The 11 Best Jobs For teenagers (+ How To Apply)
Most jobs have a minimum age of 16, but our research turned up almost a dozen good options with flexible hours that hire 15 year olds.
Some of the links on our website are sponsored, and we may earn money when you make a purchase or sign-up after clicking. Learn more about how we make money.
In most states, 15 is the minimum age required to work in non-family, non-form jobs. And although most companies start hiring at 16, there are a handful of jobs for teenagers available.
Here’s a list of the 11 best options (organized alphabetically), along with tips for finding them and how much money you can expect to earn.
To apply, you can click the links in each job’s “Companies that hire 15 year olds” section.
#1. Amusement Parks
|Where to search:||Check the websites of the amusement park’s parent company, as well as the individual park, since hiring policies may vary by location.|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||Six Flags and Parques Reunidos, though this can vary based on location.|
|Average pay:||Around $8.50 per hour.|
|Types of work:||Cashier, admission and/or guest services team member, retail clerk, food prep or sales.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Cash handling, customer service, communication, organization, food handling.|
Most amusement parks require you to be 16 or 18, but a few will hire 15 year olds for jobs like gift shop clerks, ticket cashier, or guest services. Apart from being a fun place to work, amusement parks may offer perks like free tickets and in-park discounts on food and merchandise.
|Where to search:||Talk to individual families, create flyers, post on social media.|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||Sitter.com.|
|Average pay:||$10 – $15 per hour.|
|Common tasks:||Entertain and protect children, prepare meals, clean up after the children, keep them on their bedtime routines, help with homework.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Childcare, child development, tutoring, safety and emergency skills (CPR, Heimlich maneuver).|
If you’re 15 years old, talking to people you know is the best way to land a babysitting job. For one, they can put in a good word for you to their parents’ friends who need a sitter. For another, most companies, churches, hotels and websites that hire for childcare positions have to run background checks on their sitters, and you can’t do that on people who are under 18.
#3. Dine-In Restaurants
|Where to search:||Ask at the restaurant in person.|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||Independently-owned restaurants (national chains usually have a minimum age of 16).|
|Average pay:||$9 – $16 per hour.|
|Types of work:||Host, busser, dishwasher, cashier.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Customer service, communication, cash handling, organization, working as a team.|
If you hope to wait tables for your first job, you’ll probably have to wait a few years. While it is legal for a 15 year old to work as a waiter/waitress, most restaurants require you to be 18 (so that you can serve alcohol). However, many restaurants will hire 15 year olds for dishwashing or bussing tables.
#4. Fast Food Restaurants
|Where to search:||Ask the manager at your local franchise, or use online job search sites (like Indeed and Monster).|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, KFC, McDonalds, Taco Bell.|
|Average pay:||$9 – $15 per hour.|
|Types of work:||Run a cash register, bus/clean tables, restock condiments and silverware, take out trash, food prep.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Cash handling, communication, multi-tasking, food prep, teamwork, operations.|
Unlike many other industries, it’s common for fast food restaurants to hire 15 year olds. These businesses are always looking for reliable workers, and a recent labor shortage means they’re more likely than ever to take a chance on hiring an inexperienced 15-year-old.
#5. Farm Work/Farmer’s Market
|Where to search:||Talk to farmers/ranchers.|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||Individual farms and farmers.|
|Average pay:||$10 – $15 per hour.|
|Types of work:||Clean out stalls, feed animals, milk cows, stack hay bales, water plants, pick vegetables, clean produce, hoe weeds.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Physical labor, using farm equipment, animal husbandry, agricultural practices.|
As a 15 year old, you can’t legally operate heavy agricultural equipment, but there’s no shortage of work for teens on a farm. You can learn a wide range of skills working on a farm. Talk to a local farmer to see if he or she needs help; most farmers prize hard work and enthusiasm over skills and experience.
#6. Golf Courses And Country Clubs
|Where to search:||Speak to the manager of your local golf course.|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||Each golf course and country club has its own policy.|
|Average pay:||About $100 per loop (18 holes), plus tips. This translates to about $20 – $30 per hour or more.|
|Types of work:||Carry golf bags, clean golf balls, estimate yardage, work in the pro shop, clean golf carts.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Physical labor, cash handling, customer service.|
Being a golf caddy is one of the most lucrative jobs a 15 year old can have. To up your chances of getting hired, watch a few YouTube videos about golf, how it’s scored, and so on — particularly if you’re not a golfer. Go to the country club or golf course in person to apply, and be sure to dress in golf attire — khakis, a belt, a polo shirt, and white shoes.
