The United States is among the few developed countries that doesn’t have federally mandated parental leave. Being a working parent in the United States can prove especially challenging, and many parents don’t even receive parental benefits from their employers.
Roughly two in five families in the United States had at least one child under 18 years of age in 2018, which accounted for about 33.6 million households.1 With so many working parents in the workforce juggling familial responsibilities without a federally mandated parental leave, how does anyone make it work?
We talked to real working parents who’ve found unique career benefits that actually help them care for their children and dependents. Here are five professions that you may not have considered to pursue as a working parent.
1. Higher Education Support Staff
The ever-rising cost of higher education is a difficult obstacle for many Americans, but working at a college, university or other post-secondary institution can seriously reduce or even eliminate this burden. Most colleges and universities allow their employees to take advantage of free tuition, but some go even further by extending this benefit to employees’ families. While some schools may restrict complimentary tuition to senior positions, many others provide it to all staff, regardless of department or position.
Even if free tuition isn’t available for your family, taking classes or pursuing a degree program can still benefit your dependents. With a better education, you can secure a higher-paying job and provide an improved standard of living for your whole family.
2. Rideshare Driver
If a flexible schedule tops your list of priorities as a working parent, the gig economy may be well suited for you. Rideshare drivers are typically in complete control of their schedule, which can eliminate or greatly reduce the need for childcare.
3. Teacher or Teacher’s Aide
While having a schedule aligned with school-age children is an obvious benefit of this profession, some parents overlook the strong job security, the ability to help their own child grasp abstract concepts and a familiarity with childhood developmental stages. The teaching profession also helps train a parent in areas like psychology and nurturing, so many teachers are also highly emotionally intelligent.
4. Airline Staff
While many airline jobs will require travel, long hours and a varying schedule, support positions typically have more stable responsibilities. An airline typically provides free miles or flights for employees, which can usually transfer to family members. Save up your miles to use towards family trips, or if your children are approaching college age, they can come in handy when visiting colleges.
5. Grocery Store Staff
For families who spend a lot of money on food, a grocery store discount can rack up the savings over the years. While employee discounts will vary widely by store or even location, savings of roughly 15 – 20% is typical.
If your current employer doesn’t offer paid parental leave or other family-friendly benefits, you can find a new career that’s better suited for a family. Make sure you research any prospective position and company to find the right benefits package for your unique needs. Remember that you can always negotiate for a better salary or for more competitive benefits.
1U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment characteristics of families summary. (April 18, 2019). Retrieved May 14, 2019, from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/famee.nr0.htm