15 Alternative Night Jobs That Pay More for Graveyard Shifts

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AnnaMarie Houlis4.87k
Journalist & travel blogger
April 17, 2024 at 6:39PM UTC

Of course, working the graveyard shift can be grueling. Working through the night inevitably takes a toll on the health of the more than 15 million full-time workers who work through the evening hours. In 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified night-shift work as a potential carcinogen due to its disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm (the “body clock”), which can, in turn, cause a host of health issues and complications — depression, metabolic problems and heart issues, to name a few.

But, in a National Sleep Foundation poll, 37 percent of males and 44 percent of females reported being night owls versus morning people — in fact, more than half of all the respondents between 18 and 29 years old even went so far as to say that they work best at night. And, despite the aforementioned risks, being able to work well in the evenings can be a huge advantage for some. Many jobs with odd or overnight hours actually pay quite well as an incentive to attract and retain night-shift workers.

These 15 alternative night jobs, for example, are worth checking out even if you're not a late-nighter. They pay graveyard workers higher than their day-time employees.

1. Nurse

Whether you're a nurse, a doctor, a paramedic or an office assistant in the healthcare industry, working the overnight shift is going to pay better. The average pay for a Registered Nurse (RN) is $63,606 per year. But many healthcare workers, nurses included, are offered salary increases worth tens of thousands to work overnight shifts. 

2. Machinist

A machinist sets up and operates machine tools to produce instruments and precision parts. A machinist with mid-career experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $42,000, according to Payscale. But employers often pay machinists a premium, such as 10 percent, to work the night shift.

3. Material Handler

A material handler spends their time moving freight, stock and other materials around grocery stores, warehouses, storage facilities and other similar sites. The highest-paid 10 percent of material handler earns almost $42,000, according to the Bureuau of Labor Statistics. Those who ship goods around the clock can earn even more money, however.

4. Police Officers

Police officers and other protective service workers like private investigators and correctional officers can earn a lot more money if they work the night shifts. After all, people need police officers at all hours of the day and night, so the job never stops. The average pay for a police officer is $21.93 per hour, according to Payscale, but the pay may very well increase during the nightshift.

5. Federal Employee

Federal employees who work government jobs under the Federal Wage System have to work regularly scheduled no-overtime hours. Those who work between 3 p.m. and 8 a.m., however, receive higher compensation than those who work typical day-time hours. The amount of the bonus will depend on the exact hours of the night time shift, but it might mean an extra 10 percent.

6. Forklift Operator

Forklift operators spend their shifts transporting materials around factories, construction sites, storage yards, warehouses and other similar sites. The average pay for a forklift driver is $34,144 per year, according to Payscale. And, like material handlers, those who work night shifts can add a little more to their paychecks. 

7. Casino Dealer

A casino dealer can be a lucrative career since, with tips, casino dealers can double and even triple their earnings. And nighttime casino dealers are always in demand. Since most people hit casinos at night, tips are usually bigger during the night shifts. And most casinos split and pool the tips, adding them to each dealer's hourly rate, which means that even if your night shift is a slow one, you'll still earn.

8. Truck Driver

Truck drivers are hugely in demand, and their wages can vary. On the higher end of the scale, the best-paid 10 percent earn more than $64,000 as of May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On average, however, they usually earn less than  $27,510. But, the average annual compensation for overnight truck drivers is $47,342 a year, according to ZipRecruiter.

9. Caregiver

As a caregiver, you'll be extra valuable to families if you're available during overnight hours when few people are willing to work. The lowest-paid 10 percent of home health aides earn $18,450 annually, while the highest-paid 10 percent earn $31,260 as of May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But, if you work overnight hours, you're likely to take home an annual salary of about $32,098, according to ZipRecruiter.

10. Bartender

Bartenders earn more at night because, like casino dealers, their tipping customers are more likely to come around at night. The average pay for a bartender is $7.95 per hour or $30,303 per year, according to Payscale. That amount can double or even triple depending on tips — a weekend night shift will help boost that.

11. Funeral Director

Funeral directors need to be on call 24//7 since deaths are never planned. The average salary for a funeral director is about $45,607 per year, according to Payscale. But those willing to take up this already tough but meaningful job could earn a salary of upwards of $85,000 or more — especially if they're willing to work odd hours.

12. Customer Service Representative

All 24/7 companies need 24/7 customer support, so customer service representatives are needed around the clock. The lowest-paid 10 percent of customer service representatives earn around $20,540 or less annually as of May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But those who work the night shift could earn a salary of  $30,558 a year, according to ZipRecruiter.

13. Firefighter

Firefighters, like police officers, are needed all around the clock. All firefighters work rotating shifts of 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty. Thisis why the highest 10 percent of earners made $75,520 or more in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

14. Security Guard

Many security officers are required to work around the clock, since buildings like offices and hotels, for example, need guardings all hours of the night. The lowest-paid 10 percent of security guards make just about $23,010 or less per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But, the night-shift security guards earn a boosted $29,333 a year on average, according to ZipRecruiter.

15. Air Traffic Controller

An air traffic controller is one of the highest-paying overnight jobs out there. In fact, the median annual wage for an air traffic controller is $121,280, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And you don't need a college degree to become one; though, you do need to go through and complete an FAA-approved educational program and on-the-job training.

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About the Career Expert:

AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist for a gamut of both online and print publications, as well as an adventure aficionado and travel blogger at HerReport.org. She covers all things women's empowerment — from navigating the workplace to navigating the world. She writes about everything from gender issues in the workforce to gender issues all across the globe.

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