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Careers for Night Owls: Perfect Jobs for People Prefer to Work at Night

Not everyone wants to work the traditional 9-5 shift. Some people prefer jobs that don’t start early in the morning. Maybe you’re just not a ‘morning person.’ Or, maybe you feel more energetic or productive in the evening. No matter the case, there are good night shift jobs you can take advantage of.

A night shift can range from working evening hours to working overnight. Sometimes they are known as third shift jobs, or graveyard shifts. It doesn’t have to be difficult to find the best-paying night jobs that suit your lifestyle choices.

Not everything shuts down in the evening hours. There are many businesses that depend on their overnight workers to keep things running smoothly. If you’re the type of person who loves being awake while the rest of the world sleeps, one of these jobs could be just right for you.

There are also many overnight jobs for college students. It’s a popular choice for a younger audience who doesn’t have trouble staying awake. If you think a night job might be right for you, you can also try one of many part-time night jobs that pay well.

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Do Well-Paying Night Jobs Exist?

Not only do well-paying night shift jobs exist, some are in high demand! Not everyone is equipped to work such hours. People who do feel more productive in the night are needed to keep certain businesses afloat.

This guide will focus on several prominent careers you can take part in if you’re a night owl. They can combine your sleep habits with your interests, and there are jobs that fit around your family life. Whether you need something part-time, or a full career, there are many options available. The right job for you will depend on your skills, interests, and training. Take those traits into consideration as you look at these career possibilities.

Why Should I Work the Night Shift?

Being an evening person isn’t the only benefit to working the night shift. There are several great reasons to keep job postings in mind that might have you working these hours.

If you’re on the fence about working a night job, take these benefits into consideration:

  • You can pay more attention to your work. During the day, there are dozens of distractions. If you get easily distracted by other people, including co-workers, an overnight job could be the perfect way to concentrate on your work. It’s usually much quieter. This can allow you to be more productive and do a better job in general.
  • Your role is incredibly important. The fact is, not everyone is a night owl. That doesn’t mean nighttime jobs don’t need to be filled! Some of the positions listed discussed here are vital to the success of certain industries. People who work at night keep things running smoothly in many different career paths.
  • In some cases, your ‘odd’ shift may come with an increase in pay. Many employers pay their overnight workers more to compensate for working unsociable hours. Obviously, this is something you can look into before you accept a job. If money is a deciding factor for you, the night shift could mean a higher salary. Many of the highest-paying medical jobs require you to work into the small hours of the night.

Nurses and Doctors

Emergencies can happen anytime. Hospitals never shut down, and always need qualified doctors and nurses on staff every hour of the day. In fact, studies have shown that emergencies tend to occur more frequently at night. Emergency room workers need to be on their toes at all times.

As a doctor in the ER at night, you’ll have to diagnose and treat patients on an immediate basis. You may even have to refer them to specialists, if necessary. Nurses are in high demand for night shifts. Most nurses can ‘choose’ when they wish to work. There may be some more benefits offered by certain facilities for those willing to work overnight hours.

Obviously, these are careers that need specific training. It can take several years to complete the education required to become a doctor. To be a registered nurse, a Bachelor’s degree is usually required. Nurses typically have to take continuing education courses, too.

If you already have one of these career titles but aren’t feeling fulfilled with the day shift, consider making the switch. If you’re interested in medicine, these are two jobs that will always be in demand. They are also some of the most lucrative in the medical field. ER doctors can make over $300,000 each year. Registered nurses earn an average of about $68,000 per year.

If you don’t want to go through years of schooling and training, consider training to become a phlebotomist. Again, hospitals don’t shut down. There are many people needed to keep it running smoothly at all hours of the night. Some of these positions take little training.

Here is a Phlebotomist vs. Nurse guide that will perform a side-by-side comparison of the two different career options.

Stocking Jobs

Many people associate overnight jobs with big box stores, grocery stores, etc. It’s true, many of these businesses never close. Or, they close to replenish their stock and clean the store for the next day. That requires a staff to work diligently through the night.

For example, night shift jobs at Walmart are extremely important to the company. Without night workers, one of the biggest ‘big box’ stores in the world wouldn’t be ready for millions of shoppers during the day. Some of these stores are open 24/7. But, there is generally less traffic at night. This gives stockers and cleaners time to make sure the store is ready for the following day.

