The Monster List of Jobs for Teens (that aren’t fast food jobs)
I may earn some coinage for my piggy bank or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Please see my disclaimer for more information. Thanks for your support!
We all know teens can get a job at a fast food joint.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not for everyone. Personally, I never wanted to work in the food industry. (I was pretty shy and didn’t want to face potentially angry customers.)
Below I’ve compiled a list of jobs for teens to look into depending on their interests. Age requirements typically range from 16 and up. There are a few that younger teens may be able to do. Some may have a minimum age requirement of 18 depending on the company and the area of the country that you live in.
I have either seen listings for these types of jobs or did many of them myself as a teen.
Let’s start with the fun stuff, shall we?
- Amusement Facility – typically in large to smaller cities with smaller rides like bumper cars, laser tag and arcade facilities.
- Amusement Park – larger cities have medium to large sized amusement parks where teens can work as ride operators, game attendants and at concession stands.
- Fair – clean up crew, run a booth, ride operator
- Carnival – concessions, clean up crew, ride operator
- Mini-Golf Course – attendant, concessions stand
- Movie Theater – concessions, cashier, ticket taker. Some larger theaters also have in house food service.
- Assistant Coach – basketball, soccer, baseball, football, dance, gymnastics, programs for young kids and more
- Farm Hand/Ranch Hand – irrigation, animal care, food harvest, horse groom
- Resorts – golf, ski (winter), beach, recreational
- Sporting Goods Store – associate, customer service, stocking shelves
- Sports Assistant – scorekeeper, time keeper
- Summer Camp – counselor, cook
There are more jobs in the food industry than just fast food!
- Bakery – assistant baker, decorate cakes, cashier
- Busser – cleaning tables at casual dining restaurants
- Cook/prep chef – casual dinning restaurants
- Host/Hostess – seat guests and take reservations
- Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt Parlor
- Server - If you work at a restaurant that does not serve alcohol, you can be a server as a teen.
- Server Assistant – combination of bussing tables and seating guests
Jobs in the retail industry would typically include stocking shelves, customer service, and may allow for cashier positions.
- Clothing store – might be fun to try clothing stores geared toward teen clothes.
- Drug Store – CVS, Rite-Aid, Walgreens
- Department Stores – Sears, JC Penny, Macy’s, etc.
- Grocery Stores – stocking, bagging, collecting carts
- Sign Holder/Spinner – rock out to your favorite tunes while you advertise for a local company by holding and spinning signs for them on the street for passing by traffic.
Run Your Own Service Business
Lawn care and maintenance. These types of jobs require special equipment that you may have for your teen to use and create their own business. Each of these can be charged as a separate service:
- Planting flowers
- Replacing sprinkler heads
Some professional businesses may hire teens, usually at 18 because they may need you to drive company vehicles, use machinery and/or handling of lawn fertilizers and chemicals.
Housekeeping. These services may require you to bring or use your own cleaning supplies. You will want to keep this in mind when charging for services. Each of these can be charged as a separate service:
- Basic Cleaning – bathrooms, counter tops, dusting, sweep/mop, vacuum, etc. (does not include picking up and putting away personal items)
- Deep Cleaning – ovens, refrigerators, windows, blinds, cupboards, drawers, baseboards, etc.
- Ironing Dress Shirts – I did this for a doctor as a teen. He’d give me a big bag of shirts every week to wash and return ironed. I’d get paid per shirt.
- Laundress – washing, folding, putting away laundry
Some professional maid and housekeeping services may hire teens as young as 16.
Related Article Teaching Kids About Money: How My 4-Year-Old Bought Her Own Bike
Other Service Based Jobs
Service based jobs are great for younger teens just starting out.
- Car wash - working for an established business or washing cars for neighbors in you area.
- Christmas lights – this is obviously seasonal work, but a very appreciated service so can pay very well. Some people love Christmas lights but aren't physically able to put them on their house or just don't enjoy doing it in cold weather. Your service can be paid again for taking them down and putting them away after the first of the year.
