As a cash-strapped student, you’re always on the hunt for the fastest way to earn the biggest bucks. While typical part-time student jobs pay about $8 to $10 per hour, there are lobangs to earn much more in Singapore.
These jobs are sometimes skill-specific or may require a license. But fret not. We’ll guide you on how to make use of skills you already have (or can quickly learn) to land high-paying jobs.
As an extra perk, adding some experience to your CV can also help you stand out in a competitive job market.
Read on to find out how you can earn top dollar as a student.
Average Salary: $20 – $60 / hour
With our highly competitive schools, it’s no surprise that Singapore’s tuition sector has ballooned into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Parents are willing to pay big money for good, experienced tutors.
Part-time tutors, including polytechnic and university students, can earn $20 to $45 per hour teaching secondary school subjects and up to $50 per hour teaching JC subjects.
Full-time tutors and ex-teachers with MOE training can easily earn 20-160% more.
If you’ve got a niche skill (like the ability to teach special needs students), you can even command $100 per hour.
Job Scope: It goes without saying that tutors need to have a good grasp of the subject matter they’ll be teaching. They’ll also need to be able to keep lessons engaging and simplify complex concepts into bite-sized chunks.
Job Requirements: While there’s no license required for this role, tutors need to prepare their own teaching materials for their students ahead of time.
Hours: Flexible, though most students will request after-school or weekend lessons.
Tuition is a long-term commitment though. Most students expect to learn from their tutors for the entire academic year at the very least, with more intensive sessions closer to exam season.
Caveats: Tutors typically have a degree or are undergraduates themselves. One challenge of this part-time job is building study plans that suit each student, so you should only teach subjects that you’re confident in. Also, the tuition industry is quite competitive, so marketing yourself as a freelancer can take quite a bit of time.
How to Get Started: You’ll need to hold at least an A-levels certificate or a diploma. Once you have relevant qualifications, you can join tuition agencies or self-advertise on various platforms. The best way to get new tutees is by word of mouth. If you do a stellar job with one student, they (or their parents) will probably recommend you to their friends.
Average Salary: From $500 per event, depending on experience
If you’re good at improvisation and can hold the attention of a crowd, being a part-time emcee may be just the gig for you. With some experience under your belt, you can earn quite a lot from emceeing at corporate events or dinner and dance celebrations.
Depending on the scale of the event, you can expect about $500 to $1,000 per day.
Job Scope: You need to be charismatic with good public speaking skills. If you sound boring, you risk ruining the event yourself. You must also be able to think on your feet. Ultimately, a good emcee should entertain and captivate the crowd’s attention, all while remaining true to the theme of the event.
Job Requirements: There’s no specific license for emceeing, but at minimum you should have prior experience hosting.
Hours: Flexible, since you can choose to only host events that fit your schedule. Events are usually hosted either in the evenings or weekends though, so you may need to sacrifice a few social gatherings.
Caveats: To be a good host, you need to be naturally funny and good with people. If this doesn’t sound like something you can handle, you might want to keep looking.
How to Get Started: Apart from job ads, you can join talent agencies and event companies such as Voices For Hire and EVENTPOOL. Alternatively, you can advertise yourself on places like MediaOne or offer virtual emcee services on freelance platforms like Upwork. If you’re starting from zero, you can join the Toastmasters Club to hone your public speaking skill. You can also practice by volunteering to emcee at your friend’s or relative’s birthday or wedding celebrations.
3) Music Teacher
Average Salary: From $30 / hour
Being a music teacher can be a profitable gig if you have the skills to back up your cert. Part-time music teachers can join music schools or teach privately. Music schools are always on the lookout for teachers well-versed in piano, violin, vocals, guitar, ukulele, and drums.
Just like with tuition, music schools and potential students look at your qualifications and experience before hiring you as a teacher.
Job Scope: To ace this gig, you need to plan and prepare lessons following the student’s needs and examination syllabuses. During lessons, you’ll have to be confident in teaching both music theory and practical techniques. As a teacher, you’ll also need to assess your students’ abilities and give feedback.
Logistics-wise, you can conduct classes from your own home if you have a piano or travel to your student’s home to give private lessons.
Job Requirements: You’ll need a relevant diploma in music. For example, to teach piano, you should have at least a Grade 8 in ABRSM piano and Grade 5 in music theory.
Caveats: Marketing yourself as a music teacher can take time. Be prepared to do auditions. Presenting your certification alone is not enough, even if you passed with distinction.
How to Get Started: As long as you have a certification, you can apply to music schools or advertise yourself on various local learning platforms such as Nanyang Learning.
