Life at 15 years old is a period of constant change, and not least of those changes is the possibility of employment. Jobs for 15-year-olds are abundant if you know where to look, and there are roles for practically any schedule, skill level, and set of interests.
Following the path into adulthood can be daunting, confusing, and frustrating, but your job search shouldn’t have to be. For most, the middle teen years introduce new degrees of independence and, with them, expenses. Here are some of the best places to look for job opportunities that will give you a steady income that fits right into a busy high school lifestyle.
15 Excellent Starter Jobs for 15-Year-Olds
1. Grocery Store Employee
If you’re thinking of jobs that work well for high school students, your local grocery store was probably one of the first ideas that came to mind. Supermarkets remain one of the most popular options for a first job for several reasons:
- You most likely have one within a few minutes of your home.
- Grocery stores retain a large staff year-round, so there are almost always job openings.
- Anyone of legal working age is usually eligible for a position.
- There are many opportunities to learn more specialized jobs within a store for higher pay.
- Shifts in a grocery store are usually flexible and amenable to a teenager’s schedule as long as you communicate your availability in advance.
Working as a bagger or stocker at your local store may not seem like the flashiest opportunity. However, it is stable, accessible work with a surprising amount of upward mobility, making it a great place to start your working life.
2. Retail Associate
Similarly to grocery stores, other retail businesses can offer teenagers great jobs. Consider searching a local mall or shopping center to see who might be hiring and what they offer.
Retail jobs are an opportunity to find employment that is slightly more in line with your interests, such as a hobby you’re passionate about or a clothing brand you love.
One bonus of landing a job at a store you’d normally shop at is they tend to offer employee discounts. So you can buy the things you want cheaper and on your way home from work!
There is one caveat to pursuing a retail job as a 15-year-old. While you may be legally eligible to work as a cashier or store associate, many stores will have their own age restrictions for employment. Large chains, in particular, may limit certain positions to those older than 16 or 18.
3. Food Service
There are many ways to start a job in food service as a high school student. For example, you could work on the retail side as a cashier, cleaner, or drive-through employee in fast food locations.
There are also many available restaurant positions for teens. Bussing tables, washing dishes, and even hosting and seating guests are some of the most common ways to start at a restaurant.
Some roles, such as preparing and serving food, will likely be unavailable to applicants under 16. A mixture of legal requirements and company policies makes this an unlikely place to start at 15. However, working in one of the entry-level roles for a year or two is one of the best ways to get into one of those higher-paying jobs when you are old enough to be eligible.
4. Camp Counselor
Working as a camp counselor can be a super-fun job. Many former counselors carry fond memories of their job, almost akin to the kids attending the camp.
Summer camps are a place for fun, friendship, and learning. Many kids who attend camp make lifelong memories, and being one of the people to bring them that experience is a highly contagious form of fun. It is also a rare job in which most of your coworkers will likely be high school and college students, making plenty of room for camaraderie and new friends.
If you attended a camp when you were younger, this would be a great place to start. Summer camps love to convert yesterday’s campers into today’s counselors.
Some jobs may require you to be at least 16 years old to be a counselor. If this is the case, consider joining a counselor-in-training (CIT) program. CITs typically receive low or no pay but are first in line for counselor jobs when they become eligible.
Lifeguarding is an excellent opportunity for teens. It is always in demand and usually pays better than most entry-level teen jobs.
To become a lifeguard, you will need lifeguarding, first aid, and CPR certifications at the minimum, with some jobs requiring additional training or certifications. According to the American Red Cross, you are eligible to become a certified lifeguard if you are at least 15 years old by the last day of your training.
Lifeguarding comes with high responsibility, but not necessarily the most demanding work. Of course, in this role, you will be responsible for the safety of others, but most of the time, that means sitting still and keeping an eye on things.
Some lifeguarding roles involve additional responsibilities such as pool cleaning and maintenance or supervising swim lessons. Like many jobs on this list, this extra work can be a gateway to higher-paying, more specialized jobs later, such as teaching private swim lessons.
6. Youth Sports Referee or Umpire
If you played a youth sport in your area or have a passion for one or more sports, working as an umpire or referee could be an option.
In most local youth sports, being of legal working age is the only hard requirement for eligibility. Beyond that, all you need is a strong knowledge of the rules of the game you will supervise. Refereeing can pay relatively well, does not demand many hours, and will almost always be outside of regular school hours by design.
One important thing to note is that a referee or umpire needs to have a cool head and a thick skin.
This job requires making decisive calls quickly and managing people who disagree with those calls. Unfortunately, even in youth sports, many people have strong emotions tied up in the outcome, and referees should expect to occasionally (if not routinely) handle aggressive coaches, kids, and parents calmly.
7. Golf Caddy
Another fantastic way to turn your favorite sport into your first job is as a golf caddy. Working as a caddy is highly accessible to teens. It also follows a relatively leisurely pace and lets you spend most of your day outside among beautiful landscaping.