Most big box store jobs are part-time. They also may not be the most lucrative careers on this list. But, they are great options for college students. Or, you can use a job like this to determine if working overnight is right for you.

Stocking or cleaning jobs usually don’t take more schooling. Most training will be on-the-job. You will likely be able to start working right away. If you find that you enjoy this type of work, don’t worry about the pay scale. There are often many opportunities for growth and advancement, like becoming an overnight manager.

Law Enforcement

Just like doctors are always needed, so are police officers. Unfortunately, crime never stops. Even in quiet communities, qualified officers are needed to patrol the streets overnight. A night shift officer does everything their daytime counterparts do. This includes things like traffic stops, responding to emergencies, and dealing with criminal activity.

Police officers need a high understanding of the law. There are many things that can happen overnight that don’t often happen during the day. More crimes may occur, reckless driving becomes more of a problem, etc. An officer working overnight needs to be even more aware of what the law says, so they can make the right judgment in whatever they do.

Even at night, it’s necessary for an officer to have a relationship with their community. The job itself is about keeping people within the community safe, every hour of the day.

There is no college training required to become a police officer. But, some stations may prefer an employee who has taken more training, like college courses in law. In most cases, though, you don’t need anything more than a high school diploma. Whatever department you choose to work for will usually provide their own training program.

Most police training programs are at least twelve weeks long. They focus on local, state, and federal law. Training at an academy should cover almost every aspect of being a qualified officer. There are some things you’ll need to experience first-hand in to get the right ‘training.’ But, in just a few months you could be working a night shift and keeping people safe.

On average, police officers make about $60,000 a year. If law enforcement has ever interested you, working overnight as a police officer can be one of the most exciting and honorable jobs on this list.

Security Guard

Many businesses need extra security, especially when they’re closed for the night. Overnight security guards are hired to make sure nothing gets disturbed within a business during the evening hours. Certain facilities are sensitive when it comes to staying protected at all times.

As a security guard, it’s your responsibility to patrol a certain area of a facility. If it’s small enough, you may be in charge of the whole thing. You may also have to look at and review video. The main goal is to notice any activity that shouldn’t be happening.

If unusual activity is discovered, a security guard can write reports or even detain individuals who shouldn’t be on the property.

Many security guards work for actual security companies and are hired out to work at different businesses. Or, the business itself can hire you based on their needs. The training involved usually requires a Bachelor’s degree in some type of criminal law or criminal justice. In some cases, you may be able to get hired with just a high school diploma and prior experience.

It is common for retired police officers or other law enforcement officials to become security guards. It offers a change of pace and can often be less stressful than police jobs. If you’re used to working a night shift but want a position that is more low key in the criminal justice field, this is a great option.

careers with unsociable hours

Home Health Aide

Being a home health aide gives you a lot of freedom. Usually, you can choose your own hours. You can either work for one patient or a handful of different people throughout the day. This all depends on your patients’ needs.

Even though it’s a job with a lot of flexibility, you may be required to work at night sometimes. People’s needs don’t stop at night. A home health aide is usually required to check vital signs, feed their patients, change them if necessary, etc.

The healthcare field is experiencing a huge time of growth. The baby boomer generation is getting older. More people are requiring regular medical care. So, home health aides are becoming more necessary, since people don’t want to spend all their time in a hospital.

If you have a knack for working with people and taking care of them, this is a great opportunity. Most HHA workers can take an 8-12 week course on patient care to receive certification. But, requirements can vary by state, or if you work for an organization.

Hotel Front Desk Clerk

Travel is unpredictable. People need to check into hotels and resorts at all hours of the night for different reasons. So, someone needs to be in charge. People checking in expect the same quality service at night that they might get during the day.

As a front desk clerk, you’ll be responsible for checking guests into their rooms. You’ll need to be able to answer questions as well. You may also have to deal with any problems your guests encounter in the hotel or their rooms.

On the job training is the most common way a front desk clerk gains experience. There is no special schooling required. You may even be able to consider it as a part-time job. The salary depends on the type of hotel you’re working in, and your location. But, most front desk workers can expect to make around $22,000 each year.

Customer Service Representative

Many large businesses want to be available to their customers 24/7. So, they have call centers set up with people working around the clock. As a representative, you answer questions, listen to complaints, and try to resolve any issues a customer may have.

The types of businesses that hire for this type of position are endless. Everything from cable companies to banks usually has some type of call line available 24 hours a day.

