School is coming to an end, so many kids are starting to look for summer jobs. Summer jobs are a great way for teens to make some money, learn life skills and gain experience. While countless places are hiring, there will be competition this year for summer jobs that are accessible to teens and that have a seasonal, flexible schedule. Summer jobs provide a perfect learning opportunity for teens to learn how to look for, apply and interview for jobs on their own. However, as parents, we need to sometimes guide our children toward appropriate summer jobs. Help your teen find the best summer job!
Legal Summer Jobs for Teens
Most states allow teenagers to work non agricultural jobs beginning at 14 or 15 years old. Some states, like Illinois, allow 12 year olds to work limited hours. Almost every state requires a work permit for those who have not graduated high school. Check with your local school website and search “work permit” to find out where you can get your child one.
What You Need Before Getting Hired
There are a few requirements to consider before your teen applies for summer jobs, including:
- Work permit
- Social security card
- Birth certificate or other ID
- A can-do attitude
- Interview clothes
Jobs Ideas for Teens
Agricultural jobs usually have no minimum age, but only those who love the outdoors and getting dirty should opt for these jobs. From sorting tree saplings to picking ginseng, small and large farms are always in need of help.
If your teen has farm animal experience, a great job is farm-sitting. Small farm owners wanting to take a vacation are often looking for someone with experience to come make sure their animals are fed and watered and that stalls are cleaned.
Babysitting has been a great way for older teens to make money for many years. Being prepared as a babysitter is key. The Red Cross offers great classes and babysitter courses to help your teen be prepared for their job and can even help save a life.
While babysitting is an option, for your teen’s safety it is important to research the family as much as they research your teen!
Be sure your teen has ideas for keeping the kids busy and not just plopped in front of the screen. They will get more referrals for date nights and more if they do a good job!
Summer camp assistant
While teens cannot be alone on a job site, they can often assist! If your teen has an interest in a sport, check local gyms and sports groups to see if they’re hiring teen assistants for summer camps. Yes, it may seem like glorified babysitting but it is an official job.
Since these are not year round positions, they expect that your teen will head back to school come fall, so no resignation needed if their school load is too much.
With many schools not having a full year in person, more families will seek tutors for their younger ones. Have your teens advertise on neighborhood apps that they will help with reading, spelling and math. Parents can set the homework and your teen can be there to supervise and read with the kids.
This is a great opportunity if your teen is considering becoming a teacher.
It is important to have set schedules. Choosing to use a local library as a meeting spot (assuming they’re open) makes it more professional and removes distractions of meeting at home.
Many fitness clubs, especially those with pools, have a peak attendance in the summer. They may need someone to work the snack counter, help in the day care or clean.
Ice Cream Shops
Summer specialty shops, like ice cream parlors, are more likely to hire teens for the summer only over a fast food restaurant or store. Since they prefer staff who doesn’t mind not having year round hours, these jobs are a good fit for teens looking for summer work.
Lifeguard Jobs at Pools and Lakes
Obviously, this position is for strong swimmers but becoming a Lifeguard is a rewarding job. The American Red Cross offers certification classes so you will not worry that your teen isn’t ready for such an important job. You need to be 15 to be certified.
Check with your local base MWR to see if they are hiring for the summer!
Athletes can make decent money reffing soccer games and baseball games. Many only require a brief training and an outfit. Many refereeing positions start as early as age 14. (I personally started refereeing in 6th grade at 11 years old for a local soccer association, but I believe most places now require you to be at least 13.) This job is not as frequent and is mostly on weekends, but pay is way above minimum wage.
There are risks sometimes with irate parents so consider your teen’s personality before steering them toward this job for teens.
Lawn Work and Odd Jobs for Teens
Many people want their weeds pulled or have their own lawn mower and don’t want to hire a large company to do the job. Even younger teens and teens can do this job. It isn’t “on the books” so self marketing and referrals are the way to pick up time doing lawn work for neighbors.
If your teen is interested in their own lawn business, there is an amazing non-profit organization called Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service that challenges kids ages 7-17 to cut 50 lawns FREE for the elderly, disabled, single parents, veterans, and anyone in need of help in their town.
If you child accepts this challenge, all they need to do is send a photo of themselves holding a sign saying “I accept the 50 Yard Challenge”, and in return, the organization will send them a white Raising Men/Women shirt along with shades & ear protection to get their work started. For every 10 lawns cut, they will receive a new color shirt.
Once your child reaches 50 lawns, the organization will come visit you, cut a few lawns alongside your child, and give them a different color Raising Men Lawn Care Service shirts. But the biggest part of it all is the organization will also give your child a brand new lawn mower, weed eater & blower! This is a perfect way to work toward a great small business (it also makes a great college entrance essay!)
Is your teen already working?
When it comes to jobs for teens, parents need to be aware of the options, pay rate and potential tax implications. Be aware that when your older teen starts applying for college, if they are working more than just a summer, there are chances the government may see that income as potential ways to pay for college as well. So just a friendly reminder that it is always smart to be sure they’re saving and not just spending!