Calling All Night Owls: 12 Jobs for People Who Like to Stay Up Late
Let’s face it: Some people are just night owls.
As much as those morning people with their 4 A.M. alarm followed by a 60-minute Crossfit routine and a homemade breakfast want to think otherwise, some of us were just designed to function better in the evening.
When it comes to a career, though, functioning to your peak night owl capabilities can be difficult. But if you truly want to find jobs for night owls, you absolutely can. In fact, we have a few ideas to get you started and most don’t require a college degree.
12 of the Best Night Shift Jobs for Night Owls
1. Freelance Writer
While freelance writing can be either a business or a job, it’s an obvious one to include on this list, because you can write whenever your mind functions best. The famous authors Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov and George Orwell were known to write at night.
How much you’ll make as a freelance writer depends on your ability to find good clients and how efficient you are.
2. Air Traffic Controller
This is one of the most highly paid night shift jobs. The median annual wage for air traffic controllers is $129,750, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
You don’t need a college degree to become an air traffic controller, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, although you will have to go to the FAA Academy, which can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 based on where you live.
Bartending is another job you can do well without a bachelor’s degree, as long as you work in the right place and are assigned to the right shifts. Fortunately for night owls, the night shift produces 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.
How much do bartenders actually make? That’s a great question, and your answer will depend on who you talk to. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says bartenders, on average, make less than $20,000 a year.
But that’s not even close to being accurate, says The Real Barman, because it doesn’t factor in what bartenders take home (read: cash tips). In his survey, he found that bartenders made somewhere closer to $46,000 per year, and even that seemed conservative.
All that to say, bartending is an excellent job for night owls to make a decent living.
4. Security Guard
Night shift 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 $31,470. However, they do note that 10% of security guards make over $50,000, so watch for those better-paying night jobs, or work your way up to them. They are definitely out there.
The mean annual wage for firefighters is $50,700, and a full 25% top $65,000 per year.
Perhaps the best positions are in towns where you work long overnight shifts, staying at the station until there is an emergency call. You’re generally allowed to read, exercise or watch television during those long, slow nights.
And, while firefighters don’t take the job to be heroes, they certainly are just that. We love our first responders, no doubt.
In recent years, becoming a nanny 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 night shift jobs of their own.
Care.com says the average national rate for a nanny comes out to just over $17/hour. Night shift nannies will likely make more.
7. Mail Sorter
The USPS hires for both full-time and part-time positions, some of which are during the night shift, including a mail sorter.
Mail sorting isn’t difficult, doesn’t require any previous experience, and pays a competitive wage. Overnight shifts start at 11 p.m. and end when the mail is sorted, usually between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
These positions usually provide no benefits. This isn’t a career, but a nice way to make some extra cash working night shifts.
8. Pizza Delivery Driver
Indeed says the average pizza delivery driver makes $16.40 per hour. It’s 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 side income, especially if you work night shifts on the weekends, when tips are best. It also helps if your employer provides a vehicle or pays extra for your car expenses.
9. Registered Nurse
If you love to help people facing difficult health issues, then nursing might be for you. Of course hospitals never close, so a night shift position is always an option.
This isn’t a vocation you want to ease into, as it takes years of commitment and schooling to earn your degree. But if nursing is your passion, it also pays well. The 2019 average annual salary for a registered nurse (RN) was $77,640, according to Nursing License Map.
Not ready for all that school? Nursing assistants can work at night and need only a high school diploma and to complete a job training course.
10. Merchandise Stocker
All grocery stores and big box stores employ these unsung heroes of the retail industry, which means there are plenty of these night shift jobs available. Zip Recruiter currently lists hundreds of merchandise stocker-related jobs, with average pay of about $30,000 per year.
No, you won’t get rich with this night shift job, but it could provide you with some side cash while helping you get your night owl fix.
11. Limo Driver
If you like driving nice cars and don’t mind dressing a little fancy, then limo driving might be the gig for you. You’ll need a good driving record and a flexible schedule – including the night shift in most cases.
And according to Indeed, you can expect to pull in about $21 per hour as a limo driver.
Peace, quiet and the constant smell of freshly baked bread. Does it get any better than that?
Depending on the employer, you may or may not need additional schooling to get a baking job. A nicer restaurant, working as a pastry chef, might require a culinary degree. But you probably won’t need that at a smaller, local place or larger grocery store.
Again, you’re not going to get rich as a baker – but, if it’s a passion, who cares about that anyway, right?
Robert Bruce is a senior writer for The Penny Hoarder.