You usually don’t need more than a high school diploma and some on the job training to be a customer service representative. But, it does need someone with a calm and understanding demeanor. If you’re a patient person who can handle dealing with people who may not always be happy, this could be a great job for you. Put your communication skills to the test.

Air Traffic Control

It may surprise you that this is one of the highest-paying jobs on this list. Air traffic controllers typically work 40 hours a week. But, they are needed 24 hours a day. Planes travel at all hours of the night. It’s crucial they have someone directing them and keeping them safe.

Air traffic controllers make sure airplanes stay in their designated airspace. They also control them on the ground during takeoffs and landings. It can be a stressful job and requires someone who can work quickly and make instant decisions if needed. But, it may be an even more important job overnight, when everything is more difficult to see.

The stress and fast-paced nature of this job do come with perks. The average salary of an air traffic controller is about $120,000 a year. If you have great decision-making skills, you’re good with math and can stay calm under pressure, this could be a great nightshift job that pays well.

Computer Operations and Repair

Most offices have standard daytime hours. But, they rely on their computer system to work around the clock. If there is a malfunction, it’s the responsibility of a computer operator to fix it as quickly as possible. So, they must be available, even during the night.

A computer operator’s job includes everything from backing up systems to making sure printers are working the way they should. Advancements in technology have made this job more popular than ever. Some computer operators work in an office or data center. But, many now work from home. It can even be considered somewhat of a freelance position if you have experience.

No formal education is usually required. But, you may need more training to keep up with ever-changing technology. Being knowledgeable about computers and how to fix them is the best way to make a difference in this career. If you’re successful, you could make around $35,000 – even when working from home!


You may not think bartending could be considered a high-paying job. In most cases, it’s not your paycheck that will make you the big bucks. But, bartenders can make quite a bit of money each night from tips.

This job isn’t for everyone. You not only have to be a night owl, but you have to love the nightlife experience. You’ll deal with many different people each night. Not only is it your responsibility to make and serve drinks, but you also need to be able to use your best judgment. It’s the job of a bartender to make sure patrons don’t get too out of hand, are of legal drinking age, etc.

But, if you love meeting people and have a lot of energy at night, this could be the perfect job for you. It’s great for college students or someone looking for part-time work. Depending on the bar, you could be making hundreds of dollars each night in tips alone.

jobs that allow me to work at night

How to Prepare Yourself for a Night Job

Even if you consider yourself a night owl, staying up late and working through the night are two different things. Staying awake all hours of the night can take a toll on your body. It can cause problems both mentally and physically if you don’t take care of yourself.

If you’re thinking about working a night shift, you have to prepare yourself. There are a few things you should always make sure to do once you start working an overnight job.

  • Make sure you get enough sleep. This might seem obvious, but it can be hard for some people to get enough rest during the day. This is especially true at first as you adjust to a new sleep schedule.
  • Eat the right foods. Even with enough sleep, you may notice your body feels sluggish for a while. You may have to change up your diet to include more energy-boosting foods. Getting enough nutrition is extremely important. It will keep your mind sharp and help you to focus on your job, no matter what hour it is. Don’t get caught up in things like too much coffee, sodas, or energy drinks. These can give you a quick boost but aren’t good for you in the long run. The sugars and caffeine will make you ‘crash’ later.
  • Get some light exercise when you can. Exercise is a natural energy booster. It will help you to stay alert and feel good before you start each shift. It doesn’t take much to be effective. A light jog or any type of cardiovascular exercise can make a difference.
  • Take mental breaks. An overnight job can be taxing for anyone. If you start to feel tired or fuzzy, take a five-minute break to decompress. These short breaks can do wonders for your general mental state. Meditate, talk to co-workers, or do whatever you can to reset your mind before getting back to work.

Is a Night Shift Job Right for Me?

As you can see, there are many overnight jobs that pay well. Many of them don’t take years of schooling. Whether you want part-time or full-time work, there’s likely something you’ll enjoy. If you’ve always considered yourself to be a night owl, it might be time to take the plunge with one of these careers.

It can be a big change to move to an overnight job. But, there is a constant need for qualified people to work in the fields listed here. Night jobs are just as important, if not more important than their daytime counterparts.

If any of the jobs listed in this guide interest you, start preparing yourself for the switch now. You may be much happier working overnight shifts if it naturally fits with your personality. Not everyone is a night person. If you are, these are the careers that depend on you to keep them running smoothly.