I read a sign once that said teens should get a job while they still know everything! Perhaps you have similar feelings about your teen, and there’s no better time than now to start looking for summer jobs for teens!
The Value of Summer Jobs for Teens
Despite declining teen employment during the pandemic, teen employment rates are steadily increasing. Why? Because summer jobs hold a lot of value for teens. An obvious advantage of having a summer job is that it gives teens more spending money. But financial independence comes with responsibility and learning valuable life skills, including planning a budget and learning how to manage their time wisely.
Even if the job does not pertain to a future career, it looks good on their resume. Employers and college admissions officers know that having a job at a young age shows drive and increases confidence and communication skills. While there are some restrictions on what jobs your teen can do, there are numerous job opportunities for your kid this summer.
What Is the Youngest Age to Get a Summer Job?
Many parents remember getting jobs as children and consider it a rite of passage. However, regulatory laws make job opportunities for American teens different today. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) establishes minimum age requirements, pay, maximum hours, and safety standards for minors (those under 18) in the United States. The FLSA applies to companies making $500,000 or more, performing interstate commerce, or producing goods for businesses. These requirements are designed to encapsulate nearly every company. Child labor laws vary from state to state, so check your individual laws!
One way the FLSA affects teens is by prohibiting them from participating in potentially dangerous jobs such as construction. While the regulations do vary by state, FLSA nationally sets 14 as the minimum age for employment and 18 hours as a weekly maximum for students. But, during the summer, a minor can work up to 40 hours weekly.
What Are the Best Summer Jobs for Teens?
The answer to this question depends a lot on your specific teen and your overall goals, but the good news is that there are endless possibilities for work. Summer jobs teach teens valuable life skills such as customer service, serving their community, leadership, and even filling out online applications (a growing skill in today’s technological world). Many community organizations offer jobs that are not only good for your teen’s professional development but will give them something fun to do.
Youth jobs can not only lead to career pathways down the road, but they can also help kids discover their passions. An outdoorsy teen might love a job like being a camp counselor in one of our many national parks, whereas an animal lover might enjoy starting a dog-walking business.
For more details and ideas, look below at our favorite part-time summer jobs for teens! While there are endless options for summer employment, we’ve broken them down into two major categories: contract jobs, where you would generally work for an employer and go to an office or workplace consistently, and freelance work, where you set the pace for your employment.
Contract Summer Jobs for Teens
The scope, duration, and pay of these types of jobs can vary a lot, but in all of these cases, your teen will be working for a larger business or organization. In many cases, these jobs could also turn into year-round part-time after-school jobs.
Food Service Worker
Being a waiter offers kids the opportunity to learn valuable life skills such as being meticulous, coordinated, and organized. Tips at a restaurant make or break the job, though, as tipped servers make less than minimum wage. While the tips usually make up for the lower wage, be sure to talk with other employees before committing to a specific restaurant. So if you’re interested in the food service industry but want a more predictable paycheck, working at a fast-food restaurant or coffee shop might be a better option.
If your teen enjoys talking with people or managing inventory, there are several wonderful opportunities in retail service. There are endless options for this type of work, from working a cash register to bagging groceries to assisting customers in a clothing boutique. Many stores also offer employee discounts, which can definitely come in handy when it’s time for back-to-school shopping.
Golf Caddy or Golf Cart Attendant
Does your teen enjoy golf? If yes, they might consider being a golf caddy or golf cart attendant. Even if they don’t know how to play but want to learn, working at a golf course presents a great opportunity to learn. It’s also a fantastic way to work on interpersonal skills and work with a wide range of people who come to the course.
If your child has academic or government interests, an internship provides an excellent opportunity for professional development. About 60% of internships are paid, and they are a fantastic way to introduce your teen to new career opportunities, ranging from conducting research to working in medicine to learning about democracy. For example, if your kid has blossoming financial skills, ask about internship opportunities at your local bank or a favorite nonprofit.
Working as a lifeguard at a community pool or beach might be ideal summer employment if your child is at least 15 years of age and possesses strong swimming skills. In addition to being able to spend hot summer days at the pool, lifeguards also get to work on their physical strength and endurance. While nearly all states require a lifeguard certification, the specific requirements vary by state. Make sure you look into those before summer.
If your teens are looking for fun and rewarding jobs, they might love working as camp counselors. Whether they’re helping coach young athletes at a sports camp or helping kids roast marshmallows around a campfire, teen counselors might even have more fun than the campers.
Freelance Summer Jobs for Teens
The summer hours provide several opportunities for budding entrepreneurs who might be interested in more flexible work arrangements. Here are some fantastic freelance summer jobs for teens.
Does your kid love dogs and fresh air? If yes, then starting a dog walking business might be very rewarding for them. After all, dogs are people’s best friends. Dog walking provides your teen ample opportunity to manage their own schedule, interact with neighbors, and take care of animals.
If you’re building a business from scratch, you might need to brush up on your communication skills by going door to door or your design skills by creating your own business cards and flyers.
While your teen is going door to door asking about dog walking, suggest they also offer their services as a pet, plant, or house sitter. Many people go on vacation in the summertime and are looking for someone to keep an eye on their house and water their plants. Working as a house sitter could also be a great option for teens who might not love working with animals.
Another one of the most classic summer jobs for teens, landscaping has been a youth occupation for generations. Landscaping encompasses everything from pulling up weeds to mowing grass. Like being a lifeguard, you also get physical activity for no extra charge! Your kids can either apply for a job with a professional landscaping company or create an entrepreneurial opportunity by asking family friends if they need help planting or weeding and creating advertising posters. If your teen ends up going the freelance route, make sure they have the right equipment and transportation to get the job done.
Does your teen enjoy spending time with kids and have a nurturing soul? If so, babysitting will be one of the most fun and rewarding jobs your kid can get. The hourly pay can be good, and you can get paid to take the kids to the pool, do arts and crafts, and head outside to the park. One drawback could be the inconsistent hours, which could cut into your teen’s evenings and weekends. If you ask enough friends and neighbors and promote your services, you might be able to find consistent daytime babysitting work for one or two families throughout the summer.
Starting a freelance business might be perfect for your child if your kid has a marketable or artistic skill such as graphic designing, photography, woodworking, clothing design, or writing. They can start their freelance business through family and friends or sign up for a money-making app like Fiverr.
Freelancing can produce one of the highest financial yields, but it is one of the more intensive jobs on the list. Even if you don’t use an app like Fiverr, which charges a 20% commission, you still have to develop an online presence on other social channels. You also need to set prices and a specific scope of work so clients know what you’re offering.
Get to Work!
Which summer jobs for teens do you prefer? What summer jobs have you or your kids done before with success? Let us know on social using #getfamilyapp