#7. Grocery Stores
|Where to search:||Online job search sites (like Indeed and Monster), or talk to the store manager.|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||HyVee, Kroger (varies by location), Publix, Winn-Dixie.|
|Average pay:||$9 – $16 per hour.|
|Types of work:||Stock shelves, bag groceries, clean, help carry out groceries.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Organization, customer service.|
Many grocery chains (particularly HyVee and Publix) openly advertise that they hire 15 year olds, and most others don’t state a minimum age. You may need to be 16 to run the register, but there are plenty of positions for baggers, cart wranglers and stockers at a grocery store.
#8. Ice Cream Shops
|Where to search:||Individual company websites, or talk to the store manager.|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||Bruster’s Ice Cream (varies by location), Rita’s Italian Ice, Ben and Jerry’s.|
|Average pay:||$8 – $12 per hour.|
|Types of work:||Scoop ice cream, run the cash register, clean tables, restock toppings and ice cream.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Customer service, food prep, cash handling.|
Your local ice cream parlor is a great spot for a summer job (thanks to air conditioning and free ice cream!). Many chains hire 15 year olds, and others (Cold Stone, Baskin Robbins) don’t have a company-wide policy, so you just have to convince the local store manager that you can scoop with the big boys.
|Where to search:||Local job search sites and individual marinas.|
|Average pay:||$10 – $15, plus tips.|
|Types of work:||Cleaning and fueling boats, prepping rental boats, cashiering.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Tie knots, customer service, attention to detail.|
If you enjoy boating and working around water, ask if you can be a dockhand at the local marina. Some of these jobs will require a boat license, while others just require a strong back and the ability to get the boats squeaky clean.
#10. Movie Theaters
|Where to search:||Theater websites, in person.|
|Companies that hire 15 year olds:||AMC, some independent theaters.|
|Average pay:||Around $10 per hour.|
|Types of work:||Sell tickets, sell concessions, tear ticket stubs, clean the theater, stock supplies.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Cash handling, customer service, operating point-of-sale equipment/software.|
AMC has dozens of locations across the US that will hire crew members at 15, though most other theaters require you to be 16. As a crew member, you’ll sell and scan tickets, control access to the theater, clean, stock supplies, and check IDs. The best part of this job is, of course, free movie tickets!
#11. Sports Referee
|Where to search:||Local recreation center, sports association, Little League, or city manager.|
|Average pay:||$12 per hour.|
|Types of work:||Referee games, coordinate schedules, communicate rules to parents, coaches and players.|
|Skills you’ll learn:||Decision-making, composure, sports rules.|
If you’re an assertive person (or want to become one), becoming a referee or umpire for youth sports will cultivate your decision-making skills and your ability to stand your ground under pressure from people who disagree with you. You may be paid by the hour or by the game, depending on your local sports association.
Correcting The Record: Jobs That Do Not Hire At 15
Times have changed and so has the labor market. Some of the most popular “first jobs” of past decades have changed their hiring practices and have raised their minimum ages — often, for legal and liability reasons. Here’s a list of commonly-cited first jobs that our research for this article suggests are not available to 15 year olds.
- Newspaper delivery: Perhaps the quintessential first job of decades past, “paper boys” used to deliver the local newspaper to customers on foot or bicycle — often before school, or immediately after school in cases where the paper had an afternoon publication time. With the shift to online news consumption, hardly any of these jobs exist today (and they’re primarily filled by adults with cars).
- Department and retail stores: Every major retail store we researched — including JCPenney, Macy’s, Dillards, Kohl’s, Gap, Aeropostale, and others — requires you to be at least 16, if not older.
- Summer camp counselor: Being responsible for multiple children at once (some of which might not be much younger than 15) is a hefty responsibility. Moreover, most companies that require you to work with kids want a background check — something you can’t have if you’re a minor. One potential exception is camps run by your local YMCA, which often hire teens.
- Car wash: Understandably, most car washes want you to have a driver’s license, so you probably won’t get hired on at a car wash if you’re only 15. You could, however, start your own business washing or detailing cars.
- Cafes and coffee shops: Unless you’re one of the lucky few working at Starbucks in Montana— the only cafe we found that hires 15-year-olds — you’ll have to be 16 before you can be a barista. Some independent, local coffee shops may hire younger, but national chains do not.
