If you have a teen looking for a job, you know how exciting it is to earn that first paycheck. It represents freedom to many and provides opportunities for saving for college and other rites of passage.
In most instances, employees must be at least 16 years old to work for various retailers. However, there are many jobs hire at 15. You may also find some companies that hire as young as 14.
If you have a teen looking to make extra money, it’s possible with a little effort.
Places That Hire 14 and 15-Year-Olds
Do you remember your first job? It likely wasn’t glamorous, but it put spending money in your pocket. That’s an excellent feeling for a teenager.
Here are 15 real jobs for kids under 16.
If you have a Chick-fil-A in your town, you know how popular it is. To work for Chick-fil-A, your child must be at least 14 years old.
They can’t be a delivery driver, but they can work as a dishwasher or kitchen staff personnel.
To apply to work at Chick-Fil-A, go to their careers page and find a restaurant near you.
Publix is a growing grocery store chain in the Southwest. The chain hires children as young as 14 years old to work in their stores.
Publix offers up to 23 hours of work for teenagers under 18. Even as a teen employee, they can qualify for promotions, discounts, and more.
It’s easy to apply to work with Publix online.
Ah, working at Mickey D’s is a rite of passage for so many teens. To work for McDonald’s, your child must be at least 14 years old.
They will likely be maintenance or counter crew, as most McDonald’s set a minimum of 16 years old to be kitchen crew.
The company frequently holds “walk-in” hiring days (check for the signs at your local restaurant). Or, your teenager can apply online.
4. Baskin Robbins
Who doesn’t like working with ice cream? If you’re looking for “jobs for teens near me,” then Baskin Robbins is a terrific option. The ice cream shop hires teenagers as young as 14.
They can apply for customer service, ice cream scooper, and even cake decorator. You can grab them an application at your local Baskin Robbins.
Want to work for Kroger? Your teenager needs to be at least 14, or 16 to work behind counters (like cheese, meats, etc.).
The grocer does also require a drug test before employment. Teens can apply online easily, but a parent or guardian may also need to consent to the drug test, depending on where you live.
Hy-Vee is a popular grocery store chain in the Midwest. Teenagers can apply to work at Hy-Vee as long as they are 14 years old or older.
Like Kroger, there may be some positions your child can’t do until they’re at least 16. They can apply for a position near you through Kroger’s online career portal.
Another grocery store chain. Your teenager must be at least 14 years old to work at Safeway.
At 14, they’ll qualify for the courtesy clerk position, which means they greet customers, bag groceries, perform price checks, stock, and clean.
You can find out if your local retail store is hiring on the Safeway careers page.
8. Dairy Queen
You likely live near a Dairy Queen as the fast-food restaurant has over 4,000 locations in the U.S. To work for Dairy Queen, your child usually must be at least 16.
However, a few franchises start at 15, so it’s worth it to check your local store. You (or your teenager) can do this by calling your local Dairy Queen for more information before they apply online.
9. Taco Bell
Taco Bell also requires employees to be at least 16. However, based on your state’s minimum age laws, and the specific franchise, your child may be able to start as early as 14.
You can call your local Taco Bell to ask about their minimum age before applying.
Another fast-food restaurant, but one that is in many cities across the country. KFC requires workers to be at least 16.
However, they keep applications on file for one year, so when your teenager gets close to 16, they can go ahead and apply online.
You can also talk to your local restaurant’s hiring manager to see if they’d make an exception.
Winn-Dixie is a popular grocery store chain located mostly in the deep South. While most Winn-Dixies require employees to be at least 16 to work, some stores will hire at 14.
You’ll need to contact your local Winn-Dixie(s) to see if they hire 14 or 15-year-olds.
12. Boston Market
Boston Market is a growing restaurant chain that serves rotisserie chicken with locations in nearly 30 States. To work for Boston Market, employees must be at least 15 years old.
The fast-food restaurant likes to promote within the company, so promotions and raises can happen as they get older.
Your child can apply online for any available positions near you.
13. Little Caesars
While they won’t deliver pizza with Little Caesars, the restaurant chain is a terrific first job for teens. For most Little Caesars, employees need to be at least 16. However, some Little Caesars start at 15, so be sure to check.
Your child can apply online after you’ve confirmed with your local store.
14. Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle is a grocery store chain in the Northeast, with nearly 500 locations. Most job positions with Giant Eagle have a minimum age of 16.
But depending on your state, your teenager could start as early as 15. It’s easy to apply online and see what is available in your area.
15. AMC Theaters
Many movie theaters remain closed due to COVID-19 (depending on where you live). However, working in a theater is a suitable first job for many teens.
