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What Students Are Saying About Having a Part-Time Job While in School

We asked teenagers about their after-school jobs and what they think young people can learn from working. Some said it’s not for everyone.

high school students work part time

By The Learning Network

The week we asked teenagers: Should All High School Students Have Part-Time Jobs? The question was inspired by an Opinion essay by Pamela Paul , in which she argued that even while lots of American teenagers need to work to help support their families, “there’s a case to be made that those who don’t need to work should get a job anyway.”

Many students said they agreed. They shared the jobs they have had and the invaluable skills they have learned from them. But others said work isn’t for everyone — kids today are already under too much pressure, they argued, and their time is better spent studying, doing the extracurricular activities they enjoy, and being with friends and family.

Before you read their responses below, we want to take a moment to recognize the students this week who have been replying to others in the comments across our writing prompts, including those from Atrisco Heritage Academy High School, Centerville High School, Hoggard High School, Nashoba Regional High School, Reynoldsburg High School, and Roaring Fork High School . Thank you for keeping the conversation going!

And a warm welcome to the many others who joined us this week; we heard from students at The Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, Pa.; Girard College in Philadelphia; Kelseyville High School in Kelseyville, Calif. ; and many more places.

A reminder that teenagers anywhere in the world can join our Current Events Conversation any time they like by responding to our daily writing prompts . We round up a selection of comments each week.

Please note: Student comments have been lightly edited for length, but otherwise appear as they were originally submitted.

Many students saw the value in working. They talked about the life skills a job could teach …

I do have a part-time job that I work at like 5 times during the week … My job has helped me personally in many ways, I was super shy before I started and now I am more confident with myself … I have learned communication skills with people that I do not know. I have learned how to carry multiple things at a time to get places faster, and I have learned time management so that I can get from school to work and then come home and do homework.

— Maddie, Donovan High School

From a personal perspective I work roughly three times a week during summertime and twice during the school year and have improved my public speaking because of working in the restaurant industry — as well as forming responsibility and always showing up. This promotes a work ethic that will influence high school students to create a well balanced schedule and they will understand the importance of a work ethic. On the downside, working as a young person may open you up to criticism and rejection. In my opinion, however, it is best to experience this at least once while working when you’re a teenager; it shows the imperfections of working and that work is ultimately a learning experience.

— Sierra, MSMHS

The most important qualities I have learned from a job are responsibility, learning to work within a team, leadership, learning to speak my voice, and believing in myself. To me, these are more important than learning what the x equals in a logarithmic equation, or who founded Jamestown.

— Ty, Donovan High School

During the winter time I work as a ski instructor at a local ski hill most days after school, it helps encourage me to be productive and also helps me understand time management and what having a job is like. I feel as if I’ve learned so much from this simple job over the past few years. I’ve learned how to work with children, become a better teacher, and how to help different people based on how they learn new skills. These lessons that I’ve learned have carried over to my life outside of work and I strive to continue to help others the way I help little kids learn how to ski.

— Anne, Glenbard west

I learned some of my social skills by working, and got to know a little bit more about myself from the experiences. In school, the only relationships I could experience were with my family members, friends and teachers. When I started the very first part time job, I didn’t know how to deal with my manager and customers. I had never been that position before that I was with someone who is supposed to supervise me, and I felt like I was being observed and that thoughts make me even more clumsy. Once I got used to it, it wasn’t a big deal anymore, but I had a clear insight that I don’t fit in customer service jobs. Moreover, now that I see what is going in the back room, I can appreciate their efforts more than before. All of these are what I couldn’t learn in school, so I think part-time jobs are good for expanding life experience.

— JJ, South Korea

One of the major benefits I have noticed as a High School student with a part-time job is having a better sense of communication and patience. For example working as a cashier puts you in the position of talking to many people, which can help you open up if your shy, listen to the customers stories that may help you, and if customers have a problem it helps us better understand compromise.

— Eduardo, Atrisco Heritage Academy

I think it’s important for teenagers to work part-time. Teenagers today enjoy much more privileges than their parents did. Some people have a lot to be thankful for, but a lot of people don’t. It’s simple to misuse privileges and take advantage of the luxury, thus I think teenagers should be taught the value of money. Jobs for teens don’t have to be big, they only need to uphold criteria for developing leadership, handling various people and situations appropriately, and teaching some lessons that school alone can’t. Teenagers who have worked hard for a long time will eventually learn how satisfying it is to be rewarded for their efforts.

— Bryce, Girard College, Philadelphia

The opportunities it could provide for their futures …

I believe every student should have the opportunity of a part-time job, especially in high school. Students are always told to be “ready for the real world,” where things won’t just be handed to them. I think part-time jobs are a great way to prepare students for this. Personally, I have been working part-time jobs since I was thirteen years old to build my work experience and resume. I feel that working part-time has greatly impacted my life by granting me many positive connections that I would not otherwise get, and by allowing me to have more insight into what I’d like to do in the future.

— Emma, Ellisville

One of the other things I like about where I work is it mirrors the industries I want to become a professional in throughout the future. This means I can learn new skills that might directly apply to my jobs in the future. I think that job-shadowing, whether extracurricular or sanctioned as a class, should be required. Not every student wants to take on having a job — which is completely understandable considering the daily pressure they are under — but they should start using it to their advantage to set up their future. That isn’t to say many jobs can teach fundamentals like leadership, teamwork, crisis management, etc. But doing so in the industry you want to develop yourself as a professional in does give you a much greater advantage from what I have seen.

— Drew, Glenbard West High School (Glen Ellyn, IL)

The chance to make and manage their own money …

As a 13-year-old, I had a job this summer and when it comes to social skills, taxes, and being financially responsible, I learned more than I do at school … Earning money also teaches you a huge lesson especially if you are paid minimum wage. After working so many hours and receiving your paycheck it can be disappointing how little money you earned. It can also be surprised how easily you can blow through a paycheck. I thought getting a job would make me spend more money but it actually just encourages me to save my money more, because I know that I earned it myself.

— Wynn, Agnes Irwin School

In my personal opinion I do think that students should have part time jobs. I believe that students that have part time jobs can help their families with money help pay bills such as water, electricity, internet etc. … You can also earn extra pocket money, you can learn to manage your money. And you can access discounts and perks.

— gg, kelseyville California

As well as the confidence work could instill.

Having a job that I enjoy and that I’m good at really helps keep my mental health intact and makes me feel like I accomplish more and give me more motivation to improve my daily life and be the best person I can be.

I currently work part-time at an automotive collision repair shop where I detail vehicles and complete common shop maintenance like sweeping floors, taking out the trash, mopping, and even picking up parts we order from locations as far as a couple of hours away from where I work.

Managing homework is also really not as hard as it seems … The most important thing that keeps me doing my school work is that if I don’t have passing grades, then I don’t work until I have passing grades. For most of my high school career, I struggled with my academics but senior year has consisted of me turning a new leaf which has gone extremely well since I currently have all A’s in my classes as well as putting in just about 30 hours a week of work.

— Steven, Hanover Horton Hs

I believe 100% a high school student should have a part-time job. I’ve experienced it a little bit differently because I own a lawncare business which means: I can schedule myself, work freely and feel in control. Most important of all however it prepares me for constant rejection and people aspect of business. I believe a job toughens the mind of a young person and protects them from laziness.

— 9, Block 4, Hoggard High School in Wilmington, NC

But not all were convinced that having a job while in school was a good idea. Some argued that academics should be students’ top priority.

Most students, especially after the quarantine, are struggling to catch up even now after what has happened. If a student has the time and is prepared, they should get a job. Jobs will always be available, but school is a bit more limited. School should be the top priority, and jobs below that.

