7 Best Jobs for Single Parents

Flexible, family-friendly careers to explore

Man working on laptop at home while child watches

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Working as a single parent comes with a unique set of challenges. For example, without the backup of a partner when a child gets sick, it’s on you to figure out child care and whether you need to take time off.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is find an employer who is accommodating and understands that not everyone—especially a single parent—is able to be available during regular business hours every day.

If you’re on the hunt for a job, consider seeking roles that are inherently more single-parent-friendly than others. Of course, even more important is making sure you choose a family-friendly employer to work for, as a company’s culture is what will most impact your single-parent work experience.

Here’s a look at seven single-parent jobs that are more conducive to raising a family solo.

Key Takeaways

  • Single parents often have less of a support system than other workers, and may need special accommodations.
  • Single-parent jobs should offer schedule flexibility and other work-life balance features.
  • Some careers are ideal for single parents because of the nature of the work.
  • Choosing a supportive employer is just as important when seeking single-parent-friendly opportunities.

What Makes a Good Job for a Single Parent?

Single parents reentering the workforce may need to find work that offers flexibility, work-life balance, and other accommodations in order to be both fully present in their kids’ lives and productive performers on the job. Fortunately, there are a lot of jobs today—especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic as remote work and workplace flexibility has become more commonplace–that have these attributes.

“If you’re searching for work as a single parent, it’s important to look for roles that offer the flexibility necessary to maintain a healthy balance between your job and your personal responsibilities,” said Amanda Augustine, career expert for TopResume, in an email to The Balance. For example, opportunities that allow you to set your own hours or work remotely can be a great fit.

In addition, salary and benefits to meet your expenses are crucial when you’re the sole income earner for your family, as is the opportunity for career growth. Especially if you want to save up to buy a home as a single parent or save for college, finding jobs that have both fair compensation and flexibility is key.

Regardless of the type of position you decide to pursue, research each potential employer to determine whether or not they truly are a parent-friendly organization, said Augustine. Reach out to those in your network who currently work or previously worked for the company and read company reviews.


Review the company’s website to look for signs that its culture and policies are family-friendly.

With that in mind, here are seven jobs that feature attributes that are appealing for single parents reentering the workforce.

Customer Support Specialist

Customer support specialists often are allowed to work remotely. In this role, you’ll answer questions, provide services, and complete transactions by phone, email, or even chat or social media messaging. Depending on the employer, hours may be flexible since many companies offer 24/7 support.

  • Average salary: Because this is an entry-level position, the median salary as of 2021 was $36,920 per year, or $17.75 per hour. Earnings could be higher if you provide support for a complex or technical product or service.
  • Required education: Usually, no particular education is required, but there will likely be on-the-job training to learn the ins and outs of the product/service and the system you’ll be using.
  • Keep in mind: Steer clear of opportunities that require set hours in a call center (unless those hours are conducive to your schedule).


For those who are financially minded, a job as a bookkeeper is one that can often be done from home and during whichever hours work best for your schedule. You’ll have to be well-versed in how to use bookkeeping software and have experience working with financial records.

  • Average salary: The median annual wage for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $45,560 as of May 2021. You can expect salary to rise with experience.
  • Required education: You may need to have a bachelor’s degree depending on the company, but relevant work history might also be acceptable.
  • Keep in mind: Because of the sensitive nature of financial documents, you may be required to pass a background check and follow certain protocols to keep data secure.

Virtual Assistant

Administrative assistants do secretarial work such as typing up reports, sending out memos, fielding emails and calls, and keeping calendars and appointments—and nowadays, instead of reporting to an office, that role can often be done virtually. Many virtual assistants choose to work on a freelance basis, sometimes for multiple clients, so they can set their own hours and choose to work as much or as little as they want to.

  • Average salary: Secretaries and administrative assistants made a median salary of $39,680 per year, or $19.08 per hour, as of May 2021.
  • Required education: Typically, virtual assistants need to be skilled at using basic word processing, spreadsheets, and scheduling software, and will be trained on the job. Large companies or more advanced executive-level positions may require a bachelor’s degree, however.
  • Keep in mind: Virtual assistants can work from home, but you may be expected to be accessible and available during regular work hours. Be sure you know what you’re taking on if you accept a position.

