There are lots of reasons to want to work part-time, from launching your own side business to spending more time working on your hobbies. However, let’s be real: For most American parents, the search for lucrative, fulfilling part-time work is about the necessities of balancing work and life in the 21st century. Unless you have a trust fund or a partner who makes a mint, you need to work; unless you live with an accommodating retired relative, you probably need to minimize childcare costs.
The problem is that in most industries, going part-time means that you stop having a career and start having a job. Working mothers have struggled with this problem for decades: Opt to work part-time, and you might find yourself mommy-tracked right off the promotion path, even if you’re a daddy. (And dads are stepping up: A 2015 EY survey found that dads were even more willing than moms to report themselves willing to change careers to get better work-life balance. They were also more willing to pass up a promotion.)
However, not every career is so unforgiving. If you’re thinking about retraining for a job that will give you the flexibility to spend more time with your family and still earn a living, one of these might suit:
1. Registered Nurse
Registered nurses can work a full workweek in three, 12-hour shifts or pick up per-diem jobs and drop down to 24 hours a week… or less. Because they’re licensed healthcare professionals, nurses don’t have to worry about demonstrating their worth to future employers. Their degree, licensure, and continuing education requirements (depending on the state) make the case for them.
Just be aware that new nurses are probably better off investing in a bachelor’s degree, instead of doing the shorter associate’s degree track, especially if they want to work in a hospital in a major metropolitan area. Registered nurses earn a median wage of $28 per hour.
If you’re a market analyst, management consultant, or other business guru, you don’t have to commit to working an 80-hour week in order to keep your resume fresh. CNBC reports that management analysts/consultants earn median wages of around $30 to $40 per hour, and are in demand.
3. Freelance Writer or Designer
Media folks who want to leave the rat race can often use their existing connections to work as much or as little as they want (and the market demands). This gig has the advantage of being super flexible. Play your cards right and keep your skills up-to-date, and you could reduce your hours pretty significantly and still stay in the game. This is especially true if you update your resume to a skills-based format that shows off the projects you’ve worked on, instead of focusing on your linear career path.
- Related: Ultimate Freelancer’s Guide
4. Master Plumber
Master plumbers typically have associate’s degrees and complete an apprenticeship, according to Monster.com, but they also set their own hours — and can rake in the bucks, earning $25 per hour, median. If you’ve ever had your pipes back up and needed a plumber fast, you know why they can command good money and call the shots.
5. Tax Preparer
Many tax preparers work more during the tax season, which runs from January through mid-April (or thereabouts, depending on the year). But the money they make during the busy season could be enough to keep them afloat for the rest of the year. (Median annual salaries hover around $40,000.)
Although some tax preparers diversify in order to work year-round, branching out into bookkeeping or payroll services, others might prefer to burn the midnight oil for a few months and take it a bit easier the rest of the year. Depending on where they work, tax preparers might need to become Certified Public Accountants or Enrolled Agents.