Jobs for 14 and 15 Year Olds

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

At age 14, you can work 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 per week, you are permitted to work. Still, you can find available job in places such as restaurants, retail 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.

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 (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 3 hours each school day (18 hours total per school week) or 8 hours each nonschool day (40 hours per nonschool 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 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 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 time and days worked. Check out the FLSA for more details.

Where You Can—and Cannot—Work

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

List of Job Ideas for 14- and 15-Year-Olds

Here is a 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 hire high school students as well. If you don’t want to work during the school year, a summer job might be a great option. Here is a list of summer job options for teenagers.

Job Search Advice for Teens

Find the top sites for teen job seekers, 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. Also review advice on how to get your first job, if you're starting a job search for the first time.