School Paraprofessional or Aide

If you’re a single parent with school-aged kids, working during school hours and only on school calendar days can be a great opportunity. School paraprofessionals, classroom aides, and teacher assistants provide helping hands in the classroom. You may be assigned to one child or provide assistance to an entire class.

  • Average salary: Teacher assistants made a median annual salary of $29,360 in May 2021.
  • Required education: You usually need to complete at least some college credits, and/or pass a certification exam, depending on the state and if you work for a public or private school.
  • Keep in mind: This can be a physically demanding job depending on the age of the children you’re working with, or if they have special needs. However, you will work fewer hours than other part-time jobs.


If you’ve got writing or journalism chops, being an editor or proofreader can be a single-parent-friendly job since it can typically be done from home. While most editors have deadlines to meet, they aren’t usually required to work 9 to 5, giving them flexibility. Editors can also find freelance opportunities if you’re not looking for full-time.

  • Average salary: The median annual earnings for editors was $63,350 in May 2021. Salaries vary widely depending on experience.
  • Required education: While no specific degree is typically required, it can vary by employer.
  • Keep in mind: You may have to pass an editing test to be hired.

Graphic Designer

Put your design skills to work as a graphic designer. This is another role that can often be done from home, or at least with more flexible hours if you have the computer and software. Many graphic designers also work on a freelance basis.

  • Average salary: The median annual wage for graphic designers was $50,710 in May 2021.
  • Required education: Most times, you will need a bachelor’s degree to get hired as a graphic designer since you’ll need to be well-versed in major design programs. Be prepared to showcase a portfolio of your work.
  • Keep in mind: With the proliferation of apps that make DIY graphic design a bit more mainstream, it may be harder to find opportunities for freelance work.

Real Estate Agent

Working in the real estate profession allows for flexible hours since agents get to set their own schedules. If you enjoy meeting people and working outside the home but don’t want to commit to an office job, this could be a good fit.

  • Average salary: The median annual wage for real estate sales agents was $48,340 in May 2021.
  • Required education: Each state has different licensing requirements, but in general, you will have to complete a course or a certain number of hours of training in addition to passing a licensing exam.
  • Keep in mind: Real estate agents are usually paid commission rather than a salary, so income can be sporadic, especially at first.

Job Hunting Tips for Single Parents

Looking for a new job opportunity is all about finding a good employer match. Try these job-seeking strategies.

Pay Attention to Your Candidate Experience

Look for cues about a potential employer’s flexibility when you interact with them during the hiring process. Are they flexible when setting a date and time for the interview? Are they responsive to your inquiries? Do they respect your time? If they seem difficult early on, it could be a sign of things to come.

Look for Family-Friendly Policies

“Companies that allow their employees to begin their work day earlier or later than the originally set time (i.e. flextime), offer remote or hybrid work arrangements, or offer unlimited vacation policies to full-time employees also tend to be more ‘family-friendly’ overall,” said Augustine. Other perks to look for: onsite daycare, child care stipends, or discounted rates for local child care facilities or after-school programs.

Keep the Focus on Your Skills

Share your qualifications and career highlights on resumes, in cover letters, and during initial meetings. As the conversation progresses—and after you wow them—then you can discuss your needs. You can even make accommodation requests as part of your negotiations if you’re offered the job.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much can a single parent earn before they need to pay tax?

Single parents can file their taxes as the head of household, which means they get a slightly higher standard deduction: $19,400 for the 2022 tax year (versus $12,950 for single filers). In other words, they can earn up to $19,399 before they need to file. There are also other tax breaks for single parents as well.

How many single-parent households are there in the U.S.?

A total of 18.6 million children live with just one parent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This includes 15.3 million who lived with their mother only, and 3.3 million who lived with just their father.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Customer Service Representative.”

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks.”

  3. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Secretaries and Administrative Assistants.”

  4. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Teachers Assistants.”

  5. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Editors.”

  6.  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Graphic Designers.”

  7. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents.”

  8. IRS. “IRS Provides Tax Inflation Adjustments for Tax Year 2022.”

  9. U.S. Census Bureau. “Percentage and Number of Children Living With Two Parents Has Dropped Since 1968.”

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