What Jobs Are Options for 16 Year Olds?

Dominique W. Brooks
Jobs for Teenagers

Jobs for 16 year olds can be found at local businesses; however, many teens may opt for self-employment when they are ready to start earning money. Using a little creativity may lead to a more satisfying or lucrative employment opportunity because there are plenty of things you can do to earn spending money, save for college, or contribute to your family's expenses.

Job Ideas for 16 Year Olds

Traditional teen jobs are good choices for those teens who are ready to join the workforce. Some of the most popular positions are listed below.

Grocery Store Bagger/Cashier/Stocker

Many grocery stores have jobs for 16 year olds who are willing to bag groceries and provide customer service. This is a job worth considering if you like dealing with people. Some of these stores may also hire 16 year olds for cashier and stocker positions. You have to check with the specific company in which you are interested.

The grocery stores Publix and H-E-B offer positions to 16 year olds.

Retail Store Cashier

Some companies are willing to trust 16 year olds with cashier duties. These types of jobs can be found at department stores, large retailers such as Wal-Mart or at mall stores. You should be comfortable with basic math before applying for these jobs.

Macy's, Target, and JCPenney all can hire 16 year olds for cashier or stocker positions; this will depend on the specific store branch, state labor laws, and the level of maturity of the teenager.

Restaurant Cashier/Cook/Waiter

Many teens start their working years in restaurants, often at fast food establishments. At a restaurant such as McDonald's or Subway, you can work as a cashier or food preparer. At fancier restaurants, you may work as a bus person who cleans tables or as a dishwasher. Sometimes a 16 year old can become a waiter or waitress, but often you need to be a few years older to get these jobs.

Here are just a few of the restaurants hiring 16 year olds, depending on the specific location and state laws:

Small Business Worker

For those who want to know how businesses really work, consider helping a small business owner. The advantage of working at a small company is that you may have a greater variety of job duties and opportunities to learn while earning money. Earning the trust and respect of the owner can lead to more responsibilities and opportunities over time.

Search for local companies to find potential opportunities. Using word of mouth may also alert you to job opportunities in town.

Library Assistant

A library offers a great working environment for teens. It is clean, indoors and relatively low-stress. You won't have much social interaction, though sometimes patrons will ask you for assistance. If you enjoy books and are organized, this job is great if you can find one. Ask your neighborhood library for information on how to apply the next time you visit.

You can also check online for possible library jobs.

Food Delivery Person

If you live in a city that allows you to get your driver's license at age 16, you can apply for a food delivery job. This job would allow you to work in the evenings and during the weekends. You also should be able to get tips for your service.

Most national chains require that you are 18 before you can get a driving job. However, local eateries may allow 16 year olds to deliver. Visit some local restaurants to find out if they are hiring.

Data Entry Clerk

If you have basic computer skills and like working in an office, you can often find a part-time job as a data clerk. Many offices may be need clerks like banks, medical offices, accounting firms, or other small businesses.

Entrepreneurial Opportunities for 16 Year Olds

For each of these jobs, you need some visibility to get started. First, you should spread the word among your classmates, fellow church members, or neighbors. You may also be able to post an ad online or post flyers at the grocery store or church. To be safe, you should allow your parents to help you screen potential clients.

Lawn and Gardening Services

Many teens earn some summer spending money by mowing lawns and performing gardening tasks. If you can supply your own equipment you may be able to get more work. Try to line up clients before summer starts to have a head start on the competition.

Tutoring Services

If you are good student who enjoys helping people, you might be able to make some money as a tutor. The most common subjects teens need help with are math, science, English and foreign languages. Be sure to screen your clients - your parents may need to help you make sure that potential clients are who they say they are.

Dog Walker

If you like dogs, being a dog walker may be just the right job for you. Let people in your neighborhood know that you are seeking opportunities to earn extra money by providing this type of pet care. If you are reliable and trustworthy, you may be able to obtain some clients who will let your walk their dog daily and others who will turn to your services when they leave on vacation. If you do a good job, you will likely attract additional customers through referrals.

Car Washer

Washing cars is another traditional summer job for 16 year olds, although it can easily become an ongoing business venture for teens. Let everyone in your neighborhood know that you are willing and able to wash cars year round to earn some extra money.


