Jobs for Couples: 12 Great Ways to Work With Your Significant Other
Do you want to earn money by teaming up with the person you love? You absolutely can. Many jobs for couples exist, and you can even create your own opportunities. If your relationship is solid and you have common goals, a shared job can help the two of you develop an even deeper connection.
This article lists multiple career sectors that offer employment for couples. You will also learn about the challenges and rewards that romantic partners experience when they start a business together. And you'll read tips on maintaining a good working relationship without hurting your love connection.
Note: Many couples have separate jobs within the same workplace. And being coworkers with your significant other certainly has unique challenges and rewards. But this article focuses specifically on couples who are hired together for a single job opening that is designed for two people.
- Jobs for couples: 12 career areas that provide the chance to work together
- Job sharing: Can it work for couples?
- Starting a business together: What you need to know
- How to work together without driving each other crazy
Jobs for Couples: 12 Career Areas That Provide the Chance to Work Together
Yes, it's possible: You and your partner can find many creative ways to work together. Start by honestly communicating about your goals as a couple. Do you both want to travel? Are you seeking jobs for couples with accommodation provided? Or are you a married couple hoping to create husband-and-wife business opportunities?
While exploring your options, it helps to consider each of your work histories. After all, it's relatively rare for each person in a relationship to have exactly the same qualifications. But you may have complementary skill sets and can work well together as a team. So think about how you can present your strengths, both as individuals and as a couple.
Once you have a sense of how you want to work together, begin narrowing down your options. For inspiration, check out the following examples of jobs that are often advertised as being specifically for couples.
Unless otherwise noted, the average hourly wages for each occupation are based on May 2017 estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1
Do you want a job that includes accommodations? For most caretaker jobs, a couple is responsible for the maintenance and care of a property. That often means they live together on-site.
The exact duties of caretaker jobs for couples vary by position. Some employers simply need a couple to live on a vacation property during the off-season in order to keep an eye on things. Others expect a couple to run all aspects of a business or residence year-round. Regardless, make sure the job duties of a position are clearly outlined and that you and your partner understand who is responsible for what.
1. Apartment Managers
From handling repairs to resolving tenant disputes to screening potential renters, apartment managers have responsibilities that require a large range of skills. That's a big reason why many property owners like to hire couples. Each partner may possess a different, yet complementary, set of skills.
For example, perhaps one of you enjoys fixing things but would prefer to avoid resolving tenant disputes, while the other one has the diplomacy skills to deal with residents. If you and your partner can communicate well enough to smoothly coordinate all of the tasks involved, apartment management jobs can be a good way to work and live together. Plus, it's possible to get formal training in property or facility management in less than a year.
Many of these jobs provide an apartment as part of the compensation for caretaking couples. (Jobs can be full-time with a free apartment included as part of your compensation or involve just a few duties in return for reduced rental rates.)
- Property managers—$34.79 per hour
Would you like to meet a variety of new people as part of your job? Managing a hotel, motel, or other tourist lodging facility can give you opportunities to meet people from around the globe.
Depending on the size of the hotel or motel, couples are often expected to oversee all aspects of running a facility, from taking reservations to fixing plumbing problems, so having a wide range of work experiences between you is important. As well, hotels are open around the clock, so you may be on-call frequently and expected to provide help when needed.
- Lodging managers—$28.67 per hour
3. Domestic Couple
"Domestic couple" is a broad category. In general, a domestic couple is hired to look after a residential property and assist the owners with household tasks. Those tasks could include childcare, catering, event organization, gardening, driving, and other household duties. Believe it or not, some homeowners even hire couples based on an agreement that one person in the couple works as a butler.
No matter which jobs are involved, employers often have a clear division of labor in mind when they hire domestic couples. For example, one partner might work as a chef, while the other one looks after the landscaping. Or one person could be a nanny and the other one a driver. However, the couple is always hired as a team. So having complementary skill sets can help the two of you find work. (Having very similar work histories can make it harder to find domestic-couple positions.)
Sometimes, domestic couples who live with a family are provided with luxurious living quarters. After all, most employers of domestic couples are pretty well off. But remember that you'll be living there as employees, so make sure the expectations are clear with regard to both the job duties and the living situation.
Here are a few examples of average wages for domestic-couple jobs:
- Private household cooks—$20.67 per hour
- Groundskeepers—$14.28 per hour
- Maids and housekeepers—$11.84 per hour
4. House Parents
Do you and your partner want to help children in need? Working as house parents can be one of the more challenging jobs for couples—but also one of the most rewarding.
