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The night shift: 6 jobs you can do after dark

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Maybe you're a confirmed night owl. Or you need to work after dark because of your responsibilities for school or family. Perhaps you're looking for a foot in the door of a particular industry, and the best way to rack up experience is to take the less-desirable night shifts. There are many reasons to work at night and almost as many types of night jobs available.

Night work is more common than you might think. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 14.8 percent of Americans worked alternative shifts in 2004. Among that group, 3.2 percent worked night shifts, 4.7 percent worked evening shifts, 2.5 percent worked rotating shifts and 3.1 percent had employer-arranged rotating schedules.

Below are few examples of jobs that provide alternative, flexible schedules -- and most often include night shifts.

1. Security guard

Wherever they keep watch -- in casinos, warehouses, apartment complexes and numerous other locations -- security guards have to stay vigilant when most of us are relaxing or sleeping. 

What they need: Entry-level jobs usually require only high school diploma, coupled with on the job training. Senior positions may require post-secondary education.

What they earn: $35,529*

2. Firefighter

Firefighters are the rare employees who actually bunk down at work. Some departments schedule firefighters for day shifts or night shifts, while others ask them to be on call for periods of 24 to 48 hours at a stretch.

What they need: A high school diploma is the minimum requirement. Most fire departments provide extensive training, first in their own academies and then during a probationary period on the job.

What they earn: $57,820*

3. Obstetrician

Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and many other types of health care workers cover night shifts -- after all, people don't wait to get sick between 9 and 5. And, of course, babies are born at all hours, so obstetricians are guaranteed to put in nighttime work. Some practices schedule obstetricians for one or two regular nights per week.

What they need: Four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school and three to eight years of internships and residencies.

What they earn: $323,413*

4. Home health aide

Many home-bound people need care or supervision during the nights, and home health aides help meet that need. The rapidly growing field employs workers who fill day, evening and overnight shifts.

What they need: Home health aides typically have no formal education requirements. Those who work for companies that get reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid must get state certification based on a certain number of hours of on-the-job training.

What they earn: $28,173

5. Funeral director

When a person dies during the night, funeral directors must be available to remove the body and begin preparing it for burial or cremation.

What they need: Funeral directors need a degree in mortuary science, which takes two (or sometimes four) years to complete. They also need to be licensed by the state where they work.

What they earn: $62,290*

6. Night auditor

Hotels operate around the clock, so even when guests are sleeping business has to continue. Night auditors balance the books from the day's transactions. In smaller hotels, they may also serve as a night clerk or receptionist.

What they need: Most need a high school diploma and an associate degree in accounting or bookkeeping.

What they earn: $44,500*

*Figures are the average annual salaries listed on

Last Updated: 04/10/2011 - 6:57 PM

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