How to make money as a 16-year-old? Check the jobs you can get at 16!
Whether you’re looking for your first job or your next one, you’ve landed on the right page. Several places hiring at 16, so you’re only a few steps away from getting a part-time, online or summer job. You still can’t do a lot of things and may need to follow some specific rules (detailed below), but you have more freedom than your 14- and 15-year-old friends. We’ve put together a list of some of the best jobs for 16-year-olds that will teach you essential skills and prepare you for the future. Your teenage jobs could serve as a springboard for the career you imagine for yourself. It’s time to take matters into your own hands and enjoy more independence from your parents or legal guardians, don’t you think?
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Part-time Jobs for 16-year-olds
You don’t have to drink coffee to become the barista of the month. Café shop jobs attract students because they promise flexible working hours and because anyone can learn how to use the coffee machine. Big chains such as Costa Coffee or Starbucks hire 16-year-olds at select locations. It’s worth popping by at your local coffee shop and ask the manager. Would you prefer to learn about coffee beans in an independent coffee shop? Visit your favorites in your neighborhood and find out if they’re hiring. Keep in mind that small businesses can’t offer such high-paying jobs to 16-year-olds—and others either.
2. Restaurant Worker
Many teenagers name fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s, Publix, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, KFC, Taco Bell, Ruby Tuesdays, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, Cracker Barrel or IHOP as their first workplace. They take on various tasks as kitchen assistants, cashiers, waiters, hosts, and even cleaners. These jobs don’t promise a slow pace with frequent breaks, so endurance is key. During your physically and mentally demanding shifts, you’ll learn a lot: how to communicate effectively, how to work more efficiently, how to organize tasks, and so on.
3. Stocker & Bagger
TJ Maxx, Walgreens, Target, Fareway and Walmart stores welcome thousands of people daily. They always need extra hands to stock up the shelves, display products in a pleasant and attractive way, unload some trucks, or help out customers with their bags at the checkout counter. Thanks to the variety of jobs, you won’t get bored so easily, but be physically prepared. You’ll stand and walk a lot in the store, and sometimes you need to lift weights as well. After you reach the legal age, you may sign up for companies such as Instacart and Shipt to earn extra income as a grocery shopper and deliverer.
4. Sales Associate
More and more people buy clothes online, but it’s still not the end of retail shops. As long as they exist, they need some workers to organize shelves and displays, deal with suppliers, and serve customers. After a few shifts completed, you’ll notice the expansion of your clothing vocabulary. Your communication skills will improve, too. In case you don’t have any idea of which stores hire in your town, go to the nearest shopping mall and ask the businesses there. Take some copies of your résumé with you!
5. Concession Stand Worker
AMC Theaters and Palace Entertainment hire teens to serve hot and cold food. If you want a more exciting job, seek employment at your local movie theater and/or amusement park. You need to handle pressure and stress well in a fast-paced environment if you want to excel at this job. There will be times when a long line of people will wait for you to give them a drink or a sandwich.
6. Bookstore Associate
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Do you love books and spend most of your free time reading books? Then head over to your local bookstores and look for a part-time job there. You won’t be paid for reading books but for arranging them, wrapping and unwrapping them, and recommending titles for customers to read. Of course, some will grab one of the best-selling novels, but not everyone. Bookstore associate jobs don’t require any experience, so you’ll learn everything on the job. Expect a huge crowd in the shop before Christmas; books sell well during the holiday season.
7. Library Assistant
If you want to work with books but in a calmer environment, get a library assistant job. You probably know the personnel in your school or local public library quite well by now. Ask them if they need anyone to sort books, update databases or answer the visitors’ questions. If you dream of pursuing a career as an archivist later on, this job will help you to get there. Keep in mind that some libraries shut down for summer.
Tutoring jobs are not jobs for 16-year-olds with no experience. You must be a good and diligent student to get hired as a tutor. Some students struggle to keep up with the school work, and they need math, literature or English tutors to pass their tests. Be the one who assists them after school! Where to find students? Promote your services in school, join your school’s tutoring program, or ask people in your social circle.
Humans learn new things every day unconsciously. Some people decide to gain new skills to advance their career or change their career path. Others reach out to teachers to pursue a new hobby or passion. Don’t think that a 16-year-old person can’t teach adults! If you’ve got the right skills, someone will happily attend your lessons or watch your design or language courses shared on Udemy. You need your parent’s or legal guardian’s permission to sign up.
