers

Praximon/Adobe Tailor using sewing machine

Making alterations or sewing custom clothing and costumes is the last occupation on this list. Around 34% of tailors and sewers work less than 35 hours per week.

The average pay is $16.60 per hour or $34,530 annually, which can be a great way to boost your bank account.

This type of work doesn’t typically have any education requirements. However, workers may need to complete on-the-job training or otherwise demonstrate their proficiency in sewing and textile construction.

The bottom line: create your own part-time job

Robert Kneschke/Adobe Food stylist and photographer

These professions are just a start — there are many jobs out there that require less than 40 hours a week and offer decent pay.

Get creative and research more outside-the-box legit ways to make extra money. Consider opportunities that would be a good fit for the education, training, and skills you already have. 

Then figure out how to put them to work to build a side hustle or your dream part-time job.

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Author Details

Elyssa Kirkham

Elyssa Kirkham is a personal finance writer who specializes in using data journalism to provide unique insights into personal finance. An expert on student loans, consumer debt, and credit, she loves helping people pay down debt and build healthy financial behaviors. Elyssa's financial insights and money advice have been featured in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, CBS News and USA Today.