I began to hate my first job as a teenager within months of starting it.
I worked in a small, greasy restaurant and only made minimum wage. But those two years of experience taught me how to work hard, even when the days were slow and the pay was low.
If I had known then what I know now — how many jobs for teens there are beyond work in fast food — I might have chosen a different path.
There are dozens of good jobs out there for teenagers. You just have to look in the right places before settling for a position at McDonald’s or Walmart.
While that work will help you earn money, first jobs are not one-size-fits-all opportunities. Take time to research your options and choose something that you’ll enjoy.
How to Find a Job and Make Money as a Teenager
Finding jobs for teens that pay well is easier than you might think. According to Pew Research, only 34.6% of teens picked up a summer job in 2018, a number that’s down from a high of 58 percent in the 1980s. With fewer teens working, more positions may be available and ready to be filled.
Teens can get hired for a job by submitting a great resume that includes extracurricular activities like volunteering and special skills. It also helps to learn how to nail a job interview, be available to cover odd hours and be passionate about the industry you choose.
Even though many companies want employees with experience, there are plenty willing to give a chance to those between the ages of 13 and 18.
Jobs for 13-Year-Olds
Finding jobs for teens as young as 13 can be difficult in some states. Check your state’s labor laws for the minimum age requirements and the maximum number of hours 13 and 14-year-olds can work.
Some companies hire teens who are 13 or older to deliver newspapers. This is typically a weekend job and can start in the early morning. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for newspaper delivery drivers is $11.88 per hour. Since you’ll be delivering on foot or bicycle, you can expect to earn a bit less than the median.
To find local newspaper delivery jobs, try contacting the circulation departments for the papers that are delivered to your area. You can inquire about open paper routes and ask how to apply for a position.
Your neighbor’s dog might be aching to get out and play fetch or take a walk. With your parents’ permission, consider starting a dog-walking service in your neighborhood. Offer to take local dogs on afternoon walks a few times each week.
You can create flyers to post on public bulletin boards in town that include your contact information, a picture of you with your own dog, and a short bio sharing your experience with animals. You can also post about it in your neighborhood’s Facebook group or ask your parents to share a flyer at their office.
With the help of your parents or a sibling who’s 18 or older, create an account with Rover to get the word out about your services. You can offer to board pets while their owners are on vacation, set up walk schedules, or offer doggy daycare in your home.
Offer Digital Services
Fiverr is an online platform that allows kids starting at age 13 to list their digital services including social media help, voiceovers, and logo or T-shirt graphic design. There are hundreds of digital services you can offer in your spare time.
The starting pay for gigs on Fiverr is $5. But you can increase your rates by creating add-on services and charging additional fees based on the amount of time it takes to complete. The number of jobs you take on is limited only by the popularity of the service you offer and the amount of time you can commit to completing orders.
Help your friends, family, and neighbors clean out their attics and sheds while making them (and you) money through consigning their valuable items. Offer to sell any possessions they no longer want and split the proceeds with them.
Consignment is a great alternative to trashing items that still have value, and your clients can choose to donate the things that don’t sell.
With the help of a parent or sibling 18 years or older, you can find the instant value of items on Decluttr.
The company pays for electronics, games, CDs, DVDs, books, and more. You can also list items individually or in bundles on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
Take Online Surveys
Since 13 is a young age to start working away from home, you can take paid surveys at home to bring in money while avoiding a commute. There are paid survey sites that accept applications from kids as young as 13.
Besides completing questionnaires, you can make money playing games, watching TV clips, searching the web, and reviewing products.
To make sure there’s a steady flow of surveys and micro-tasks available to work on, you can sign up with multiple surveys sites. Swagbucks, MyPoints, and Survey Junkie are reputable survey sites to consider. You can also join a survey directory like Survey Club to find even more opportunities to complete surveys in your spare time.
Jobs for 14-Year-Olds
Some companies allow 14-year-olds to work limited hours during the school year. This might be a good time to find positions with companies willing to work around your schedule.
If you have experience caring for children like younger siblings or the children of family friends, you can apply for local babysitting jobs. A good place to start is by posting your services on Facebook and asking friends and family members for references and referrals.
You can also set up a free account with Care.com to connect with parents in your area. The range of pay for babysitters can vary greatly depending on your age, experience, and location. Check for similar listings in your area to help you decide what rates to set for your services.
Wash Dishes or Prep Food
Many restaurants start hiring teens at the age of 14. You can work as a busboy or dishwasher or sometimes in food prep. Check with local restaurants and ask for a job application.
List all relevant skills you have and any applicable experience, such as helping at home in the kitchen or volunteering at a local food bank. Do a few practice interviews at home so you feel comfortable answering questions. If you get the job, you can expect to earn the local minimum wage working for a local restaurant.
