The 14-year-old's guide to getting a job

Posted December 02, 2020

Can 14 and 15 year olds get a job? Many think that because you’re not even driving yet, that you can’t get a job; however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t have to wait a few more years until you can find gainful employment and start earning some money. In fact, in the United States, 14 year olds are legally allowed to get a job--it’s the minimum required age for most allowable work (yes, we said allowable, as the federal government has put guidelines and mandates in place for your safety and to prevent child labor abuse). 

While there are stipulations to the kind of work you can do at this age, there’s still a variety of options that the federal government allows teenagers 14 and older to be employed in: these include working as a cashier, marking products with price tags, cooking with an electric or gas grill, bagging groceries, or doing clerical and/or office work.

Should you get a job at 14?

Teen jobs can be a great way to instill character and responsibility in teens. Whether you’re a parent wondering how to get your young teen working and learning about the value of a dollar, or a teen looking to get a job for a bit of financial independence from your parents, you’ve come to the right place. The CareerBliss team will help you navigate the ins and outs of teenage jobs--because it turns out there’s a bit of navigation to be done.

Benefits of getting a job from a young age

All things considered, there are several reasons why getting a job as a teenager is a great idea. Not only does it build a sense of pride and achievement from a young age (and of course, give you some spending money), but it can help you discover new passions and even put you on a lifelong path toward a career you’ll love. It’s a time for exploration--the type of exploration that is harder to do once you graduate college and have to hurry up and get a job to pay off your student loans. The earlier you can start pursuing a happy career the better. However, understandably, many jobs will not hire someone without experience, let alone someone who isn’t old enough to drive yet. But all is not lost, because there are several jobs that are perfectly suited to young teens (and “old” teens too) like you.

  • Having a job may increase your chances of graduating high school

A lot of studies have been done in the areas of youth employment, and some research shows that having a summer job, or the responsibility of balancing school and a part-time job may lead to increased graduation rates for at-risk and economically-disadvantaged youth. The time-management and responsibility you develop, as well as a probable supportive environment can help you grow to achieve your best life.

  • The realization that money doesn’t grow on trees or originate from their parents pockets

Whether or not you had an allowance as a kid, young people can still tend to take for granted that money costs something. By making some of your own money, you’ll soon learn the reason why your parents aren’t as quick to drop $50 on a new video game as you may have hoped. Because money is an exchange of value--that value being time. 

  • Savvy teens make savvy adults

Nothing builds responsibility faster than having to commit to being at a job on a certain day at a certain time, even when there’s something you’d rather be doing with your friends. And that sense of responsibility and commitment puts you on the path to success. 

“According to the U.D. Department of Labor, for every year a person works in their teens, their income raises 14-16 percent in their 20s. When teens choose to have a job, employment teaches responsibility and good work habits, improves time management and organizational skills and helps them save money.” 

The state of employment for 14-15 year olds

The Fair Labor Standards Act sets 14 as the minimum age of workers working in non-agricultural employment. Additionally, it mandates limitations on daily working hours as well as the type of work 14-15 year olds can hold and the wages you are entitled to (generally, you are entitled to the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr though that may change depending on the type of work you’re doing). One main rule is that you are not allowed to work during school hours, and your employment should not be such that it interferes with your school performance. Other rules for 14-15 year old employees include:

  • You cannot work more than 3 hours on any school day.
  • You cannot work more than 18 hours per week during the school year.
  • You cannot work more than 8 hours per day when school is out of session.
  • You cannot work more than 40 hours per week when school is out of session.
  • You cannot work before 7 AM or after 7 PM on any day, except from June 1st through Labor Day, when night-time work hours are extended to 9 PM.

States that allow young teens to get a job

Wondering if you can get a job in your state? Before you start asking your parents to move so you can get a job, you should know that 14-15 year olds are legally allowed to work in any state in the U.S.--with some caveats. 

Teens as young as 14 can find employment across the U.S. provided they abide by the teen work laws of their individual states

While some states don’t require any sort of work permit, such as Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada (but only if you’re under 14), South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, others will require an approval slip, work permit or some such documentation signed by your work, your guardian, or both. Many such permits can be obtained from and filed with your school. 

You can get more information and secure the permits and documents you might need by reaching out to your state’s department of labor.

Types of jobs suitable for 14-15 year olds

The fact is, you may have already been doing some of these jobs since you were a kid (think raking leaves, delivering newspapers, lemonade stands, typical kid-entrepreneur kinds of jobs), but they are still great ways for you to delve further into the work world and make some spending (or saving) money as you gain greater responsibility.

Here’s a list of some of the top jobs the CareerBliss team loves for 14-15 year olds (and that are totally legal for you to do too!):

  • Lawn mowing
  • House sitting
  • Leaf raking (or any type of yard work really)
  • Plant sitting
  • Pet sitting
  • Babysitting
  • Nannying 
  • Camp counseling
  • Movie ushering
  • Running a lemonade stand (an oldie but a goodie!)
  • Serving fast food
  • Working the family business 
  • Washing cars
  • Bagging at your local grocery store
  • Dog walking
  • Dog grooming
  • Working a retail job
  • Working at a golf course
  • Delivering newspapers
  • Running an online business (like selling stuff, taking surveys, etc)
  • House cleaning 
  • Operating rides at a theme park
  • Being a companion to the elderly
  • Providing yard maintenance (plenty of weeds to be pulled)
  • Shoveling snow

A good place to start your job search is on our CareerBliss job board. We have a ton of companies on our site who have a history of hiring teen workers, giving them a boost as they grow toward young-adulthood. These companies include:

Want to get a quick start on your applications? Check out the employer profiles on CareerBliss at each of the links, and see what job openings they have near you. 

Tips for 14-15 year olds for finding a job

You’ve got a great network--use it to find a good job

You may not go out networking just yet, but you may be surprised to realize just how vast your network already is. And you should make a point to make the most of it. From family members, neighbors, friends of family, teachers, counselors, your 3rd cousin twice removed--tap into the existing network you already have, letting them know that you’re looking for a job. Make sure they know your age so they can make appropriate recommendations for a 14 or 15 year old looking for a job. 

Create a basic resume

So you don’t have a lot of work experience yet. Don’t worry too much about that. Neither do most 14 and 15 year-olds. So you may be wondering what you should even put on your resume. We’ve got your back. Here are some places to start.

Keep it simple by focusing on leadership opportunities you’ve had at school or in social situations; school activities like dance, sports, etcl; and other jobs you may have held such as babysitting, paper deliveries, shoe shining or even lemonade stands (it doesn’t hurt to mention the entrepreneurial spirit that led you to start a juice stand at 7 years old!). 

You can also list out experiences that demonstrate different qualities like diligence, responsibility and solid work ethic. Having references who can attest to your character can also give you a boost on the teen job market.

If you have the drive to get a job while you’re in high school, good for you. We applaud the amazing person you are and who you will become through it. Here’s to your current and future CareerBliss.

The CareerBliss Team

Your career happiness is our #1 priority here at CareerBliss. To help you succeed in your career, we offer a wide variety of tools and resources to help you out along the way. Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!

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