16 Best Online Jobs for College Students in [2024]

NEWS & TRENDING - JOBS & CAREER NEWS
Make some extra cash while attending college with these online jobs.
Updated April 11, 2024
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Online jobs and side hustles are a great fit for college students seeking to make money. The best options, like social media management and online tutoring, offer flexibility that fits right into your schedule.

Some online jobs for college students could even turn into full-time careers. These jobs can also strengthen your resume if you have a specific career path in mind. You can give yourself a head start and build up your savings with online job opportunities.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • Our top recommendations include online tutoring, social media management, and freelance writing.
  • It’s possible to turn an online job into a full-time career, but the potential for each side hustle varies.
  • You don’t have to wait until after you graduate college to discover a viable career path and build your savings.

The 16 best online jobs for college students

Best online jobs for college students comparison

Online Job Best for Average pay
Online tutor Students who like to teach one-on-one $22/hr
Bookkeeper Accounting and business students $25/hr
Social media manager Students who enjoy creating online content $32/hr
Freelance writer Writers $23/hr
Transcriptionist Attentive students $20/hr
Graphic designer Artists $27/hr
Virtual assistant Problem solvers $24/hr
Search engine evaluator Analytical students $24/hr
Proofreader English majors $30/hr
Video editor Students good with video editing tools $32/hr
Data entry Low barrier to entry $22/hr
Course instructor Students who like to share knowledge online $33/hr
Influencer Students with 1,000+ social media followers $33/hr
Affiliate marketer Business majors $39/hr
SEO manager Analytical students $41/hr
Self-published author Writers Up to $204/week

Online tutor

Pros
  • Many platforms connect tutors with clients
  • Flexible schedule
  • See the impact you are having on students
Cons
  • Most tutor jobs are not high-paying
  • Some tutoring platforms require you to demonstrate expertise with a certificate

Many people hire online tutors to help their children with school subjects and learning new languages. Many online tutoring platforms, including Care.com, Tutor.com, Outschool, and Wyzant, connect tutors with clients. These platforms reduce the work you must do to find clients but usually mean lower wages than some of the other choices on this list.

You can set your availability on online tutoring platforms. You will likely undergo a background check and must demonstrate your subject knowledge to tutor students. Tutoring in advanced topics and high-demand subjects can help you earn more than the average tutor. Some tutors scale their knowledge by offering online courses.

Care.com Benefits

  • Powerful website lets you browse over 80,000 caretaker jobs
  • Pay depends on region, family needs, and commitment level
  • Search for full and part-time work with paying families

Bookkeeper

Pros
  • Hands-on experience that can give you a head start on an accounting career
  • Nearly all businesses need bookkeeping
  • You can teach yourself the skills needed
Cons
  • Can be repetitive
  • Need to familiarize yourself with commonly used software like QuickBooks

If you’re getting a degree in accounting or business, bookkeeping could provide you with valuable, hands-on experience that looks great on a resume along with income. The hours are generally flexible, although you may need to be available during business hours to connect with clients.

The work can be a bit repetitive, and you’ll need to master commonly used software like QuickBooks. You can teach yourself the software, though, and there are lots of resources online, including Bookkeepers.

Bookkeepers Benefits

  • Free 3-class intro teaches you how to launch a bookkeeping business
  • #1 most profitable business as described by Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Supplement your existing income or even replace your current job
  • You don’t need to be a math savant or have an accounting degree

Social media manager

Pros
  • Potential to make a full-time income
  • Diversified income streams
  • Flexible schedule
Cons
  • You may have to jump on meeting calls with clients
  • You have to attract new clients rather than rely on a platform

Becoming a successful social media manager requires a lot of work. Some social media managers only write social media posts for clients, while others also work on advertising campaigns. The latter will require a learning curve.

This opportunity is best for people who can send daily pitches to local businesses. You won’t start by making much money, but this online job can grow quickly, even on a college schedule. You will have to schedule weekly and monthly meetings around your college and client schedules. However, the job is mostly flexible.

Local businesses and nonprofits can be great starting points for client acquisition and testimonials.

Freelance writer

Pros
  • The possibility of a full-time income and a diversified client base
  • Flexible schedule
  • Multiple career paths within this industry
Cons
  • Pay varies significantly for each client
  • Must attract your own clients

Freelance writers have several career choices and are among the best side hustles to consider. They can write articles, sales landing pages, email newsletters, and other types of content. Many businesses invest in online content to rank higher on search engines and build trust with their audiences.

Income varies significantly in this field. Some clients pay only $0.02 per word, while others can deliver $0.20 per word or higher. You will likely start on the lower end, but earning six figures from this online job is possible. Seeking out business prospects is a part of this job, and you will need to produce a few writing samples to demonstrate that you can write strong content.

