Starting your job search as a teenager can be an important stepping stone toward a financially sound future.
Whether you want a job to start saving for college, buy a car or help your family out, making money when you’re in your teens is a smart move. Even though you’ll likely be making minimum wage, working only a few hours a week will kickstart your savings, build your customer service skills and help you make more money in the future.
But you probably have a few questions about getting a job when you’re a teenager. Like, how old do you have to be to work? And what job can you qualify for without any experience? Is your only option to serve food? We’ll discuss this and more to help you make the best decision about your first teen job.
Short on time? Skip to the job search and use a website like ZipRecruiter to find entry-level, part-time and seasonal jobs, from coffee shop barista to car wash attendant.
Job Eligibility for Teenagers
The state in which you live determines your eligibility for certain types of employment. The U.S. Department of Labor doesn’t allow anyone under the age of 14 to work, and it limits the amount of hours someone can work before they turn 16.
But each state has different child labor laws that vary depending not just on age, but also on the type of work. Some states also require permits to work during certain hours of the day or during the school year and have laws surrounding how many hours per week you can work.
If you’re unsure about your eligibility for employment in your state, check out the Department of Labor’s website.
What Kinds of Jobs are Good for Teens?
If you’re a teen looking for a job, it’s likely that you don’t have any prior work experience. But luckily, there are thousands of jobs available to you that don’t require any education, experience or even training.
Because your job needs to fit around your work schedule, hourly jobs are the best options for teens. You’ll be able to work a few hours a day after school and on weekends without having to skip class or leave your homework unfinished.
For example, you could work at a fast food restaurant, stock shelves at a grocery store, serve food at a restaurant or help customers at a retail shop.
Another option is to work for yourself. Instead of working under a manager, a lot of teens are able to make money by offering their skills to friends, family and neighbors without applying for more traditional jobs. For example, you can babysit, become a tutor or offer up other skills you have — like mowing lawns or washing cars.
Best Online Jobs for Teens
While working at an ice cream shop or skate shop sounds fun, there are also online jobs that are available to teenagers. If you’re over 16 (or 18, in some cases) you can get paid to write online, answer questions as a call center representative, do data entry or even be a virtual assistant.
Online jobs allow for a greater flexibility in your schedule and don’t require you to have a car or use public transportation. And more and more of these online companies are open to hire teens.
You can find the best online jobs by using a job search engine like ZipRecruiter.
Best Summer Jobs for Teens
If working after school doesn’t fit into your schedule, a lot of high schoolers choose to take summer jobs. Being a lifeguard or camp counselor are just a few summer-specific jobs that can earn you plenty of cash before school starts again in the fall.
If you have a car, being a delivery driver is a job you can have year-round and ramp up your hours during summer, winter and spring breaks. On sites like DoorDash or UberEats, delivery drivers set their own hours and can add more during their time off school.
How to Fit a Job Into Your School Schedule
Between classes, homework, chores and, of course, your social life, finding time to work and make some money can be hard as a teen. But thankfully, many job opportunities provide teens with a flexible schedule because they know these young employees have a lot on their plate.
During your interview, talk to your potential employer about what days and hours you will be available to work. By letting them know ahead of time, you won’t need to worry about being scheduled during soccer practice or later than your curfew.
Additionally, use your new job as an opportunity to get friendly with your coworkers and maybe even make friends — these are people who can help you out when you need to switch shifts to study for a test or go out of town for a debate competition. Having a good relationship with both your boss and the people you work alongside will make it easier for you to fit work into your busy school schedule.
How Much You Can Get Paid as a Teen
Real talk — if this is your first job, you’ll probably start by making minimum wage. But we all have to start somewhere! The national minimum wage is $7.25/hour for exempt employees (non tip-based jobs, like servers) but many states have enacted their own minimum wage laws that see entry-level hourly jobs paying as much as $15 an hour.
That being said, the current labor market is seeing a rise in pay at traditionally minimum-wage jobs, like fast food restaurants and retail. So even if your state has a minimum wage of $10, many employers are offering up to 50% more average pay plus sign-on bonuses in order to hire and retain their workers.
If you’re searching for jobs for teens on the ZipRecruiter website, you can find jobs that pay higher by filtering job searches and job alerts by salary range.
If you’re working for yourself as a babysitter or tutor, you can set your own price and have flexible hours.
Babysitters, for example, can charge based on a number of factors. These include whether their town has a high cost of living, how many kids are in a home, how old they are and what types of activities they’ll do with the kids. Plus, knowing first aid practices and having certifications like CPR can let them charge more (and be more attractive to parents looking to trust someone with their little ones).
How to Start Your Job Search For the Best Jobs For Teens
Finding a job when you’re a teen has never been easier. With all of the options available and websites that aggregate them, you’ll be able to find and apply for tons of jobs.
Our favorite is ZipRecuiter, because it’s free, easy to use and has more than 9 million available jobs to choose from.
Here’s how to find jobs to apply to on ZipRecruiter:
- Search by location and keyword. Try using keywords like “retail,” “grocery” or “entry-level.”
- Narrow down your search using ZipRecruiter’s filters. For example, you can filter by salary range, part-time or temporary and distance. If you know what company you want to work for, you can also narrow your search by employer name.
- Apply for these jobs through ZipRecruiter’s website. You can apply as a guest and fill out each application individually — or you can sign up for a free account and let ZipRecruiter do the work every time you apply for a new job.
If the job you’re looking for isn’t showing up yet, you can set up job alerts and ZipRecruiter will let you know when new jobs matching your job alert requirements and keywords are posted.
Now are you ready to find a job? Which jobs for teens will you apply for first?