— Alecia, Kelseyville High

Jobs work for a lot of students, but it’s not for everyone. While part time jobs can help some students excel, it can make others struggle immensely. Having their time split between two things of great importance can lead some kids to fail in both … There’s so much pressure on young people to start early, like they’re going to miss their chance if they take their time. It needs to be understood that some kids can’t just go for everything all at once, especially before they even know what they want to do in life.

— A, Block 3, Hoggard Highschool

Growing up in a Chinese-American immigrant family, I’ve lived the lives of the people Pamela Paul mentions first meeting through her service job — immigrants of uncertain legal status, families making near minimum wage. Yet even when my mother, our only source of income, was just a graduate student, my family’s fierce immigrant pride outlawed the possibility of me having a part-time job. My parents insisted that I view bus drivers and cashiers I met as cautionary tales rather than roles I could take. My mother and I never washed dishes or took out the trash because my family strongly believed that studying time was worth its weight in gold and could not be wasted on chores. This philosophy has been in many ways successful — I now attend an elite high school, and my mother makes far more an hour than a service worker does a day. However, though I’ve learned similar values of hard work and patience in academics, I cannot deny that I am missing the practical experiences. However, I’d argue that such experiences as poor bosses and boredom do not necessarily need to be gained working rote minimum wage — they can also be acquired through more intellectually challenging unpaid internships and apprenticeships relevant to a student’s future interests.

— Nora, Walter Payton College Prep (Chicago, IL)

Others said they wouldn’t want to give up their extracurricular activities, which they believed could be just as valuable.

The author of this article made the argument that all high school students should have a job because it can teach them different life lessons and work skills that they can’t get from extracurricular activities but I feel as though that is not true. With playing an instrument, being on a sports team or just hanging out with friends you can connect and learn so much more than having a job. These are the years to find ourselves and who we are so if some feel ready to have a job they have the opportunity to do so and if others don’t feel that the time is right then that’s okay.

— Niyaira, Philadelphia

I believe that having a part time job would hurt me more than it would help me … I am a three sport athlete and not only play for my school teams, but I also play club lacrosse. I have practice everyday after school and when I am not on the field, court, or in the weight room, I am studying and doing my work so I can keep my grades up and not only stay eligible for sports, but ultimately end up getting into a good college.

Some people may argue that sports don’t matter that much however they are a crucial part of your everyday life. Sports have taught me to be resilient, have confidence, give my best effort, and have a great attitude. I have learned that if you want to be the best then you have to put in the work even when no one is watching. I’ve also learned that you can never fail in life unless you don’t learn a lesson from your mistakes …

— Jacob, Glenbard West High School

I still am not convinced that a minimum wage job is better than traditional extra circulars. I think the author’s most persuasive point was that some skills you learned at a job cannot be taught in school. While I agree with that statement the argument can be made for both sides. Being a part of the student council can teach leadership skills, and joining the debate team can improve public speaking etcetera.

— Autumn, Philadelphia

Several said they would get a job — if colleges appreciated work experience more.

Due to the unfortunate college admissions system, from personal experience, I feel as though my peers and I are participating and engaging in certain activities just so they “look good for college” or “stand out in our college applications.” But when you really think about it, most of these activities, such as participation in student government, sports, theatre, music, clubs, etc. are done for the greater purpose of increasing the chances of admission into college. The only true extracurricular which gives first-hand experience with the real world is working a job. Due to the fact that admissions committees seek interest in students with the previously mentioned extracurriculars, they tend to be less impressed with students who do not participate in such extracurriculars, but work. If having a job was looked at differently by college admissions committees, I believe that many more students would not only be working a job, but they would also be equipped with the integral life skills that many develop at an older age.

— Ella, Miami Country Day School, Florida

In my personal opinion I believe having a job is essential; giving the student a look into the real world will help stimulate the struggles of real life. In fact having a job and the maintaining of that job — instead of just using your array of joined clubs — could be a way for colleges to more accurately determine your abilities. If you make a mistake or don’t follow directions you risk getting laid off. I believe that the fault isn’t that students don’t want to take in part time jobs it's the fault of colleges not valuing them enough even though they are more informative than clubs.

— Divine, Groton, Connecticut

But many felt that being a high school student was already too stressful, and said their limited free time was better spent enjoying their childhoods.

As much as I agree with the writer, I don’t think that having a job is necessary … School is already hard enough, and there is always homework to think about. Then on top of that, you have a job that might not be that easy. It leaves the question, when are we supposed to have the time to be human? Or do the things that we like to do?

— Kate, Union High School, Vancouver Wa

As a dedicated student, an avid volleyball player, and someone who gets overwhelmed easily, I would struggle with a part-time job. Most days, I spend around 12 hours at school, completing the school day and then staying after for volleyball practice or games. Therefore, I get home at 6:30 PM at the earliest and sometimes 10:00 PM if a game drags out. After this, I have the workload of 4 AP classes to deal with while trying to maintain a decent sleep schedule. My weekends are spent playing in volleyball tournaments and catching up on work from the week. Already, I have little to no free time. Any more time I have squeezed in is spent doing activities I enjoy like volunteering and spending time with my family …

I believe that childhood should be spent engaging in activities with our peers, and less with adults. By having a part-time job, teenagers are taught useful life skills, but they are also robbed of time possibly spent on other extracurricular activities. Most of us will work for the greater part of our lives, so why start early?

— Emilie, Carmichael, California

As a 17-turning-18-year-old, some of my fondest memories come from my high school experiences. Whether it be going to the mall with my friends on the weekend, or staying back after school to do homework together, I would argue that deepening relationships with friends is far more important for blossoming teens than work experience is … These youthful years are the most precious years of our lives. High-schoolers should focus on being children and students first and foremost: the growing-up can come later.

— Gwen-Zoe, California

Learn more about Current Events Conversation here and find all of our posts in this column .

Should High Schoolers Have Jobs? (10 Part-Time Jobs for High School Students)

Should High Schoolers Have Jobs?

Stefanie Miller

Stefanie Miller headshot

If your child is a high school student and wants to earn their own money , they may want to get a part-time job. 

Before your teen starts job searching, it’s good to know the pros and cons of having your teen workwhile still in high school.

 It’s important to note that while taking on a part-time job is a great learning experience for your teen, as a parent you need to make sure that they aren’t trying to do too much. Self-care is important even in your high school years!

We have some great suggestions for jobs that are good for high schoolers who want to still prioritize things like school and friends while making some extra money.

Related: How to Start a Small Business as a Teen

Ask an Expert: What Are the Pros and Cons of Having a Part-Time Job in High School? 

Two former educators and educational authors, Peggy Gisler, Ed.S., and Marge Eberts, Ed.S , weigh in on the benefits and potential issues of having a teen take on a job while still in high school.

Q: Is it good to have a part-time job while still in high school?    A: All the research done on high school students holding part-time jobs shows that it is usually a very productive experience. The benefits include learning how to handle responsibility , manage time, deal with adults, get a peek at the working world, and occupy time in a worthwhile activity. Busy teenagers do not usually get into trouble. High school students who work begin to feel and act more adult. And if they are handling their job well and receive additional responsibilities, their self-esteem grows.  In addition, being able to include a part-time job on a college or job application is definitely a plus. Students especially develop a positive orientation toward work if they begin working in their senior year instead of earlier. All of the positives about having a part-time job have one big caveat. Students cannot usually be employed more than 20 hours per week or their grades begin to suffer , they do less homework, and they are more likely to drop out. Not all students are capable of handling a part-time job during the school year. A job can interfere with essential study time or important extracurricular activities.  If a student begins to have poorer grades or stay up too late after getting a job, it is time to either quit the job or cut back on the hours of employment. A job will also have limited benefit if students spend all their pay on personal luxuries rather than saving some amount for future goals. Younger high school students usually need to obtain a work permit from their schools in order to be employed. The schools may have the right to revoke the permit if attendance or academic problems occur. State laws determine the hours in which students can be employed as well as the industries where they can work.

