How Old Do You Have To Be To Work?

Amy Culver |
Amy is our Lead Copywriter at Snagajob, where she loves to use her word nerd powers to help workers and employers connect. Her first hourly job was as a cashier at Chick-fil-a.
Categories: Finding a job

As a teen, you're probably itching to make some cash to afford the things you want--and employers are just as motivated to hire you! There are plenty of part-time jobs and summer jobs, but your age can prevent you from working some or all jobs. At Snag, we want to put you with the right employer and get you working and earning as quickly as possible. Let's take a look at the minimum age you can legally work and which employers want to hire you.

Teen employment laws you should know

Federal child labor laws protect you in the workplace if you're a minor under the age of 18. 14-year-olds and 15-year-olds can work, but have the most regulations in place--you can't work more than 18 hours in a school week or 3 hours per day on a school day. You'll be happy to know that these times are extended during the summer and school holidays to 40 hour work weeks and 8 hour days. You can even work until 9pm during the summer instead of your typical 7pm time limit.

If you're a teen at the age of 16 or 17, you don't have any limits in place on how long or at what time you can work, but there are restrictions on what type of work you can do. If you want more information on this, check out the U.S. Department of Labor. No construction, factory or hazardous jobs for you!

Finding work as a teenager

Don't worry if the employers you're checking out seem to constantly have 18-or-older job requirements or want experience in the field--we promise there's plenty of opportunity for you! In fact, you're almost guaranteed to find a job with a restaurant, retail store or in the food industry! Here are some currently-hiring companies to help get you started in your job search:

If you want to check out some other teen job opportunities, there's a ton more listed on our website.

Employers know you're eager to work and are ready to hire you, but you won't be able to work all positions they have available just yet. At a restaurant, for instance, you can work as a host/hostess, but you won't be able to work as a bartender until you hit 21. There can also be other state laws and requirements you need to meet to legally work--be sure to check with your high school, school district and local employment office for more information. There may be a work permit, employment certificate or other age requirement you need to meet.

The great thing about looking for employment with Snag is that we check out every company for you to make sure they're reliable and legitimate. But you should take the time to do some of your own research on a potential employer, too. A quick search online or a check with the Better Business Bureau can give you some good information on a company, especially if you've never heard of them before. Do your research so you don't take a job and work for a shady company!