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The Ultimate Job Guide for Young Teens

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Getting your first job as a young teen is exciting. It marks the transition from childhood to the beginning of adulthood and brings a sense of independence, responsibility, and a paycheck! There is a lot to understand about getting your first job, and we want to make sure you’re prepared. In this guide we teach you all you need to know from finding the right job to depositing that first paycheck.

In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the legal age to work at 14 for non-agricultural jobs, with strict limitations on the types of work and hours for those under 16. At 13, opportunities are limited to jobs like babysitting, pet care, or yard work. For 14 and 15-year-olds, options expand slightly to include things like retail positions, office work, grocery store roles, and certain food service tasks. However, these jobs must adhere to specific hour restrictions, particularly during school days and weeks.

Key Takeaways
  • 13-year-olds are too young to work traditional jobs. 14 and 15-year-olds can take limited positions. 16-year-olds can take part-time and entry-level positions.
  • U.S. minimum wage is $7.25, but pay can vary by job type and experience.
  • The best jobs for teens are entry-level positions and jobs that require little training.
  • Friends, Families, Schools, and local community centers are great places to get help finding jobs near you.
  • Job board websites like and can be helpful places to find local listings.
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At What Age Can Teens Get a Job?

In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the legal age for the employment of minors (that’s you) at 14, with specific guidelines for different age groups to ensure your safety and well-being.

Work hours are limited to outside school hours: no more than 3 hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, 8 hours on a non-school day, and 40 hours in a non-school week. Additionally, they can only work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., extending to 9 p.m. from June 1 through Labor Day.

Jobs for 13-year-olds (and younger)

Work is limited to jobs considered safe and manageable, typically outside of what is considered traditional employment. This includes jobs like babysitting, dog walking, and yard work.

Check out our big list of jobs for 13-year-olds to learn more about what jobs a 13-year-old can do.

Jobs for 14-year-olds

14-year-olds can work in non-manufacturing, non-hazardous jobs. Typical roles include grocery store baggers, retail cashiers, office assistants, movie theater ushers, library assistants, fast food crew members (in non-cooking roles), amusement park helpers, ice cream shop servers, and pool attendants (in non-lifeguard capacities).

Check out our ultimate guide on jobs for 14-year-olds to learn more about what jobs hire at 14.

Jobs for 15-year-olds

Jobs that hire at 15 can offer slightly more responsibility, such as bussing tables in restaurants, working as dishwashers, stock clerks, retail sales associates, camp counselors in training, lifeguards (with proper certification), tutors for peers or younger students, farmhands (with parental consent and adherence to FLSA guidelines), yard maintenance workers, and summer camp assistants.

Check out our ultimate guide on jobs for 15-year-olds to learn more about what jobs hire at 15.

Jobs for 16-year-olds (and older)

At 16 and older, teens can start taking most part-time and entry-level positions. Common opportunities include working at department stores like Walmart, Costco, or Target; working at fast-food or restaurant chains; working as office assistants at libraries, schools, or local community centers.


13-year-olds are still too young for “regular” employment. For 14 and 15-year-olds, the focus is on balancing work and education, ensuring their jobs do not interfere with school, and providing a safe, supportive environment for them to gain work experience. At 16 teens can take most part-time and entry-level positions.

How Much Should A Teen Expect to Get Paid?

Expected pay can vary widely based on several factors, including the type of job, location, and the employer's pay policies. However, there are general guidelines and typical wage ranges that can provide a rough estimate.

Minimum Wage

In the United States, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, though many states and cities have higher minimum wages. Teens can typically expect to earn at least the minimum wage for entry-level positions.

Industry and Job Type

Common first jobs for teens include retail, fast food, grocery stores, and babysitting. Retail and fast food positions often start at or slightly above minimum wage. For example, a cashier or fast food worker might earn between $8 and $12 per hour. Babysitting can offer more variability, with rates typically ranging from $10 to $15 per hour, depending on experience, the number of children, and the location.

Experience and Skills

While most first jobs don't require extensive experience, certain skills or certifications can boost pay. For instance, a teen with CPR certification working as a babysitter or lifeguard might be able to make slightly higher wages.

Seasonal and Part-Time Work

Many teen jobs are part-time or seasonal, which can influence pay. Part-time retail or food service jobs may offer starting wages close to the minimum wage, while seasonal jobs like camp counselors or amusement park workers might offer slightly higher hourly rates, recognizing the temporary nature of the work.