They can apply to work at AMC Theaters as soon as they turn 14. However, some states limit the times and hours that teenagers can work.
To apply, they can visit AMC’s careers page online.
Businesses You Can Start as a Teenager
While many places hire at 14 or 15, your child may not want to work at a grocery store or flip burgers. Don’t fret; there are still ways to make money as a kid.
If your child is a budding entrepreneur, here are some businesses they can start as a teenager.
Babysitting is one of the easiest ways to start earning money as a teen. All your teenager needs to do is volunteer to babysit for local neighbors or friends and family.
CPR and First Aid training are not mandatory, but it’s strongly recommended to set yourself apart. Doing so will give you, your teen, and their potential customers valuable peace of mind.
These certifications are typically free through your local school district or county.
Nextdoor is a free-to-use app that lets you post that your teen is looking for babysitting work. The platform’s minimum age is only 13, so your child can also have their own account.
If your teen loves working outside, they can always do outside work to earn cash. They could mow and garden in the spring and summer, and shovel snow or salt driveways in the winter. The opportunities are endless.
The only equipment necessary is a lawn mower and gardening supplies. Or, if they charge a little less, they could use their customers’ equipment.
Dog Walking/Animal Sitting
Does your child love animals? They can charge to dog walk, pet sit, or home sit while pets are inside the home. Rover.com is an excellent website for resources, but your teen doesn’t have to use them to book clients.
Instead, they can advertise their own business in your neighborhood or on social media.
If your teenager is proficient in a particular subject in school or an instrument, they can earn money by tutoring. They could earn as much as $20 an hour, depending on their skillset and what they’re teaching.
For example, I know a teenager who charges $25 an hour to teach the harp, which she’s been doing since age five.
Again, Nextdoor is an excellent resource to market their business.
Start A Product Business
Is your teen artistic, or do they enjoy making things? They could start a product-based business. They can make products like lip gloss, art, magazines, and more.
The opportunities are endless. Keep in mind that, as the parent, you may need to sign up for a business name, taxes, and more if you go this route.
The above opportunities barely scratch the surface. With a little creativity, you can find numerous jobs for teens that let them earn good money.
Labor Laws for Teen Workers
It’s exciting to get a job as a teenager. However, there are several things you need to know before looking for jobs for 14 or 15-year-olds.
The federal government has some laws to protect children, but your state may have additional requirements.
You can consult the Department of Labor in your State, or this site to learn about the laws where you live.
Follow the Laws
Many jobs require background checks and drug tests from their employees and potential employees. Even as a minor, your teenager may have to follow these requirements.
In some states, the parent or guardian has to sign off on this or be present when the testing occurs.
You also have to make sure that you follow your local city laws. For example, if your child is 14, they most likely aren’t able to drive themselves. So be sure to follow the law and provide proper transportation to and from work.
Make Sure the Employer Follows the Laws
There are many laws, both federal and state, that prevent employers from taking advantage of minors. These federal laws include the following for 14 and 15-year-olds:
- Can only work up to three hours each school day
- They can only work 18 hours per school weeks
- They can work up to eight hours on non-school days
- No more than 40 hours on non-school weeks
Once your child turns 16, many of these restrictions no longer apply.
The Department of Labor also restricts the types of work you can perform for an employer. Those include:
- Bagging and carrying out groceries
- Basic cleaning work like mopping, floor waxing, and vacuuming
- Shelf stocking
- Cooking, but only with grills that do not have an open flame
Again, many of these restrictions lift once your minor turns 16.
Your state laws will vary as well, which will include how late your teenager can work, and if they’re allowed to serve certain products or drive a delivery vehicle.
Lastly, the employer must pay your minor the federal minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
Your state likely pays more than the federal amount, which benefits those looking for first jobs for teens.
Benefits to Your Child Working
It may be a scary thought for your teenager to get their first job.
However, there are numerous benefits for teens to start working. Here are a few of the top benefits:
- Learning the value of hard work
- Learning the value of managing money
- Opening a bank account if they don’t already have one
If you think about it, this is their first opportunity to build a foundation that will help them grow into where they want to be in life. You can even open a teen checking account to help your child learn more about financial responsibility.
There are plenty of jobs for teens available. Even if your child is 14 or 15 years old, there are opportunities to make money.
It may seem that a young teenager should not work. However, there are countless benefits from developing a strong work ethic and learning the value of earning an income.
With a little balance, they can have fun with their friends and earn good money too.
What are some other places that hire at 14 or 15? When did you get your first job? How are you helping your child manage their income?