- Dog walking, pet grooming, pet sitting, or other pet care
- Janitorial work – offices, local businesses, gyms, studios, etc. Taking out trash, dusting, vacuuming, etc. Usually done before or after hours so it doesn't conflict with school schedules.
- Newspaper route – there might not be bike routes available anymore, most are driving routes so this would require adult assistance or reliable transportation. Also, many newspapers must be delivered very early in the morning.
- Computer Programming – entry level positions usually require college education, but if you have a knack for it you can offer freelance services to people who just need one-off help in local businesses or online through services like guru.com or fiverr.com.
- Customer Service (call center)
- Graphic Design – offer services as a freelancer to local businesses or online web service like guru.com or fiverr.com.
- IT Apprenticeship – check to see if corporate companies in your area are offering paid apprenticeship jobs in the IT field.
- Office Assistant – Become a file clerk, do data entry or answer phones for offices. I did this for law offices and doctors offices. There are many other professional offices that need extra help.
- Personal Assistant - running errands and any extra “busy work” that will help your boss be more productive and get more done.
- Professional Internships – Check for paid internships in government or corporate offices. Internships may be temporary but may lead to a permanent position later.
There is always a huge need for workers in the trade and labor industries. Before heading into a trade school look for opportunities to start out as an apprentice and graduate to a journeyman in these fields. If it's something you enjoy, there are future opportunities to own and operate your own company.
Another way to get into the industry is if you know someone in the business who will hire you as a worker.
- HVAC – stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
Use Your Talents
Whether you teach lessons or sell your finished products, here are some talent based jobs you can try.
- Art Lessons – painting, water colors, drawing, scrap booking or anything artistic
- Crafts – creating and selling. You can try selling online at a site like Etsy or at a booth at a fair, swap meet of flea market. You could also teach craft classes. A fun idea might be to have a summer camp for local neighbor kids where for a fee they get to do crafts once a week for an activity.
- Music Lessons – popular ones are piano, guitar, flute and violin but you can teach any instrument (maybe you can totally rock out on an accordion or bag-pipes!) You can also consider being a traveling teacher where you go to the student if you have means of transportation.
- Photography – advertise for your services or try selling your pictures online on a stock photography site like iStockPhoto.com. (There are many online sites that allow you to sell, just do a bit of research!)
- Seamstress/Taylor – do you have a knack for sewing? You can work at a clothing store that does alterations or help make costumes for a local theater.
- Tutoring – Private tutoring in any subject, but especially in math and science.
- Wood Work – Carpentry or wood crafts and creation. Work at a shop or create and sell your own pieces. May also do services in restoration of old or damaged pieces of furniture.
Things to Remember When Getting a Job
Dress & Appearance
Despite cultural acceptance of "who you are" and popular fashion trends, you need to remember when you work for someone else you are representing their company and should present yourself in a way that is appropriate for your job.
If your style ventures into pastel hair colors, tattoos and gauges in your ears, it may be fine for your personal appearance, but truth be told it may limit your ability to get hired at some of the jobs listed in this post.
There are companies that will not hire someone with an appearance that is not reflective of their brand and deflects from what they represent.
That said, there are companies that are fine with it. However, if you are considering permanent alternations to your appearance, don't forget to consider the future of the careers that you may be interested in.
Keeping a Job
Getting a new job is exciting and you may accept it because you really need the money.
Make sure you are applying to jobs that really appeal to you and try to do your best at that job.
There are always circumstances in every occupation that can cause stress and make your job not as fun as you thought it would be.
There's also a good chance you'll work with someone who you bump heads with a lot. (Even if you have a friendly personality and typically get along with everyone).
This is totally normal! Don't be discouraged and prematurely quit your job. Try to hang in there and work through tough times and get better at what you do.
It really doesn't look good on your resume at all if you've started a new job every couple of months. Employers will be discouraged because they won't know if they can count on you sticking around.
If things don't work out, you can apply for a new job and look for something better. There's no reason to stay at a job that you hate, but don't up and quit every time you have a hard day on the job.