If you’re a teen looking for a job (or a parent helping your teen find a job), you’re in luck! Most people know that 16-year-olds can work in a variety of stores and restaurants.
However, some companies will hire teens as young as 15, and sometimes even as young as 14. We’ll share where you should look if you’re a teen looking for ways to earn your own cash.
Here are some of the more well-known jobs that employers hire 14 and 15-year-olds for.
Jobs for 15-Year-Olds
There are a few companies willing to hire teens as young as 14 or 15. We’ll focus on a few industries that hire 15-year-olds first.
Fast food and casual restaurants often hire teens as young as 15. For instance, Boston Market is a casual restaurant chain with over 450 locations in the United States. Some of the job positions they might hire 15-year-olds for include busboy/busgirl jobs and cleaning crew.
Grocery Store Worker
Some grocery stores will hire 15-year-olds to work as a cashier or stock person. Hy-Vee is a national grocery store chain with nearly 250 locations in states such as Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois.
Note that not all Hy-Vee stores hire 15-year-olds. Check with your local Hy-Vee location and talk with the manager there.
Movie Theater Worker
As a movie theater worker, you might sell tickets, take tickets, work in concessions or do theater cleanup. The AMC movie theater company has locations throughout the U.S and often hire teens as young as 15. As with Hy-Vee, locations are independently managed and many locations will hire 15-year-olds, however not all locations do.
Amusement Park Worker
Six Flags amusement parks and other amusement parks commonly hire teens as young as 15. There are a variety of job positions available such as park cleaner, store cashier, food service jobs and ride operators.
Check with your local Six Flags or other amusement parks to see what types of job positions are available for 15-year-olds.
The American Red Cross lets teens as young as 15 get certified for service as a lifeguard. If you’re interested in this type of job, talk with hiring managers at local pools and beaches.
If they’re willing to hire a certified lifeguard at 15, get your certification through your local Red Cross or online.
Jobs for 14-Year-Olds
Some industries, although not many, hire 14-year-olds too. There are a variety of restaurants and stores that hire 14-year-olds. Some of the jobs you might do in a restaurant at 14 include cleaning, cashiering, and food preparation.
The following restaurants often hire teens as young as 14. Note that the hiring age can vary by location.
- Baskin Robbins
- Dairy Queen
- Ben and Jerry’s
- Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
- Rita’s Italian Ice
Grocery stores also hire teens as young as 14 at times. Again, each location may vary on the hiring age based on management preference and state laws. But the following grocery stores have been known to hire 14-year-olds.
Not interested in working for a company? Try this next idea on for size.
Businesses You Can Start as a Teenager
What if you want a job as a teenager but you want something different? How about starting your own business?
Hint: One of the keys to operating a successful business is to “underpromise and overdeliver”. In other words, do a better job than what you agreed to do and make the customer extra happy they hired you.
Here are some business ideas that anyone age 14 or up can start.
Are you smart in school subjects such as English, reading, math or science? How about working as a tutor for other students your age or younger?
Advertise your skills to parents of other children in your area, or on social media outlets. Set a rate of pay; most tutors charge by the half-hour or by the hour.
Computer Repair/ Set-up
Parents know that teens are typically heads and shoulders above us when it comes to computer knowledge. Why not put those skills to good use?
Advertise your skills for computer set-up or repair, and choose a rate of pay based on the number of hours you’d put in on any given job.
Lawn Maintenance/Snow Shoveling
If you enjoy mowing lawns, shoveling snow, and other types of yard maintenance, you could start a business helping your neighbors keep up their lawns. Many people are happy to pay to have others take care of the tedious work of caring for their yard.
You can advertise directly with neighbors by distributing flyers or posting your services on a neighborhood social site such as Nextdoor. Set your rate of pay based on the size of the yard and what you’re asked to do.
For instance, you probably want to charge more if you will be trimming hedges along with mowing the grass.
If you like caring for children, you could start a business as a babysitter. Reach out to families you know that have younger children. Negotiate with parents as to what hourly wage you’ll be paid.
Do you have experience caring for pets? If so, you could start a pet care or dog walking business. People often need help caring for their pets while they’re away. Or, they need someone to walk their dog.
