Jobs for 14 and 15 Year Olds

Teen working in cafe

Are you a teen who's thinking about getting a job? When you start high school, you begin to have many expenses. Your social life becomes more important, and you likely want to stop relying on your parents for an allowance. You need a job. But what kinds of jobs can you get when you're 14 or 15 years old?

At age 14, you can work at a number of places. However, as a minor (someone under the age of 18), there are limitations to the kinds of jobs you can take. Being younger than 16 also limits how many hours per day and days per week you are permitted to work. Still, you can find jobs at places like restaurantsretail stores or other companies that hire teenagers.

Of course, you can do casual jobs, such as babysitting, pet sitting, mowing lawns, and helping with household chores, but if you are interested in finding a “real” job, read below for information on where you can work, limits on the hours you can take, companies that hire teens, and how to go about applying for a job.

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When You Can Work

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets requirements related to the employment of minors. According to the FLSA, 14 is the minimum age for work in the U.S. (at least in nonagricultural jobs).

While 14- and 15-year-olds can work, there are limits to the hours they can take. They cannot take shifts during school hours and are limited to a total of three hours each school day (18 hours total per school week) or eight hours each non-school day (40 hours per non-school week).

There are also limits to the times of day a 14- or 15-year-old can work. They can work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the school year (Labor Day through May 31) and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer (between June 1 and Labor Day).

When you reach 16 years old, many of these restrictions are removed. You can work as many hours as you would like during any week. The only remaining restriction is that you cannot work in a job considered hazardous by the FLSA.

Once you turn 18 (and are no longer a minor), there are no limits to how many hours you can work, what weeks you work or where you work.

Exceptions to Limits on Teen Work

There are some exceptions to these limits for working teens. For example, many states have tighter restrictions on the hours a minor can work on a farm. Minors employed by their parents, on the other hand, do not have as many restrictions on times and days worked. Check out the FLSA for more details.

Where You Can—and Cannot—Work

© The Balance, 2018 

14-and 15-year-olds can work in restaurants, stores and other nonmanufacturing, non-mining and nonhazardous jobs.

14-and 15-year-olds cannot work in jobs that the Labor Department considers hazardous. These include (but are not limited to) jobs in excavation, manufacturing explosives, mining, and positions that involve operating power-driven equipment.

Even when teens turn 16, they still cannot work in these hazardous jobs. They must wait until they are 18 to take jobs in these industries. As mentioned above, there are also exceptions to these rules, specifically regarding jobs related to agricultural work.

Documentation Required to Work

In some states, if you are under 18, you will need to obtain working papers to be able to legally take a job. Working papers are legal documents that certify that a minor can be employed. They are categorized into two types of certifications:

  • Employment Certification
  • Age Certification

The rules about who needs working papers vary from state to state. In some places, you will need working papers if you are under 16. In others, you will need them if you are under 18. There are some states where you won't need any papers at all to get hired. Here is information on where working papers are required and how to get them.

The best place to find out if you need working papers and what you will need to apply is your school guidance office or your state Department of Labor. Your school may even be able to help you get them.

Some Common Jobs for 14- and 15-year-olds

  • Amusement Ride Attendant
  • Animal Shelter Volunteer
  • Assistant to Freelance Writer, Designer or Programmer
  • Babysitter/Nanny
  • Baseball Umpire for Little League
  • Blogger
  • Busser
  • Camp Counselor in Training
  • Car Wash Attendant
  • Cashier
  • Childcare Center Volunteer
  • Concession Worker
  • Crop Picker
  • Dishwasher
  • Dog Walker
  • Driveway Sealer
  • eBay Seller (in conjunction with a parent or guardian)
  • Farm Laborer
  • Farm Stand Helper
  • Fast Food Counter Worker
  • Food Prep Worker
  • Food Server
  • Garden/Nursery Center Assistant
  • Greeter
  • Grocery Bagger
  • House Cleaner
  • Ice Cream Scooper
  • Independent Beverage Vendor at Outside Event Sites
  • Kennel Assistant
  • Lawnmower
  • Leaf Remover
  • Lifeguard
  • Marketing Intern
  • Movie Theater Employee
  • Music Teacher for Beginners
  • Nursing Home Volunteer
  • Office Assistant
  • Pet Sitter
  • Receptionist
  • Referee for Beginner Soccer, Basketball or Football
  • Resort Guest Services Assistant
  • Resort Housekeeping Staff
  • Restaurant Host/Hostess
  • Snow Remover
  • Stock Retail Clerk
  • Swim Instructor for Beginners
  • Tutor
  • Video Game Development/Testing Intern
  • YouTube Content Creator

More Job Ideas for 14- and 15-Year-Old Teens

Review this list of positions that make good first (or second) jobs because you don't need experience to get hired. Here is a list of companies that employ high school students, as well. If you don’t want to work during the school year, a summer job might be a great option.

Job Search Advice for Teens

You can find the top sites for teen job seekers here, plus information for teens about how to find a job, the best ways to apply, where to get working papers, where teens can work, what to wear to an interview, and how to obtain references. You can also review advice on how to get your first job, if you're starting a job search for the first time.

Getting a Start on Your Career

It is never too early to test out some work roles and work environments, and to start building your career profile.

If you have having difficulty finding a paid position, consider interning or volunteering. This can be for all of your hours or in addition to a paid job on the side. 

The best way for a young teen to find an internship is to through networking. Reach out to family, parents of friends, neighbors, church contacts, and local professionals in fields that interest you for advice and suggestions about opportunities. Even an informal internship, job shadow or volunteer experience can pave the way for future, more formal opportunities.

For example, if you are interested in medicine, you might volunteer at a local hospital, nursing home or doctor’s office. If you enjoy animals, you might volunteer at a local shelter, animal hospital or veterinary clinic. If you are interested in marketing, offer to help a contact with his or her advertising or promotional campaigns. If you are interested in politics, consider volunteering for a political campaign.