Tips and Commission

Some jobs, like waiting tables or certain retail positions, include tips or commissions, which can significantly increase earnings. A server in a restaurant might earn a base wage plus tips, with total earnings varying widely based on the establishment and shifts worked. It’s important to note that some jobs where tips are available may offer a lower base pay.


U.S. minimum wage is $7.25, but many factors can affect earnings. Job type, experience, and seasonal work can influence how much you get paid. Tips and commissions may also provide additional wages but may come at the cost of lower base pay.

Best Types of Jobs for Teenagers

Finding a job as a teenager can be a rewarding experience, offering not just income but also valuable skills and work habits. Several places are particularly well-suited for teenagers seeking their first job, each offering unique opportunities and benefits.

Local Retail Stores

Retail stores are often a great starting point for teenagers. Positions such as cashiers, stock clerks, and customer service representatives are commonly available. Major chains like Target, Walmart, and local grocery stores frequently hire teens, especially during busy seasons like holidays.

Fast Food and Casual Dining

Fast food chains like McDonald's, Burger King, and Chick-fil-A, as well as casual dining restaurants, offer numerous entry-level positions. Roles include cashiering, food preparation, and bussing tables. These jobs often provide flexible hours, making them ideal for students.

Supermarkets and Grocery Stores

Local supermarkets often hire teens for roles such as bagging groceries, stocking shelves, and helping customers. These positions can offer a steady income and teach valuable customer service skills.

Amusement Parks and Recreational Facilities

Seasonal jobs at amusement parks, water parks, and recreational facilities are popular among teens. Positions might include ride operators, ticket takers, and concession stand workers. These jobs can be particularly appealing during summer breaks.

Babysitting and Pet Sitting

For teens looking for more flexible, informal work, babysitting and pet sitting are excellent options. These jobs can be found through family friends, neighbors, and online platforms like Care or Rover.

Community Centers and Local Government

Community centers, libraries, and parks departments often have openings for teens in various roles, including camp counselors, lifeguards, and library assistants. These jobs can be rewarding and provide a sense of contributing to the community.

Small Businesses and Family-Owned Shops

Local small businesses, such as cafes, boutiques, and family-owned shops, often seek part-time help. These environments can provide a more personal and supportive introduction to the workforce.

Internships and Apprenticeships

For those interested in gaining specific skills, internships and apprenticeships at local businesses can be valuable. Many companies offer programs specifically designed for high school students to gain hands-on experience in various fields.

Volunteer Opportunities

While not paid, volunteer work can provide valuable experience and help teens build a resume. Hospitals, animal shelters, and non-profits often seek volunteers, which can lead to paid positions later on.


There is a wide range of great jobs for 13, 14, and 15-year-olds. Popular ones include seasonal jobs such as lifeguarding or working at amusement parks or rec centers. Good starter jobs for teens include working at a grocery store or local retail store. Babysitting or pet care is a great way to get started with something outside the traditional work environment.

Finding Jobs Near Me

Finding a job as a teen can be an exciting yet challenging task. The best way for teens to locate employment opportunities near them involves a combination of traditional and modern job-search methods, networking, and leveraging available resources.

Online Job Boards and Apps

Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and local job boards often have specific sections for part-time or teen jobs. Apps like Snagajob and Jobr are tailored to match teens with local employers looking for entry-level workers. Setting up job alerts can ensure teens are promptly notified of new opportunities.


Personal connections are invaluable. Teens should let family, friends, teachers, and neighbors know they are looking for a job. Many opportunities are not advertised publicly and are filled through word-of-mouth recommendations.

Local Businesses

Visiting local businesses in person can be highly effective. Teens should prepare a resume, dress appropriately, and be ready to introduce themselves to managers. Asking about job openings and leaving a resume can make a positive impression and increase the chances of being considered for future openings.

School Resources

Many high schools have career centers or job boards that list local employment opportunities. Schools often have partnerships with local businesses for internships and part-time work, providing students with direct access to these opportunities.

Community Centers and Libraries

Community centers and libraries frequently post job openings on bulletin boards. They also often host job fairs and workshops that can help teens find local employment and improve their job-seeking skills.

Volunteering and Internships

Starting as a volunteer or intern can lead to paid employment. Many organizations prefer to hire individuals who have already demonstrated their skills and commitment through volunteer work or internships.

Job Fairs

Attending job fairs can provide direct access to multiple employers looking to hire teens. These events often occur at schools, community centers, and local event spaces and offer an excellent opportunity to learn about various job openings and meet potential employers face-to-face.


There are many places to find jobs near you. Reach out to friends and family to let them know you’re looking for a job. Your school, local library, or community center will likely have resources to help you find a job. Also, think of local businesses near you, they’re almost always looking for help from teenagers. Job board websites like and can be helpful places to find local listings.

