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These are some of the best part-time jobs for university students in Canada

File photo of food delivery person on bicycle. (Cottonbro/Pexels) File photo of food delivery person on bicycle. (Cottonbro/Pexels)

The average cost of tuition hit $6,693 for the 2021/2022 year, according to Statistics Canada, and more students are scrambling for ways to afford the increased cost.

Most Canadian students get to take the summer off, which gives them ample opportunity to earn money working a side job.

The quicker you can get your student loans paid off, the more money you’ll be able to earn in the future.

Here are some of the best-paying side jobs that provide an excellent opportunity for post-secondary students to earn a side income while still keeping up with their studies.

1. Bartender or server

If you live in a mid to large-sized city in Canada, you can earn a decent living as a bartender or server working for a restaurant. According to Indeed, Canadian bartenders earn around $15/hour for base pay.

There is a much higher-earning potential after tips are factored in. The amount you can earn from tips will vary greatly depending on where you work. If you don’t mind working late nights, bartending can be a very high-paying side hustle.

If you’re under the legal drinking age of your province or don’t like the idea of working night shifts, then picking up a side job as a restaurant server is another great opportunity. You’ll primarily be responsible for greeting new tables, selling them on the restaurant’s specials, and ensuring they have a great experience inside the restaurant.

2. Online freelance services

If you don’t mind working on a computer all day, you can find plenty of high-paying “gig work” opportunities online. Some of the more popular freelance opportunities include:

  • Online proofreading
  • Freelance blog writing
  • Graphic design
  • Video editing
  • Social media marketing

If you’re a good writer, photo/video editor, or possess an innate sense of marketing, then all of these could be good opportunities to see if you can earn money from your skills. Once you earn your degree, you can take any one of these professions and pursue them even further, possibly even turning them into a full-time online business.

Freelance work is an excellent way for students to earn side money as there are no long-term commitments, and the experience will teach you valuable networking skills that you’ll be able to take with you throughout your life.

3. Rideshare driver

If you have a newer vehicle (2014 to present) with four doors, you could earn up to $23/hour or more as a rideshare driver, according to Indeed. Uber is, by far, the most popular service in Canada. However, Lyft follows closely behind and is even more popular in certain regions.

Many rideshare drivers opt to drive for both Uber and Lyft, as each service allows drivers to clock in and out whenever they want to.

Both services offer peak pay during busy hours (usually lunchtime, dinnertime, and weekend nights) and extra compensation for dealing with messes or delayed riders.

4. Food delivery

Delivering meals for services such as DoorDash, UberEats, or SkipTheDishes can earn you up to $25/hour or more, according to Indeed. If you want to earn at a higher rate, then I suggest working during busy food-ordering hours, such as lunch (11am to 1pm) or dinner (6pm to 9pm).

As a driver, you’ll earn a base delivery fee along with tips from your individual customers.

5. Virtual secretary

Some 29% of all Canadians worked primarily online between July 2020 and June 2021, according to StatCan. As more Canadian businesses shift towards an online business model, there are more opportunities to work online than ever before. One of the easiest positions you can get is working as a virtual secretary or a virtual assistant. Indeed Canada states the average wage for a virtual assistant is around $22 an hour.

This position could find you working for a variety of different industries, including (but not limited to):

  • Legal/lawyers
  • Medical/doctors
  • Accountants/banking
  • B2B (business-to-business) services

You’ll learn valuable on-the-job skills, making this a great way to build your resume.

6. Work with a moving company

According to Indeed, movers earn between $18 and $20 per hour (sometimes more). Moving is hard work, though, so you can expect to earn a bit extra compared to other side jobs for students. It’s a more flexible job than something such as a cashier, as moving is a one-off job most of the time so you can pick and choose when you want to work.

Moving jobs often involve spending several hours a day walking up and down stairs with heavy boxes and furniture and then doing the same thing again once you get to the client’s new home.

If you’re looking to pack on some muscle, don’t mind hard work, and like the idea of earning extra tips on top of your hourly income, then working for a moving company can be a great side job for Canadian students.

Final thoughts

As a student, your primary job should be to get the best grades you can and learn everything possible about the industry you’re about to enter. However, I always encourage my readers to earn extra income during their summers, time off, or holidays.

Having a side job with flexible hours will not only allow you to focus on your studies but also give you valuable real-life experience and put some extra cash in your pocket.

Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder and former financial advisor. He writes personal finance tips for thousands of daily Canadian readers on his Wealth Awesome website.

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