Best Jobs for Teenagers
You can’t live off of an allowance forever. Teenagers usually want to get a part-time job to earn some extra spending money or save up for something bigger, like a car. However, not all jobs hire teenagers.
Here are some that do.
First, you’ll need to consider how old you are. If you’re 14 or younger, federal laws say you can only work very specific types of jobs, such as babysitting or helping out with a parent’s business. If you’re 15 or older, you’ll have more choices.
If you’re younger than 18 in Pennsylvania, the law also restricts how many hours you can work a day and when you can work. For example, minors 16 or older can’t work before 6 am or after midnight during a regular school week. They also can’t work more than 8 hours in a single day or more than 28 hours per week during a regular school week.
You can find the full guidelines at the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s child labor laws page.
Now let’s talk about the fun stuff… what jobs you CAN do as a teenager.
We’ll break them into categories, based on what type of things you might be interested in.
Working in a retail store:
Cashier – Are you good with money and can count change? Cashiers need to be fast, accurate, and friendly. Your employer will teach you how to use a cash register, but you’ll need to make sure that you giving back the right change and ringing things up properly. This is a great option for an after school job because most stores get busy in the afternoons/evenings and need more cashiers to work then.
Stocking shelves – If you’re under 18, you might not be able to run the cash register at certain stores… especially if they sell cigarettes or alcohol. However, you may still be able to stock the shelves. You’ll need to be able to lift boxes, which are sometimes heavy. You’ll also need to quickly but carefully put items on the shelf… this could be anything from canned vegetables at a grocery store or sweaters at a clothing shop!
Working in food service:
Fast food – Working at a fast-food restaurant is one of the most common jobs for a teenager. Sure, it might not be the most glamorous place, but it can give you a steady paycheck and can be fun! Your job will train you on how to prepare the food in a safe way and provide the best customer service possible. Because you’re working with food, your job might even offer a free meal every shift you work.
Wait staff – If you’d rather serve food to people rather than cook it, consider applying for a waiter or waitress position. You’ll need to be friendly and attentive. Are your customers ready to order? Do they have enough napkins or need a refill for their drink? Are they ready for their check at the end of the meal? You’ll likely be serving many tables at once, so you’ll need to be a good multi-tasker.
Seasonal – If you only have time to work for a little while during the summer, you might want to work at your local county fair. Food carts at fairs often need people who can work each day for an entire week. It’ll be very similar to fast food… but you’ll likely be in a smaller workspace, since these food trucks only have limited room inside them.
Working in entertainment:
Movie theater – Movie theaters need someone to sell tickets, serve food, and clean the theater after each movie screening. Working in a movie theater is very similar to a mix of retail and foodservice. You might even be able to watch some films for free! This can be a great job for teens who are still in school because movie theaters usually need most people to work on Fridays or the weekend.
Rec parks or other entertainment jobs – Consider other entertainment jobs in your area. Maybe there is a recreation park, indoor trampoline business, rollerskating rink, escape room, miniature golf, or other entertainment business where you could work. If you see somewhere that looks interesting, there’s no harm in asking if they’re hiring or looking online to see if they have jobs available.
Golf caddy – Golf courses need strong people who are able to lug around golf clubs and accompany golfers. If you like being outdoors or the sport of golf, this is a great opportunity! You’ll need to be respectful and quiet while the golfers play, carry and clean the equipment as necessary, watch where the balls land, and measure the distance to the hole.
Yard work – Especially during the summertime, yard work can be big business! Some companies hire teens to do landscaping work, or you can decide to work on your own. If you do it by yourself, you’ll need to advertise or ask around to find customers. Decide whether you will charge by the hour or by the size of the yard. Yard work can include things like mowing grass, raking leaves, pulling weeds, or planting flowers.
Shoveling snow – It gets snowy here in Pennsylvania! Older folks or busy families might not have time to shovel their sidewalks or driveways. Very similar to yard work, you might be able to find a business to hire you or you can charge customers on your own. Most people want their sidewalks and driveways cleared early in the day, so this might be a good job for weekends or for before school.
Delivering newspapers – Contact your local newspaper to see if they have any delivery routes for you. Delivering newspapers requires you to bring a newspaper to paying customers (usually in a box or on their front stoop) on a consistent schedule. You’ll need to be able to do this job at the same time each day! You’ll also need to regularly collect payments from customers if they haven’t paid in advance or online.
Babysitting – Babysitting is one job that even teens under 14 are allowed to have. Watching another person’s child is a big responsibility… You literally are in charge of keeping a child safe! Take a safety course and get certified in CPR. You might get your first babysitting job watching your relatives or neighbor’s kids, but parents will often spread the word if you do a good job. If you are comfortable watching older kids but not infants, make sure that you’re honest about what you can handle. You’re in charge while the parents are gone. Don’t be mean, but also don’t let the kids get away with anything they shouldn’t be doing.
Pet sitting or dog walking – People love their pets and want to make sure that they’re safe and happy while they’re away. This is similar to babysitting… except for the animals can’t talk back to you! The family might need you to stop by their house to feed and walk their dog while they’re at work. They might also need someone to watch their pet for a longer period of time if they go on vacation.
Housecleaning – Older people or busy families sometimes need someone to help keep their home tidy. This could mean vacuuming, doing dishes, making beds, doing laundry, washing windows, or scrubbing floors and walls. Like with yard work, you can either find a company to work for or start housecleaning on your own. You’ll need to decide whether to charge per hour or per room/house.
You’ve got a wide selection to choose from, so think about what’s available where you live and what you’re most interested in. Be sure to listen to your boss, show up on time, pay attention, and work hard.