How Much Can a High School Student Legally Work?

Cheerful young girl employees in uniform holding fresh mandarines in grocery shop

There are child labor laws in place that vary from state to state. Since many high school students are minors, there are restrictions in place. 

A good example is New York. Students as young as 14 can get a job with a work permit for some extra money but can’t work more than 3 hours a day or 23 hours a week. 

Federal guidelines say that a teen under the age of 16 can’t work past 7 pm and are limited to 8 hours a day, 50 hours a week, 6 days a week when school is out. 

If over 16, they can work past 7 pm, depending on the state, and 10 hours a day, 50 hours a week between the last day of the school year and Labor Day.

How Can a High School Student Get a Job? 

It’s fairly simple. In the same way, you would look for a job as an adult, you would as a teenager. There are plenty of websites that have job posts for teens in your area. Most of them will list the criteria or experience needed for the job. 

Some higher-paying jobs will require a GED or high school diploma so be sure to reach out to the company you are interested in if that information isn’t available in the post.

What are the Best Part-Time Jobs for a High School Student?

Here are our top 10 choices for jobs for a high school student!

1. Babysitter

Many teenagers get into babysitting as a way to make some cash of their own. You may have a family member or a neighbor with young children who are looking for affordable childcare after school or on the weekends. Most of the time, these parents don’t require any previous work experience.

2. Pet Sitter

Teenage Girl Taking Her Dog for a Walk

Pet sitting is similar to babysitting. If your teenager has a pet of their own, they may be able to take on helping out someone in the community with theirs. This can include dog walking, check-in on a part, and providing clean water and food while their owner is out of town or busy with work, etc. It’s usually fairly flexible as well.

3. Lifeguard/Swim Instructor

This is a great option for a summer job . If your teen loves the summer sun and swimming, they can get certified as a lifeguard or work as a swim instructor at a local recreation center. Usually, there’s some sort of course on first aid as well to be sure they can handle any type of emergency. 

These jobs are great if they don’t want to work during the school year and want something to occupy their time during summer vacation.

There are always students that need academic help, even in your teen’s high school. They check to see if they can create some flyers to post at school or get permission to post on social media to offer help to students that are struggling in an area that your child excels. Those kids can reach out to their parents to see if they are interested in hiring you for help!

5. Food Service

Any sort of fast food establishment like McDonald’s is open to hiring high school students part-time. As a team member, you will help in any areas of the restaurant that need it (drive-thru, food prep, cleaning, etc). These jobs typically pay minimum wage but offer after-school shifts and day shifts on the weekends and during breaks from school.

6. Retail Sales Associate

Just like food service, retail stores hire high school students for part-time positions. It’s another entry-level job that has minimum requirements such as good communication skills since a majority of the time you will be interacting with customers.

7. Camp Counselor

Teenage girl talking with group of children wearing life vest by lake.

Working at a camp is another great summer position. See if any of your local camps are looking for counselors. You can typically find open positions for everything from sleepaway camps to day camps. Most of the time, you can easily get hired back for another summer if you like the job and do well.

8. Car Wash Attendant

This is another simple entry-level job that sometimes hires high school students or even college students. It’s an easy position that may not pay a lot but it’s worth looking into during their job search since there’s usually a flexible schedule.

9. Lawn Care

Many high schoolers offer their lawn services during this spring and summer to members of their community. If yours already mows your lawn, they can see if any seniors or anyone else that lives nearby needs a hand with theirs. They can make flyers to put up around the neighborhood with their contact information and rates. It’s perfect for an easy weekend job.

10. Restaurant Crew Member

Sometimes restaurants hire part-time high school students. Positions available are most likely host/hostess, busser, or dishwasher. If your teen has any interest in hospitality, it would be a fine first job to get their foot in the door of an industry they are looking at for a career.

Tips for Balancing High School and a Part-Time Job

Here are some easy ways that your high schooler can balance going to high school and a part-time job.

  • Limit shifts during the school week. It can be difficult to balance school, homework, extracurriculars, and a job.
  • Find a job that only needs you on the weekends. This way you can focus on school during the week and get adequate rest.
  • Work during the summer. You can spend extra time earning money when school is out and not have to worry about your grades or school work.

Working part-time while in high school can be a very positive experience. It’s a great way to learn how to manage your time and responsibilities. It’s important to remember that as a student, your schooling always comes first.

Even teenagers need time to rest and recharge! Plan out a healthy schedule and prioritize the things in your life that are most important so you don’t get overwhelmed . 

Happy job hunting!

Don’t want your teen to blow that first paycheck? Get our Teen Budget Spreadsheet to teach your teenager how to be smart with their money. 

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How Your Job Can Work for You

Angel Nicole, a high school senior, says that working at McDonald's has helped her grow as a person. "Honestly, before I got this job, my attitude was bad. I thought I knew everything," she says. "Learning that there’s always room to learn more has helped me mature."

A job can also benefit you by teaching you about the following:

  • Time management
  • Responsibility
  • Handling money

Working in high school can help you explore career directions and reach your goals. Rhea, a college sophomore, is an aspiring pharmacist. She found her career path when she started her job at a pharmacy while in high school. She says that she loves learning new things on the job every day. "I feel that it's something I can do for the rest of my life, and that's a big deal."

How do I balance high school and part-time work?

If you want to balance school and work in high school, you need to create a schedule, prioritize tasks, work out a flexible work schedule with your employer, manage your time effectively, and seek support when needed. Additionally, prioritizing self-care is important to manage stress and avoid burnout.

What’s a good part-time job for high school students?

High school students can choose from various part-time job options, such as retail, food service, tutoring, or coaching. Look around your hometown to see what opportunities are available in your area. Many employers will be willing to work around your school schedule.

How many hours should I work part time in high school?

The number of hours you should work in high school to strike a good balance depends on your situation and needs. It’s recommended that high school students work at most 15─20 hours per week during the school year to prioritize their academic success and overall well-being.

Is it challenging to work while in high school?

Working while in high school can be a challenging but rewarding experience. You want to focus on finding a job that fits your schedule. You need to manage your time wisely. Working in high school can teach you essential skills, such as time management, responsibility, and a good work ethic. With the right mindset, you can successfully balance school and work while gaining valuable experience.

Related Articles

Self-Sufficient Kids

28 Perfect Part Time Jobs for High Schoolers

These part-time jobs for high schoolers include positions that provide both steady and flexible work.

See also: 60+ Ideas for How to Make Money as a Teenager

a high schooler having cheese to a customer while working her part time job

As kids get older their need for extra cash increases inspiring many high schoolers to seek out work.

But since school takes up most of a teen’s day, what are some good part-time jobs for high schoolers?

Here’s what you need to know about when teens can start working and a list of part-time job ideas to get you started.

Job specifics can vary by location so it’s also helpful to ask for tips on local Facebook pages or see what’s available on job boards.

Is it possible to get a job while in school?

Legally, any teenager 14 or older can get a job in the United States . However, certain states require 14 and 15-year-olds to only work jobs outside of school hours. The federal government also limits the number of hours teens under 16 are allowed to work to 18 hours per week while school is in session. The federal government also prohibits this age group from partaking in what it defines as hazardous work.

It’s important to note that there may be additional restrictions and regulations set by state or local laws, so it’s essential to check the specific regulations in your area.

