For teens 13 and older, a job means extra spending money and a first taste of grown-up responsibility. Teen jobs help kids get involved in the community, gain experience and have a good time learning with co-workers and customers. If you look hard enough, there are many jobs for younger teens.
Newspaper delivery has been a popular teen job for decades.
Depending on the volume of customers and size of your route, tasks include:
- Pick up papers from the newspaper distribution center
- Carry a bag of papers on your bike or over your shoulder
- Follow a preplanned route
- Place papers on clients' doorsteps
Contact your local newspaper to see if there are delivery openings. Check with smaller community newspapers and the major city paper. Try out newspaper delivery by filling in for a friend when she is on vacation.
Baby sitters ensure the safety and well-being of young children while the children's parents are away.
Job duties vary based on ages of children and parent requests. Expect to do some or all of these tasks:
- Change diapers
- Prepare and serve meals
- Supervise and engage in play
- Bathe kids
- Help with homework
- Put children to bed
The best way to get experience in baby-sitting is being around babies and kids. If you have younger siblings, you already have this experience. If you're the youngest in the family or an only child, gain experience by spending time with family members and neighbors. For more experience, volunteer at an after-school tutoring program, kids' day camp, or vacation Bible school. Even with adults around you'll get a good idea what kids like to do, how they interact with older people and how they to get into trouble.
Most teens get started watching the children of people they know. Take advantage of your connections. For instance, your parents may be able to recommend you to their co-workers. Market yourself by hanging flyers advertising your services. If you take a baby-sitting course through a local organization, they sometimes create a list of qualified sitters from these courses to share with their patrons. The American Red Cross offers a Baby sitter's Training Course as do local community education groups.
Try Dog Walking
Get paid to take one or more dogs for daily walks.
Dog walkers do more than exercise canines. In this position you:
- Manage several clients and a busy schedule
- Keep track of keys to clients' homes
- Feed and water dogs as needed
- Handle pooper-scooper duty
You should be comfortable with dogs and have the strength 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.
Perform Yard Work and Odd Jobs
If there's a dirty job around the house, there's someone willing to hire you for it. Yard work and odd jobs may not be the most fun, but they're sure to bring in some money.
Services to offer include:
- Mowing lawns
- Cleaning garages
- Trimming trees and hedges
- Watering flowers
- Washing windows
- Painting fences and trim
- Raking leaves
Like baby-sitting, finding odd jobs is a matter of putting the word out. Let family and neighbors know you're available. Likely clients include the elderly, people with limited mobility and working families who need 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 borrow the family weed whacker and 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.
Offer a variety of services like:
- 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 lead to future baby-sitting clients and builds an understanding of kids. To find jobs, talk to your parents' friends and women in your neighborhood. Visit local parks and to hand out flyers or post them 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.
As a bagger you'll:
- 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 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, begin planning to be a busser the summer before you're of age.
In addition to taking dirty dishes to the kitchen, a busser:
- Refills water glasses for diners
- Helps waitstaff carry extra plates and trays
- Gets condiments or extra bread for diners
- Greets diners upon their arrival
If you know anyone in the foodservice industry mention to them your interest in becoming a busser. Stop by your favorite local restaurants to give managers your resume. Jobs are often listed in the classified section of the local newspaper or online.
Work on the Farm
Even those not raised on a farm can work harvesting produce.
Thirteen-year-olds are allowed to work as a farmhand in most states provided they are limited to:
- Weeding gardens and fields by hand
- Picking fruits, vegetables and berries by hand
- Planting fruits and vegetables by hand
Head to the local farmers market and meet farmers in your area. If there is a local 4-H chapter, check with them to find information about local farms. You won't find many ads for farmhands online or in the newspaper, so networking is your best option in finding this type of work.
Offer Tech Help
Your generation is built on the use of technology in daily life. This wasn't the case for people your parent's and grandparent's ages. Use your ability to navigate cellphones and the internet to help older folks learn how to work them too. Offer help in homes for people you know well or at a place with public computers, like the library.
Services include how to:
- Set up and use email
- Set up and use social media accounts
- Transfer data from an old cellphone to a new one
- Upload pictures from a digital camera and create slideshows or use printing websites
- Create documents and flyers for personal use or in groups/clubs
Start by asking adults in your life like grandparents and neighbors if they need tech help. Share your new business with them and ask that they share it with others who would benefit. Check in with the Director of your local library, senior center, or assisted living facility to see if you're allowed to hang informational flyers near their public computers.
Be a Caddy
Some golf courses and clubs allow teens to work as caddies assisting amateur and hobby golfers.
The job entails carrying a golfers bag around the course along with:
- Cleaning golf balls
- Replacing divots
- Raking bunkers
- Holding flags
Experienced caddies have extensive knowledge of the game and help golfers decide which clubs to use.
Head down to the nearest golf course or country club and ask to speak with a manager. Before jumping into a specific job like this, brush up on some golf basics so you use the right lingo.
Craft From Home
Vendor fairs and websites like Etsy opened a whole new world of making a living through crafting. While teens can't usually open an online shop or sign contracts for vendor fairs, they can enlist an adult to supervise.
Make things people want like jewelry, T-shirts, or artwork using skills such as:
Visit local craft shows to see what homemade goods people in your area are already making. Think about any niche areas you see missing. Start by selling crafts to friends and family. If you are successful, they will share your crafts and help you find more customers.
Tips 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, be cautious about working for strangers. Let your parents drive you to your first job and meet the person first or take similar safety precautions.
Find the Perfect Fit
With a little creative thinking and a few local connections teens can find work. Look for opportunities in your community and try a new job each summer to get a range of experiences. Know your own skills and limitations then find the perfect fit for you.