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The Best Jobs for Night Owls

By Selena Maranjian - Jul 1, 2017 at 8:04PM

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If your body's internal clock has you wide awake when others are asleep, you're a night owl, and certain jobs might suit you better than other ones. Here are some possibilities to consider.

"How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon.
December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?"
-- Dr. Seuss 

I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day.
-- Vincent Van Gogh 

People are different. We all have different skills and strengths, different ways that we learn best, and different times when we work best. Some of us are wired to be early birds, some don't feel a strong pull toward any part of the day, and others are night owls. If you like to stay up late and are wondering which lines of work might mesh best with your body clock, below are some of the best jobs for night owls.

Owl standing on timber in the night under a full moon.

Image source: Getty Images.

  • Healthcare professional: The healthcare industry is one that's never fully off the clock. Ordinary visits to doctors and other healthcare providers can happen during or near regular working hours, but many patients -- such as those in emergency rooms and hospitals -- need care around the clock. Thus, you might consider positions such as emergency-room doctor, physician assistants, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, sonographers, x-ray technicians, and paramedics, among other careers. Each job has different educational requirements and salary ranges, so you should be able to find something amenable.
  • Freelancer: "Freelancer" is a broad term, encompassing a wide range of often unrelated jobs. You might freelance as a writer, editor, translator, graphic designer, web designer, software programmer, artist, musician, photographer, consultant, private investigator, or any of a number of other jobs. As a freelancer, you'll be able to take the gigs you want, often dictating your own hours. The downside is that you won't enjoy employer-provided benefits, but you'll have more freedom.
  • Bartender: This position needs little explanation. Bars are busiest in the evenings, and need folks making and serving drinks. This job typically will have you relying significantly on tips, so the place where you tend bar can make a big difference. (Bartending can also be a helpful second job if you're looking to earn extra money for awhile.)
  • Aviation worker: Airplanes fly around the clock, so personnel are needed to support all that activity. Air-traffic controllers, for example, often work late hours -- and frequently earn more than $100,000 per year. Pilots, flight attendants, gate personnel, tarmac workers, baggage handlers, and customer-service specialists are also needed to be on the job at non-regular hours.
  • Casino worker: You can zero in on possible late-night jobs by thinking of businesses that operate late into the night -- such as casinos. You might be a dealer, for example. The job doesn't typically offer a grand salary, but there can be generous tips.
  • Emergency services, law enforcement, and security: Many jobs protecting people involve a lot of night work. These include police officers, firefighters, security guards, and even prison workers. These can be high-stress professions, and they're generally much more dangerous than typical jobs, but many will pay more to those willing to work at night.
  • Driver: Another way to bring in an income working at night is to drive a taxi, or perhaps be an Uber or Lyft driver -- though all those options will vary in how profitable they can be for you depending on where you live and the local transportation scene. According to Glassdoor.com, the average Uber driver makes around $30,000 annually, while some estimates range from about $10 to $20 per hour in major cities. Driving a limousine is another possibility.
  • Computer specialist: Computer operators need to be on the job, or at least on call, around the clock, in case any system breaks down. You might be called on to address servers, back-up systems, employee printers, websites, or any of a number of things.

The list above is far from complete. A little digging can turn up a lot more late-night jobs, such as hotel desk clerk, customer-service representative, post-office mail sorter, or toll-booth attendant.

If you're a night owl, you might find one of the jobs above more to your liking than your current job. Note that, since most people are not eager to work at night, it can be a bit easier to land a late-night job -- and it might even pay more, too.

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