4) Tour Guide
Average Salary: From $250 for a 4-hour tour
With tourism slowly picking up again, this might just be the in-demand job in the near future. If you love exploring Singapore, finding hidden gems, and showcasing the island-city’s beauty to friends and family, you’ll probably fare well as a tour guide.
Job Scope: Tour guides help participants explore Singapore either on walking trails or vehicle tours. You’ll need to be knowledgeable about Singapore’s history and the various iconic landmarks. You’ll also need to have an outgoing personality to hold your participants’ attention, especially in larger groups.
Job Requirements: In Singapore, you need a licence from the Singapore Tourism Board to work as a part-time or freelance tour guide. It costs $72 for a three-year license.
Caveats: Tour guide jobs are seasonal opportunities, mostly peaking during the end-of-year holidays. This means that while you’ll have less income during the school year, you’ll also be busiest during your school break.
How to Get Started: To get licensed, you’ll have to go through a course provided by a SkillsFuture-approved training provider and pass all the assessments. The course is roughly 246 hours but well worth it for the high returns.
5) Personal Trainer
Average Salary: From $50 / hour
Part-time personal trainers can bring home a sizable income, especially if you already have experience. On average, you can earn about $50 to $70 per hour by telling people what to do.
Job Scope: As a personal trainer, you help clients reach their fitness goals by developing personalised plans. The best trainers understand that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach — diet and exercise regimens have to fit a client’s preferences and lifestyle.
Job Requirements: You don’t actually need any certification to provide fitness training, although formal education will help boost your credibility. It helps if you have a background in disciplines like sports science or physiotherapy — that way, you can back up your advice with solid science.
At the very least, you should look the part. That means you should look fit and have some muscle mass.
Caveats: While being a personal trainer seems lucrative, there are things to look out for as well. There’s a high chance of clients who cancel at the last minute and leave you in the lurch. Students dread the idea of pushing themselves to exhaustion, and working adults may not always be able to make it because of work commitments.
To work around this issue, you can request a lump sum payment from your clients as part of a package deal so that clients have an incentive to turn up and use their money’s worth.
How to Get Started: One tip is to start giving personal training to friends and let them promote your services. Alternatively, you can first work as a part-time trainer with a gym before freelancing on your own.
6) Swimming Instructor
Average Salary: $20 / hour / student
Giving lessons as a swimming instructor is lucrative and fulfilling. Swimming instructors can charge up to $20 per hour per student. That means that if you teach a group of students, you can earn much more.
Job Scope: You’ll be providing swimming classes to children and adults at public or private pools.
Job Requirements: You need to have a background in swimming, though you don’t necessarily need a swimming license.
If you’d rather not deal with all the admin and self-marketing, you can sign up with a private swimming company to give lessons as an instructor. Swimming schools also offer free training programmes to teach you how to be a coach.
Hours: Usually flexible, depending on your class schedule.
Caveats: If you want to give lessons at a country club, you’ll likely have to pay a fee to use the facilities. However, the perks of giving lessons privately at a club or a condo swimming pool are that you don’t need to have formal qualifications. As long as you have a reasonable amount of experience teaching swimming, you should be able to do this job.
On the other hand, you’ll need a valid swimming license if you want to teach at a public pool. Teaching swimming is also physically exhausting.
How to Get Started: You can either register for a swimming license, approach private swim schools, or privately advertise your lessons.
7) Freelance Web Designer
Average Salary: From $500 per project
If you have web design expertise, put it to good use and you could earn at least $500 for a five-page website. Once you rack up experience and have a good portfolio to show, you can even charge double or more.
Job Scope: You’ll offer companies web design and development services. Usually, your job involves building the website to make it more marketable and user-friendly.
Job Requirements: Programming and design knowledge are required though prior experience is not always a must.
Hours: Depends on your client’s deadlines.
Caveats: This job requires working for long stretches to deliver by set deadlines. You can streamline the process over time by getting to know the industry best practices and developing templates for those.
You’ll also have to stay current with your coding and design knowledge and keep learning new features as they are launched. You’ll also need to know how to manage your client’s expectations.
How to Get Started: You can hone your web design skills through online tutorials and advertise your services on freelance platforms like Upwork, Toptal, 99designs, and more.
Capitalise on Your Strengths
High paying jobs are aplenty in Singapore if you know where to look. Though some gigs require a bit of investment or learning, the higher payout pays dividends over time. The best kind of jobs are ones that already play to your strengths, education, or hobbies whether you’re a fitness buff or like to design websites in your free time. That way, you’re not bound to a job you hate and you get paid more for skills and interests that you already have.