You want to earn some extra money. Maybe you want to help out your family or save for a big ticket item like a car. Afterall, you’ll soon be eligible for a drivers license. It’s great to have goals!
There are plenty of opportunities for you, no matter your motivation, but you also need to be aware that as a 14- or 15-year-old, there are child labor laws designed to protect you that may restrict how much and what hours you work.
Luckily, this blog will break it down. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- The amount of hours 14- and 15-year-olds are allowed to work
- The best types of jobs for teens
- What companies hire 14- and 15-year-olds
- Tips for getting your first job
How much are 14- and 15-year-olds allowed to work?
The Fair Labor Standards Act separates work into agricultural and nonagricultural and the rules differ between those two. This law defines how much 14- and 15-year-olds are allowed to work.
Here are the limitations on work for minors 14 and 15 years old:
- No manufacturing, mining or hazardous work
- No more than 3 hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, 8 hours on a non-school day, or 40 hours in a non-school week
- No working before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m., except in the summer (defined as June 1 through Labor Day) when your age group may work until 9 p.m.
- Students in a Work Experience and Career Exploration Program (WECEP) may work up to 23 hours in school weeks and 3 hours on school days (including during school hours)
- Students in a Work-Study Program work during school hours.
State regulations vary. For a complete list, go to the U.S. Department of Labor and choose your state.
What sort of work can 14- and 15-year-olds do?
If you have a theatrical side, you’re in luck! People of any age may perform in radio, TV, movie or theater. Depending on your view, this next bit may be good or bad: Your parents can have you work in their small business (as long as it does not fall into the above forbidden categories).
If you’re looking for work now, you’re also in luck! Many entry-level positions are going unfilled and employers are beginning to sweeten the pot to attract job seekers. That means you may have more options and better working conditions.
For even more ideas, check out our comprehensive blog on jobs for teens .
So is there really a job for 14-year-olds?
The very short answer is yes! We may be past the days when youths rode their bikes with a pile of newspapers to throw onto porches, but there are plenty of other opportunities out there. For one, teens your age may work in agriculture after school hours as long as the job is not dangerous. If you like the outdoors and don’t mind hard work, this may be for you. But many other environments are out there.
For some jobs, you won’t even have to leave your room! But, let’s start with those jobs you have to get to on-time and learn to function in a business environment.
In-person work for 14- and 15-year-olds
You probably know the classics:
You can do non-official work such as mowing lawns, shoveling snow, pet-sitting or dog walking, and babysitting, but this work is not regular, so if you want or need to earn a set amount, these may not be the best choices. On the other hand, these entrepreneurial jobs show off your can-do spirit and can lead to greater opportunities.
If you want to get experience working with a team or in a structured work environment, many people start their working careers in fast food or other service industries such as coffeehouses, movie theaters or supermarkets.
Remote work for 14- and 15-year-olds
If you’re an ace programmer, 3D modeler or have other complex computer skills, you’ll have no trouble finding work. Maybe you’re already selling your apps online or are mixing the audio for your friends’ band. These skills can earn you cash. Here’s a more complete list of computer-based jobs.
Our guide to the top 10 remote jobs will offer more ideas, although not all are teen-oriented.
Like to share your opinion? Did you know you can get paid to review songs online? Or fill out surveys (some sites have a minimum age above 15)? What about watching ads?
Blogging, vlogging and freelance writing are also open to teens, but be aware that these jobs require a lot of marketing plus a healthy helping of luck.
Do you have a professional phone voice? A few companies, including U-Haul, will hire 14-year-olds as customer service representatives. Detail-oriented? Data entry may be a great starting point for you.
Consider all your talents. Are you acing algebra? You can tutor other students. Do you handcraft gifts for friends and family? Etsy may be your ticket. Are you known for your pithy sayings or graphic design skills? Check out CafePress. Creativity will lead you to other jobs you can get as a 14-year-old that will take advantage of your hobbies and talents and may lead to career opportunities.
What companies hire 14- and 15-year-olds?
The top companies that hire 14- and 15-year-old are, not surprisingly, those that rely on unskilled labor and a short on-the-job training session. These employers understand that most likely you are not looking for a career, but simply an afterschool job. However, if you choose to stick with them through your high school career, many also offer opportunities for advancement.
If you want to get out of the house, plenty of large companies will give you a chance. Check your state’s regulations and the locations near you for more specific information. For example: In Montana, but only in Montana, Starbucks hires 14-year-olds.
Fast-food chains and restaurants
- Ben and Jerry’s
- Boston Market
- Burger King
- Dairy Queen
- Pizza Hut
- Rita’s Italian Ice
- Taco Bell
- Giant Eagle
- Giant Food
- King Soopers
- Stop & Shop
- Wegmans (minimum age 15)
- Winn Dixie
AMC Theatres hires teens under 16, but you may also want to check into the other entertainment options in your community. Here are some ideas:
- Bowling alleys
- Indoor skydiving
- Indoor water parks
- Laser tag
- Rock climbing
If you are unsure which job suits you the best, have a look at our Top 12 Career Aptitude Tests. .
Seasonal work for teens
If school is your priority, but you want to earn extra cash in the summer, amusement parks are a great option. Six Flags hires young teens. Your local YMCA or park district are other seasonal employers who rely on teens for a variety of jobs including landscaping, maintenance, reception, concession worker and, of course, camp counselor. Check out your local day camps as well.
You may become American Red Cross certified as a lifeguard if you are at least 15 by the end of your training session.
Not interested in working with young campers? What about these ideas:
- Caddying at a golf course
- Care for plants at a nursery
- Clean pools
- Work at the zoo
- Wash cars
How much do jobs for a 14- or 15-year-old pay?
Companies that hire teens are required to pay them the minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25, but many states and municipalities have a higher minimum wage. However, companies may pay as little as $4.25 for the first 90 calendar days that you are employed.
Exceptions exist for full-time students, student learners, apprentices, and workers with disabilities, so be sure to check with your locality.
How to get your first job as a 14- or 15-year-old
If you’re applying online, or even if you are walking into businesses cold and asking about work, you will need to describe your work experience and who you are. You will look a lot more impressive if you have a resume. But how do you do that when you have never had a job?
One final tip: First impressions matter so if you apply in-person make sure you dress appropriately and adopt a professional tone.
- Plenty of work exists for 14- and 15-year-olds, although their hours are limited by both federal and state laws.
- Certain companies are known for hiring young teens and are prepared to teach you on-the-job skills.
- Don’t forget to consider your own skills and interests – there’s a job for everyone!