Companies That Hire High School Students

young sales assistnat smiling to customer
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Getty Images / sturti

Finding a job when you are young can be a bit of a challenge, as not all companies hire high school students. You are ready, willing, and able to work. But where do you look for a job? If you’re an ambitious teenager, you may have already logged lots of hours babysitting, mowing lawns, pet sitting, and doing general casual work around your neighborhood. The minimum hiring age for most "real" jobs is set at 16 years old, but some employers will hire younger students. At other positions, there is a minimum age requirement of 18.

What's the best way to find a company who will hire someone your age? There are a few things you should know to help your job search go as smoothly as possible. A good place to start is by looking into companies that hire high school students as a matter of policy. There are a lot of familiar establishments that you see in malls and shopping centers around the country, and getting a job at one of these companies can give you experience, as well as a job you may be able to keep for a few years while you navigate through college, vacations, and even different locations.

Many employers have an age requirement of 16, but there are a few companies that hire younger workers. Check with your local store before you apply to find out whether they will accept an application from someone your age.

Companies That Hire Teenage Workers

To find job listings from these employers, search Google for the company name, then visit the Careers/Jobs section of the website to apply. You will be able to find even more job listings by searching Google using your age and jobs as search terms.

You can also search Indeed.com using the company name and your location to generate a list of open positions. Many companies list, right in the job posting, the minimum age job applicants must be. You will be able to apply directly online to companies with open positions.

A quick way to navigate Indeed for available positions is to search for the terms "16-year-old" or "16 years old" and your location, for example. When you specify an age, it will generate a list of jobs with the age requirement listed in the job position.

Applying in-person is another option. Many of these employers accept walk-in applications, and you may even see a "We're Hiring" sign on the door showing that there are jobs available.

When you apply, be prepared for an on-the-spot interview, and have all your contact information and work experience, if any, ready for the employer.

Here’s a list of some of the top U.S. companies that hire youth workers along with the age requirements for being hired. Many other local and smaller companies may also hire students under 18. Check the website, call, or stop in to inquire about minimum age requirements.

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Companies That Hire High School Students

  • Adidas (16)
  • Aeropostale (16)
  • American Eagle (16)
  • Applebee's (16)
  • Auntie Anne's Pretzels (16)
  • Banana Republic (16)
  • Barnes & Noble (16)
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond (16)
  • Best Buy (16, 18 for some positions)
  • BJ's Wholesale Club (16)
  • Boston Market (16)
  • Burger King (15, 16 for some positions)
  • Carl’s Jr. (16)
  • Chicago Beef Guy (16)
  • Chick-fil-A (16)
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (16)
  • Cinemark (16)
  • Chuck E. Cheese (16)
  • Cinnabon (16)
  • Claire’s / ICING (16)
  • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (16)
  • CVS (16)
  • Dairy Queen (16)
  • Dan's Foods (16, 18 for some positions)
  • Domino’s Pizza (16, 18 for some positions)
  • Dunkin Donuts (16, 18 for some positions)
  • Fazoli's (16)
  • Freddy's (16)
  • Fresh Market (16)
  • Gap (16)
  • Gap Outlet (16)
  • Giant Eagle (16)
  • Hannaford (16)
  • Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company (16)
  • Jack in the Box (16)
  • Jamba Juice (16)
  • Jersey Mike's Subs (16)
  • Justice (16)
  • KFC (16, 18 for some positions)
  • Kmart (16)
  • Legal Seafood (16)
  • Marshalls (16)
  • Maurices (16)
  • McDonald’s (16)
  • Old Navy (16)
  • Panera Bread (16)
  • Papa Ginos (16)
  • Papa Johns (16)
  • Petco (16)
  • PetSmart (16)
  • Piggly Wiggly (16)
  • Pipeline Grill (16)
  • Pizza Hut (16, 18 for some positions)
  • Pot Belly Sandwich Shop (16)
  • Publix (14, 16 for some positions)
  • ·Reebok (16)
  • Red Robin (16)
  • Six Flags (16)
  • Skyport Hospitality (16)
  • Staples (16, 18 for some positions)
  • Starbucks (16, most locations)
  • Subway (16)
  • Taco Bell (16)
  • Target (16, 18 for Distribution Centers)
  • The Fresh Market (16)
  • TJ Maxx (16)
  • Walmart (16, 18 for some positions)
  • Wawa (16)
  • Wendy's (16)
  • YMCA (15 - 16, 18 for some positions, check with your local Y)

Tips for Landing a Job

Once you have found a job you want to apply for, be sure to read the job posting carefully, and make sure you follow the directions exactly. Fill out the application completely, and attach any additional documentation they require, such as a resume and/or cover letter, and possibly proof of eligibility for employment, like a copy of your working papers or driver’s license.

When you get called for an interview, make sure you are prepared, and present yourself as a responsible, mature, and capable candidate. What you wear matters, as well as how you answer the interview questions.

Getting Working Papers

If you are under 18 years old, you will probably need to obtain working papers (officially called Employment / Age Certificates) in order to legally be able to work. Requirements vary by state.

The best place to find out if you need working papers is your school guidance office.

Get your certificate prior to starting your job search. It will make the process easier if you’re ready to get hired.

Restrictions for Youth Employees

There are restrictions on the hours teenage employees can work. Limits include the number of hours per day, the times during the day when students can work, and the number of hours that can be worked each week when school is in session, and during the summer. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and state law determine the specifications on work for teenagers (14, 15, 16, and 17 years old) under the Child Labor Law and youth employment statutes.

There are no hourly restrictions for ages 18 and older, although businesses that serve or sell alcohol and cigarettes may have different age requirements.

Exceptions to Minimum Age Requirements

Keep in mind that age limitations may vary based on state and local laws, and on the job for which you are applying, so check the requirements before you apply.