31 of the Best Summer Jobs That Pay Well

Summer break brings opportunities for students and others looking for temporary work to earn solid income. The additional cash can fund summer fun, save for school costs, or help launch an entrepreneurial endeavor. With summer jobs plentiful in certain sectors, now is the time to capitalize on seasonal demand.

As a small business owner and entrepreneurship expert, I‘ve explored some of the most lucrative and rewarding summer jobs out there. Whether you‘re entering the workforce for the first time or just need extra income, consider these high-paying summer jobs this year.


Median Hourly Wage: $15.29 [1]

This classic summer job provides above minimum wage income and days basking in the sunshine. From public pools to waterparks, lifeguards are essential for ensuring guest safety while enjoying aquatic activities.

Some insider tips:

  • Obtain proper certifications for CPR, first aid and lifeguard training. Classes are often hosted at local community colleges or rec centers.
  • Consider specializing in waterfront lifeguarding at beaches, lakes or rivers to boost income.
  • Return year after year to qualify for raises or leadership roles like head guard or instructor.

Demand for lifeguards spikes in the summer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of lifeguards is projected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations [2]. With strong job outlooks, lifeguarding is a recession-proof summer job choice.

Landscaping Crew Member

Median Hourly Wage: $15.12 [3]

Trade in time spent mowing your parents‘ lawn for earning cash beautifying local properties. Landscaping companies and lawn care services need extra help in summer handling lawn maintenance, planting and minor landscape construction.

It‘s rewarding to see a home or business‘ curb appeal transform through your hard work. Companies are often willing to train inexperienced yet enthusiastic workers. Expect to sweat – bring water, sunscreen and a tolerance for physical labor.

For a sense of costs, residential lawn mowing can range from $30 – $65 per job and $40 – $70 for biweekly maintenance [4]. Use summers to gain experience and clients to eventually start your own lawn business.

Youth Camp Counselor

Median Hourly Wage: $10.47 [5]

Share your talents while making a difference in kids‘ lives as a youth camp counselor. Sleepaway camps especially need college-aged counselors to serve as mentors and activity leaders for campers.

Benefits like room/board or free camp activities make the modest wages worthwhile. Counselors gain leadership abilities plus endless memories. According to the American Camp Association, over 26 million children attend camp annually [6]. There‘s huge demand for good counselors.

Former campers often make the best counselors. Starting as a counselor-in-training to learn the ropes can lead to getting hired in coming summers.

Tour Guide

Median Hourly Wage: $12.51 [7]

Show off your hometown or a favorite travel destination by leading tours. Tour guide jobs surge in the summer with increased tourism and travelers eager to experience hidden gems.

Do your research to craft engaging tours focused on themes like history, arts, or architecture. Storytelling and public speaking skills are key. Consider specializing in walking tours, food tours or eco tours.

Businesses also hire summer tour guides. Offer guided factory tours at a local manufacturer or private museum tours. Many museums even enlist volunteers to hone skills.

Pet Sitter

Median Hourly Wage: $11.80 [$8]

Caring for pets while owners are at work or away on summer vacations can be extremely lucrative. Pet sitting services are in peak demand during summer with families taking more trips and wanting quality care for pets.

Join a site like Rover or start your own neighborhood pet sitting business. Offerextras like dog walking, overnight visits, administering medication and transportation to vet appointments.

Pet sitters willing to take on more responsibilities and pets can earn over $1,000 a week in some regions [9]. Purchase supplies like pooper scoopers and leashes to look professional.


Median Hourly Wage: $20 [10]

Help fellow students by sharing your academic expertise in subjects like math, sciences, languages, and more. Local tutoring companies hire summer help, but consider freelancing to earn more per hour.

Tutoring works well on college applications and gain teaching experience. Even start your own tutoring business by networking with neighborhood families, schools, or youth programs.

Set rates based on expertise, experience and local demand. Advanced high school tutors can earn upwards of $50/hour tutoring for SAT prep or AP classes in affluent communities [11]. But don‘t undervalue your skills.

Final Thoughts

Summer‘s arrival means abundant openings for seasonal jobs perfect for students and those looking for short-term work. Hours are flexible for enjoying time off while still earning solid income. Consider temporary summer jobs in recreation, tourism, food service and landscaping to secure a high-paying position. Just don‘t forget to also relax and enjoy your break!


[1] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes339011.htm
[2] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/lifeguards-skilled-attendants-and-recreational-protective-service-workers.htm
[3] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes373019.htm
[4] https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/landscape/hire-a-landscaper/
[5] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399011.htm
[6] https://www.acacamps.org/press-room/camp-trends/camper-demographics
[7] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes467011.htm
[8] https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399011.htm
[9] https://www.rover.com/blog/how-much-do-pet-sitters-make/
[10] https://www.care.com/c/stories/2423/how-much-do-tutors-charge-per-hour/
[11] https://www.care.com/c/stories/3326/how-much-do-tutors-charge-per-hour-2019/