Student employment on-campus, off-campus and work-study

Career Center

Summer jobs for teens (© Damian Dovarganes/AP Images)

Many students these days need to work to help pay the bills for tuition, gas and expenses, and room and board. Student employment opportunities include on-campus jobs, off-campus jobs, resident assistant, teaching assistant, work-study and more. Ask your financial aid office, career counselor, or just take a trip downtown to find jobs available to college students.

On-campus jobs

According to Ohio State University’s “Student Employment Opportunities,” “Working on campus is a great option because university employers are often more flexible about scheduling your work hours around your class schedule, and transportation and travel time are seldom a problem.”

Types of on-campus jobs:

  • Bookstore
  • Tutor or student assistant
  • Sports supervisor
  • Library assistant
  • Computer lab assistant
  • Food service
  • Residence hall
  • Maintenance
  • Website development and social media
  • Clerical and administrative

Students interested in sports can work in jobs such as intramural sports supervisor, fitness instructor, personal trainer, lifeguard, sports club supervisor or outdoor recreation assistant, or as a gym monitor.

To find on-campus jobs, check out the school’s job boards on the Employment Opportunities, Financial Aid, Student Employment, Career Development or Career Education web pages.

Other ways to find jobs:

  • Visit each department within the school (business, biology, computer, administration, etc.) for open positions
  • Attend an on-campus career fair
  • Network with your friends to see if there is an opening where they work
  • Ask a teacher if he or she knows of a job on campus

Off-campus jobs

College towns are often glad to have a supply of young people eager for work. To find job openings, check out the local newspaper’s online classified ads, consult your career counselor or student employment center, or take a trip downtown and look for “help wanted” signs. A quick bus ride or bike ride will take you into town for a variety of jobs, such as:

  • Fast food
  • Retail
  • Home health aide
  • Tutor
  • Hotel front desk, guest services or housekeeping
  • Youth ministry
  • Customer service representative
  • Bank teller
  • Childcare, babysitting
  • Personal assistant
  • construction

In the OregonStateUniversityblog article “Working Off-Campus” February 6, 2012, Randi Williams described some benefits of working off-campus: “I was again associating with people of different ages. On a college campus we tend to only interact with students who are near the same age as us. […] This reminds us what the real world is actually like and keeps us balanced. These interactions also provide us with networking opportunities. […] While working off campus you can make connections that will be beneficial after graduation as well.”

Since off-campus jobs are not affiliated with, or funded by, the college, the Universityof Utah Student Employment page offers common sense advice to its students and others: “USU does not screen or endorse the off-campus employers listed here. Please exercise due caution before accepting any job and report any suspicious or unethical activity to our office and to the USU Police Department.”

Resident assistant jobs

Resident assistants (RAs) are fellow students who supervise dorms and residence halls. As they are often the first person a student goes to for conflict resolution, questions about academic or dorm policy or other problems, RAs must be professional, accountable and properly trained.

Due to the responsibility involved in the job, RAs require extra training. offers a five-week, Online Residence Assistance Training Module,which explains, “Training for Resident Assistants is an on-going process, covering many topical areas.” It offers courses in leadership, decision-making, counseling, mediation, mental health, diversity issues and communication skills.

Teaching assistant jobs

Another on-campus job that requires some extra training is the teaching assistant (TA) position. TAs help professors during class answering questions or after class by grading papers or maintaining records. TAs also help students after class by organizing study groups, tutoring, explaining complex concepts from the day’s lecture and directing students to other educational resources.

An application, resume, relevant experience and letters of reference are required for RA and TA positions. Applications are required many months in advance; for example, for an RA job, download and submit an application by January for the following fall semester. For a TA job in the fall, apply by the previous March. All this time leaves room for a lengthy selection, interview and training process before work actually begins. Once you have worked as an RA or TA, you could have your contract renewed or extended for another semester if you wish.

Federal work-study program

The government offers on-campus, work-study programs for students who want to earn money for tuition while attending school. The Department of Education’s Federal Work-Study website explains, “Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient’s course of study.”

Check your school’s Financial Aid Office web page for available work-study positions and federal programs that it participates in, such as The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), Federal Work-Study (FWS) and Federal Perkins Loan programs.

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