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Best Summer Jobs for Teens

12 Minute Read

“School’s out . . . for . . . summer!”

As I travel the country speaking at schools, I meet thousands of teens and parents—and let me tell you, these generations have pretty different views of just what exactly “summer break” should be! Most parents I meet want their kids to be productive with the time off. But, of course, the kids are all about kicking back, relaxing and having a good time.

Well parents, I’ve got good news if you’re worried your child might blow their whole vacation lounging at the pool or binge-watching Netflix. They can get a summer job! And if you think they’ll never go for that, here’s even better news: I’ve put together a list of cool gigs that’ll bring in a paycheck while also allowing them to have some fun along the way. That’s a win-win for your whole family!

And in case you’re feeling unsure how to guide your teen toward the right summer job, I’m going to break that down right now. Let me show you how to find some of the best summer jobs for teens.

How to Look for a Summer Job

When it comes to your teen’s job search, the internet is your friend. While your teen probably knows how to work the web better than you do, you know more about job searching. Help them search for summer jobs in your area. Job postings might require them to fill out an online application, and you can be a big help with that.

You can also check with your teen’s high school guidance counselor. They might have a summer job listing just waiting right there in the office.

It’s never too early for your teen to learn about networking either. Think of who you know. Ask around and see if anyone within your network works for a company who is offering summer jobs for teens.

And here’s something else I want both you and your teen to keep in mind as you’re finding them an awesome summer job—get creative! Your community is full of unseen business opportunities, so have an open conversation with them about their skills, dreams, hobbies and passions. Maybe a retail or customer service job is perfect for them, but perhaps they’re a better fit for an entrepreneurial start-up in your neighborhood—or even one they can begin on their own. Don’t discount their original ideas for making some extra cash; those ideas could become a career stepping-stone!

Are summer jobs available to teens under 18?

Yes! Plenty of jobs hire employees who haven’t turned 18 yet. So don’t let that limit the search! Depending on what state you live in, your son or daughter might need to get a work permit or papers in order to get a job.(1) Just be sure that you both sign the papers and they’ll be good to go.

You can usually pick up these papers at the school’s guidance counselor office or your state’s Department of Labor. Every state’s application requirements are different, but generally your teen will need to bring some kind of identification (birth certificate, school record, driver’s license, etc.) that includes their full name, date of birth, school grade, age, and your (the parent or guardian) information.

Find out the local laws in your state by visiting the United States Department of Labor website.

Best Summer Jobs for Teens

Get crafty!

Handmade Goods

If your teen has creative talent, have them put it to good use this summer. Websites like Etsy have made it simple to make a buck on the gift of creativity. Anyone can set up a shop in a matter of minutes and then get to work on designing gifts and merchandise! Things like jewelry, clothing and blankets sell really well, but know there can be a delay in getting paid if you don’t make the goods in advance.

Design

If your child’s creativity favors arts over crafts, have them think about designing business cards, greeting cards and home décor. They can even offer PDF downloads of their work. A download will help cut expenses while also making the process faster for the customer to receive the design.

How much money can you make with these summer jobs?
I love any business model that lets me set the price on my good or service. With these options, your teen gets to control their profits, which is great! Just remind them to do a little research and make sure the prices are reasonable. At the same time, encourage them not to sell themselves short either. Hard work deserves to get paid!

The Great Outdoors

Lawn Service

Here’s what I’ve learned about the lawns in my neighborhood: Grass grows in the summer and people don’t like having to cut it. If your teen doesn’t mind the sunshine for a few hours, a lawn care service might be for them! They can work on their tan and get paid for it—how’s that for a win?

How much can you make with this summer job?
With a lawn business, your teen is their own boss, meaning they get to set their prices. Taking a look at the competition in the neighborhood can help your teen figure out how much to charge for small, medium and large yards. If your teen charges $50 for a medium-size yard and mows five in one day, they’ll make $250!

Lifeguard

If they’d rather spend time stacking cash poolside, no problem. Becoming a lifeguard is the perfect summer job for them. Save a life, get a tan, make some money—not a bad gig. To become certified, they’ll need to complete training in CPR, AED and first aid. And, not to state the obvious, but they’ll need to be a good swimmer.

How much can you make with this summer job?
The pay varies based on experience and location. For example, there’s a price difference between working at a community pool and guarding at the ocean. To give you a general idea, lifeguards at the YMCA make an average of about $9.00 an hour.(2)

Work at the Mall

Retail and Food Service

If enjoying the air-conditioning is more their thing, then a summer job at the mall could be the way to go. And I love seeing an opportunity to change a negative behavior (like impulse shopping) into a positive one (like intentional saving). Instead of spending cash at the mall, they could be making cash there. Plenty of retail shops, restaurants, cafes and even the movie theaters are eager to hire teens each summer. In fact, some of the most popular summer jobs for teens can be found as soon as you step through the mall’s doors.