Babysitting is one of the easier jobs for teenagers to obtain. All you need is a good reputation, reliability, availability, and possibly a parent who will verify your maturity. It can be a good way to make extra money while not being tied down to a weekly job schedule.

Music Teacher/Tutor

If you play an instrument, you may be able to offer lessons to both children and adults. Contact interested people through your school or church. Where you teach the lessons depends on what type of instrument you play; consider trying to set up a relationship with the school or church to use their facilities if you need a place to teach.

Personal Assistant

With the hectic pace of our lives, there are probably many people who would like to get some effective assistance. If you are responsible and enjoy running errands, doing housework, or other odd tasks, you might find work as a personal assistant. Place flyers on the wealthier parts of town or use word of mouth to get your name out there. Again, screen the family carefully before accepting the job.

Web or Graphic Designer

If you are already spending every free moment on your computer, why not turn your skills into money? Many companies and individuals have a need to create or enhance their websites. Start by creating your own website to advertise your skills. Then, whenever you come across a website that could use your services, make contact and sell yourself and your ideas.


If you have a way with words and are knowledgeable about a topic, you can make money blogging or writing. Consider joining a blogging network that will offer either a guaranteed per-post wage or a share of advertising revenue. Be sure to review the guidelines closely before you join a revenue sharing blog site, as some require contributors to be 18 years of age or older.

If you prefer to have more control and earn all the advertising revenue, then create your own blog on Blogger.com or WordPress.com and work for yourself. You can sign up for Adsense or promote products on your site. You may have to have your parent sign up for the advertising accounts because you are not yet 18.

Seasonal Jobs for 16 Year Olds

You may not want to work all year round; perhaps working during the summer or Christmas breaks could provide you with enough spending money. There are several potential seasonal positions that a 16 year old may be able to get.

Gift Wrapper

Wrapping Christmas gifts can be a good way to earn some extra money during winter vacation. Most of these jobs are at department stores or in mall kiosks. Start looking for opportunities early in the fall, as these seasonal jobs are often filled well in advance of the holiday season.

Amusement Park Worker

A fun summertime job could be working at an amusement park like Six Flags or SeaWorld. You can work at the ticket booth, at a concession stand, or even as an entertainer at the park.

Hotel Worker

There are several positions that hotels may hire a 16 year old for - especially during the busy season. In warm locations, the busy season may be summer but at ski resorts, this could be in winter. Bellboy or front desk worker are common positions that may be available in both areas. The hotel restaurant or gift shop may also have several positions open.

Many hotels say you have to be 18 years old but if you inquire with the manager, you may find out that there are indeed positions for which you qualify. Check with the hotel well before the busy season starts to get an application and gauge availability of positions.


Do you know how to swim and rescue others? You may be able to put this to use to get certified as a lifeguard during the summer. You will have to deal with rambunctious kids and be able to assert you authority to maintain control of the situation at the pool. This is usually a seasonal job; however, if you find a job at an indoor pool or in a temperate climate, the job may be year round.

Farm Work

When it is harvest time, many farms are looking for seasonal labor. Scores of midwest teens have spent their summers detassling corn, for example. If you live in an area with nearby agriculture, look for outfoor opportunities.

Snow Removal

You may be able to offer your services to neighbors in the winter to assist with snow removal directly. Or, contact local snow removal services to see if they are hiring; the advantage of working with a service is you don't have to market your services.

Get a Job!

There are some websites that focus on part-time and full-time jobs that teens may be interested in.

  • Snagajob.com has many retail and service jobs and you can search by zip code.
  • Teens4hire.org lists jobs only for 14-19 year olds.
  • Coolworks.com is not specifically for teens; however, it lists available jobs at amusement parks, national parks, and other seasonal jobs.

Most teen jobs are simply a way to earn money and gain work experience. You should still consider work that is suitable to your skills, personality type and future ambitions. Contact employers in your community to inquire about job openings if you are ready to start working, or do the legwork necessary to get your own small business venture going. After all, it's never too early to start preparing for the future.

What Jobs Are Options for 16 Year Olds?