Work at an Amusement Park
If you’re a thrill-seeker or don’t mind dealing with crowds, consider working at an amusement park over the summer. You can get hired to work with food or drinks, be on cleanup duty, or possibly work in ride operation.
Check for an online application to apply to your local amusement park, or visit the visitor’s information center on-site to request a paper copy. Pay will likely start at minimum wage.
Sell Movie Tickets
If you live in a city or a suburb, you probably have a movie theater near you. Some theaters hire teens as young as 14 to sell movie tickets, popcorn, and candy. You can walk in and ask for a job application or check for one online.
The job might require some flexibility on your part, and you have may have to work nights and weekends while your friends are hanging out.
Jobs for 15-Year-Olds
When you turn 15, it will get easier to find part-time jobs near you. Business owners know that many high-schoolers are flexible during the summer, or are available on nights and weekends.
Mow Lawns/Shovel Snow
Many lawn maintenance businesses hire 15-year-olds to work for them. Check your local newspaper ads, or inquire in local Facebook groups. As long as you’re flexible and willing to commit to the job, you can expect to earn at least minimum wage or more, depending on your experience and work ethic.
You can also check with your neighbors to see if they need lawn or shoveling services. If you pick up clients nearby, you can walk or ride your bike to their homes, eliminating the need for a car. Negotiate your prices based on the size of the lawns you’re mowing or the driveways you’re shoveling.
You won’t have to go far to find messy cars in need of a good detailing service. You probably have friends and neighbors who would be happy to pay you to clear out, vacuum, and wash their vehicles, inside and out.
You can do the work right in your clients’ driveways, or ask if they’re willing to bring their vehicles to you. You’ll need garbage bags, sponges or cloths, a bucket, and soap, and you can set your prices based on the size of the vehicles and the time it takes to complete each job.
Become a Lifeguard
By age 15, you can take a class to earn your lifeguard certification from the American Red Cross. Your certification lasts for two years, and you can take refresher courses to keep your skills up-to-date.
After earning your certification, apply to work for local pools or water parks. According to Snagajob, the average pay to work as a lifeguard is $9.25 per hour, and jobs typically require fewer than 40 hours per week.
Jobs for 16-Year-Olds
Many websites that offer work-from-home jobs set minimum age requirements at 16.
At this age, it should also be easier to find online jobs for teens.
If you get good grades in a specific subject, consider offering tutoring services to friends or classmates. You can schedule after-school hours with students who are struggling to understand the material and help walk them through the homework or study for quizzes and tests.
You can also tutor younger kids, such as those in middle or elementary school. While you can set your own hourly rate, check what other people near you are charging so your pricing is competitive.
According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for tutoring is $17.52, but this can vary based on your experience and location.
Do you enjoy keeping your room clean or helping with chores around the house? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean you can’t housekeep for others to make money as a teenager. It’s reasonable to charge upwards of $10 per hour to clean houses, depending on your area.
To find clients, check local job listings, or post your services on local Facebook groups. It helps to share your previous experience, even if that only includes doing chores around your house.
Put your computer skills to good use by applying for data entry jobs with companies like FlexJobs or Scribie. You’ll need to have basic typing skills and be comfortable working with Excel and Google spreadsheets, Word documents, PowerPoint, and email.
Data entry work is typically hired out to independent contractors rather than employees, meaning you could end up earning less than your state’s minimum wage doing it. The best thing to do is apply to reputable companies and track the time spent to compare it with your income. That way you’ll know where to spend your time to make the most money.
Start a YouTube Channel
Creating a YouTube channel is a popular teen job idea. Many people make good money showing ads and establishing paid partnerships with products they use in their videos. You can start a channel doing makeup tutorials, gaming streams, and product reviews.
The average YouTuber earns between $3 and $5 per 1,000 video views. It can be difficult to earn good money consistently, but it only takes one viral video to start making some income. As you create new videos and grow your subscriber base, your income will add up.
Jobs for 17-Year-Olds
By age 17, you shouldn’t have a problem finding companies that hire teens near you. If you’ve been working for a few years now, you should have a resume that makes it easier to find a job you like.
Care / Companionship for Senior Citizens
Baby Boomers are getting older, and many of them need help keeping up with chores around the house. You can go beyond housekeeping and offer services like gardening, snow removal and attic cleanouts. If you have a driver’s license, you can also offer to drive your clients to their appointments, or take them grocery shopping.
Some senior citizens are lonely and would pay for your companionship. Set up house calls to check on them in the heat or cold, or play games with them a few times per week. There’s a growing need for help amongst the elderly, and you can help and earn money doing it.
Work as a Cashier
Retail and grocery stores in your area might be hiring cashiers. You’ll be expected to handle money and interact with customers. It’s helpful to know basic math skills and understand how to use a calculator. Most stores will train entry-level cashiers on their equipment.
