This article can translate to Ontario or wherever you may choose to live during the summer. Many of the jobs mentioned take place all over our country. It is an inspiring read!
By Amanda Reaume
May 18, 2017
You’ve probably met someone older than you with a story about how they put themselves through school just by working during the summer. While times have changed and most students can’t pay for school with a summer job, that doesn’t mean a well-paying summer job can’t be a part of your financial aid equation.
The more money you’re able to make in the summer – the less you’ll probably have to borrow next year. Hilary Steinberg, a case manager with YWCA’s WorkBC Career Zone, helps students find summer jobs and has suggestions for jobs that might not even be on your radar.
- Production Assistant
If you live in Vancouver or Toronto, then summer is the time when Hollywood flocks to your city to take advantage of Canada’s film production tax credits. If you don’t mind long hours and a hectic schedule, Steinberg suggests applying for a well-paying production assistant job.
How many jobs are available will depend on how many films are shooting at the time. It can also be difficult to get a job on set, but if you do they can pay up to $20 per hour, with extra for overtime.
- Golf Caddy
Do you like hanging out on the golf course? If so, then you could spend your summer on the greens helping golfers carry their bags.
The tips are great according to Steinberg, but you should also look out for networking opportunities: You never know who whose bag you’ll be carrying.
There are a limited number of jobs available, but you’ll be more successful at getting a job in this field if you golf yourself. You can make between $15-$20 per hour plus tips.
- Hospitality Jobs
Are you friendly and outgoing? If so, then a hospitality job might be right up your alley. Work as a server, bartender or travel guide this summer and learn how to charm tourists for tips!
“Hospitality jobs make great summer jobs as peak tourist season is in the summer,” said Steinberg, meaning there are often a lot of openings.
Hospitality is an area where there are often an abundance of jobs available, however, it might be more difficult to get a gig at a higher end bar or restaurant where you’ll get better tips. Though most hospitality jobs pay minimum wage, the tips can often make up for it!
“Those that like to work outdoors and be physically active are probably individuals that this type of work would attract. Municipalities, engineering firms, landscape companies are a couple of sectors that students should look at when looking for this type of work,” said Ferguson.
Students are hired every year to help out at land surveying firms over the summer. While this summer job requires a bit of training, the skills are relatively easy to pick up. You can make anywhere from $14-$20 per hour.
- Web or Video Game Development
Love tinkering around with computers and coding cool things?
According to Jill Ferguson, Director of the Career Services Center at the University of Guelph, web and video game design jobs are perfect for Computer Science students to prepare for their careers after graduation.
“It allows them to expand their skills and abilities in a work setting and utilize what they are learning in their academics,” she said.
There are a limited number of jobs available, but they can pay fairly well starting at $14 per hour.
Everyone loves to go on vacation over the summer, but there are certain professions where the office can’t close down to accommodate employees’ summer breaks. Emergency phone operation centres are one of them and that’s why they often hire students to cover leaves.
“Dispatching jobs also pay well,” said Steinberg, “and would allow students to develop their multi-tasking skills as they would be working in fast-paced environments.”
While there won’t be a lot of dispatcher jobs available, you can potentially make $14-20 per hour.
If you like to work outside and don’t mind getting sweaty, landscaping could be a great opportunity for you this summer. You’ll get in shape from all that digging, lawn mowing, and planting and you’ll get a good wage as well, said Steinberg.
Since landscaping work is extremely seasonal, there will be lots of opportunities available. Pay can vary significantly between minimum wage and $18 per hour, but look out for municipal landscaping jobs since they tend to pay better.
You’ve likely heard stories about college students setting up painting franchises and making big money over the summer. If you’re entrepreneurial, then that might be a great option for you, but you can still make good money by painting even if you don’t call yourself the boss this summer. Look for opportunities at established painting companies.
Painting is another field that is highly seasonal so there are lots of jobs. If you want to start your own painting company, how much you make is highly dependent on how much you work and your ability to sell your services. If you want to work for a company, you’ll likely make $14-$18 per hour.
- Co-ops or Paid Internships
Perhaps the best job for a student is a co-op or paid internship in their field. Not only do they often pay, but they provide relevant job experience that will give you a leg up on the competition after graduation. Many co-op and internship employers even hire their students when they graduate.
“I highly recommend that students pursue a co-op experience or well-paying internships in their field to gain more work experience and expand their network before they graduate,” said Steinberg. “If students put in this effort while they are in university they are more likely to find work in their field after they graduate.”
While co-op jobs can be competitive, they often pay very well. How much you’ll make will depend on the industry, but those in in-demand fields like programming can make over $20 per hour. Check out RBC’s co-op and internship opportunities here.
Search Early for the Right Opportunity
There are lots of great high paying jobs available if you search for them, but Steinberg suggests you start your search early.
“A lot of employers will post summer positions in March and hold interviews from March to April,” she said.
According to Ferguson, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’ll make in any particular job just from the posting or job type since pay can differ from region to region and, “many employers refrain from posting a wage as they want an individual to be interested in the position, not solely the compensation,” she said.
Your best bet? Find a job that you’re excited to do over the summer that also pays reasonably well and you’ll get the best of both worlds.