Jobs for Single Mothers (Updated 2016)

Single moms, like other persons, need to be gainfully employed. Perhaps even more so since they are invariably raising families by themselves. Often, the struggle of juggling children with a career can be a challenge, but depending on the job, it can be done. We list a wide variety of different jobs you might look at, including some work at home jobs that might be quite suitable for moms who are forced to spend the majority of their time at home with the kids.

Be sure to check out our 11 Best Jobs for Single Parents article for even more job occupations especially suitable for single mom types.

Note: We’ve now Updated this for 2016 with new job descriptions and links.

How to Get Started Finding a Job

There’s a number of ways to get started with your job hunting. Finding a job can be difficult and there is a “skill” to the whole process. If you’ve never had to find a job on your own, it can be overwhelming. But there is a clear and defined process you follow in order to find a job. These days, there are also some specialized services out there that can make the job of finding a job, easier. You can find more information by looking these up on Google for your area.

Job-Finding Services

If you are stuck and don’t know how to go about finding a job on your own, there are some services that can help you SEARCH for a job.

Job Searchers

One of the routes for finding jobs is recruiting and staffing services. They match the skills of the job seekers with the qualifications employers are seeking. Their fees are usually paid by the employers, so there is no cost to the applicants.

Recruiting Services

Also called headhunters or executive search firms, these agencies search for qualified candidates for full-time positions. The benefits of using a recruiting service include –

  • Access to openings not advertised
  • The recruiting firm works to match your skills and long-term goals to a suitable job.

Staffing Services

Sometimes called contract firms or employment agencies, these entities match workers with short-term or temporary-to-permanent positions. There are benefits to using staffing services and doing temporary jobs.  These include:

  • Building skills and meeting financial needs while continuing the job search.
  • Finding a job easier because of having a job.
  • More flexible hours or working conditions may be possible.
  • Gaining work experience, developing skills, obtaining training, or increasing networking contacts.
  • Being able to investigate an employer or an occupation before making a commitment to being trained, staying in a particular career, or committing to a particular employer.

Some General Tips for Conducting Job Searches Online

Searching for jobs on the Internet can be both frustrating and rewarding. Success for the single mother lies in knowing how to make the Internet work for her. Four things she can do are:

1. Checking herself

Google herself to discover what prospective employers would see if they did the same. If her profile is not satisfactory, she has an opportunity to correct it.

2. Narrowing her options

Conduct a job search by industry, region, duration, company names, experience needed, and salary.

3. Going directly to the source

This involves contacting a company in which she has an interest, by speaking directly with the hiring manager.

4. Finding her niche on industry web sites

This involves an even more refined search, by visiting her selected industry’s national or regional web site.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Job Hunting

Different factors influence the selection or non-selection of applicants for jobs. Some of these factors could be outside the control of the single mother, but others may directly relate to the mother herself. Some of these are:

  • Not keeping track of accomplishments

Even if she is happy with her current job, the single mother should not forget that there may be a need to search for jobs in the future. She should therefore keep a record listing her awards, promotions, and accomplishments, for complete updating of her résumé.

  • Leaving a job on a bad note

References need to be obtained for future employment, so telling off a boss, thereby leaving a trail of angry bosses and co-workers, is not a good idea.

  • Only searching for the perfect job

Conducting online searches for jobs is limiting, since not all companies advertise job openings online. A good idea could be to visit companies of interest, even if they have not advertised, and leave a copy of a résumé.

35 Legit Job Ideas Single Mothers Might Pursue

There are a number of careers that are accessible to single mothers. We’ve taken great pains to list them here in the section below and we divide the categories into NON-TRADITIONAL JOBS and TRADITIONAL JOBS.

Non-Traditional Jobs

These are jobs that would not be considered a traditional job. Things like freelancing, work from home jobs, internet jobs are all examples of this type of job.

1. Work at Home Job

There are other jobs that single moms can use to provide an income for her family. These include jobs that allow the mother to work from the comfort of her own home. There are many such jobs advertised on the Internet but, unfortunately, some of them are scams. Nevertheless, some legitimate home jobs do exist. Two such jobs are paid surveys and writing jobs. In addition, there are jobs in other sectors, which require the worker’s physical presence.

We’ve are currently developing our own free course/training set of articles on this site that aim to give single moms the ability to earn money online (passively) by creating niche websites. If you are interested, check out our introduction to this.

