Published October 12, 2011
Here are five great second jobs that offer perks like good pay, flexible hours and plenty of opportunity in the coming years.
Enjoy the medical lingo bandied about on TV shows like "ER," "House" and "Grey's Anatomy"? Then you might just like working as a medical transcriber.
Workers transcribe audio recordings created by doctors and other health care professionals into readable reports. Although specialized training is helpful because of the complex medical jargon and the critical need for accuracy, many employers are happy to offer on-the-job training, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Better yet, the job conditions are cushy: Most are in comfortable office settings and telecommuting is common.
Median wages are $17.26 per hour for transcribers at medical and diagnostic laboratories, and some gigs will allow you to wedge the work in during evenings and weekends. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says it expects job opportunities to stay strong into 2018, with 11 percent growth expected.
You might have made a few bucks mowing lawns as a kid, and the opportunity to make some money taking care of greenery may be even better as an adult.
Common tasks for those in the field include mowing, planting, raking and edging. If you're cooped up in an office for most of your working life, spending some time outside while banking some cash can be the perfect antidote.
You won't need any special training to pick up a leaf blower or a shovel, and you'll have the satisfaction of seeing the results of your work over time. You won't get rich with this job, with typical wages ranging from $9.92 to $13.70, depending on the site. But job growth is expected to skyrocket by 18 percent by 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
If you've always wanted an office with windows, a position as a bus driver might be right up your alley. Whether you're driving kindergartners to school in the morning or driving city routes around your neighborhood, you'll get a new view of the community.
Some of the perks include part-time schedules, no boss lurking over your shoulder, and the ability to help the young and old alike get to their destinations safely and efficiently. You'll need to be sure that none of the routes you pick up conflict with your work schedule and be sure that you don't try to pack in too many extra hours. Fatigue can be a real problem for drivers.
Pay can be good. The median wage for transit bus drivers is $16.32 per hour, and for those who work enough hours, health insurance, sick leave, vacation time and free bus rides are among the benefits, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. If you have the smarts to follow sometimes-complicated schedules and have a clean driving record, you might excel at this job.
Maybe you enjoy chatting with people on the phone or you consider yourself an excellent problem solver. Either way, a customer service job might be just the thing.
While the idea of a customer-service gig might conjure visions of angry customers unloading all their complaints, there are also many opportunities for rewarding interactions in which a customer gets an issue resolved quickly and easily.
Typical wages are often higher than $15 per hour, and the number of jobs in the field is expected to jump by 18 percent by 2018, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Because peak times in customer service tend to be early morning, evenings and weekends, it can be an ideal chance to grab extra working hours. It's also a smart way to get your foot in the door at a company where you might find an opportunity for advancement, according to a job outlook summary for the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Organized, detail-oriented people with strong computer and communication skills are often perfect candidates for virtual assistant positions. Over the course of their work, they may make hotel reservations, set up appointments and meetings, type letters, and buy supplies.
While a typical administrative assistant may do this from an office setting, a virtual assistant gets to work on projects from home. Even outside of normal business hours, virtual assistants can do tasks that aren't time-sensitive, including Internet research, data entry, accounting and invoicing. Many employers don't require any special training beyond a high school diploma, but if you're working virtually, you'll have to be adept with a computer.
Indeed, the best opportunities will be for those who are especially tech-savvy. Best yet, you can set your own hours and rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that top virtual assistants command up to $100 per hour, although $25 per hour is a more typical starting point.