Beyond legal requirements, it’s also worth noting that having a job while also in school can be challenging. It requires careful time management and being realistic about how much time one can devote to a job while also balancing academic and extracurricular demands.

Students who do not have extracurriculars may be able to devote more time to steady, part-time work. While students with a heavy course load and extracurriculars may want to look for more flexible or sporadic work such as babysitting, food delivery, or dog walking.

What do high schoolers gain from getting a job?

High schoolers gain a lot from getting a job. First, they get to experience firsthand what it’s like to commute, interact with customers, handle money and transactions, and how it feels to be “on the clock”.

In some circumstances, students may learn or improve valuable skills such as writing, marketing, or sales. Students with specific interests in art and music who get jobs in these fields can explore if they want to pursue this line of work further.

Working an exhausting, mundane, or boring job can also inspire students to push themselves more academically or focus on a specific trade so they can pursue more interesting or meaningful work.

What are the best part-time jobs for high schoolers?

The best part-time jobs for high schoolers can vary by country and state. Some jobs will be more available in certain locations than others. But the following jobs are among the best and most typical jobs teenagers pursue while they’re still in school.

Fast food worker or server at a restaurant

One of the easiest part-time jobs for high school students can get is working as a fast food worker or server at a restaurant. Most of these establishments depend upon part-time staff whether it’s someone greeting guests, helping to make the meal, serving the meal, or washing dishes. These positions tend to have high turnover and require few skills so high school students can easily slide into a position. 

Retail associate

Another workplace that has high turnover and relies on part-time work are retail stores. These stores need employees who can easily interact with customers in a helpful and friendly way. They also need employees who can work a register and are willing to learn about the products sold in the store. 

Babysitter or mother’s helper

For high schoolers who enjoy working with children, becoming a babysitter or mother’s helper could be the perfect part-time job. Many working parents need extra help throughout the week even if they work from home. And other families require babysitters for when they want to go out on the weekend and either want or need to leave their children at home. 

Dog walker or pet sitter 

Another service many working families require is a dog walker. If both parents work outside the home, the family may need someone to walk their dog before they return. High schoolers can easily fill this role if they can take the dog on a walk in the middle of the afternoon. Families may also require someone to take care of their dog or pets while they’re vacationing, creating an opportunity for a teen to pick up additional flexible work. 

Tutor for younger students

Math, science, and foreign language wizzes can take advantage of their understanding of these subjects by tutoring younger students. Being a tutor takes time, patience, and a willingness to show empathy and think deeply about how best to help a struggling student. Teens can advertise for these positions on local Facebook pages, with fliers hung in retail stores around town, or by simply reaching out to friends and neighbors.

Grocery store clerk or stocker

Getting a part-time job at a grocery store is among the easiest jobs for high schoolers to obtain. Grocery stores seem to always be looking for more help and teens can help fill the gap. Most high schoolers, especially those ages 14-16, tend to work at the cash register, either accepting payment or bagging groceries. But teenagers have also been known to help stock shelves. 

Movie theater usher or concession worker

Movie buffs will want to seek out a job at a movie theater either as an usher or concession worker. These low-skill jobs are perfect for high schoolers as most movies occur during non-school hours. 

Delivery driver for restaurants, Uber Eats, Grub Hub, or DoorDash

Older teens with a driver’s license and a good driving record can work part-time as a delivery driver. There are two ways to go here – either a teen can seek out work from a local restaurant or find jobs through Uber Eats, Grub Hub or similar services. There are positives and negatives to each route so be sure to research each option before jumping in. Certainly, apps like Uber Eats provide more flexibility while a restaurant will most likely have more steady work. 

Administrative assistant or receptionist at an office

Often offices require at least a high school diploma to be an administrative assistant or receptionist. But smaller offices, needing a few hours of coverage, may turn to high schoolers for help. These jobs are most likely found through contacts like friends or neighbors who own their own small businesses. 

Library assistant or shelver

Local libraries are often in need of assistants or shelvers and turn to high schoolers to help. The job typically entails understanding the Dewey decimal system so that books are returned to the correct place and learning how to assist visitors in checking out books and other materials.

Assistant fitness instructor or personal trainer at a gym

Most gyms require that fitness instructors or personal trainers are educated and trained in their profession but teens can work alongside employees to assist them in their work. It helps to be physically fit and to have a general understanding of fitness before getting a job. 

Barista at a coffee shop

A fun part-time job for high schoolers could be getting a job at a coffee shop. In addition to making yummy drinks and serving food, some coffee shops even offer eligible employees health coverage, 401k plans, and even commuter expenses. Coffee shops do have their busy moments at which point it’s important to be ready to move quickly but accurately and spend hours on your feet.

Data entry clerk

Some offices need some basic data entry taken care of an would be willing to hire reliable and detail-oriented high schoolers part-time. This type of position is one that may only last for a short period of time if a business has a specific need.

Social media assistant or content creator for a local business

Teenagers typically understand social media better than older generations so many businesses would be happy to have their help. A social media assistant or content creator would most likely be given the task of taking photos or videos and then crafting marketing messages to promote the business.

Car wash attendant

If you like cars and don’t mind occasionally getting wet, a car wash attendant job could be a perfect match. Attendants typically help cars enter the car wash, collect payment, and program the machinery to match the customer’s preferred wash. 

Internship or apprenticeship at a local business or non-profit organization

While internships, and especially paid internships, are a little more difficult to get during high school, it is possible to find a few opportunities. The difference between an internship and a job is often the skills and learning one acquires. Check with local non-profits, trades, and other businesses to see if they offer internships. 

Freelance writer or content creator for online publications or blogs

High school students who excel in English and have a love of writing may be able to find work as freelance writers or content creators for online publications or blogs. The best place to find these jobs is through online job boards.

See related:  19 Freelance Writing Jobs That Teenagers Can Pursue

Virtual assistant for a small business owner or entrepreneur

Similar to freelance writing jobs, teens may also be able to find work as virtual assistants. These jobs require a willingness to do menial tasks such as answering emails, scheduling social media posts, or fielding phone calls. The best place to find virtual assistant jobs is online.

Customer service representative for a call center or online retailer

High schoolers with a positive and cheerful attitude can often work as customer service representatives. While traditionally these jobs occurred in an office space, many are now moving to remote work which can be done from the comfort of one’s home. 

Photography assistant for a local photographer

If you’re a high school student who’s into photography, becoming a photography assistant may be the perfect job for you. Assistants can help set up equipment, handle lighting, support post-production work, run errands and handle administrative tasks. Many photographers – especially those who capture weddings or do family photos – work on the weekend but some may need help during after-school hours. 

Swim instructor or assistant at a local pool or swim school

Teens who are strong swimmers may be interested in becoming swim instructors or assistants. The job requires teaching and demonstrating basic swimming techniques and water safety skills as well as monitoring students’ progress and providing feedback. These jobs usually occur during after-school hours or on weekends.

Art or music instructor or assistant at a local studio or school

Art and music schools may be looking for teens to hire for their after-school programs. Of course, these jobs require an appreciation for the art forms and some knowledge about art and/or music. It’s also possible for teens to teach music lessons in particular independently to local students.

Food service worker at a local sports arena or stadium

Sports enthusiasts may have fun working as food service workers at a local sports arena or stadium. These jobs entail either working at a food stall or walking among fans as they watch the game. 

Museum or art gallery attendant or guide

Some museums or art galleries have part-time jobs for high school students to help with the collection of tickets, providing directions or guiding visitors. A few museums may also offer art classes and look to teens for help in assisting with these classes. 

Assistant at a local bakery or pastry shop

Just like retailers, bakeries or pastry shops frequently experience high turnover and require part-time employees. High schoolers can be perfect for filling in the afternoon or evening hours when employees who are parents need to be home with their children.