Here are a couple work at home jobs you can do online that are legit:

  • Niche Marketing (create websites and make money via ads, affiliate marketing or creating a product). Read our link on this. I personally spent weeks writing a whole tutorial on getting started with this. There is NO bullshit here, just legit information by myself.
  • Ebay Business (sell used goods on ebay. You’ll have to shop around yard sales or antique shops and sell these items for profit on ebay)
  • Ecommerce Store (similar to niche marketing, but the goal is to create a website and sell products from it via an online store on your website. The kicker is, you need to have a website with traffic first or find a way to build that traffic first before you can sell anything on your site)
  • Amazon FSB (a bit like niche marketing, but you create a product in china then ship that product to Amazon who will then sell it on their website for you)
  • Kindle ebook writer (write ebooks for Amazon Kindle and sell them there. It is possible to make a lot of money. This is a bit different than a novelist — in this case, you are writing DIY guides for niche topics and selling them)

2. Freelance Jobs

This is a very, very broad category of non-traditional job. you basically find a specific job online via freelancing websites, bid on the job, then if you get the job, start doing that job. And get paid for it. All online.

There are MANY such sites, but here are my favorites for single moms:

  • (You are paid to be a content writer / write reviews). If you don’t mind spending time writing content all day, this one might appeal to you. There is a voracious demand for cheap content for websites. Your job, if you land one, will be as a content writer — writing articles for websites, writing product reviews, etc. If are competent at writing (you don’t have to be a ‘writer’ just able to write fluent English), this one is a good choice.
  • (you can sign up and offer cheap online services for $5 per service. Some examples might be editing photos, writing an article, doing a voice over — anything! You are only limited by what cheap service you can offer the public. People do make part time or full time incomes from Fiverr! The limit is your creativity on what you want to sell.
  • Surveys 4 Moms — another type of job. You sign up for this service and you are given offers.
  • Paid Surveys — Note though, we did do an article about paid surveys possible being a scam. You are paid to review products and fill out surveys. Basically, there are a number of marketing firms out that pay for consumer information about products. That’s where you come in — you ARE that consumer information! This is legit, but, you will early pennies on the dollars. So unless you have a lot of free time, you live in a place like India with a very low cost of living, I don’t recommend surveys as a viable method.

3. Freelance Writing Jobs

Technically, a category of Freelance Job, but there is so much here I’ve listed it as a separate job category. These involve writing articles, blogs, and press releases, among others, and these can also be done from home. All that is required is reliable computer access and a few hours dedicated labor. Contact is made with the companies and a test is usually given in order to select writers with the styles suitable to them.

Check out our How to Make $1000 a month as an article freelancer guide to learn how to make money freelance writing!

Where to Find a Freelance Job?

Some of the companies which accommodate talented writers are

Academia Research: This company hires writers who complete college assignments for clients. The clients usually leave a description of the assignment to be completed. The work has to be completed in a particular way, by a certain deadline. Payment is made per page and the number of pages required is specified. All kinds of writing jobs are available with this company. The process involves signing up with them and bidding for jobs advertised by clients. Some of these clients are writers themselves, seeking other writers to join their teams. Others are individuals who need a writer or writers for a particular job or ongoing jobs. Successful bidders are notified. The company is free to join but there is a fee charged for successful bids.

Elance: This company offers various types of jobs in various categories. There is access to one category without charge. However, additional categories attract a monthly fee. Again sign up is free and bidding is done for jobs.

4. Freelance Service Jobs

There are basically working online doing services for people/websites over the web. You might fill out surveys, become a virtual assistant for someone, manage social media accounts, do Search Engine Optimization, graphic design, website design, programming, etc.

There are MANY services you can perform online for money and the sky is the limit in terms of what you can freelance out. Typically you want to have some skill (web design, graphic design, programming, SEO knowledge, etc), but if you don’t have a tech skill of sorts, there are non-skill or low skill jobs you can do like setting up blogs, managing social media, posting articles on blogs, and low skill virtual assistance jobs.

You either join a company that will hand you specific task to do and then pay you upon completion, or you go the complete freelance option and FIND the jobs yourself.

Check out our How to Make Money on Fiver article for an idea on how to start selling services on

Traditional Jobs

Below are some traditional jobs. All of these are favorable to single moms due to flexible hours. For many of these jobs though, you will need to go back to school to get some training. Read some of our articles about going back to school and how to get financial help to pay for school. Look at our Scholarships 101 article, our financial help for single moms article, our legit grants article and our financial programs to pay for school.

