For teens 13 and older, getting a job can mean some extra spending money and a first taste of grown-up responsibility. Teen jobs can also help kids get involved in the community, gain experience for college courses, and simply have a good time learning with coworkers and customers. No matter what the reason, there are lots of great jobs for teens 13 and up.
Babysitters ensure the safety and well-being of young children while the children's parents are away. Duties may include some of the following:
- Changing diapers
- Feeding meals
- Supervising play
- Bathing kids
- Helping with homework
- Putting children to bed
The best way to get experience in baby-sitting is being around babies and kids. If you have younger siblings, then you already have this experience. If you're the youngest in the family or an only child, you can gain experience by spending time with family members and neighbors. You can also volunteer to help at a group activity like an after-school tutoring program, a kids' day camp, or vacation Bible school at your church. Even if there are adults around, this will give you a good idea of what kids like to do, how they like older people to interact with them, and how they like to get into trouble.
Another great way to learn babysitting skills is through classes. The American Red Cross offers a Babysitter's Training Course, as do local community education groups.
The best way to find babysitting jobs is to let everyone know you're available. Most teens get started with family members and neighbors. Take advantage of your connections. For instance, your parents may be able to recommend you to their coworkers. You can also put up flyers advertising your services.
Try Dog Walking
Dog walkers do more than exercise canines. They also do some of the following:
- Manage several clients and a busy schedule
- Keep track of keys to clients' homes
- Pick up packages and mail for clients when they are away
- Feed and water dogs as needed
- Handle pooper-scooper duty
You should be comfortable with dogs and have the strength necessary to keep them in control. Let family members and neighbors know you're available for work. Ask if your local veterinarian will let you put up a flyer advertising your services.
Newspaper delivery has been a popular teen job for decades. These are a few of the main duties associated with this job:
- Pick up papers from the newspaper distribution center
- Carry a bag of papers on your bike or over your shoulder
- Go through your route, placing papers on clients' doorsteps
Contact your local newspaper to see if there are delivery openings. Don't forget to check with smaller community newspapers in addition to the major city paper. Some teens try out newspaper delivery by filling in for a friend when he or she is on vacation.
Perform Yard Work and Odd Jobs
If there's a dirty job around the house, there's someone willing to hire you to do it. Yard work and odd jobs may not be the most fun, but they're sure to bring in some extra spending money. These are a few of the typical duties:
- Mowing lawns
- Cleaning garages
- Trimming trees and hedges
- Watering flowers
- Washing windows
- Painting fences and trim
- Raking leaves
Like babysitting, finding odd jobs is a matter of putting the word out. Let family and neighbors know you're available. Likely clients include the elderly, the disabled, and working families who need some extra time. Otherwise, you just need a willingness to get your hands dirty and work hard. If you're interested in lawn care, consider whether you'll use the customer's equipment, or if you will be able to borrow the family weed whacker or hedge trimmer.
Be a Mother's Helper
Moms of infants often need a little help around the house. Even though you may be too young to watch the babies alone, there are lots of ways you can help out:
- Play with the baby while the mom gets things done
- Push the stroller on short walks
- Help tidy the house
- Do projects and play with older children while the mom works at home
Becoming a mother's helper can be a great way to get some future babysitting clients and build a relationship with the kids. To find jobs, talk to your parents' friends and women in your neighborhood. Visit local parks, and hand out your resume to parents there. Also post fliers at local businesses.
Become a Grocery Store Bagger
You've probably seen baggers at your local grocery store. Although 13-year-olds may have to wait a year or two to get this job, it's a great way for 14- and 15-year-olds to work their way up to better-paying cashier jobs later in high school and college. Duties include the following:
- Place groceries in bags
- Greet customers
- Help customers with carts
- Help customers load groceries
- Assist cashiers and other personnel
To find a job as a grocery bagger, look in the want ads of your local newspaper. Next time you're at the grocery store, take a few moments to chat with a manager about possible openings. Give the manager your resume, and tell him or her that you're eager to work.
Be a Busser
At busy restaurants, bussers help waitstaff keep the tables clear. Although you may need to be at least 14 to get this job, you can begin planning to be a busser the summer before. In addition to taking dirty dishes to the kitchen, a busser might perform the following duties:
- Refill water glasses for diners
- Help waitstaff carry extra plates and trays
- Get condiments or extra bread for diners
- Greet diners upon their arrival
If you know anyone in the food service industry, be sure to mention to them that you're interested in becoming a busser. Stop by your favorite local restaurants, and give managers your resume. Also remember to check the classified ads in your local newspaper.
Tips on Jobs for Teens 13 and Up
- Child labor laws generally prohibit 13-year-olds from working outside the home, unless they are employed in a business owned entirely by their parents or participating in agricultural work.
- While 14 and 15-year-olds are legally able to work for businesses, some won't hire them because of the tight restrictions on the hours they are allowed to work.
- Local laws may require you to get a work permit. Check with your school counselor's office for more information.
- Visit the U.S. Department of Labor for more information on laws related to jobs for teens.
- Since many jobs for teens 13 and up involve working in or at someone else's home, you should be cautious about working for strangers. Let your parents drive you to your first job and meet with the person first, or take similar safety precautions.
Find the Perfect Fit
With a little creative thinking and a few local connections, you should have no trouble finding jobs for teens 13 and up. Younger teens may be limited to home-based jobs, but 14- and 15-year-olds will enjoy more opportunities. You may even want to try a new job each summer to get a range of experience and find the perfect fit for you.