- Lifeguard or swim instructor: You must be 15 to be a lifeguard in most states, so lifeguarding or teaching swimming lessons is off the table if you’re 15.
Jobs That Hire 15 Year Olds – FAQs
What’s the best job for a 15 year old?
When you’re 15 years old, the best job is one that helps you accomplish your short-term goals — while keeping one eye ever so slightly on your future.
In other words, the most important thing is picking a job that works with your schedule. You want to choose something that doesn’t impact your ability to study and get your school work done, because this is what will set you up for success. But just as importantly, you want to pick a job that doesn’t force you to abandon your extracurricular activities and/or social life.
So, think about what you want to earn money for and how much you need, then find a job that pays that amount without too much stress or pressure.
At the same time, if you have an idea about what you want to do in the future, choosing a job that gives you exposure to that occupation or industry can be an extremely worthwhile experience. For example, if you think you might want to be a business owner, opt to work at an independently-owned small business rather than a big national chain. You’ll get to know the owner, and you’ll get an inside glimpse into what it takes to build and run your own company.
Of course, most 15 year olds have no idea what they want to do later in life. That’s completely normal. For many people, their first few jobs are an opportunity to explore and learn about things they may never have considered. Don’t be afraid to say “yes” to a position in a field you don’t know anything about. You don’t have to keep working there forever, and learning about different jobs and industries can help you figure out what does and doesn’t interest you. This knowledge is just as valuable as the money you earn.
What are the best websites for finding jobs as a 15 year old?
Indeed and Monster are two of the primary job search sites, and they’re a good place to start. However, not all jobs are posted on these sites, and the ones that are don’t always list the minimum age.
We recommend that you make a short list of 5-10 places in your community that you would like to work, then go directly to their websites. Often, they have open positions listed under a tab called “Jobs” or “Work For Us” (or something similar).
If you’re interested in an online job — like graphic design or making websites — Fiverr is a freelancing website that allows anyone over 13 to use the platform. With Fiverr, you have to create a service offering and wait for potential employers to come to you. You can learn more about it in our guide to making money on Fiverr.
Can a 15 year old make money by taking online surveys?
Paid online surveys are a real thing and a handful of paid survey sites are open to 15 year olds. However, you should be aware that this is a way to make a little bit of extra money, not a replacement for a traditional job. In most cases, the average pay for taking online surveys will come in below minimum wage.
The big upside is that you can take surveys whenever you want, so you don’t have to commit to a schedule. If you’re interested, Survey Junkie is our choice as the best survey site for teenagers.
Do you need a work permit to get a job as a 15 year old?
Whether you need a work permit (sometimes called a work certificate) depends on the state you live in and/or plan to work in. While there is no federal requirement for a work certificate, 27 states require them as of June 2022.
You can see a full list of states that require work certificates here, including whether the certificate is issue by your school or the state labor department.
Are there special labor rules that apply to 15 year olds?
A number of federal laws — notably one called the Fair Labor Standards Act — prohibits 15-year-olds and 15-year-olds from working during school hours. Additionally, you can work no more than three hours per school day, and no more than eight hours per day (40 hours per week) when school is out. You also can’t work past 10 p.m. on a school night, or past midnight on other nights.
These labor laws are in place to help ensure that kids are focused on their education, and to prevent businesses from exploiting minors (who tend to command lower wages).
There are a handful of exceptions to these child labor laws. For example, a 15 year old can work at a family-owned business with essentially no restrictions, so long as that work does not interfere with their schooling.
Are there jobs for kids who haven’t turned 15 yet?
Yes, though most of these are small businesses, like selling fruits or snacks at a stand, selling crafts on Etsy, washing cars or pulling weeds. A handful of jobs are available to kids under 15 (like farm work and acting/modeling), but they are few and far between.
How To Get A Job At 15: Final Thoughts
If you’re 15 years old and anxious to earn some money at your first real job, there’s no better time than 2022 for you to get hired. Over the past few years, businesses have had a tough time finding staff for entry-level positions, leaving plenty of openings for you to fill.
When looking for a job, focus your efforts on small businesses (i.e., not nationally-recognized brand names). Large corporations are more likely to have a policy that they will only hire at 16 and up, but independently owned shops can make the call to hire you if you are trustworthy and eager to work.