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Night Shift Jobs: How to Switch to the Graveyard Shift

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The terms “graveyard shift” and “night shift jobs” often get a mixed response from people in the workforce.

After all, not everyone is keen on the idea of working long hours at night. Most night shift jobs start as early as 7 PM and last as late as 10 AM. So when your friends are about to turn in for the night, you’re just starting your day.

But for people who are willing to work during the night, working other jobs or are night owls, night shift jobs offer plenty of money-making opportunities. Thanks to today’s 24-hour society, nearly 15 million people in the United States work full-time graveyard shifts, part-time night jobs, rotational shifts, evening shift hours and other irregular schedules.

While working night shift jobs is not for everyone, some people are designed to function better in the evening. For others, their situation calls for a night shift job. If you’re a student who takes classes during the day, a parent who wants to minimize their expenses on childcare or someone who needs additional income, night shift jobs is ideal for you.

When it comes to a career, though, functioning at your best during your evening shift hours can be difficult. But if you want to find night shift jobs, there’s no shortage of opportunities.

What are the Best Night Shift Jobs?

Of course, the right night shift job depends on your education, training, experience, interests and skills. Some of the jobs listed below don’t need much experience.  But there are occupations, like emergency room physicians, that require an advanced degree and specialized training.

Here are some night shift jobs to consider if you want to make the switch to the graveyard shift.

Physician Assistant

Physician assistants practice medicine in teams with surgeons, physicians and other healthcare workers. They assess the symptoms of patients, carry out procedures and adjust medications. They also consult with specialists and physicians to modify their treatment plans.

Salary: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for physician assistants is $115,390 per year and $55.00 per hour. The job outlook of this occupation for 2020 to 2030 is 31 percent.

Job requirements: If you want to become a physician assistant, complete an undergraduate course in science. You must also hold a master’s degree from an approved program.

Emergency Room Doctor

drawing patients blood

Evenings are the busiest time for the emergency room, so there’s always a high demand for graveyard shift doctors. Emergency room doctors must immediately attend to a variety of patients with different injuries and illnesses. They must also decide on assessments and tests to confirm the diagnosis of the patient, as well as make referrals to specialists.

Salary: The average emergency room doctor makes a median annual salary of $292, 208. The salary range typically falls between $254,000 to $349,000. The salary range varies depending on certifications, education, experience and additional skills.

Job requirements: Emergency room doctors must complete a medical degree and accomplish licensing requirements in their state.


EMTs and paramedics are staff emergency medical corps that work 24/7. They respond to emergencies and assess the condition of injured and sick patients. They also offer to provide emergency services and work with doctors concerning complex situations.

Salary: According to the BLS, EMTs and paramedics can earn $36,000 annually and $17 per hour.

Job requirements:  EMTs and paramedics must finish their post-secondary programs in emergency medical technology. Some paramedics require an associate’s degree.


Being a firefighter is a 24/7 job; you must be always available to respond to fires and other emergencies. Most firefighters don’t just work evening shift hours; they can work during the day. They also carry out drills and prepare equipment for emergencies in different settings. Firefighters must also be ready to accept dangerous assignments.

Salary: According to the BLS, the 2020 median pay of firefighters is $52,500 per year, $25.00 per hour.

Job requirements: To become a firefighter, you need a high school diploma. Some aspiring firefighters train on the job while others attend fire training academies. Many firefighters also complete EMT training.

Taxi/Rideshare Driver

If you have a car, consider becoming a rideshare or taxi driver. There are plenty of opportunities for drivers to transport clients from restaurants, bars and airports. Customers also rate rideshare service drivers based on their level of customer service and quality of driving.

Salary: A rideshare or taxi driver can earn a median annual salary of $25,980.

Job requirements: Customers evaluate drivers for their driver history. You must have a clean record to be hired. You also need a valid driver’s license and, in some places, a special license. Some companies ask for minimum insurance requirements before hiring a driver.

Freelance Writer

people working at night

Freelance writers create content for print or online publications. As long as you have a laptop or desktop and access to the internet, you can write articles, news or online content. Though writers have deadlines or must meet with editors during business hours, they can carry their work at night or on the weekends.

Salary: The average hourly base rate for writers is $24.00. They can also earn an annual salary of $40,500.

Job requirements: Freelance writers often possess a college degree and/or expertise in content. Writers with relevant and strong skills can secure work without formal academic credentials.

Do Overnight Jobs Pay More?

People who work night shift jobs (with hours that fall between 3 PM and 8 AM) often receive what is called a “night shift differential” in their pay. Night shift differential refers to the differential paid for work done during non-overtime hours. For people who work the graveyard shift (11 PM to 8 AM), the differential equates to a higher pay rate compared to people who work the day shift.

Apart from the better pay, the other perks of working night shift jobs are:

  1. More free time during the day. While you need good sleep to do well on a job, having your days free gives you more flexibility. You can run errands that most people accomplish during business hours. You can also attend your children’s events during school hours, purse a passion project or enjoy leisure pursuits while others are working.
  2. Easier commute. If you’re required to show up to work, rush hour traffic isn’t a problem, which makes your commute or drive shorter and less stressful. Spending less time commuting means you have more energy for your work.
  3. Go back to school. If you want to pursue a degree, working the night shift makes it easier for you to attend school during the day.
  4. Increased focus. The night shift is quieter compared to other shifts. With fewer disruptions and meetings to attend, you can devote more time and attention to your job.
  5. More opportunities. Fewer people apply for graveyard shift jobs. This increases your chances of landing the job you want.

Is it Good to Work Overnight?

Long working hours and shift work have been linked to a variety of health issues. These include heart disease, gastrointestinal difficulties, obesity, metabolic problems and certain cancers. Night shift jobs can also interfere with your body’s ability to repair the DNA damage that happens during the day.

If you need to work at night, there are ways to still promote a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some ways to cope with working after the dark.

  1. Manage your sleeping patterns. To keep your sleeping patterns in check, avoid delaying your bedtime. The longer you delay going to bed, the more awake you’ll become. Also, try to set a block of seven to nine hours dedicated to sleep. If your thirst or hunger wakes you up, eat or drink something before you go to bed.
  2. Control light exposure. Avoid exposure to blue light emitted from digital devices, such as your television, tablet or smartphone, before you go to sleep. Using your devices will keep your brain awake, which can make falling asleep difficult.
  3. Watch what you eat. Night shift workers have an increased risk of becoming obese or overweight due to poor diet and body clock disruption. Planning your meals can help you stay awake during your working hours and more relaxed when you sleep.

Night shift jobs are ideal for people who need more time during the day, more time for other important responsibilities or more income. If you want to make the switch to the graveyard shift, consider the factors above.

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