Caddies often make low base pay but a considerable surplus in tips. So if you have a passion for golf or connections to a local course, this could be a terrific place to start your job search!
One of the first employment opportunities many teens find is babysitting. Most have family, friends of the family, or neighbors with young kids. These parents need someone they trust to keep their little ones safe, and stepping into that role is an excellent part-time job.
Babysitters can discuss payment with the parents hiring them and usually earn a much higher rate than minimum wage. The children you babysit will often be kids you already know, and hanging out with them some evenings could even be a lot of fun!
Often, babysitting involves putting kids to bed and watching over the house for a few hours until the parents return. Times like these offer an opportunity to work on homework, keep in touch with friends, pursue a side hustle, or relax and watch a movie.
9. Dog Walker or Pet Sitter
Babies aren’t the only ones with busy parents who want to ensure they’re safe. Many adults are out of the house for long hours daily or travel without their pets. Folks in these situations need someone to take care of their pets while they’re away.
For a teenage job-seeker, pet care is an effective way to start earning an income without too much commitment.
Dog walkers stop by clients’ homes before, during, or after the workday to bring their pets out for exercise and a bathroom break. For extended travel, pet sitters may need to visit the home for long periods or even stay there to keep dogs company.
Pet sitting is another option for a job with high responsibility but without long hours of hard work. For students, it can nestle alongside the rest of their personal and school life quite nicely.
10. Movie Theater Employee
Working in a movie theater can be one of the more fun first-time job opportunities. It is similar to other retail and fast food job postings in that it blends cleaning, serving food, and working as a cashier.
The atmosphere makes a movie theater a fun setting for a job. You can immerse yourself in the latest blockbusters and movie magic if you love movies. Multiplexes might not be the cultural epicenters they once were, but a typical weekend night will still find many theaters full of excited moviegoers racing to find the best seat.
Depending on the theater, a job posting may include extra perks like free movie tickets and popcorn at the end of the night.
Most teenagers probably aren’t ready to launch a full-fledged landscaping business, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t avenues to make an income in yard work.
Mowing lawns is like babysitting; many people make money doing it for friends and family from a very young age. However, ambitious teens can expand this chore into a lucrative local service by seeking out additional neighbors willing to pay for basic lawn and yard care.
In addition to lawns, you may be able to make an income taking care of people’s planting, weeding, and leaf disposal, among others.
A local coffee shop is one place where a 15-year-old can find a job that teaches a valuable skillset that they’ll be able to use later in life. While almost anyone can make a pot of ordinary drip coffee, baristas learn how to make many specialized caffeinated and non-caffeinated beverages, often with an artistic twist.
Baristas generally make a modest wage plus tips. Coffee shops can also be a fun working environment, typically with a young workforce and a host of regular daily customers.
If you commit 40+ hours a week studying in school, why not spend a few extra hours monetizing all that effort?
Students make ideal tutors, as their proximity to learning the material themselves often lends a strong understanding and an empathetic attitude.
Tutors may help peers or younger students in a variety of individual subjects, general homework and study strategies, or standardized test prep, among other avenues.
If you consider yourself a reasonably good student or have aspirations of a career in education, tutoring can be an excellent experience and a high-paying job.
14. Car Washer or Attendant
Most people like having clean cars much more than they like cleaning cars. But, to industrious teens, that spells potential.
A local car wash could be a good start for a reasonably low-stress and straightforward attendant job. These jobs may involve working as a cashier, a hands-on role in the cleaning or drying process, or various other retail-esque positions.
Alternatively, finding a way to wash cars yourself can be steady paying work. Like pet-sitting or landscaping, you can start by offering your services to friends, family, and neighbors, then branch out from there. A fledgling car washing service could also be an opportunity to pool together with friends to expand your reach and improve your work efficiency.
15. Seasonal Employee
Many jobs are only available during certain events or times of the year. This inconsistency can make the positions less appealing to older adults searching for a stable career. However, seasonal jobs can be a perfect fit for teenagers whose lives and schedules are constantly shifting.
Over summer break, consider looking into jobs at amusement parks, fairs, beachside businesses, and camps. During the winter holidays, many retail companies bring in a large temporary staff to meet customer demand. Outside of the holidays, the winter itself also brings job opportunities, such as shoveling and snow care.
Seasonal jobs are generally highly local. Your area’s climate, culture, and events will have the largest influence over what seasonal opportunities you may find. So make sure to pay attention to local trends and events if a temporary, seasonal role would be a good fit for you.
Stepping Into the Workforce at 15
When you’re 15 years old, not every type of job will be available to you yet, but many good ones are. For steady jobs with regular schedules and paychecks, there are numerous ways to start an entry-level job with higher-paying possibilities as you approach your late teen years. Alternatively, there are several ways to bootstrap a small local business to make reliable cash in a format that fits alongside your school and social life.
The teenage years are full of exciting milestones in the transition to adulthood, and getting a job is one of the biggest. For the first time, you’ll be able to cover some of your own expenses, have a bit of spending money, and hopefully even start saving for your future!
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