Retail assistant at a bookshop

Teens who like to read will enjoy working at a local bookshop. Retail assistants in these positions will help customers find books and work the cash register when a sale is made. The work could also include stacking new books on shelves or creating displays.

Lifeguard at a local pool or beach

Year-round or seasonal pools are always in need of lifeguards and typically teenagers fill this role. While becoming a lifeguard requires certification, these jobs often pay above minimum wage.

Event staff at local plays, concerts or festivals

One fun part-time job for high schoolers is to work as event staff for local plays, concerts or festivals. This work could be sporadic depending on the venue but could be a good opportunity to earn some extra cash. 

Can high school students make money online?

Absolutely! If going to a physical job every day isn’t possible, a high school student can seek work online.

Some of the most popular online jobs for teenagers include:

  • Selling crafts, used clothing, or books through Etsy, Poshmark, Amazon or eBay
  • Designing websites or doing other work that requires knowledge of advanced code
  • Starting a Youtube channel or blog and making money on advertising
  • Taking paid online surveys or reviewing videos or ads

To find out more see: How to Make Money Online as a Teen

See related:

14 Sample Interview Questions for Teens (With Realistic Answers )

34 Perfect Summer Jobs for Teens Who Want to Earn Some Extra Cash

The Best Debit Cards for Kids and Teens

Everything You Need to Know About Giving Your Teen a Credit Card

Investing for Kids: a Common Sense Approach to Teaching the Basics

70+ Ideas for How to Make Money as a Kid

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Articles & Advice > Internships and Careers > Blog

Your First Part-Time Job: A Guide for High Schoolers

Starting part-time employment as a full-time student can be stressful, especially if it's your very first job. Here's how to make a smooth transition.

by Erica West CollegeXpress Student Writer

Last Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Originally Posted: Mar 7, 2019

One of your first steps into the world of adulthood is getting, keeping, and eventually leaving your first job. Entering the workforce can be intimidating to say the least, and it can be a hard thing to do as a full-time high school student. Here are some tips and tricks that helped me through every step of my first job. Hopefully they can help you as well!

Getting hired

This is the hardest part: starting the job search and hiring process. Don't get discouraged and be sure to follow these tips.

Finding the right job

Most first-time employees start in the food, entertainment, or retail industries. Some of the most common places for teen employees are grocery stores, movie theaters, pizza parlors, and fast-food restaurants. Ask around town to see who’s hiring and find out how to apply for open positions.

Related:  Part-Time Jobs and Money-Making Ideas for Students  

Finding the right restaurant job

You may have heard that if you work in a restaurant as your first job, you’ll learn to hate it. But that’s not always the case. For me, I actually like the fast-food restaurant I worked at for my first job more now than when I started. If you’re going to work in food service, I recommend working at a place that has multiple menu options that you like. Most fast-food restaurants (and some traditional dine-in restaurants) have an employee meal plan of some sort and may offer a discount to employees when they aren’t working. If you eat the exact same hamburger two or three nights a week, you will learn to hate it. 

The interview

Once you’ve decided where you want to work and have been contacted about an interview, there are three major factors that will win over your potential employer .

  • Be on time . Seriously. If you can’t show up on time to a job interview, why would you show up on time to your job?
  • Be presentable. Please shower. For the love of humanity, please shower before your interview. Also, look good. A full suit likely won’t be required, but you should wear a dress shirt and good pants or a nice dress. If you show up in an unwashed T-shirt and stained jeans, I have failed you as an internet guide.
  • Be professional. While it’s unlikely you’ll be entering a highly competitive job market, treat the interview like a big deal. Convince them you’re a solid choice no matter who else they may be considering. Be personable and show that you have excellent customer service skills.

Related: What to Do Before, During, and After Your First Job Interview

Keeping your job

Congratulations, you got the job! Now you need to do everything you said you could do in the interview—and maybe even go above and beyond. Here's how to rock it. 

Pay attention

It’s understandable if you don’t remember and perfect every aspect of a job on your first day , but put in some effort. You may not ring a sale at first, but don’t make your manager explain it 30 times. You’ll probably get a bunch of information thrown at you all at once. Try to soak in as much as you can instead of thinking that you can just ask again later. If you don’t remember or understand something, ask! But once you’ve asked, remember what they told you.

The task is not beneath you

Expect to do the stuff no one else wants to do. You’ll get the tedious jobs—you may have to scrub a few toilets among other “grunt work” tasks. My coworkers and I could always tell who wouldn’t last long by how entitled they acted about certain aspects of the job.

Continue to be on time

This never goes away. No one likes staying an extra 15 minutes past their six-hour shift, so be on time for yours.

Budget your time

Most jobs will have you working about 15 hours a week as a default for part-time employment. If this is a problem for you, let your employer know. I had four AP classes, was searching for colleges and scholarships , and was the treasurer for the Latin Club when I got my first job in high school. I couldn’t work 15 hours a week. Unlike some other extracurricular activities, there’s no break period where you can get a page of homework done at your job. If you’re there and on the clock, you’re expected to focus your attention on work. 

Related: How to Get Organized and Manage Your Time as a High School Student

Leaving your job

Maybe you can't work during the school year, you found a better part-time gig, or it just isn't working out. Whatever the reason, do these things before you move on.

Don’t just leave

If you feel uncomfortable in your work environment, definitely leave. If you’re about to start a new chapter of your life and your current job doesn’t fit anymore, definitely leave. If you think the place down the street has better-looking uniforms, don’t leave. Everyone knows the person who only ever seems to work anywhere for a month. They hear they can make 25 cents more somewhere else and leave as soon as possible. This may seem harmless enough, but it may hurt you in the end. When you start looking for long-term jobs, they’ll look at your employment record. They would much rather see you did well at one job for a year as opposed to being okay at six jobs for two months each.

Give adequate warning

Give your employer at least two weeks’ notice before your final day. Be sure to give a written letter and express how grateful you are for the opportunity. Remember, your current employers will be your future references for colleges, scholarships, internships, and maybe even your future career, so you want to leave on good terms. 

Related:  Video: Summer Jobs for Students  

There you have it: a basic guide for finding, keeping, and leaving (when you have to) your first part-time job. You'll learn a lot from any position you take on, and communication and customer service skills look great on a résumé. Just go in with a great attitude and see how far it can take you. Good luck! 

Read more great advice on finding and rocking your first job in our Internships and Careers section.

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Hello there! My name is Erica, and I am happy to make your acquaintance. Calculus, reading, viola, and traveling: these are a few of my favorite things (I also like musicals). I don't have a favorite book, but my favorite genre is definitely historical fiction. I am the viola section leader in my high school's highest orchestra and in a successful string quartet. I plan to major in Mathematics when I go to college then go on to study law and become a patent lawyer.

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Professional Students: Benefits and Risks of Working While in High School

As someone who students and their families look to for guidance and advice—even for issues outside of the classroom—you may at some point be asked your thoughts on high school students holding part-time jobs. If you could use a refresher on the benefits and risks of students working while in high school, this article is for you.

First of all, there are obviously a number of reasons why high school students choose to get jobs—to help support their families, to save for college, or to just earn some extra money.  Nearly 1 in 4 high school students worked in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics .

Here are some things you need to know about high school students and part-time jobs.

High school students benefit from part-time employment, but they need time management skills

Learning to budget time and to use it well is a skill that many students don’t learn until they’re in college or in their actual careers. Yet knowing how to handle numerous responsibilities helps students prepare for the academic vigor of college.

Going from school to extracurricular activities and then to a job means having to do homework late at night, or, in some cases, working ahead during the weekends to ensure everything is complete for the coming week. It’s possible for students to overcommit themselves out of a desire to make more money or because they are not yet adept at time management.