5. Surgical Technologists

These persons usually work in surgical environments in hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. They provide assistance during surgical operations while being supervised by surgeons and registered nurses. Some of their duties include the preparation of a sterile environment in the operating theater, and the setting up of surgical equipment and instruments, ensuring that equipment is properly set up and in good working condition, preparing patients for and transporting them to surgery, helping to monitor vital signs of patients, and passing sterile instruments and supplies to surgeons during surgical procedures. Prospective employers usually require their surgical technologists to have a certain level of experience.

6. Dental Hygienists

As the population grows and older persons retain more of their natural teeth, the job outlook for this career shows promise. Dental hygienists work alongside a dental team to provide quality patient care. They are licensed oral health professionals, and they focus on the assessment, prevention and treatment of diseases of the mouth, to protect teeth and gums and the total health of the patients. They interact with patients, providing information and educating them about products, as well as handle and resolve patient concerns.

7. Legal Assistants

Legal Assistants work in specialized areas, such as general practice, bankruptcy, estate planning, social security administration, litigation support, or real estate. There are opportunities for full time, part time, or contract work. They are expected to have strong organizational skills, be detail oriented with the ability to multi-task, have excellent written and verbal communication skills and strong computer skills in Microsoft Office.

8. Physician Assistants

As the health care industry expands, so does the likely need for physician assistants. As health care costs increase physician assistants may take over some of the duties usually reserved for doctors. This applies especially to those assistants willing to work in the rural or inner city clinics. Duties may include the provision of comprehensive healthcare services including patient consultations, weekly office visits, and doing patient evaluations as directed by a supervising physician. Good benefits are usually offered.

9. Dental Assistants

Promising occupational growth is anticipated as previous employees transfer to other occupations, or retire. One possible transfer opportunity is into the field of teaching. Dental Assisting instructors work with staff, faculty, and students to provide a nurturing atmosphere in which students can learn the skills required to obtain the jobs they need and have the lives they want. The instructor will conduct classroom and laboratory activities, in accordance with program requirements, so that students will gain the personal, interaction and professional or vocational skills they need to be effective workers.

Working as dental assistants requires licensing and medical clearance for certain illnesses, including varicella and HepB. They must also be able to pass drugs tests and a criminal background check. Part time work on weekends is usually available.

10. Medical Assistants

Technological advancements in the field of medicine are likely to spur the need for medical assistants. They are required to have formal training as well as certification. There are usually good opportunities for State Tested Nursing Assistants (STNAs). Some employers tempt prospects by offering payment for 32 hours while working only 24 hours. Nursing assistants provide direct care for patients and residents while being supervised by a licensed nurse. Part of the rewarding experience is gained when patients obviously progress and their lives, and those of their family members, improve.

11. Social and Human Service Assistants

With the average age of the population increasing, the job prospects for these persons are quite good. The best places to look for jobs are with private social service agencies. These agencies distribute meals to the elderly and provide adult day care services.

Working as a Case Management Assistant with one company affords experience in a Medicaid reimbursement program. The responsibility is for providing family-centered intensive case management services to HIV infected persons, both individuals and families. Supervision is given, and the worker is expected to conduct assessments, develop service plans, make service referrals, advocate for client entitlements, and make home visits.

12. Registered Nurses

Registered nurses with preventive care experience and knowledge of new technology have a bright job prospect in this field. The primary functions of a registered nurse appear to be assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating patients’ care. They are responsible for meeting the established Standards of Nursing Practice while managing assigned patients. They also assist physicians to develop and implement wound treatment plans, and participate in performance improvement review activities. They also must act within federal and state laws guidelines.

13. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)

Job prospects for these workers will increase as aging baby boomers become more likely to experience medical emergencies. There are opportunities for working on overseas assignments. Background investigation, drug screening, physical agility tests, secret clearance, and medical physicals are part of the selection process.

14. Office Secretary

There’s always a need for secretary jobs in offices — both in small businesses, corporations, and government offices. You will likely either need past secretarial experience in a similar position, or some sort of trade school training for this type of work, or a straight out degree in university. Your best bet is to check in your area for local secretary jobs or use an online search like

15. Paramedics

Full time and part time jobs are available in this field, in either the health care or the pharmaceutical area. Competitive wages and other compensation are sometimes offered.