Upwork and Fiverr are good places to start, but freelancers who pitch to prospects independently of these platforms often have higher earnings potential.

Transcriptionist

Pros
  • Low barrier to entry
  • Agencies like Rev are looking for more transcriptionists
  • Steady work on your own schedule
Cons
  • Lower pay

Transcriptionists convert spoken words from video and audio files into text. This process involves listening to a clip and then writing what you hear. This industry has an easier path to entry, and many agencies like Rev are looking for transcriptionists.

If you work with an agency, your income can become steady if customers are happy with your work. However, pay is low in this industry, and many people in international markets are willing to work below the U.S. minimum wage.

Graphic designer

Pros
  • Possible to make a full-time income
  • Many businesses invest in this skill
  • Flexible schedule
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • You’ll need to find clients

Graphic designers can earn a full-time income, but the downside is that they must send many outreach emails to get clients. You may also have to post designs on social media to get inbound leads. The top designers can work on their own schedules and find clients offering steady payments.

You will have to get familiar with graphic design tools if you aren’t already. Canva is a good starting point, but most graphic designers eventually use Adobe Photoshop and other Adobe software for their designs. You may have to pay for software to create better designs.

Virtual assistant

Pros
  • Recurring revenue from reliable clients
  • Learn from industry leaders by working for them
  • Work from home
Cons
  • You have to be readily available in some cases
  • Pay varies greatly

A virtual assistant performs various tasks for clients. These assistants may be responsible for answering emails, scheduling appointments, managing calendars, and performing other roles. Some platforms, like Upwork and Fiverr, make it easier to land work. However, pitching is a normal part of the process until you have enough clients to achieve your income goal.

Some clients may request that you be available during certain hours of the day. These individuals may want someone to respond to their messages within a few hours.

Virtual assistants can work from home but may have to be available at certain times and jump on meetings. You may want to seek out clients who know your schedule may have to adjust as your class schedule changes.

Search engine evaluator

Pros
  • Easy to get started
  • Flexible hours
  • Agencies are looking for workers
Cons
  • Low pay
  • Inconsistent work

A search engine evaluator checks whether a search engine provides relevant information for search requests. Based on the results, the evaluator offers feedback so the search engine can recommend better resources in the future.

This position doesn’t require much of a learning curve, and companies like Appen and Telus International regularly seek help in this area. You only need an internet connection to get started. However, you may want to pursue other side hustles to increase your income potential.

Proofreader

Pros
  • Easy to get started
  • Flexible hours
  • Many platforms and agencies are looking for proofreaders
Cons
  • Low pay
  • You may have to work on short notice for a project

Proofreaders look over articles, books, and other written content. They make changes to grammar and structure to improve content. Some proofreaders only look for typos and other basic mistakes, while others get paid extra to edit work.

College students can find many online platforms like ProofreadingPal and Scribbr that post proofreading jobs or let you list your services. However, most people start with low pay. Other online jobs for college students have higher income ceilings, but this career path doesn’t require much of a learning curve.

Video editor

Pros
  • Recurring work from clients
  • High demand
  • The potential to work full-time
Cons
  • Higher learning curve
  • You have to do a lot of prospecting to find clients

Video editing is another option that could become a career, but acquiring clients and learning the editing tools takes a lot of work. You could make money with this side hustle if you can edit video clips in a tool like iMovie or Adobe Premiere Pro.

To find work, video editors can reach out to businesses, agencies, YouTubers, course creators, and other groups that regularly produce videos. You will have to send many outreach emails and use platforms like Upwork when you are getting started. It’s also possible to attract clients if you build an audience on social media platforms.

Data entry

Pros
  • Easy to find jobs and get started
  • Flexible hours
  • Work at your pace
Cons
  • Low pay
  • Mentally exhausting

Data entry is a relatively low-hanging fruit that can offer reliable payments. You can work on your own schedule and decide how much work you want.

However, this profession doesn’t have the highest pay. It can also be mentally draining to input data throughout the day without much variation. You can make more money while working fewer hours with some of the other side hustles on this list.

Course instructor

Pros
  • Training courses are scalable
  • Training course platforms like Udemy and SkillShare can handle some of the marketing for you
  • Flexible hours
Cons
  • It takes a lot of work to create a single course
  • The course isn’t guaranteed to succeed

A course instructor offers a series of videos, documents, and other educational resources around a single subject. Instructors sell their courses for a fixed fee or a monthly subscription. While creating a course takes a lot of work, you can publish it on sites like Udemy and SkillShare.