Visit the stores in your area to request a job application, or check each company’s website for a copy. Include any relevant skills on your application, like math grades and people skills. Cashiers just starting out earn between $8 and $10 per hour on average.
Work in a Fast Food Restaurant
Working for a fast-food chain isn’t for everyone, but there are many people who enjoy this kind of work. You can apply to multiple locations and choose the one that offers the most perks.
According to PayScale, fast-food workers earn an average of $8.47 per hour, which is likely consistent with each state’s minimum wage. You can check your state’s minimum wage to determine how much a fast-food job would pay.
Work in a Fitness Center
If you’re interested in fitness, check your local gyms to see if they’re hiring front desk workers or facility cleaners. While you can’t become a certified trainer until you turn 18, you can observe trainers and decide if this is something you’d like to do in the future.
As a fitness center worker, you can expect to interact with customers, handle new member signups, or clean equipment. This job may require some flexibility, depending on the position and individual responsibilities.
Jobs for 18-Year-Olds
Since most companies consider an 18-year-old an adult, you should have an easy time finding jobs for teens.
If you don’t mind shopping for groceries, consider becoming an Instacart shopper. This company hires two kinds of workers: full-service shoppers (independent contractors) and in-store shoppers (part-time employees).
As a full-service shopper, you can pick up requests in your spare time, shop for the items, and deliver them to the customer. In-store shoppers only do the shopping portion, not the delivery part.
Both full-service shoppers and in-store shoppers earn an average of $10-$15 per hour, but full-service shoppers have the potential to earn tips when they deliver the groceries. The trade-off is that only in-store shoppers get retirement and commuter benefits.
Not to worry, if you’re like this guy, you can probably afford to divert some of your $100,000 in yearly earnings towards purchasing a reasonable healthcare plan.
Become a Virtual Assistant
There are many self-employment jobs available for teens who are interested in becoming virtual assistants (VAs). You can work with multiple clients and keep your schedule as full as you want. Plus, you can set your own hourly or job rates, as long as they remain competitive and match your skills.
Virtual assistants offer services like graphic design, website management, email marketing, customer support, and much more.
Try Freelance Writing
By the time you turn 18, chances are you’ve become familiar with writing essays, reports, and other kinds of papers. If you enjoy writing, look for online publications that pay freelance writers to create fresh content.
The average pay for freelance writing is $22.70 per hour, but this rate can vary greatly if you charge on a per-word basis, which could be between $0.10 and $1.00 per word.
This means a single spaced, one page article could be worth $500 [at $1.00 per word]. To learn more about freelance writing, check out our beginner freelance writer guide.
Manage Social Media
You’re probably on social media a lot, so why not make money while you’re at it? Managing social media accounts for local and online businesses is the perfect job for a teenager. The work requires creating engaging memes, graphics, and posts that help your clients reach more potential customers.
Many businesses need help with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Your best option is to master a single social media channel and learn how to grow and engage followers. Start by creating your own social media accounts about something that interests you, and use the pages to prove your talent to potential clients. This will serve as your portfolio.
Go a step further with your social media skills, and learn how to create Facebook ads for local businesses. Your first priority with this job is to help your clients get more customers. You can work for local gyms, coffee shops, and other businesses by helping them target their Facebook ads to the right customers.
Setting up targeted Facebook ads is simple, but it does require some learning to make sure your strategies are effective. Bobby Hoyt perfected a strategy that lets him charge $1,000 to $2,000 per client per month.
Once the ads are set up, he just has to pull reports and make small changes to the existing ones. He teaches exactly how to do this in his online FB Side Hustle course.
Selling clothes online is one of the more relaxed, fun jobs for teens. While it’s something that teens of all ages can do using Facebook or Craigslist, you must be 18 or older to sell clothes online with ThredUp or eBay. When selling clothes to local buyers, be sure to take someone with you and meet in a safe, public place.
If you like to keep up with the latest style trends, consider becoming a stylist for Stitch Fix.
Your job would entail styling the perfect outfits for customers online and ultimately generate clothing sales for the company.
Related: Best Apps to Sell Stuff Online
Sell Handmade Goods
If you enjoy making things like candles, bath bombs, or scarves, you can make money as a teenager by selling your creations online. There are many places to sell handmade goods, like Etsy, Handmade at Amazon, or Artfire. You can also sell them locally by listing them on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
It’s important to consider your materials, talents, and time spent when pricing your handmade items. You can check the pricing of similar handmade goods in your area to help you set your prices fairly and competitively.
The Best Paying Jobs for Teens Can Be Enjoyable
You may think that jobs for teens pay poorly, but there are many opportunities to make good money and enjoy your job.
Since teenagers are typically the most flexible during the summer, mid-to-late spring is a good time to apply for jobs. If you find an enjoyable position and your employer appreciates your hard work, you might even be able to snag some part-time hours during the school year.