10. Daycare Assistant
Even kindergarten teachers and daycare assistants can utilize their beautiful singing voice and musical talent to entertain groups. Looking after toddlers requires stamina but offers great rewards. This position is suitable for those with some experience (taking care of siblings, babysitting the neighbors’ kids, etc.) and/or a CPR/First Aid certificate. Not all daycare centers hire teenagers to assist with children, but they could connect you with babysitting jobs for 16-year-olds in your area. After all, they meet a lot of parents every day!
Personal contacts and word-of-mouth referrals improve everybody’s chances to land a job. This is how life works. But you’ll find a lot of babysitting jobs online. Sitter.com displays jobs hiring 16-year-olds. Always read the advertisement carefully to make sure you meet the criteria, consider your qualifications, level of experience, preferences, and availability. Maybe the parents want someone older, someone with a car, or someone who speaks more languages. Babysitters sometimes do some light household chores, too.
12. Pet Sitter
If kids frighten you, you won’t mention babysitting among the good jobs for 16-year-olds, for sure. And that’s fine. What about pet sitter jobs? Sure, it means you have to scoop poop but also to play with cute puppies and kittens. Start your job search in your extended family and social circle, and take a look at PetSitter.com, too. Teenagers as young as 13 can join the platform and offer their services to pet parents.
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13. House Sitter
Do your relatives travel a lot because of work? What happens to the pets then? Or who collects the mail? Offer them your help as a house sitter! If your parents worry about you spending the night somewhere without supervision, ask them to join you. Show them how responsible you are. You could also use this time to bond with them. And when they leave for work, they’ll know whom to call!
Where can this lead you?
After the celebration of your 18th birthday, you’re free to build a profile on HouseSitter.com and explore new places in your city or country. House sitter jobs have gained popularity among digital nomads and freelancers. They don’t pay for accommodation and finance themselves by completing tasks remotely and/or on a project basis.
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Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Do you feel comfortable in front of a camera or on stage? Give acting a shot! Not every movie, TV show or commercial cast children, but many. You might have watched The Middle, Modern Family, Black-ish, Stranger Things, etc. And several big stars started on a Disney Channel show. Acting definitely lands on the list of high-paying jobs for 16-year-olds, but it all depends on what kind of gig you’ll be hired for. Actors face lots of challenges and rejections, so just hang in there. Until your big break, set up a profile on Fiverr and offer voice-over services.
Are you a member of your school or church choir? Are you interested in roles where you can showcase your vocal range? Browse job opportunities to find open calls for musicals, films, plays, etc. Expect huge competition whenever you audition for something. While waiting for your big moment, why not form a band with your best friends and perform at weddings, office parties, school events, etc. or sell your songs on Fiverr. In the early 2000s, Myspace launched the career of musicians, such as Lily Allen, Kate Nash, Arctic Monkeys, and Panic! at the Disco. Today’s emerging artists upload their songs to SoundCloud or YouTube.
Not all kids attend schools where music is added to the curriculum. And not all parents can afford to hire a private music teacher for their children. Even if you don’t plan to apply to a conservatory, you should not shy away from looking for jobs as a musician—maybe with a band. In addition to live performances, sharing your music on YouTube or SoundCloud sounds like a great idea. Who knows, maybe your favorite artists will review your cover of their songs for Glamour! In case your gem is electronic music, we recommend you to get familiar with Ableton Live, Serato DJ FX Pack, Virtual Dj Broadcaster Dsa, and some free DJ programs. Then again, experience with selling your pieces on Fiverr.
Online Jobs for 16-year-olds
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17. Twitch Streamer
You spend all your pocket money on purchasing game controllers, memory cards, audio and video cables, monitors, etc. While Twitch doesn’t display jobs hiring 16-year-olds, it welcomes individuals as young as 13 to sign up and launch their streamer career. While some gamers still favor YouTube (and its Partner Program), Twitch has attracted millions of gamers since its launch. An average full-time gamer makes around $3,000-$5,000 per month. Would you rather avoid the public eye? Reach out to video game developers and offer your services as a tester. Playing video games is a lucrative way of earning money in the 21st century.
Many companies hire influencer marketing specialists to establish relationships with people who have a strong online presence. If you have built a solid following online by vlogging or blogging (about fashion, films, music, lifestyle, etc.), brands will categorize you as an influencer. In addition to your earnings as a popular content creator, you can boost your income working with brands of your choice. Authenticity pays nowadays, so accepting the right offers will play a significant role in your success.
