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5 Part Time Jobs for Creative Arts Students

28th February 2016 Posted by: Francesca Turauskis

WHEN you are working on a creative project during your degree course, it can be one of the most exciting and inspiring times in your life. You want to spend your time coming up with new ideas, thinking about your concept and creating the art itself – and then spend any spare time talking about it! When you are in that creative zone, the last thing you might feel like doing is stopping and heading off to work. But for many students, the reality is that they cannot afford to stay at university without working a part-time job. For those in the creative arts, the idea of running away from your real work to wait tables, sell something or clean toilets is uninspiring to say the least. But what if you could find a job that keeps those artistic juices flowing? Here are our suggestions for part-time jobs might help you stay creative.    

Private Tutor

As a part-time job that has good rates per-hour, tutoring is particular suitable for those studying music or literature related degrees. However, whatever your creative expertise, as a university-level practitioner there will be people who will appreciate your knowledge and will be willing to pay for it. The amount you earn will vary depending on a number of things, including your level of expertise, the area or country you live in and the level you are teaching, but to a certain extent you can set your own charges. Tutoring can take place in your own home or the student’s home. There are many websites where you can advertise your services, or you can sometimes advertise on campus and in music shops. If you are working one-to-one with children, it is best to have some security credentials from the country you are in, such as a DBS check in the UK or a Criminal History Summary (RAP sheet) in the USA. Make sure you also stay safe yourself, particular the first time you meet a new tutee – do it somewhere public and make sure someone knows where you are.    


Ushering may not always be the best rate of pay (you will often be earning minimum wage) but there are some great benefits. For one thing, it is a great way to see shows and performances – and get paid to do it! Most ushering jobs would be in theatres, but ushers are also needed for dance shows, musical performances, art exhibitions and even music festivals. Depending on the venue you work for, you could be seeing anything from famous actors performing Shakespeare, to an installation by the next David Hockney. You may have to see ice-creams and clear up rubbish after the performance, but you will also get to network with like-minded people. Most ushers will be passionate about the arts, and you can talk to each other about your projects and potentially suggest joint projects. Entry work in artistic venues is also a great way of hearing about other work. This could lead to higher-paid jobs at the venue’s box-office, full-time work in the marketing office, or hearing about up-coming auditions or open pitches.  

Library assistant

Working for a library is basically a customer service role, but in a more relaxed and creative environment than working in a shop. Whether it is chatting to customers about their favourite books or helping another student track down some research, this will help you find inspiration for your own work. Public libraries often run interesting events, such as author talks or writing workshops. This is a great way to meet professional creatives, hear about their work and potentially get advice or recommendations. Children’s events are also good fun, and children’s story might help stimulate your mind and creativity. Working for your university library will be quieter, particularly if you work the early or late shifts, or even the nightshift. This would give you some much-needed quiet time and thinking space, which is essentially if you are to get some perspective and freshness into your own art. Plus, you will be able to discover, and possible have time to read, books you might never hear about otherwise.  

Note taker

As a note-taker, you will be producing hand written or typed lecture notes for students with disabilities. It is therefore a great way to meet new people and share new ideas with each other. Notes takers sometimes work with just one student in all their lectures, and sometimes they will be assisting a number of students in different subjects. This job can require being flexible, but you may be able to work within your own timetable. It is important to be well-organised and have good, clear handwriting, and it will help develop your empathy and diplomacy skills. Being a note taker is one of the best ways to expand your knowledge when you are at university, as it will allow you to sit in on lectures outside of your own course. On one day you might be learning about inter-planetary physics, and on another you may be looking at social theories and their application. For anybody who likes to be intellectually stimulated, this could be the perfect part-time job, and will no doubt be inspiring for a creative thinker.  

Animal sitter

If you like animals, you are surely aware of their therapeutic quality. There is nothing as calming as stroking a cat for a few minutes, or playing with a very happy dog! Being an animal sitter can involve lots of things, from walking a dog when the owner is out, to feeding the rabbits over the weekend, or simply sitting with a cat and giving it a bit of company when its owners are away. Having a car may be useful, and you will be going into people’s home when they are not there, so there is a level of trust involved. Some pet-sitting companies look for people that have experience working with animals and children, and some will ask for similar security credentials as it takes to become a tutor. But this is a great way for animal lovers to spend some time with other people’s pets, especially as most student accommodation is unsuitable for animals. And you get paid at the same time. 

Before you start applying for part time jobs, make sure your social media profiles don't embarrass you - or worse! Read our guide to mastering your 'personal brand' online here.

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