8 Classic Summer Jobs For Teens that Want to Earn Money & Learn Skills

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Whether you consider yourself a prepper, a survivalist or are simply striving to be self-sufficient, the basic building blocks for all these are responsibility and dedication. We teach young children these things through chores, extra-curricular activities, positive reinforcement and most importantly, by example. As children grow older, it is important to encourage them to be responsible and develop a life-long commitment to hard work. Let’s explore 8 classic summer jobs for industrious teens.

Summer jobs for teenagers

Strict child-labor laws exist to ensure the safety and well-being of minors in the workforce so be sure to read up on those before nudging your teen to get a job. Generally, 16 is the age required to obtain employment without special work permits.

Some Chick-fil-A restaurants hire teens as young as 14 or 15.

However, other restrictions may still apply for those under 18 or even 21 years of age such as: working in a retail establishment that sells tobacco or alcoholic products, industrial businesses that operate heavy machinery or locations that may handle hazardous materials. Visit the Department of Labor website for more information on youth labor laws and be familiar with laws specific to your state as well.

Great beginner Summer Jobs

Mowing Yards/Lawn Care

Lawn care is a great way for teens to turn summer chores into summer cash. By the teenage years, your teen may already be mowing the family lawn and have years of experience helping mom pull weeds.

Parental Considerations:

  • What type of lawns you will permit your child to mow? Are you okay with your teen mowing steep hills, large acreage, etc.?
  • Who provides the equipment? Are you willing to allow your teen to tote your Lawn-Boy all over town or do you prefer they find clients who provide their own mowers?
  • What type of lawn care is not acceptable? Are you okay for your child to use weed killers, pruning equipment, etc.?

Washing Cars

Washing cars is generally a fun way to make money for the teen circuit. A small initial investment may be required to purchase items needed such as cleansers, brushes, and towels or start off with an all-inclusive beginner kit such as Armorall’s Car Cleaning Kit and build on products as you go.

 Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Attire – Discuss the importance of being professional and how working in a bikini may not be appropriate.
  • Discuss with your teen what they should offer based on their capabilities and availability. Detailing the inside of a vehicle requires a lot more work than hosing down the exterior and should be charged accordingly.
  • Give your teen a business boost by purchasing their startup product for them or consider having them pay back half once they have a few jobs under their belt. Discuss with them the importance of saving a little ‘working capital’ that will be needed to replace expendable supplies.

Local Farms & Greenhouses

Farms and greenhouses are always looking for extra help and cheap labor during the peak summer season and this could be a great summer job for teenagers. Some will advertise for summer help and others may pass the word along through the grapevine. Do not be afraid to mention on social media sites or make phone calls to your friends and family that your teen is interested in finding some outdoor work.

Some farms/greenhouses may have always had their own children and/or children of other family members and friends help them out, but as life gets faster, help gets harder to find. Don’t be afraid to ask the clerk at your favorite farmer’s market or plant stand if they need any summer help or know of anyone who does.

Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Hydration – Farming/Gardening is hard and dirty work. Be sure your teen packs plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout the long, sweaty day. Consider making Frozen Neck Wraps to help stay cool in the blazing summer sun.
  • Realize the outstanding prepping potential and self-sufficiency skills this type of work brings.

Local Pool Summer Jobs for Teenagers

If your town has a pool, aquatic center or water park, then they will always need lifeguards and concession workers. Local watering holes may advertise for their summer help, but if you missed the boat, check with your local city council or village hall to be directed to the right contact to apply.

Parental Considerations:

  • Sun Safety – Make sure your teen understands the dangers of the sun and takes special precautions to be protected.
  • Lifeguard training and certification can be pricey and classes are few and far between. However, the inconvenience can be well worth the effort as lifeguards are often in short supply. Check with your local YMCA or Red Cross to be directed to lifeguard training and certification classes near you.
  • With this training and certification, young people can help coach swim teams or give private swim lessons. These are both for-pay positions.

blue survival frog dry bag


Babysitting has always been a popular job for teens and is no longer reserved for Friday and Saturday nights. During the summer months, teens can land a babysitting job taking care of younger children while mom and dad are at work.

Babysitting today is way beyond the cliché image of a teen girl chatting on the phone while the little ones destroy the house in the background. Today, it is common to find that parents want a sitter who can not only care for their child but also provide an enriched environment that includes age-appropriate games and learning activities. Parents want someone that keep the child engaged throughout the day.

The American Red Cross provides different levels of babysitter training and pediatric first aid to help prepare older teens and adults to provide the best childcare.

Parental Considerations:

  • Clientele – Who will you allow your teen to sit for? Friends, family, neighbors or others?
  • How many children and what age(s) do you feel your teen can handle?

