Employers love teenage workers. You have energy and you’re motivated - hey, you need cash, right? That’s why employers are eager to hire teens for part-time and summer jobs. But your age will affect which jobs you can apply for. We’ll tell you where to find the best jobs for 16- and 17-year-olds.
Know the laws about teen jobs
First, if you’re under 18 you need to know that federal laws regulate the type of work you can do. Non-agricultural jobs require you to be at least 14 years of age. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds may not work more than three hours a day and 18 hours a week during the school year. During the summer and on school holidays, you can work eight hours a day and 40 hours a week, but there are time limits. You may not work later than 7 p.m. during the school year or later than 9 p.m. between June 1 and Labor Day. Bummer.
The good news is that if you’re 16 or 17, you have no limits on the hours you can work. But the U.S. Labor Department considers some jobs hazardous for workers under age 18, so check them out before beginning your job search. Sorry, no forklift driving or building demolition.
Where to find the best jobs for teens
Employers usually have their own age requirements for workers. On Snagajob, you’ll see the minimum age listed under “Job Requirements.” Many of our employers want workers 18 or older; and a few jobs, like those involving driving, power tools or heavy equipment, require that applicants be 21 or older.
But don’t get discouraged! Plenty of businesses hire younger teens without any work experience. You’ll find the most opportunities for teenagers in food and restaurant jobs and retail jobs. Here are some of the employers who offer jobs for teens aged 16 and/or 17.
- Papa John's (some locations)
- J.C. Penney
- Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)
- AMC Entertainment
- Boston Market
- Burger King
- Jiffy Lube (17+)
- Steak n’ Shake (almost all positions except supervisor and up)
- Arby's (crew member positions)
Keep in mind that different teen jobs have different age requirements - if you’re 16 or 17, you may be eligible to work as a cook or sales associate, but not as a server or cashier.
Some states require Employment/Age Certificates (also known as "working papers") for teenagers under 18. Ask your school guidance office if they have the forms to fill out. You can also check with your state's labor department.
At Snagajob, we do our best to make sure all our employers are trustworthy, legitimate companies. Still, it's a good idea to conduct your own background check on any company that has made you a job offer, especially if it is unfamiliar to you or your family. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been registered about the company. Find out if the company is complying with all federal and state labor laws concerning teenage workers.