As house parents, you live with children in residential-care facilities and oversee their well-being, including arranging activities, meals, and any necessary medical care. You may also have to coordinate their care with other members of the children's support system, which could include their biological parents.
This job carries a lot of responsibility, so it's important that potential house parents are able to act as good role models. That's a big reason why many house-parent positions require a four-year degree in an area such as social work. In addition, house parents have to complete thorough drug testing and background checks. They also usually need to have a driver's license and basic first-aid certifications.
If you and your partner are interested in a house-parent job, be sure to have a heart-to-heart talk about each of your expectations. House parents are responsible for all aspects of the lives of children in their care, so this can be a busy job. And children placed in facilities with house parents often come from troubled pasts, so patience and a caring attitude are essential.
- House parents—$13 per hour11
5. Farm Workers
Do you like being outdoors? Farming work is one of the oldest "couple jobs" out there. In fact, centuries ago, people sometimes married specifically because they needed someone to work with them on the farm. Love was just an afterthought.
The duties of couples who are hired to work on a farm can include equipment maintenance, property upkeep, irrigation needs, and crop management. On larger farms, you could also be in charge of managing staff.
- Farm workers—$12.05 per hour
Jobs for Couples Who Like to Drive
Jobs that involve driving enable couples to travel together. In these positions, the two of you can earn money while exploring the country (although you will be seeing a lot of it from major highways). In order to do this type of work, it's important to be comfortable driving all day. And if you don't like having your spouse or partner act as a "backseat driver," this may not be the type of career for you.
Eager to hit the open road together? Truck drivers play an essential role in America's economy. But the current driver shortage is raising prices and forcing companies to get more creative in their hiring practices. For many companies, one solution is to hire more couples.
What advantages do couples offer? Simply put, they're efficient. Laws restrict the number of hours that a trucker can drive within a set time period. But if you share driving duties with a partner, he or she can drive while you sleep or rest, so the truck can keep moving. That means you and your partner can make more money than a solo driver would make.
Another perk to driving as a couple is having companionship and support. After all, the long-distance nature of transportation work can set some solo truckers up for emotional and physical problems. So having a partner helps drivers experience greater well-being. Plus, you don't have to worry about maintaining a long-distance relationship while out on the road together.
Of course, you may find that your relationship becomes a little too close since you'll be working in very close quarters over long periods of time. So you really need to enjoy each other's company if you want to drive a truck together.
- Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers—$21.39 per hour
7. Mobile Health-Screening Technicians
These professionals drive to various workplaces in order to conduct tests on workers' health. Sometimes they drive a mobile testing unit to each site. In other cases, companies provide their own testing equipment and couples drive their own vehicles.
The kind of health screening performed depends on the type of company you work for. For instance, some technicians test blood pressure and other signs of cardiovascular health, whereas others perform hearing tests (often for industrial workers to ensure that safety standards are being upheld).
- Health-screening technician—$19.26 per hour2
Jobs for Travelers
Do you want to see the world while earning a paycheck together?
Traveling jobs for couples are popular among those who've retired but aren't ready to settle down. And there's often no age limit for this type of work. Young or old, couples at all stages of life can enjoy the benefits of exploring other regions while on the job.
However, your relationship should be stable before you head off on your adventures. Traveling can be challenging enough without learning about a partner's "quirks" for the first time when you're in unfamiliar territory. In fact, some employers look for proof that couples are in a committed, long-term relationship in order to avoid any potential awkwardness if they break up. (Determining the strength of a partnership is often done through an interview.)
Do you love sports and the outdoors? If your partner shares your passion, you could both help others enjoy your favorite activities. Many of these jobs involve living at a recreational destination such as a resort or ski hill.
For example, during the winter, owners of ski cabins look for couples to perform the various duties involved in keeping their guests happy. One person in a couple might take care of the meals, while the other one performs building maintenance or guides ski tours.
If you prefer warmer destinations, some seaside resorts hire couples to coordinate tourists' scuba-diving activities, with one person overseeing the operations and the other one taking care of the actual diving instruction. So if you or your partner are certified to teach scuba diving and you both dream of working on a tropical island, jobs for couples at resorts with diving facilities are worth investigating.
