How Many Hours Is Part Time? Plus 9 Jobs To Consider

Updated March 16, 2023

Illustration of a scale with money weighed against time as represented by a clock.

Part-time positions are a great choice for employees who may want a more flexible work schedule for a variety of reasons, such as pursuing other opportunities or furthering their education. Learning more about part-time work can help you understand if it might be a good fit for your goals and desired schedule. 

In this article, we discuss what it means to work part time, how many hours per week it entails and the benefits you might expect and we provide examples of well-paying part-time jobs.

How many hours per week is considered part-time?

No official federal guidelines determine whether an employee is part time or full time, so the answer may depend on the company where you work. Even the Fair Labor Standards Act does not specifically state how many hours an employee must work to be considered full time. It does, however, establish legally binding requirements related to the following employment components:

  • Hours

  • Overtime

  • Wages

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recognizes individuals working at least 35 hours per week as full-time employees. While this number is for statistical purposes only with no legal meaning, many employers use it as a guideline when developing policies. Other companies may classify anyone working under 40 hours per week as a part-time team member. If your career goal is to work full-time hours with a company, you might accept part-time hours and let the employer know you're interested in seeking additional work as needed.

Related: 12 Part-Time Jobs for Parents Who Want to Work from Home

Pros and cons of part-time hours

There are many factors to think through before choosing a part-time position. While you should certainly consider the company, role, commute and compensation, it's also important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages common among part-time positions.

Advantages of working part-time hours

Part-time positions are a great option for individuals who require a steady income without a rigid full-time schedule. Here are a few examples of part-time job benefits:

  • Greater flexibility: Part-time jobs are typically more flexible than full-time positions and sometimes allow you to create your own schedule. This is helpful if you have other obligations, such as caring for a loved one, working another job or attending school.

  • Supplemental income: Part-time jobs are a good source of additional income to supplement other full- or part-time jobs. You might also acquire a part-time job to support your lifestyle while pursuing other goals like starting your own business or going to school.

  • Opportunity to pursue other interests: A part-time role can allow you to pursue other interests or career opportunities outside of work.

Related: How To Change Careers

Disadvantages of working part-time hours

While part-time positions can certainly be beneficial for some, there are some potential disadvantages to consider before choosing this job type:

  • Eligibility for benefits: While some employers offer benefits for part-time positions, many do not. During the hiring process, ask the employer about benefits, such as health insurance coverage or paid time off.

  • Possibility of less income: Whether you're paid a fixed salary or by the hour, part-time positions sometimes offer less compensation than full-time positions.

  • Fewer advancement opportunities: Many management-level positions require a full-time commitment. If you can't work full time, you may not be eligible for specific promotions.

Related: 13 Companies That Offer Part-Time Jobs With Benefits

Do you get benefits when working part-time hours?

When applying for a part-time job, it's important to ask employers what benefits they offer part-time employees. While part-time employees rarely receive the same package as full-time employees, you may still be eligible for some benefits. Here are a few to consider: 

Health care

The Affordable Care Act requires any employer with more than 50 employees to offer health insurance to a minimum 95% of their employees who work an average of 30 hours a week. This may mean that if you're working part-time hours at an average of 30 hours per week, you're eligible for health insurance. If you have health coverage through a parent or spouse, you may not need this benefit. If you do, ask if you're eligible before you accept a job offer

Paid time off

Some employers also offer paid time off (PTO) for part-time employees. This can include breaks:

  • Vacation days

  • Holidays

  • Sick days

You can check with your employer to learn about the PTO policy for part-time employees. You can also ask how the company awards PTO. Some businesses present all team members with the same amount of PTO, while others have tiered or accrual-based plans to earn more PTO the longer you work. 

Flexible schedule

A flexible schedule can allow team members to pick their hours or easily trade shifts. This may be a valuable benefit for those balancing a part-time job with other commitments. Some businesses also offer remote work-from-home options, which may also improve your schedule flexibility. 

Related: 14 Real Jobs You Can Do Working From Home

Common types of part-time work schedules

Individuals in part-time positions work shorter workdays or fewer days per week than their full-time counterparts. Many types of work schedules are available to professionals interested in part-time work.