16. Advertising Jobs

Many companies are looking for persons who are self-starters with strong organizational and leadership qualities. They also need to have outstanding verbal and written communication skills. They must also be able to prioritize and work independently with little supervision, and be able to directly motivate and supervise others for maximum performance. They must also be able to work well as a team member, pay attention to details and follow-up on tasks. Prospects should be able to multi-task and manage time efficiently.

17. Marketing, Public Relations, Management

These workers must –

  • be able to work effectively in a team environment
  • have outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • be able to prioritize and work independently with minimal amount of supervision
  • be a leader and have a go-getter mentality.

18. Hazardous Materials Removal Workers

Increased consciousness of the environment should lead to an increase in these jobs, especially for persons working with asbestos, lead, and mold. Workers will need to –

  • have a high school diploma or general education degree (GED)
  • have one to three months related experience and/or training
  • or have equivalent combination of education and experience
  • be able to read and understand simple instructions
  • be able to write simple correspondence, etc.

19. Home Health Aides

As the population ages and more elderly persons try to remain at home, since it’s cheaper, the need for home health aides will increase. Aides need to be certified and enjoy caring for the elderly. Companies offer benefits like –

  • flexible scheduling & 24-hour on-call service
  • competitive pay with direct deposit facility
  • medical, dental, vision, life insurance, and 401(k)
  • positive work environment.

20. Medical Scientists

These persons will likely pursue doctoral degrees. Those in research have even brighter job prospects. Employees should have at least a first degree, and may be able to find jobs in the health care, biotechnology, and science fields.

21. Hydrologists

These persons are scientists or engineers, or both. As the private sector pays more attention to environmental regulations and laws, jobs are likely to increase. Those with experience in research, hazardous waste management, and the scientific and engineering elements of waste remediation have even better prospects. Employees are expected to have a Bachelor of Science degree in the areas being advertised, as well as relevant years of experience.

22. Forensic Science Technicians

Crime scene technicians have good job prospects. They are required to have highly advanced technical and communication skills. It is recommended that a four-year, rather than a two-year, degree in forensic science be pursued for maximum competitiveness. Experience should also be sought in the public sector. A first degree in Biology, Chemistry or a related field is recommended, but some companies will accept a high school diploma with at least five years laboratory experience.

23. Medical Records Technicians

There is likely to be an increased need for technicians who are able to enter data into computer databases. There is also likely to be the increased scrutiny of medical tests, procedures and treatments by insurance companies, which augers well for these technicians.

Some medical records technicians are required to –

  • maintain pharmacy generated medical records
  • receive physician order sheets and telephone orders and files for storage
  • assist with conversions, etc.

24. Health Information Technicians

Training is offered for these technicians. Their main tasks are to get and organize patients’ health records, and ensure that they remain secure, orderly, and confidential. Receiving all necessary information from patients for storage on a computer is another important function.

25. Veterinary Technologists and Technicians

Those technicians who work with veterinary practices that specialize in small animals have a better job prospect outlook than the technologists who choose to work in zoos. They are expected to be knowledgeable of the laws and procedures relating to animal care.

26. Licensed Practical and Vocational Nurses

Those licensed practical nurses who choose the home health care services industry have good job prospects. They work according to doctors’ orders, in a team environment. They are responsible for –

  • physically examining patients
  • performing pertinent diagnostic testing to determine health status
  • administer medications and treatments
  • communicating with doctors about changes in patients’ conditions, etc.

27. Paralegals

The desire to decrease legal costs by transferring the duties normally performed by associate lawyers to paralegals and legal assistants makes for a promising career in this field. Paralegals operate in the law environment, performing crucial functions in legal offices. They are responsible for researching the laws and judicial decisions relating to cases, writing legal arguments, and preparing contracts for clients. They usually use legal databases to retrieve important documents and organize them. Paralegals need to have good writing and communication skills, have a thorough understanding of legal precedents and the terminology used, and be familiar with common computer software and the use of a database.

28. Catalog Production Artist

This is a temporary position which pays an hourly rate. Employee must have a CS5 qualification, along with InDesign expertise. He must also be Word and Excel proficient with web knowledge. He must also have a car. Responsibilities include –

  • Building and creating catalog pages within established style guides
  • Prepping the catalog pages for release.

29. Advertising Designer

Another temporary position for a junior to mid-level Graphic Designer. The job provides opportunities for developing new creative concepts for in-store, outdoor, and TV advertising.