Talk with your parents about the pet care side of this business to determine what type of services to offer and where you will care for the pets. For instance, you may be able to do cat care by visiting the owner’s home a couple of times a day.
However, with dog care, you may need to have the dog stay at your house.
A mobile car washing business is another idea you can do as a teen. You’d visit potential clients with soap, rags, a bucket, and a portable vacuum in hand.
You’ll use the client’s water and hose. Clean the cars inside and out for some quick cash. Wash the interior of the windows as an A+ service add-on. Set your price based on the difficulty of the job.
From the elderly to the housebound to busy stay-at-home parents, many people can use the services of an errand runner. If you live in a walkable neighborhood where stores, post offices, and other businesses are nearby, you could try this as a business.
Advertise directly to neighbors. Pro tip: Use a bicycle for more efficient use of your time.
This is a job I did when I was 14. My mom and I worked together to paint rental properties for a landlord team. When old tenants were moving out and new ones were coming in, mom and I would paint the apartments to give them a clean, fresh look.
Besides painting rooms, you could also offer to paint fences, house trim, and more. Advertise directly in your neighborhood or on a neighborhood social media site. Have the client provide all supplies to make your job easier.
I know it’s probably not much fun when your parents ask you to clean the house. However, it’s always more fun cleaning someone else’s house – especially when you get paid!!
Contact neighbors or family friends to see if they want to hire you as a house cleaner. Many people and families are very busy, which means basic housekeeping goes by the wayside.
You could offer to dust, wash interior windows, vacuum, do laundry and more. Set an hourly rate and get paid based on the number of hours you put in on a job.
If you have a talent for organization, you could offer to help organize people’s homes or rooms as well.
Here are some other business ideas you can start for under $100.
Labor Laws for Teen Workers
Before you get a job as a teen, it’s important to know what the federal child labor laws are. These laws were set in place to protect kids from unscrupulous employers.
Here is a summary of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Youth Rules for workers but it's important to know that there are likely state laws as well. Typically, the state laws will be more strict than federal law.
To find your state's child labor laws check out this website.
Federal Law if You’re 14 or 15
As a 14 or 15-year-old, you’ve got stricter work laws in place to protect you. For instance, you can only work outside of normal school hours.
You can’t work any more than three hours per day and 18 hours per week when school is in session. When school is not in session, you’re limited to an eight-hour workday and a 40-hour workweek.
In addition, you can’t work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. during the school year. When school is out, you can work up until 9 p.m. There are additional Department of Labor rules about the hourly wage you must be paid and which types of jobs you can perform.
Federal Law if You’re 16 or 17
As a 16 or 17-year-old, you can work unlimited hours as well as any hours during the day. You can work any type of job that is not considered a hazardous job by the Department of Labor.
As with 14 and 15-year-olds, there are Department of Labor rules regarding the hourly wage you must be paid.
Federal Law if You’re 18 Years Old
If you’re at least 18 and working as a teenager, you can work any hours you want and perform any job you want. However, there are minimum wage rules your employer must adhere to.
See this Department of Labor website for more information on child labor laws.
What to do with Your Earnings
Teens looking for work are clearly motivated people. Use that motivation to really get a jump start on your finances. Here are some quick tips.
- Open a checking account and savings account. (If you are under 18 you will need a parent's help with this.)
- Get into the habit of saving regularly. Decide the percentage (or dollar amount) you want to save and move that money into savings every time you get paid. Think about college costs, buying and maintaining a car, or any other large purchases that may be coming up.
- Consider starting to save for retirement.
Saving for retirement might sound extreme but you have a unique opportunity when you are young. Time is on your side. The earlier you start the less you will have to save over the course of your life. If you put $150 a month into a Roth IRA starting at age 17, you will have over a million dollars at age 67, assuming an 8% return.
Jobs for teens are definitely available. If you are at least 14 years old you likely have opportunities. Getting started working at such a young age will instill a work ethic that will not leave you as you get older – and you'll get a jump start on your finances that will definitely help in the years to come.
But don't forget that school and friends are important too. It doesn't have to be all work all the time, make sure to have some fun.