Dog Walking and Pet Sitting

Another oldie but a goodie! Plaster a few flyers in areas common for dog walking, land a few clients, build a schedule that works for everyone and get to walking. Be sure to schedule a preliminary meeting between pooches if walking more than one dog at a time. You want to be sure they get along to avoid potential dangers.

Vacationing families very often need a pet-sitter. This could be a viable and profitable option for older teens who can drive to their clients’ homes. They do need to be responsible enough to spend the night, if necessary, while the family is away.

Some Red Cross locations offer Pet First Aid classes, but if that’s not available, there’s a great pet first aid app for smartphones.

Parental Considerations:

  • Safety – What locations are okay for your teen to walk safely alone?
  • What breeds are forbidden and is your teen strong enough to control each dog?
  • Is your teen okay with handling and disposing of the doggie bags?
  • Is your teen mature and responsible enough to manage one or more pets in a household without supervision?

Local Aid Agencies

Check with government agencies such as your county Department of Job & Family Services or Community Action. Places such as these may offer junior training programs. Teens are placed with partners throughout the county for job training and experience and are paid the state minimum wage. Typical jobs through these kinds of programs may include:

  • Placement with local town or city maintenance crews mowing, weed eating, watering flower gardens, etc.
  • Working with nearby schools and their summer janitorial staff.
  • Placement with other government agency offices learning office fundamentals such as filing, answering phones, data entry, customer service, etc.

Food Service & Retail

Working in the food service or retail industry is a great way to add job experience to a teenage resume and openings are often plentiful. Fast food restaurants and pizza joints are often brimming with teenage employees and usually willing to hire those with no prior employment history.

However, the work can be downright dirty. Those entering the food service industry must be willing to clean public restrooms and greasy equipment as well as deal with numerous amounts of local patrons. Flexibility is typically a little tougher with these first-time jobs as your teen will be at the bottom of the totem pole and the establishment will have specific operating hours needing coverage.

Parental Considerations:

  • The Public – All walks of life may come in contact with your child and often times, have access to their name.
  • Is your teen mature enough to work in team-oriented environments in a professional and adult manner?

Overall Parental Considerations

  • Transportation for non-driving teens or driving teens without a vehicle:
    • Are you willing to help get them to and from work on time?
    • Will they have access to mom or dad’s car to transport themselves?
    • Are you able to help with transportation if it conflicts with your own work schedule?
  • Are you willing to accept your teen’s responsibility to work as scheduled when it comes to summer family events such as reunions, vacations, and picnics?
  • Understand that many jobs are cash money such as babysitting and washing cars and therefore may not meet the minimum wage. Do not expect your teen to enter the workforce with a high-paying salary but be sure they are paid a fair and honest wage for fair and honest work.
  • If your child is still too young for summer employment, pay attention now to where you see teens currently working so you have a better understanding later where to begin. Start by teaching them basic job skills at home, such as cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, making a change, and telephone communication skills.

Be sure to talk about the importance of employment with your child. Make sure your teen understands that they are to behave in a mature manner and be responsible. Express the importance of being punctual, staying off devices and working hard.

Teenagers will be introduced to a new level of accountability beyond the classroom. Consequences could result in loss of employment and an early black mark in ways of references for future job considerations. Discuss with them how to handle any potential conflict in the workplace and to respect co-workers; including those who may have different lifestyles, beliefs, and personalities.

Most importantly, teach your teen how to handle their new financial gain responsibly and provide an ample amount of positive reinforcement as they embark on this new journey.

Would you like fries with that?


4 thoughts on “8 Classic Summer Jobs For Teens that Want to Earn Money & Learn Skills”

  1. What a great, thought-provoking article. I really like this, sort of a checklist for both the parents and teen to consider before plunging in. Well done!

  2. Some of the jobs aren’t really practical for teens who actrually need a source of employment. For example pet sitting, if you are in the financial situation in which you need a job you most likely aren’t going to know anyone will to pay your child for their sevices.also the parent warning labels are a little basic. Any educated adult is aware of the sun and as my parents had always to me “you live and learn” when have the parents today started to hover over their child 24/7. Your kids want time to make their own mistakes. Learning builds character and that’s the number one thing employers today are looking for.

  3. Another great way for teens to ear money in the summer is to blog or build a Youtube page. The could even create a website. It would teach them necessary skills and give them experience running their own business. One of the biggest skills teens need is a spirit of self reliance.

  4. These are good solid suggestions. My son just turned 16, so these are all potentials for him.

    Blogging is a great suggestion, but maybe not a quick way to make bucks. Unless he already has an established blog. I’m referring to the comment above. But still a good way for experience in writing and networking.

    Currently my son gets to continue with apprenticeship in carpentry. Maybe it will be an opening wedge into that world.

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