While the line between how much work is too much may seem nebulous, experts have found that students who work more than 15 to 20 hours a week see a decrease in academic performance. Teens shouldn’t exceed the recommended number of hours at their jobs, nor should they spend sleeping or studying time at work.

If you’re advising students or their families on this issue, be sure to mention these points and that time management has to be a factor in their schedule—because the last thing you’d want is for their performance to drop in class.

Federal rules for working teenagers

Here are just a few facts that may good for you to know if the conversations come up:  The Department of Labor sets rules for working teenagers in the Fair Labor Standards Act . The minimum age for non-agricultural work is 14.

Working hours for 14- and 15-year-olds are limited to:

  • Non-school hours
  • 3 hours in a school day
  • 18 hours in a school week
  • 8 hours on a non-school day
  • 40 hours on a non-school week
  • Between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. (except from June 1 through Labor Day, when hours are extended to 9 p.m.)

Students who are 16 and 17 can work unlimited hours, but only in jobs declared non-hazardous by the Secretary of Labor . Once they turn 18, students can work unlimited hours and are not barred from hazardous jobs.

Because teens over 16 can work unlimited hours, they have the most responsibility for balancing school and work. Parents of students ages 16 to 18 should make sure their jobs don’t expect them to work late hours and should carefully monitor work schedules. If students appear to be spending too much time at work, parents should help them refocus on their studies. 

Learning in the field: How students can develop skills related to their interests

In addition to teaching students real-world skills such as working with the public and as part of a staff, jobs give them exposure to fields they may hope to enter as adults. A job answering phones, running errands, or performing administrative tasks enables students to understand how fields they’re interested in work day to day and what those careers demand in terms of education, skill, and time commitment.

Furthermore, taking a job in their field of interest allows a student to show enthusiasm and aptitude for that field of study, which makes their application more desirable to college acceptance committees.  Is your student interested in teaching? They could work for an after-school program or as a camp counselor. What about accounting? A job in an accounting office helping with administrative work could give them a glimpse into what their future may hold. 

Students should also think outside the box when looking for jobs to help develop skills related to their fields of interest. For example, a student interested in medicine might want to become a licensed lifeguard, which would enable him or her to learn lifesaving skills such as CPR. Working in the field, in some capacity, helps students build job-related skills and further ensures that their interest in the field is warranted.

Teachers and parents can create a framework for successful high school employment

While working during the high school years can help teach students responsibility and other important skills, parents and teachers need to help set students up for success. Ideas include:

  • Develop or take advantage of existing relationships with local service providers, stores, and other businesses that employ teenagers to ensure productive (and legal) working environments
  • Help students set up weekly schedules that allot time needed for homework and studying
  • Teach students how to keep a calendar or daily planner, either digitally or on paper, to avoid overcommitment and scheduling conflicts

As long as the job is safe, legal, and leaves ample time for academics, working during high school can benefit students, parents, and the surrounding community. Students learn skills and responsibility by working, remove some financial burden from their parents by earning their own money. and serve the people of their communities. And as their teacher, you may very well see their new skills and desire to work harder right in your class.

Caitrin Blake has a BA in English and Sociology from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Colorado Denver. She teaches composition at Arapahoe Community College.

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17 Best Part-Time Jobs for High School Students

Written by Nathan Brunner .

Last updated on April 15, 2024.

It can be challenging for high school students to balance work and school .

For instance, there is evidence that working for more than 20 hours a week can hurt one’s academic performance .

Although there are benefits to working while in high school , it is not a decision to take lightly.

To help you make an informed decision, I have gathered a list of the best part-time jobs for high school.

Let’s dive in!

1. Doing Homework For Others

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $16 per hour.
  • Availablity: no jobs are available right now.

When I was in high school, I made a decent amount of money answering the questions of younger students and helping my peers with their homework.

Nowadays, some websites actually pay you to do homework for other people. On those platforms, the deeper your knowledge is, the higher your tutoring fees. Moreover, if you are good at finances, math, and physics, you will have a better chance of earning a respectable income.

Disclaimer : Doing homework for other people is often considered unethical, especially when completing graded assignments. Make sure answers to homework questions can only be used as a tutoring aid or a reference.

Requirements

  • Preferred : Passion for whatever subject matter you are helping younger students with.

2. Teen Model

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $24 per hour.
  • Workload: 100% of positions are full-time.

Many companies actively hire high school students to advertise their products.  Even if the competition is tough, there is no shortage of work for teenage models. Teen models are hired to work as:

  • Commercial models  look like everyday people and promote everything, such as food and household items. This job often requires basic acting skills.
  • Parts models  are in huge demand from companies who want the perfect hands, legs, feet, or other body parts to advertise their products.
  • Catalog models  have a look that appeals to the target audience. They do not have the same physical requirements as fashion models.

The best way to find a modeling job in your area is to type ”modeling agencies” in Google Maps. Many agencies hold ”open call” days; models meet with scouts and present their portfolios.

  • Required : An impressive modeling portfolio that showcases your modeling skills.

3. Lawn Mowing

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $19 per hour.

Lawn mowing is one of the most popular summer jobs for high school students. Little to no experience is required, but it is one of the most physically demanding jobs on this list.

Many employers hire high schoolers to mow residential or commercial grounds. Lawnmowers are expected to cut lawn riding mowers and edge around walks, flower beds, and walls. Some jobs also involve raking leaves, applying fertilizer, and other general maintenance work.

  • Manual dexterity, physical strength, and stamina.
  • Familiarity with lawn care equipment and tools.

4. Social Media Manager

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $15 per hour.

The truth is that many grown-ups do not understand how social media works.

On the other hand, the new generation has no problems handling these new tools. That’s a great opportunity: you could earn extra money managing the Instagram account of a local pizzeria or doing some Facebook advertising for a family business!

The responsibility of a social media manager includes:

  • Attracting new fans:  publishing engaging content, reaching out to local influencers, etc.
  • Advertising : promoting the brand with paid advertising on social media.
  • Turning fans into customers : responding to questions about the product/service, retargeting advertisements, etc.
  • Usually required : Previous social media marketing experience, such as managing a popular Instagram page or Facebook group.

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $20 per hour.
  • Workload: 93% of positions are full-time.

Tutoring is all about sharing the beauty of a subject with students who have a hard time understanding it.

As a high school tutor, you get the opportunity to help younger students with you have already passed with flying colors. Many students want to get better grades in: mathematics, English, chemistry, biology, physics, and economy classes.

  • Required : Good grades in the related subject.
  • Preferred : Previous teaching experience.

6. Dog Walker

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $14 per hour.

I was shocked when I found out that some people actually pay to walk their dogs.

Here’s the deal: dogs need to walk to get mental stimulation, exercise, and take a “potty break.” However, many dog owners are busy and do not have the time to walk their own dogs. This is where you can propose your service as a dog walker. It is a great opportunity to make side money while taking a quick walk in the park!

  • Proven experience working with dogs.
  • Preferred : dog walker certification that includes dog first aid and CPR training.

7. Fast-food Worker

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $10 per hour.

Working in a fast-food restaurant isn’t glamorous, but at least you earn your pay.

Many part-time employment are available to teenagers in the fast-food industry:

  • In the kitchen : They mostly assemble sandwiches and salads.
  • Behind the cash register : Cashiers enter the orders and make sure the clients pay accordingly.
  • Preferred : customer service experience.

8. Freelance Graphic Designer

high school students work part time

  • Workload: 90% of positions are full-time.

Graphic designers are hired to design logos, magazine covers, advertisements, and other communication materials. There are many graphic design jobs on websites like Fiverr, Upwork, and other freelance websites.