Here are a few popular part-time working arrangements:

Freelance schedule

In most cases, companies hire freelance employees on a contract basis. Depending on the position and the employer's needs, they may work remotely or on-site. While freelancers usually aren't eligible for benefits, they may enjoy more flexibility and autonomy than traditional employees.

Alternate schedule

Alternate schedules vary from any other schedule type that an employer currently uses. Alternate scheduling may help accommodate specific or temporary employee needs regarding pregnancy, family issues or medical requirements.

Split schedule

Employees have a split schedule when they have several hours off between shifts. For example, an employee may work 8-10 a.m. and again from 3-9 p.m. This is an excellent arrangement for people who have outside obligations that prevent them from working long shifts.

On-call schedule

When on-call, an employee must be available to work whenever necessary as required by an employer. Schedules generally rotate among employees so no one worker is required to be on call all the time. On-call schedules are often required in positions with emergency services, such as doctors, nurses, firefighters, paramedics and social services.

Related: 10 Customer Service Jobs You Can Do From Home

Part-time job examples

Employers who provide part-time hours are usually looking for employees who can be flexible and contribute wherever needed. While there are certainly always jobs in the hospitality and retail industries that offer part-time positions, you can also typically find part-time work in whatever field in which you've gained expertise.

Here are a few examples of jobs that can be part time. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click the links.

1. Market research analyst

National average salary: $15.32 per hour

Primary duties: Market research analysts identify market trends by observing an audience's purchasing behavior. Sharing this information with companies allows them to better target and sell to their customers. Employers may hire market research analysts on a full-time, part-time, seasonal or contract basis.

2. Materials mover

National average salary: $17.10 per hour

Primary duties: Also referred to as "hand laborers" or "material handlers," materials movers transport materials from one location to another. Generally, they work in factories and warehouses. They are often responsible for transporting freight around a storage facility, packaging goods to be shipped and unloading items. This job is often physically demanding.

Read more: Learn About Being a Material Handler

3. Editor

National average salary: $21.39 per hour

Primary duties: Editors are responsible for planning, coordinating, reviewing and revising content for publication in newspapers, books, emails, websites or magazines. Editors may also analyze topic ideas and guide the editorial staff.

4. Graphic designer

National average salary: $21.83 per hour

Primary duties: These professionals create print and digital assets such as logos, email templates, websites and marketing materials, including banners, advertisements and postcards. Graphic designers often work on a freelance basis for several clients at once or may work in-house for just one employer.

Read more: Learn About Being a Graphic Designer

5. Accountant

National average salary: $23.96 per hour

Primary duties: Along with the day-to-day monitoring and maintenance of a business's financial operations, accountants are also responsible for analyzing and upkeeping company finances, including tracking expenses and preparing taxes. During tax season, you may find accounting agencies, businesses and even individuals hiring part-time accountants.

Read more: Learn About Being an Accountant

6. Writer

National average salary: $25.09 per hour

Primary duties: There are many types of opportunities for part-time writers such as producing content for blogs, websites, magazines, advertisements and books. Some writers work in-house for an organization or company while others work on a contracted or freelance basis for multiple clients.

7. Computer programmer

National average salary: $40.84 per hour

Primary duties: Computer programmers write computer software with coding languages such as C++ or Java. Programmers should successfully navigate the back end of computer software while optimizing the front-end user experience. Many companies hire part-time computer programmers to assist with special projects or cover additional work that their full-time employees are unable to manage.

Read more: Learn About Being a Computer Programmer

8. Network administrator

National average salary: $41.03 per hour

Primary duties: If you have a bachelor's degree in computer science or IT, you might consider a network and computer systems administrator job. Network administrators are responsible for building and supporting internal network systems for an organization. They're responsible for keeping networks fast and secure. Many companies hire part-time IT consultants on an as-needed basis when issues arise.

Read more: Learn About Being a Network Administrator

9. Management consultant

National average salary: $51.00 per hour

Primary duties: Management consultants analyze a company's processes to identify opportunities for increasing and maximizing efficiency. In most cases, management analysts strive to improve an organization's profits by reducing costs and increasing revenue. If you have extensive experience in a director or managerial role, you may have the skills necessary to work as a management consultant.

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