30. Copywriter

Temporary position offering a contract for four months, although the four months are full time. Payment is hourly, and medical, dental, and vision insurance benefits are offered after four weeks of employment. Worker is expected to –

  • Set up product copy in Word for catalog pages and Excel spreadsheets
  • Make edits and corrections as needed in InDesign files, on proofs and in database.

31. Jobs at Federal Express

Federal Express is one of the largest logistics companies in the world and has many employees in all kinds of jobs. These jobs include –

  • Driving Jobs

These relate to being a courier, driving the FedEx van or truck. Duties include collecting and delivering packages and documents while providing professional and friendly customer service. Fedex couriers are paid a competitive hourly rate that is much higher than that paid elsewhere.

  • Package Handler Jobs

This job offers flexible hours and a competitive hourly wage, which would be ideal for single mothers. It also provides good benefits and an opportunity for advancement. Duties include –

  • Sorting packages
  • Moving, loading and unloading consignments whilst tracking parcels
  • Maintaining a high level of quality assurance.

Fedex Job Application: Applying for Fedex jobs can be done directly through the Federal Express web site. This site provides a comprehensive and up-to-date listing of jobs, and can be sorted by category and location.

32. Jobs at Safeway
Safeway is the third largest supermarket chain in the United States and has thousands of employees. It provides jobs in different positions, with competitive wages and flexible shift patterns, thereby offering a great career potential. Job positions include –

  • Checkers

These persons need to be friendly and helpful to customers, and need to be able to consistently work under pressure during busy periods.

  • Shelf Stackers

The workers in the grocery department replenish the aisles, making sure that products are labeled and priced correctly, and deploy position of sale (POS) displays. Those in the warehouse department unload deliveries to the relevant areas, and take stock inventories.

  • Food Counters Worker

Knowledge of the products served on particular counters, and high food hygiene standards are important.

  • Delivery Drivers

They ensure that orders are loaded correctly onto their vehicles and delivered on clients’ doorsteps.

33. Fast Food Worker

If you are willing to work hard, there is always work at fast food restaurants. The work is hard, the pay is crappy (expect minimum wage and likely part time work, at least initially). But it’s a way to get money to pay rent and food costs while you look at finding a better job.

34. Waitress

This has long been a job for single moms to earn some pretty decent money through tips. Expect long hours and lots of hard work. You often need to have a bubbly personality and a good memory. Being young and pretty won’t hurt either, though youth and looks are not the only requirement here (you can work in restaurants that don’t emphasize these qualities of course).

Financial Aid for School (How to Afford Going Back to School)

Employers are always looking for the most qualified workers. Consequently, career resources to single mothers may involve going back to school to improve her qualifications. This can be done on a part time basis, and even through correspondence courses in some fields. If the children are old enough, single mothers may even be able to enroll in full time programs. Financial assistance is given in the form of grants, which are a better option than loans, since grants do not require repayment.

We’ve written articles already on financial aid and here and here. So read those please.

You have three options: student loans, scholarship, grants, and of course, working some sort of part time job while going to school full or part time.

Some (but NOT ALL) of the grants available include the following (see more in our list of 40 grants)

TEACH Grant Program

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher (TEACH) Education grant is for students who plan to teach full time on completion of their study program. Recipients of the grant must teach for four years within eight years of completion of study. Teaching must be done in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students. Failure to comply will convert the grant into an interest-paying loan which must be repaid to the government.

Federal Pell Grant

This grant is awarded to undergraduate students. The amount received is dependent on –

  • financial need
  • costs to attend school
  • status as a full time or a part time student
  • plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

This grant is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Pell Grant recipients with the highest financial need are considered first for this grant. The award runs from $100 to $4000, and is disbursed by the school being attended.

The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant (National SMART Grant)

This grant is for third of fourth year undergraduates, or fifth year undergraduates in a five-year program. The amount awarded is $4000 for each eligible year, and is combined with the Pell Grant. Recipients, however, have to be majoring in one of the following disciplines:

  • physical, life, or computer sciences
  • mathematics
  • technology
  • engineering
  • a critical foreign language
  • non-major single liberal arts

Institutional Grants

In addition to federal grants, colleges provide institutional grants to their students to help make up the difference between college costs and family income. Other institutional grants, called merit awards or merit scholarships, are awarded according to academic achievement. Some of the awards are only for families with a financial need, while others are not. Some grants also carry special privileges or obligations.