Here are some sample wages in the tourism sector:
- Lodging managers—$28.67 per hour
- PADI-certified open water scuba instructors—$24 per hour2
- Tour and travel guides—$14.03 per hour
9. Work Campers
Do you enjoy camping? Do you own an RV? Work camping (often shortened to "workamping") is growing more and more popular.
So, what exactly is workamping? Simply put, workampers live in RVs and get hired for a wide range of jobs that are often seasonal. They don't all work outdoors, although many do. Workamping is frequently defined by its RV lifestyle rather than specific job duties.
Keep in mind that you probably won't get rich as a workamper. The goal of workamping should be to fund your travel adventures instead of building up your retirement savings. That's why this is a popular option for couples who have already retired or are getting close to retirement. (The median age of workampers is 53, but many younger people also enjoy this lifestyle.3)
A lot of work camping jobs for couples offer FHU, which means "full hook up" (water, electric, and sewer). FHU is commonly a large component (and sometimes the only component) of what working campers earn in exchange for doing work.
Work campers are often involved in tasks like:
- Landscaping work at a campground
- Maintaining campground equipment
- Ensuring that other campers follow the rules
- Coordinating and running activities, including kids' activities
- Assisting with campground check-ins and payment processing
- Cleaning bathrooms and other shared facilities
In addition, several job-specific programs exist for couples with RVs. For example, Amazon's CamperForce program offers seasonal work to RVers during the company's busiest periods (usually in an Amazon warehouse) in exchange for hourly pay of $15, assistance with campsite fees, and other benefits like overtime pay and medical coverage (after 90 days).4
Although the Amazon program pays better than many workamping positions, warehouse jobs can be physically demanding, and workers are often scheduled for long shifts.
KOA campgrounds also have a Work Kamper program in which couples who love camping can do seasonal work in exchange for a camping spot and some monetary compensation.
Wages for most workamping jobs tend to range from $7.25 to $20.00 per hour, depending on the position.5
10. Gate Guards
Gate guarding is similar to workamping in that you live in an RV. But instead of residing at a campground, gate guards are hired by oil companies to monitor who goes in and out of oil-field facilities.
Most companies that hire gate guards look for couples who own an RV. Free hookups are sometimes provided as part of the compensation. However, sites in isolated locations may not be able to provide hookups.
Some positions require a security license, and drug testing and criminal record checks are common steps in the application process.
Because of the nature of gate-guarding work, someone always has to be at the gate. That means only one of you is able to leave the site at any given time. In other words, you won't be able to have off-site dinner dates.
As a couple, you're on duty 24/7, so your sleep can get interrupted if someone goes through the gate late at night. On the other hand, you still get paid for quiet times when you may be relaxing in your RV.
- Gate guards—$11.83 per hour2
Teaching English overseas is another way to travel while making money. Several countries around the world offer great opportunities for teachers.
In order to find jobs, you and your partner both need the necessary qualifications to teach in your chosen country. So make sure you learn the requirements for teaching English in countries around the globe.
Some teaching jobs provide living accommodations for teachers. (But if you're not legally married, you should be aware that some countries won't permit unmarried couples to live together.)
As well, some schools are reluctant to hire couples because they worry that if one person in a couple doesn't like a placement, both will leave. However, other organizations recognize the advantages of hiring two people who can support each other as both adjust to life in a new country. So when you apply, emphasize that you're together for the long haul and that each of you is eager for adventure.
- ESL teachers overseas—$220 to $5,000 per month, depending on the country and employer12
12. Peace Corps Volunteers
Do both of you want to see the world while working together to make it a better place? About 10 percent of Peace Corps placements are for couples.6 But you may have to do some research in order to find couple-friendly postings that match both of your skill sets. Couples' placements can also take longer to obtain than individual placements.
To serve in the Peace Corps as a couple, you need to be in a committed relationship that has lasted at least a year. You don't have to be legally married. But in addition to completing individual interviews, you must complete a couple's interview together in which you demonstrate proof of your commitment to each other.
You each need to apply separately and indicate when you apply that you want to serve with your partner. But it's also a good idea to know about all of the other aspects of the Peace Corps application process.
Many Peace Corps positions require a four-year degree, but not all of them do. You should also be aware that Peace Corps volunteers don't receive a salary. However, they do get paid a stipend in order to cover the basic costs of living in the area in which they are placed.
Each person in a couple receives the living allowance, so volunteer couples often find that their allowances go further than they do for individual volunteers. (There's some truth behind the phrase "Two can live as cheaply as one.") Plus, when you finish your time in the Peace Corps, you receive a readjustment allowance to help you transition back to North American life.
