Prefer the Night Shift? Check Out the 21 Best Jobs for Night Owls

A bartender makes a craft cocktail.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If you’re a night person, it can be truly tough to get up at six in the morning to report to work. So what can you do if you only fully wake up and come alive after you get home from your daytime job? 

Trade it in for a new one! 

21 of the Best Night Shift Jobs

Here are 21 of the best night shift jobs for you night owls out there. 

1. Freelance Writer

While freelance writing is technically a business rather than a job, it’s an obvious one to include on this list, because you can write whenever your mind functions best. And yes, I’m writing this in the evening (just to make a point, as I’m actually more of a morning person). 

How much you’ll make depends on your ability to find good clients and how efficient you are. Although I’m usually paid by the article, I aim for at least $20 per hour.

 

2. Air Traffic Controller

This is one of the most highly paid jobs with night shifts. The median annual wage for air traffic controllers is $124,540, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You don’t even need a college degree to get these jobs, according to the Federal Aviation Administration website, although you will have to go to the FAA Academy.

Unfortunately, night shifts sometimes alternate with day shifts, leaving some controllers feeling groggy, according to a 2014 PBS NewsHour article.

3. Casino Dealer

When I was a blackjack dealer, I usually opted to leave early (when the traffic slowed), but many casino dealers love working after midnight. It’s quieter, and customers are more relaxed. 

At most casinos, tips are pooled and added to paychecks as an hourly rate, so you don’t lose anything by working the slow late shifts. Friends who still work for my former employer say they average more than $20 per hour with tips.

4. Bartender

Bartending is another job you can do well without a college degree, as long as you work in the right place and are assigned to the right shifts. Fortunately for night owls, evening shifts produce the best tips. Weekends are usually better than weekdays, so bartending can be a great part-time second job if you already work during the week.

5. Security Guard

When I was a security guard, I liked working in the evenings. It was cooler (I worked in Florida), and I was allowed to spend time reading, writing and cruising the Internet. 

Night security positions are often relaxing, and some allow free time for various activities that don’t interfere with the work. The downside is the pay. The BLS reports that the median annual wage for security guards is just $28,490. However, they do note that 10% of security guards make over $49,000, so watch for those better-paying gigs, or work your way up to them.

6. Firefighter 

The mean annual wage for firefighters is $49,620, and a full 25% top $67,100 per year. 

Perhaps the best positions are in towns where you work long shifts, staying at the station until there is a situation. Friends in these positions tell me you’re generally allowed to read, write or watch television during those long, slow nights.

7. Babysitter

A woman smiles as the child she is watching hugs her bear.
Getty Images

In recent years, babysitting has become more lucrative for adults. Since you’re an independent contractor, you can decide which hours you want to work. In other words, you can take only jobs that start in the evening, or even offer overnight babysitting for other night owls who work the late shifts at their jobs. 

8. Mail Sorter

It isn’t easy to get career positions at the post office, but they often hire for what they call casual positions, which are normally temporary jobs. 

For example, I sorted mail seasonally for two years, working September through December each year. The work wasn’t difficult, didn’t require any previous experience, and paid about $13 per hour. The shift started at 11 p.m. and finished when the mail was sorted, which was usually between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. 

These positions provide no benefits and, in my case, involved only 30 hours weekly. This isn’t a career, but a nice way to make some extra cash working at night.

9. Pizza Delivery Driver

I made decent money delivering pizzas when I was younger. A friend tells me he makes about $14 per hour as a pizza delivery driver. It is all about the tips, because most places pay minimum wage, and some may pay only the tipped-employee minimum wage, which is just $2.13 per hour. 

Still, being a pizza delivery driver can provide a nice side income, especially if you work only when tips are best, which is at night on the weekend.

It also helps if your employer provides a vehicle or pays extra for your car expenses. I’ve worked for employers using both arrangements, and I profited from the latter by driving a cheap car that got good gas mileage.

FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM

Other Jobs for Night Owls 

A movie projectionist plays a film at the drive-in movie theater.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

There are many positions that offer both day and night shifts, allowing you to apply only for the latter. Here are some examples:

  1. Baker
  2. Nurse
  3. Disc jockey
  4. Limo driver
  5. Merchandise stocker
  6. Night school teacher
  7. Hotel desk clerk
  8. Highway toll booth attendant
  9. Liquor store clerk
  10. Gas station attendant
  11. Movie projectionist
  12. Customer service representative

Finally, many online jobs and contract work can be done at night. For example, as a search engine evaluator I often put in late hours. Other online work you can do at any time includes website testing, translating documents, proofreading and freelance editing.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of EveryWayToMakeMoney.com. Of the more than 100 ways he has personally made money, writing is his favorite (so far).