Training courses are scalable, and once created, you’ll generate passive income. However, it may be more difficult to record videos if you live in a college dorm.

Ebooks are a viable alternative for people who can’t create videos.

Influencer

Pros
  • High-income potential
  • Flexible hours
  • You can combine this online job with other side hustles to maximize your earnings
Cons
  • It takes a lot of work, and you may not get paid much in the beginning
  • You may not make much money in the first several months

Influencers establish large social media audiences and make money from various income streams. Advertisements, sponsorships, and product promotions are some of the revenue opportunities.

There isn’t a limit to how much you can make as an influencer. Some leaders in this industry make millions of dollars each year. However, it is very difficult to make it as an influencer.

Combining this path with a high-potential online job like freelancing or social media management could help you make money if you want to pursue this path.

Affiliate marketer

Pros
  • Unlimited income potential
  • Some affiliate programs have monthly recurring revenue models
  • Scalable and flexible hours
Cons
  • You only earn income if you sell the offer you are promoting
  • Some affiliate programs have low commission rates

Affiliate marketers promote products and receive commissions if someone buys them through the link. Many brands have created affiliate programs that reward loyal customers for sharing their products with friends.

Amazon’s affiliate program is the most well-known, but you can receive higher commissions elsewhere. The earnings from this online job are unlimited but depend on your ability to attract potential customers and demonstrate how the product you are promoting can help with their needs.

SEO manager

Pros
  • High income potential
  • Multiple income streams
  • Flexible schedule
Cons
  • You have to do a lot of prospecting
  • Some clients may expect frequent meetings

An SEO manager oversees a company’s efforts to optimize well on search engines. These managers research keywords, assess the intent of each keyword to determine profitable content ideas, optimize websites, and stay on top of the latest SEO trends.

Some people become full-time SEO managers for corporations. Doing smaller online jobs now could set you up for a full-time role with traditional benefits. However, making a six-figure income as a freelance SEO manager who serves multiple clients is also possible.

You will have to do a lot of prospecting and may be needed for meetings, so there’s less flexibility to work around a class schedule than other jobs on this list.

Self-published author

Pros
  • Flexible work schedule
  • A book can help you build authority and get more clients
  • Royalties
Cons
  • Inconsistent income
  • You have to build an audience to get more sales

Writing a book can establish you as an expert in your industry and generate royalties. Self-publishing platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing have made it easier for anyone to make money by writing books.

You will have to build an audience and release new titles to generate more book sales. Most people do not make a full-time income from books. However, you can use a book as a complimentary piece to establish yourself in other career ventures like social media management and freelance writing.

How to choose the best online jobs for college students

These are some of the factors you should consider when looking for a good online job:

  • Review your schedule and determine how much flexibility you have before committing to an online job.
  • Check the income potential of the job.
  • See how a job’s requirements align with your expertise and if you are willing to learn new skills to cover any gaps.
  • Assess if you are okay with sending many pitches to prospects daily or prefer to get clients from a platform or an agency.

Alternative side hustle for college students

If you’re looking for something a bit more low-key, taking surveys online is an easy way to bring in a little extra cash. There’s no set commitment, so you can spend as much or as little time as you like.

Here are some of our favorite sites for online surveys:

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FAQ

What is the best online job for a student?

The perfect online job for a student depends on their expertise, availability, and preferences. Several online jobs can turn into full-time careers.

Social media managers, freelance writers, graphic designers, virtual assistants, and video editors are more likely to make a full-time income. However, it depends on how much time you want to put into promoting your services and how much income you need.

Can you work online as a college student?

College students can work online. Many online jobs offer flexible hours and function as side hustles. These same opportunities can become full-time work if you continue to scale in those industries.

Comparing multiple side hustles before committing to any opportunities can help you find a career path that combines solid earnings and personal satisfaction.

Best online jobs for college students: bottom line

Online jobs can fit into a college student’s busy schedule. Some top options are tutoring online, freelance writing jobs, and SEO management. Some options could also be a good choice for a full-time job or career path.

Methodology

The companies we chose for our best online jobs for college students list may be current or past FinanceBuzz partners. We did not review all the companies in the market. When evaluating these companies, we considered factors such as earning potential, time commitment, and suitability for a college student’s schedule.

SurveyJunkie Benefits

  • Over $55,000 paid to members daily
  • Earn up to $130 a month taking 4 or more surveys daily
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Author Details

Marc Guberti, CPFC Marc Guberti is a Certified Personal Finance Counselor (CPFC) known for his extensive expertise in personal finance matters. With a degree in finance from Fordham University, Marc has written on everything from investing to banks and credit cards for more than five years.

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