Living conditions in Peace Corps placements can be rustic. (Keep this mind: One of the Peace Corps' core expectations is that, as a volunteer, you will "serve where the Peace Corps asks you to go, under conditions of hardship if necessary.") On the other hand, having a partner to help you navigate a new world can help you cope with hardships—if your relationship is strong. And you'll have the satisfaction of working together for a common goal.
Similar volunteer opportunities are offered through the United Nations.
As well, the WWOOF program provides opportunities for people to work on organic farms in exchange for food and accommodations. WWOOF farms can be found in over 100 countries, and many farms accept couples.
Job Sharing: Can It Work for Couples?
Job sharing is a little different than working in positions designed for couples. In a job-share arrangement, the two of you share one position that is intended for one employee, and you divide up the time and the duties so that you are each working alone.
Job-sharing arrangements commonly involve two people dividing up the workweek. For example, one person may work Monday and Tuesday, and the other one may work Wednesday through Friday.
If you want to work as a couple, an obvious drawback to a job-share arrangement is that you don't work together. In fact, you may not see each other very often at all since you have different days off. As well, you are only paid for one position. But job sharing can be a good option for working couples with kids since someone will always be available for childcare.
Job-sharing arrangements can be difficult for couples to arrange. That's largely because you both need to have similar qualifications in the same field in order to do the same job. And sometimes employers are reluctant to try job sharing because they worry that administrating a job-sharing position will be too complicated. But human resources professionals say that job sharers are often more productive than other workers.7
The keys to successful job sharing are similar to those for a successful relationship: Open communication, clear expectations, and a willingness to adapt. So if you've succeeded so far as a couple, you may have the skills to successfully share a job.
To learn more about job-sharing possibilities, start by talking to the human resources department of the company you work for or want to apply at. Emphasize how well you communicate together and create a written plan of how the job duties will be split up. If the employer is reluctant, suggest a trial period to see whether a job share will work out.
Starting a Business Together: What You Need to Know
What if you could create your own working couples' jobs—your own way? Entrepreneurial couples can start businesses of their own together. In doing so, they create the opportunity to work as a pair, according to their own goals and priorities. This kind of flexibility can make starting a business a great way to grow and learn together.
In fact, a surprising number of extremely successful businesses have been started by couples, including:
- Eventbrite—Ticket and events platform supporting millions of events every year in 180 countries
- Fitness Blender—Online workout platform with over five million YouTube subscribers
- Marvell Technology Group—Semiconductor company with a net worth of over $13 billion
- Pinch of Yum—Healthy-cooking blog that earns over $100,000 a month
- Houzz—Interior design platform with over 40 million monthly users worldwide
But couple entrepreneurship is not without risks. Before taking the plunge, consider these points:
- When determining the viability of a business idea, you should each do separate research. That's because you don't want one partner's enthusiasm to influence the other's discoveries. Ideally, you should each arrive independently at the conclusion that your business idea is a sound one.
- A common piece of relationship advice is to never have a baby with the hope that it will improve your marriage. The same can be said for starting a business. In other words, entrepreneurship is not going to save a bad relationship. No matter how great your business idea is, the two of you will face some tough decisions, and you might not always agree. So it's best to start with a solid foundation.
- From the onset, you should have clear agreements on the division of labor and the balance of power. After all, one study found that women's careers are slower to advance if they start a business with a spouse.8 In part, this is because, when dividing duties between husband and wife, jobs with more responsibility and higher status tend to go to the male, while the woman is often responsible for domestic duties such as childcare. Although this pattern isn't inevitable when dividing up a business' various jobs, for married couples, it helps to be aware of the risk of falling into gender-stereotype traps.
- Divide and conquer. You may have started a business with an idyllic vision of the two of you working in tandem, but in reality, dividing up tasks by your area of expertise is the best approach. Focus on each of your strengths when it's time to decide who will do what. This division might mean giving up control in some areas, but the business will be more successful (and you'll avoid confusion) if you each have distinct responsibilities.
- Make sure you have some emergency funds available. Entrepreneurship can be unpredictable, and the stakes can feel even higher when you and your partner are undertaking the challenge together. So expect the unexpected and put some back-up money aside before you start.
- Recognize that divorce happens. Nobody likes to think that it will happen to them, but it's always a good idea to have a plan for the business if your marriage fails. To make sure nothing is overlooked, talk to a lawyer about making a contingency plan.