  • A strong portfolio of logos, illustrations, or other graphics
  • Familiarity with design software (such as InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Photoshop)

9. Freelance Writer

high school students work part time

  • Average Salary: between $20 and $100 per 1,000 words.
  • Workload: 68% of positions are full-time.

Editors are sometimes willing to hire high schoolers to write pieces of content like blog posts, product descriptions, YouTube video scripts, etc.

Some of the best teenagers can even land freelance writing jobs for blogs where they will need to research relevant information and write in-depth content.

Writing jobs for high schoolers can be found on freelance platforms such as UpWork, Fiverr, and specialized writing job boards (ProBlogger).

  • A good grasp of grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
  • A portfolio that shows excellent writing and editing skills.

10. Pet Sitter

high school students work part time

Pet sitters take care of pets while their owner is on vacation or traveling for business.

They usually work at the pet owner’s home, but pets may also be at the provider’s home or at a pet-sitting business. Although most pet-sitting jobs involve dogs and cats, some pet sitters also take care of birds, fish, and reptiles.

  • An extensive amount of hands-on experience with the animal in question.
  • Preferred : pet first aid and CPR training.

11. Camp Counselor

high school students work part time

Camp counselors are one of the few dream summer jobs!

As a high school student, you might need to take a breath of fresh air away from your parents. However, it is not all fun and games. Camp counselors also have many responsibilities:

  • Role model : camp counselors assist and motivate children in daily activities.
  • Creativity : camp counselors make each of their campers’ summer the most memorable yet.
  • Planning : lead and implement fun camp programs for children.
  • Requirement : A high level of maturity, regardless of age.

12. Virtual Assistant

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $12 per hour.

Virtual assistants are administrative assistants from home. Their job involves:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Making phone calls
  • Responding to emails
  • And more: bookkeeping, writing, marketing services, etc.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Preferred : prior experience as an administrative assistant.

13. Data Entry Clerk

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $13 per hour.
  • Workload: 10% of positions are full-time.

Data entry jobs are exactly what they sound like! They’re jobs that involve entering data, such as:

  • Describing or identifying images
  • Entering up-to-date prices
  • Transcription of audio notes
  • Tagging and annotating data

You are typically asked to perform on-demand tasks that computers are unable to do. These online jobs are great for high school students because they require no prior experience.

However, I find data entry tiring, and you might also get tired of doing these repetitive tasks after a few hours of work.

  • Might be required : Completing a qualifier to validate transcription/subtitling/tagging skills.

14. Freelance Photographer

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $17 per hour.

There are many opportunities to make money by taking pictures:

  • Event photography (festivals, weddings, etc)
  • Advertising for local businesses (bakeries, kennels, etc.)
  • Professional pictures (music bands, influencers, lawyers, etc.)
  • A portfolio of beautiful pictures.
  • Working knowledge of Photoshop.

15. Lifeguard

high school students work part time

  • Workload: 87% of positions are full-time.

Keeping people safe is something to be proud of!

However, being charged with people’s safety is no light matter. This is why lifeguards must be alert at all times and assertive when they see unsafe behavior.

All in all, lifeguarding is an excellent summer job for responsible young adults who are strong swimmers.

  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Complete lifeguard training and get a lifeguard certification.

16. Online Surveys

high school students work part time

  • Salary: $9 per hour.

Online surveys are a great way to make some money on the side.

Many survey sites want to know teenagers’ opinions about new products. After entering personal data on a survey site, you will be matched with market research firms relevant to your profiles.

  • Required : Be willing to share your private information and personal opinions.

17. Delivery Driver Or Bicycle Courier

high school students work part time

  • Workload: 92% of positions are full-time.

Many companies hire hourly workers to deliver food and packages.

You might also be hired as a bike courier if you do not have a driver’s license.

This employment opportunity is great for high school students for two reasons. The first reason is that the pay is decent and there is almost no experience required. The second reason is that high schoolers need the flexible schedule that delivery driver jobs offer!

  • Age requirements : Most pizza delivery jobs require job candidates to be 16 years old, and some delivery driver jobs require you to be 18 years old.

More Part-Time Jobs for High School Students

Some parents might not like their teenagers working part-time away from home. For those high schoolers, I recommend the following work-at-home jobs:

  • Best Online Jobs for High School Students

High school seniors and college students might have more job opportunities. The following list of jobs is more suitable for them:

  • Best Part-Time Jobs for College Students

Last tip : Do not forget to look at your local job boards for the latest job opportunities in your area! I recommend using the keywords: “no experience jobs” and “entry-level jobs.”

Salarship is a job board that focuses on low-competition jobs.

Our office is at Chemin du Valon 20, Sierre, Valais, Switzerland.

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17 Essential High School Job Statistics [2023]: How Common Are High School Jobs

high school students work part time

  • Resource For Asian Americans In The Workplace
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High school jobs research summary. Getting a job as a teenager can be a great way to get some professional experience, save up for college, or earn a little spending money.

Based on our research team’s discovery, Here are some statistics on high school jobs in the U.S.:

Only 30.5% of teens ages 16 to 19 had jobs in 2021.

36.6% of teens 16 to 19 years of age had summer jobs in 2021.

Since 2000, the percentage of teens working summer jobs has fallen from 51.7% to 36.6%.

Since 2000, the percentage of teens working jobs throughout the non-summer months has fallen from 43% to 30.5%.

share of teens with high school jobs over time

General high school job statistics

The number of teens with high school jobs have been increasing since their lowest point in 2020. However, there are still less teens working today than in 2019. To find out more, here are some general facts about high school jobs in the U.S.:

6 million teens between the ages of 16 and 19 have jobs.

The exact number of teenage employees ebbs and flows throughout the year, so this 6 million is an average representation of the year as a whole. The months of July, August, and September collectively have the most teen workers throughout the year.

Throughout the non-summer months of 2021, an average of 30.5% of teens held jobs.

During the summer months of that same year, 36.6% of teens were employed. Teen employment rates generally increase during the summer since many students who don’t hold jobs during the school year are able to during these months.

White teens are more likely to hold jobs than other racial demographics.

In the summer of 2021, about 39.5%% of white teens between the ages of 16 and 19 had jobs. 29.4% of Black teens, 28.6% of Hispanic teens, and 14.3% of Asian teens in the same age range were employed during the same time.

This trend carries throughout the rest of the year as well, with 31.4% of white teens working in December of 2020 and 28.3% of Hispanic teens, 23.2% of Black teens, and 20.2% of Asian teens holding jobs during that same month.

US high school jobs by race

The median weekly salary for a teenage worker is $497.

Multiplied by 52 weeks a year, that’s $25,844 annually.

This median covers 16- to 19-year-olds who are working full time. It rises and falls throughout the year due to the seasonal nature of many jobs held by teens, but this is a good reference point for 2020 as a whole.

Types of high school jobs statistics

High school jobs tend to be similar to one another, given that teenagers lack experience. The jobs willing to hire teens must also be willing to train them, making the job pool limited.

In 2020, food preparation and serving-related occupations were the most commonly held jobs by high school workers, with 1.231 million holding positions in this category.

More specifically, 268,000 teens between the ages of 16 and 19 were employed as cooks , 262,000 as fast food and counter workers, 259 as waiters and waitresses, and 180,000 as food preparation workers . (There are other jobs held by teenagers that fall under this category as well, but these are the most common ones.)

18.7% of all food preparation and serving-related occupations in 2021 were held by teens between the ages of 16 and 19.

This rate was only beaten by 20- to 24-year-olds who held 20.6% of these positions and 25- to 34-year-olds who held 21.1% of them.

