Money for College Students: An Amusement Park Job

Getting a job at an amusement park is often easier than you might think. You can have fun and make money for college students need. You must be reasonably responsible and ready to work.

And remember, I’m not just talking about big amusement parks like the Disney or Universal Studios parks. Your local water slide or water park, miniature golf, arcade and laser tag or bowling alley all fall into the same category.

Just in case, here is the link to my college job search for leadership jobs

What Kind of Work?

I worked at a combination water park, miniature golf, and arcade. Okay, we had 3 waterslides, so it wasn’t much of a water park. Still, it attracted kids in the summer, and lots of people wanted to work there.

The work falls into a few categories. The bigger the park, the more categories and positions you’ll find. For example, nearly all of these places have a snack bar, and someone selling or helping with tokens for the arcade.

You will also have people working every attraction, likely trying to earn money for school as well. At a small park like where I worked, these people sold miniature golf packages and also regulated how fast people could enter the waterslides.

You have to have some certified life guards as well for this type of activity, who get paid more.

At a larger park, you’ll have kids working every carnival game, ride, and more. Also, instead of just a snack bar, you’ll have shops and more full function restaurants.

In addition, you might have characters or performers for shows, and trainers for animals.

And last, and often least, you’ll find landscaping and cleanliness workers. I had the pleasure of working in this area for part of my exciting time at the park. Not surprisingly, I didn’t like the job much and looked quickly for a new position.

How Much Money for College Students Earn

In a small park, at the entry level, you’ll make about minimum wage. I know, hard to believe they would let you control machines so big at that rate, but that’s how it works. You will probably get a raise here and there, but overall, working at an amusement park won’t make you rich overnight.

The money for college students you can earn here is through saving and working more. The performers will earn more, and the animal trainers, as well as supervisors.

Often Overlooked

One of the benefits of working at an amusement park or similar attraction that I liked best was free access. I could go any time, get free tokens, ride the slides, whatever. It was fun, and I had many friends working there before I started, during and after.

(Hint: this is how I got the job - I knew the general manager’s kids ;)


You might see a lot of people hired who quit just a few weeks later – that’s very common for any amusement park. If you stay after they quit, you may get a better job or a raise.

And if you finish the season, you may get an offer to come back next summer, or just to stay all winter if the park is open year round. You can see that this is double the money for college students if you go back, and you will probably go back at your highest pay level.

Why? Many of the kids hired don’t realize that they have to do real work. Real work gets boring, makes you tired, and generally won’t be as much fun as you thought. That’s okay – this is just a summer job or a job to help you get money for college. Students sometimes forget that.

If you’ll put in a full day’s work and show some responsibility, you should do fine.

By the way, if you didn’t get hired at the first of the summer, you might try again in a month or two – when people start leaving. Knowing someone almost always helps so you can learn more about when the park will hire people and how the system works.

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