Careers With 12-Hour Workdays & a 36-Hour Week

by Megan Torrance
Many careers offer the option of a 12-hour shift three days a week.

Many careers offer the option of a 12-hour shift three days a week.

The traditional eight-hour workday five days a week isn't as common as it once was. While the job market evolves with technology, and as research sheds new light on employee productivity trends, an increasing number of careers are seeing mandated or optional 12-hour shifts. Typically scheduled only three days a week, many of these jobs may also require employees to be on call. Those who work a 12-hour day three days in a row enjoy the greater portion of the week they get to spend on their own.

Technical Jobs

Most data center workers have long hours only three days each week.

Among the most common careers offering 12-hour work days and requiring only 36-hour weeks are technical support and similar computer-related positions. Technical support jobs, such as computer support specialists, need to be readily available at all hours of the day to accept calls from around the country or the world. With similar network operation occupations, like network and computer system administrators, employers often find productivity improves when the staff works longer days and shorter weeks.

Medical Careers

Though shifts may run longer, doctors still tend to work 36-hour weeks.

Positions in the medical field often demand shifts that run well over eight hours. Physicians and surgeons, especially in a hospital setting, are prone to 12-hour workdays. Locations and areas of focus ultimately determine their shifts, though being on call and working more than scheduled isn't uncommon. Surgical technologists similarly face randomized and lengthy work shifts, but are more likely to see 36-hour weeks.

High-Intensity Positions

Some dispatch centers have employees work a full 24-hour day.

Some careers that involve critical situations or excessive emotional strain aim for a simple three-day work schedule for employees, allowing them the remainder of the week to recover. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that although many EMT and paramedic departments follow this plan, employees tend to receive one or two days of on-call duty. Alternatively, emergency dispatchers commonly see this version of shift changes without the mandatory day or night of remaining on call.

Additional Opportunities

Numerous other diverse career paths offer this type of schedule, but many come with varying stipulations. For example, flight attendants typically work 12-hour days but on schedules set in months rather than weeks. Thus, a flight attendant won't always work exactly a 36-hour week. Freelancers or self-employed individuals may pursue projects to enjoy preferred scheduling guidelines -- a strong possibility for content creators; artists and even home, health and personal care aid providers.

About the Author

Based in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, Megan Torrance left her position as the general manager for five Subway restaurants to focus on her passion for writing. Torrance specializes in creating content for career-oriented, motivated individuals and small business owners. Her work has been published on such sites as Chron, GlobalPost and eHow.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images