Proportional to the size of the 16- to the 19-year-old workforce, though, this is still a large percentage of these positions, as the age group held just 3.2% of all U.S. positions in any occupation in 2020.

High school-age workers held the majority of cashier positions in 2020.

This group of workers spanning 16 to 19 years of age held 682,000 out of the total 2.552 million cashier positions held in 2020. The age group with the next highest number, 20- to 24-year olds, held 633,000.

These two age demographics are the most well-represented within cashier occupations, and after that, the number per age group drops off sharply to 389,000 for 25- to 34-year-olds working in these positions.

Summer job statistics

Summer jobs are popular with teens, as high school often prevents them from working jobs during the school year. Knowing this, we’ve gathered some essential summer job statistics:

36.6% of teens had summer jobs in 2021.

This rate is up from the 28.6% who worked during the summer months of the 2008 financial crisis, but still down from the 51.7% who had summer jobs in 2000.

In 1948, 56.5% of 16- to 19-year-olds held summer jobs. This percentage went up and down some in the decades that followed but stayed relatively steady until it began steadily dropping during the 2000s.

The accommodation and food services industry provided 36.2% of teen summer jobs in 2021.

This is the most of any sector. Retail trade was the next-highest, providing 21.3% of 16- to 19-year-olds’ summer jobs.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation came in third, providing 8.1% of all teen summer jobs .

About 2.3 million 16- to 19-year-olds worked food preparation and serving-related summer jobs in 2021.

This was the most of any category. It was followed by sales-related occupations, which gave jobs to 1.4 million teens during that same summer.

Following behind sales is arts, entertainment and recreation, which employed some 516,000 teens.

High school job trends and projections

The number of teens with summer jobs has fluctuated over time. While today’s numbers are up from the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2008 recession, far fewer teens are working today than the late 20th century. To see where the future of high school jobs might be headed, here are some interesting trends and projections:

In 2000, teens made up 2.25% of the full-time workforce versus 1.21% in 2020.

The percentage of 16- to 19-year-olds in the workforce has varied over the years, but overall it’s been on a downward trend.

There are likely many reasons for this, including shorter summers and more emphasis on after-school activities, volunteer work, and internships aimed to boost students’ college applications .

Between February and April 2020, about 1.9 million teens lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of the widespread closure of businesses due to lockdowns and other pandemic restrictions, the number of 16- to 19-year-olds employed in July 2020 was over a million less than the number who worked in July 2019.

In addition, the 30.8% of teens who held summer jobs in 2020 was the lowest rate since the Great Recession’s 29.6% in 2008.

33.7% of teens were employed in May 2023, the highest rate for this month since 2008.

This shows that the employment rates for those between 16 and 19 years old are recovering since dipping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, this is still continuing the downward trend of teen employment since 2000.

High school job FAQ

What percentage of high school-age students have jobs?

Just over 30% of high school-age students have jobs. This percentage is higher for students with summer jobs , as 36.6% of 16- to 19-year-olds worked during the summer of 2021.

Is having a job in high school worth it?

Generally, yes, having a job in high school is worth it.

Of course, this depends on how well you’re able to balance your work and school responsibilities, but if you’re successful, it’ll show college admissions counselors and hiring managers that you are responsible, organized, and driven.

How many hours can teens work each week?

Teens who are at least 16 years old can work any number of hours each week. They have to follow any hourly restrictions that adult employees do, and some states might have stricter rules, but as far as federal laws are concerned, teens have no limits on hours once they turn 16.

14- and 15-year-olds , on the other hand, can’t work more than 18 hours during a school week and 40 hours during a non-school week. There are also limits on the times they can work during the day to ensure they can still attend school.

Why are fewer teens working?

Fewer teens are working because of reduced demand and higher competition. Contrary to the stereotype that modern teens are lazier or more entitled, the reality is that the jobs that would have been taken by teens in the past are less readily available to them.

For example, over 40% of those 55+ years old are actively looking for work, meaning that these older and more experienced employees often have an easier time finding work in retail and other jobs teens often apply for. Companies also see older employees as more stable, given that teens are more likely to move onto different work or go to college in the future.

These two factors combined make it very difficult for teens to compete with older applicants.

About one-third of teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 hold jobs. Some work throughout the school year, but the majority work summer jobs.

These young employees often work in the food service industry and in the retail or sales industry as cashiers, servers, cooks, or stockers.

The COVID-19 pandemic greatly reduced the number of summer jobs this age demographic held during 2020, as 1.9 million of them lost their jobs between February and April of that year. Just 30.8% of teens worked that summer, the lowest rate since the Great Recession in 2008.

While these rates seem to be recovering throughout 2021, the number of 16- to 19-year-olds who hold positions has been in a steady decline over the past decade.

There are a variety of reasons for this, but some of the factors include an increased emphasis on volunteer work, internships , and other extracurricular activities in order to help students make their college applications look more attractive.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Data Retrieval: Labor Force Statistics (CPS).” Accessed on June 23, 2023.

Pew Research Center. “During the Pandemic, Teen Summer Employment Hit Its Lowest Point Since the Great Recession.” Accessed on June 23, 2023.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Labor Force Statistics From the Current Population Survey.” Accessed on June 23, 2023.

U.S. Department of Labor. “Fair Labor Standards Act Advisor.” Accessed on June 23, 2023.

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Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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WTVR CBS 6 News Richmond

High school cafeteria manager honored by School Nutrition Association for work feeding over 1,000 students

high school students work part time

“We don’t want to just serve from box to oven,” said Maggie Oswalt. “So we do as much home making as we can."

Oswalt and her staff work at Kentucky's Great Crossing High School, a public school in Scott County just outside of Lexington.

Each day they rush to work to fill bags, cut fruit and vegetables, and plate up those healthier options, including their chicken salad.

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Oswalt was recognized as the Southeast Region Manager of the Year by the School Nutrition Association. The organization said it wanted to recognize "the tireless efforts of school nutrition professionals who ensure students across the country can benefit from healthy meals each school day."

“Very shocked, but very grateful,” was Oswalt's reaction when asked about winning the award.

Scott co caf 2.jpg

Oswalt manages a staff of 10 other employees who feed lunch and breakfast to more than 1,000 students every day.

“We churn out about 1,500 to 1,600 meals per day,” she said. It sounds like a lot, but Oswalt and her staff make it look easy.

The meals they prepare have to meet state nutritional standards, and students who are able to receive their taxpayer-provided meals courtesy of the school are asked to take the entire meal, to get the full nutritional benefits.

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Warnings issued on morel mushroom consumption as foraging season arrives

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services in Kentucky says only 13% of high school students in the state eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. That number is compared with 21% of high school students nationally.

A federal grant allows Scott County to offer meals to every student, and Oswalt — a nutritional specialist — is one of many cafeteria managers in her district who have taken on the task of organizing logistics for getting the students fed so they can go back to learning.

“The last thing a child should have to worry about when they come to school is 'How am I going to eat, or how am I going to pay for it?'” she said. “They’re conversing while enjoying a meal, their grades are going up, performance is going up — so yes, it's a big deal,” she said.

Oswalt has to keep track of which kids have food allergies to make certain to track those students, and steer them away from any danger.

“They're high school kids, so they’re usually pretty good about that,” she said.

She said, “If it’s something new, that they loved — and it’s healthy — then it’s something I want them to eat,” Oswalt said.

School Nutrition Association President Chris Derrico said, "School nutrition professionals are often unsung heroes in their schools, nourishing students for success and contributing positively to their school day. We appreciate the opportunity to celebrate their dedication and efforts to support children throughout the country."

This story was originally published by Michael Berk at Scripps News Lexington .

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