How much money can you make with these summer jobs?
While most of these jobs pay minimum wage (which varies state by state)(3) they do have some pretty great perks to offer. Working at a movie theater can get your teen a free seat to watch Hollywood blockbusters all summer long! If they work at a boutique or clothing store they can score a major employee discount and save money on clothes when back-to-school season hits.

Teach What You Know

Tutoring

School’s not necessarily out for the summer for everyone. In fact, the demand for help with homework carries on into the summer! Whether it’s helping juniors and seniors prep for the SAT and ACT or tutoring students taking summer courses, there’s money to be made in tutoring. If your teen is an academic superstar, have them explore tutoring options.

Sharing Your Skills

Maybe your child has the heart of a teacher but can’t imagine spending the summer in an academic setting. In that case, why not encourage them to teach others by sharing their passions, hobbies and skills? I’ve known teens who make bank teaching kids how to swim, dance, play a musical instrument, and any number of other artistic or practical skills.

How much money can you make with these summer jobs?
There’s serious money available for your teen teacher. It’s typical for a high school student to charge $30 to $40 an hour for tutoring services.(4) That’s great summer pay—or, really, anytime pay! Teens earn about the same amount (depending on location) giving a private swimming lesson.(5) Are you starting to see the mad cash potential in teaching?

Start a Business

Some teens are self-starters who have their own vision of a way to make money. In fact, some of the most successful people started companies as teens! Others may discover they just can’t find any good companies hiring teens. Either way, if they’re interested, help them start their own business! The sky is the limit when it comes to what kind of business they could dive into. Help your teen think about the kinds of things they’re good at and what their hobbies are.

Don’t worry, we promise it’s not as scary as it seems. The Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox can help as your son or daughter gets their business up and running. It’ll walk you both through eight practical steps your teen will need to succeed at having a thriving business!

Babysitting and Pet Walking

If your teen loves kids or animals, they might want to consider starting their own babysitting or dog-walking business. They can start by taking on clients they already know and then grow from there. You can even help by recommending them to your friends and family! And of course, they can always advertise on social media and throughout the neighborhood too.

How much money can you make with this summer job?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: One of my favorite benefits of starting your own business is being your own boss and having the ability to set your own price.

For babysitting, they can set prices based on the number of children and how many hours of care are involved. A babysitter here in Nashville could make anywhere from $11.50 to $16.50 an hour for watching two children for 20 hours each week.(6) When it comes to pet sitting, many people set their rate somewhere between $14 to $19 an hour.(7)

Photography

I’m fascinated by the art and science of photography, and maybe your teen is too. If so, a photography business could be the thing for them! If they already have photography experience and a nice camera on hand, this will be even easier. If they don’t own their own camera yet, ask a family friend if they can borrow theirs or look into renting one from an equipment shop.

How much money can you make with this summer job?
It can be tricky to decide exactly how much to charge per session. They could keep it simple by offering a day of “mini sessions.” Pick a great outdoor location to take the pictures at, have the clients select their desired time (during the best hours for natural light), and charge them a flat fee for a 30- to 45-minute session with 20 digital images. If your teen charges $80 per session and books five families, they’ll make $400!

They can also sell their photography on apps like Foap or stock photography websites.

Blogging, Vlogging and Social Media

Your teen probably spends plenty of time on social media already, so why not make some cash for creating content? As a matter of fact, I’m pretty busy creating content for teens in all three formats! They can setup a blog, vlog and social media profiles all in a single afternoon. It’s easy, but the real trick is keeping up with the content. It can take a while to gain readers, viewers and followers, but encourage your teen to stick with it! You never know what content will go viral!

How much money can you make with this summer job?
As your platform grows and you gain followers, collaboration opportunities with other brands might become possible. Your teen can absolutely make money this way, but the question here is how much? Unlike a steady paycheck from the movie theater, cashing in on this kind of work will take some time. Have them sign up for Google AdSense and look for teen specific affiliate programs to join forces with. As their platform grows, they’ll have more opportunities to expand.

Don’t forget to have fun with a summer job!

Here’s what I want you and your teen to remember most this summer—a teen job should actually be fun! This is a time to gain real working experience (and cash!), but that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun while doing it. Remember, this is just a summer job—it’s not a full-time career. Although, if they really do find their niche out there, then maybe that’s what it will become!

Are you ready to help your teen get their new business up and running? The Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox is the guide you need. We’ll walk through eight steps to help them build their business, make money and stay organized!

About Anthony ONeal
At age 19, Anthony ONeal was deep in debt and short on hope with no direction of where his life was headed. But after hitting rock bottom, he turned his life around and committed to helping students find and pursue their passions. A Wall Street Journal National Best-Selling Author, Anthony has helped thousands of students make good decisions with their money, relationships and education to live a well-balanced life. Now Anthony has joined Ramsey Solutions to spread this encouraging message to students nationwide as a Ramsey Personality. You can follow Anthony on Twitter @AnthonyONeal and online at www.anthonyoneal.com.

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