How to Work Together Without Driving Each Other Crazy
Is working together good for a relationship? Ask 10 couples and you'll likely get 10 different answers. But studies have found that having a supportive romantic partner in the same workplace can increase overall happiness levels both at home and at work.9
The key word is "supportive." If your relationship isn't one in which you support each other, working together can lead to tensions that are hard to escape. Every couple is different, and many have their own unique ways of dealing with conflicts (for better or worse). But the following tips can help the two of you successfully mix love with work:
1. Aim for balance. It can be difficult to separate work from your personal life during the best of times. So working with a significant other can be a true test of your work-life boundaries. That's why many relationship experts recommend having clear expectations when it comes to the hours you work and the space you work in.
Sometimes this balance requires careful time management. Couple jobs abroad or jobs where you both live at the workplace present extra challenges. After all, it might feel as if you are always at work. Setting aside time for breaks and respecting each other's need for occasional time away from work can help you both recharge.
2. Be patient. The need to be understanding and patient might seem obvious. After all, relationship expert John Gottman's studies found that 69 percent of relationship problems are never solved due to fundamental personality differences.10 So accepting that you're not going to change the other person can lead to more harmonious work environments.
3. Stay professional. When you're on the job, be careful about saying things to your romantic partner that you wouldn't say to another coworker. (That includes anything positive or negative.) Don't be overly romantic in a work environment, but don't lose your temper and insult your partner either. (Sometimes people don't censor themselves as much with romantic partners because they're more comfortable around them. But your partner deserves the same respect as anyone else you work with.)
4. Don't take work arguments home—or vice versa. For example, maybe your partner didn't complete his or her budgeting spreadsheet. That's completely unrelated to the dishes not being put away at home the night before, so limit any workplace discussions to what's happening at work. Do your best not to get personal when things don't work out as planned. (That doesn't mean you can't express yourself if something is bothering you. Just maintain a clear distinction so that the things that bother you at home stay at home.)
5. Plan for alone time. When you work with your significant other, especially in a job that involves living at your workplace, you may be together all the time. Although this might feel like paradise in the beginning, odds are high that you'll eventually crave a bit of solitude. And that's perfectly OK. Wanting some time apart doesn't mean the relationship is experiencing difficulties. It's normal and healthy to have some of your own interests. And both people in a relationship need something—apart from work—that brings them fulfillment besides the other person. It's all part of a well-rounded life. Besides, having some separate interests gives you something to talk about aside from your job.
6. Remember that the relationship comes first. When you're both feeling overwhelmed, it may be tough to remember why you wanted to work together in the first place. But making sure to schedule work-free time helps you remember the value of the relationship. Whether that means arranging weekly date nights or having nightly dinners where "work talk" is forbidden, the main point is to acknowledge that you're important to each other no matter what happens at work.
Are You Ready for Positive Changes?
Now that you've seen some great job options for couples, it's time to take the next step toward making your dream of working together a reality. Getting the proper training will open doors to even more possibilities and help both of you succeed. And it's quick and easy to find practical programs that can lead to great job opportunities. Discover convenient training programs near you by entering your zip code into the school finder below!
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, website last visited on March 12, 2019.
2 PayScale, website last visited on March 12, 2019.
3 Today, "What's 'workamping?' A guide to downsizing and embracing an RV lifestyle," website last visited on March 12, 2019.
4 Amazon, "CamperForce," website last visited on March 12, 2019.
5 RV-Dreams.com, "How Much Can You Make Workamping?," website last visited on March 12, 2019.
6 Kansas State University, "Frequently Asked Questions from Prospective Peace Corps Volunteers," website last visited on March 12, 2019.
7 HR Daily Advisor, "Job Sharing-The Surprisingly Productive Arrangement," website last visited on March 12, 2019.
8 American Sociological Review, "Who's the Boss? Explaining Gender Inequality in Entrepreneurial Teams," website last visited on March 12, 2019.
9 Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, "The supportive spouse at work: Does being work-linked help?," website last visited on March 12, 2019.
10 The Gottman Institute, "Managing Conflict: Solvable vs. Perpetual Problems," website last visited on March 12, 2019.
11 ZipRecruiter, website last visited on March 14, 2019.
12 International TEFL Academy, "World Comparison Chart for Teaching English Abroad," website last visited on March 14, 2019.