Applying For a Job

Once you've found a few jobs you're interested in, you need to "apply" for them. If you've never done that before, it can feel a little daunting. We're here to help. Here’s a detailed outline of what to expect when applying for a job:


Jobs that hire 13, 14, and 15-year-olds probably don’t expect resumes, however, providing one, can put you ahead of the competition. Create a simple, one-page resume that includes contact information, education, any previous work or volunteer experience, and skills relevant to the job you’re applying for.


Many jobs have a simple application form you’re required to fill out. Carefully follow the instructions and provide accurate information. Whenever possible, submit the application in person.


After submitting an application, it’s beneficial to follow up with the employer. A phone call or email thanking them for consideration and expressing continued interest in the position can make a positive impression and show initiative.


As a young teenager, a resume is likely not required for most jobs but can put you ahead. Make sure you fill out the job application accurately and follow up with the employer to show continued interest in the job. If all goes according to plan, you should have a job interview in no time!

What to Expect in a Job Interview

Job interviews can be scary! We want to make sure you can go in feeling prepared and confident. Here's what you should expect during a job interview and steps you can take to prepare effectively:

Preparing For The Interview

  • Practice Common Interview Questions - Rehearse answers to typical interview questions. Practicing with a family member or friend can help build confidence and improve responses.
  • Dress Appropriately - Choose professional, appropriate attire for the interview. Even if the job is casual, dressing neatly can help make you stand out.
  • Ask Questions - Prepare thoughtful questions to ask the interviewer about the job or company. This demonstrates genuine interest and engagement.
  • Arrive Early - Aim to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early. This shows initiative and excitement for the job.
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep - Resting well the night before will make sure you’re at your best for the interview.
  • Post-Interview - Sending a thank-you note or email to the interviewer can reinforce your interest and professionalism.

What to Expect

  • Introduction and Small Talk - The interviewer will likely start with introductions and some casual conversation to break the ice. Use this as a chance to show off your communication skills and personality.
  • Questions About Experience and Skills - The interviewer will ask about your previous work experience, volunteer work, school activities, and relevant skills. Questions might include, “Can you tell me about yourself?”, “What skills do you bring to this job?”, or “Why do you want this job?”
  • Behavioral Questions - These questions are designed to understand how you handle various situations. Examples include, “Can you describe a time when you had to solve a problem?” or “How do you handle stress?”
  • Availability and Job-Specific Questions - The interviewer will want to know your availability, including after-school hours, weekends, and holidays. They may also ask job-specific questions to assess suitability for the role.
  • Questions from the Teen - The interviewer will usually provide an opportunity for you to ask questions. Make sure you have a few questions prepared. Interviewers love it when you ask questions! Examples include “What do you most need from someone in this role”, or “What are you most looking for from this position”.
  • Conclusion and Next Steps - The interview will end with the interviewer explaining the next steps in the hiring process, such as additional interviews or when a decision will be made.


An interview can be daunting. By preparing beforehand you’ll go into the interview feeling confident. Show off your communication skills and personality. Make sure to be friendly, and make sure you have some thoughtful questions prepared!

Getting Your First Job

Getting your first official job offer is exciting! Here are a few things to expect between getting your first job offer and starting on your first day.

Job Offer and Acceptance

Carefully review the terms of employment, including work hours, pay rate, and job responsibilities. Feel free to ask any questions before accepting the offer.

Orientation and Training

The first few days of work can be nerve-wracking. Before you start, you’ll likely get some orientation that goes over your responsibilities and some training from someone who’s been working there for some time. Feeling nervous is normal. Just remember your employer hired you because they liked you and thought you’d be a good fit for the job. They want you to succeed and will do what they can to help!

Where to Put Your First Paycheck

Getting paid is exciting! Maybe you’re ready to have some fun or maybe you’re saving up for your first big purchase. Either way, you need a good place to put your money that makes it easy to access and gives you a good interest rate (free money!). The quickest and easiest way to get paid is with direct deposit. It let's an employer deposit money directly into a bank account.

Check out our guide on setting up direct deposit to make sure you're ready for that first paycheck to land!

The Best Jobs for Teens to Get Started

If you've made it this far, you should have everything you need to feel confident about landing that first job. To help you get started finding the right job for you, we've put together a few lists of the best jobs for young teens based on age.

The Best Jobs for 13-year-olds

The Best Jobs for 14-year-olds

The Best Jobs for 15-year-olds

The Best Summer Jobs for Teens

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