What to do until gaining thousands of followers?
To find out whether or not this is a job for you, sign up for MNFST and see how it goes. You don’t need hundreds of followers to join the platform and start sharing videos about your beloved brands or causes dear to you. And, with affiliate programs, you have the opportunity to create a passive income stream. Always check the age limits!
19. Online Survey Taker
When you turn 16, you’ll become eligible to register on online portals conducting market research. In most cases, minors need their parent’s or legal guardian’s consent, though. Survey Junkie, MOBROG, LifePoints, Opinion Outpost, iSurveyWorld, Branded Surveys and other companies are constantly looking for people who would love to share their opinion on products and services. Similar to other online jobs, survey taking jobs offer flexibility: no fixed location or working hours. These jobs don’t pay a lot, so you should not consider them as high-paying jobs for 16-year-olds: responding to online surveys will help you buy a gift or some tickets more easily but won’t make you a millionaire.
20. Virtual Assistant
CEOs and many management executives rely on their assistants in their daily lives. Their tasks usually include planning schedules, booking flights and hotels, accepting phone calls, sending messages, working on databases, transcribing minutes, translating shorter texts, etc. It involves lots of responsibilities as you can see. Nowadays not all assistants have a 9-to-5 job in an office. Many small and large business owners (even podcasters) hire virtual assistants who work remotely. With good organizational and communication skills, building a reputation on Fancy Hands will go smoothly. Speaking another language than English will help you secure more international clients.
As someone who needs to transcribe lots of interviews, I can tell you that it’s hard work. It requires patience and attention to detail, and sometimes you need to know some jargon and slang words. While machine learning and AI have contributed to the development of a lot of transcription software, not everyone can afford to purchase one. Therefore, many journalists and other freelancers hire transcribers regularly—mostly on a project basis. Do you have a flair for accents and type fast? You’ve got great chances to find transcribing jobs hiring 16-year-olds with no experience. Look for clients on Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and/or freelance groups on social networking sites.
Where can this lead you?
People with excellent language skills end up working as (certified) interpreters and translators, who either go freelance or work in-house at translation and interpreting agencies. These jobs pay well and provide you with the opportunity of constant learning. If technical texts and conferences don’t interest you, why not specialize in translating subtitles for Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services?
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22. Content Creator
We all consume some kind of content. Written and audiovisual content surrounds us wherever we go—both online and offline. We can’t escape them. Books, TV shows, movies, podcasts, blogs, vlogs, and several other types of content are produced by millions of creatives worldwide. They label themselves as product designers, graphic designers, illustrators, type designers, bloggers, writers, journalists, photographers, dronographers, and many more. Age and experience don’t matter so much in the case of entry creative jobs. Go to Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and similar online sites and browse creative jobs for free.
Where can this lead you?
Visual jobs don’t know borders or recognize language barriers. Graphic designers, illustrators, photographers or film professionals move easily between countries and work with a bunch of different clients from all over the world. Your passion for words coupled with strong English language skills and/or foreign language skills can also guarantee you writing jobs worldwide. Some companies hire native English speakers exclusively.
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23. Web Developer
With all the tools out there, almost anyone can learn a programming language and get a job as a developer. Do you have a class in school perhaps? Don’t miss any lessons! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growing popularity of mobile devices and e-commerce will increase the demand for web developers even more. Start by selling your services on Fiverr and Freelancer.com, and then decide where to go once you graduate high school.
Where can this lead you?
Whether you later opt for a freelance and in-house developer job, it’s up to you. If remote opportunities excite you, we have some news for you. As a result of the current coronavirus crisis, some companies have announced that they will allow their employees to work remotely forever. This trend is predicted to continue.
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24. Online Seller
Those caring for the planet and its population have started to change their lifestyles, looking for more sustainable and respectful ways of living. What do they do? They purchase ethically made, environmentally friendly, and/or second-hand products. Sell your handmade or vintage items on Etsy to them. As a minor, you need your parents’ permission and your account should be supervised by them or your legal guardian. Why would you wait for companies to publish high-paying jobs for 16-year-olds if you can set up your own business and earn the money you want? You price all your products.
Where can this lead you?
The products made become part of your portfolio that can come in handy when applying to art schools, for example. However, not all artists have polished their crafts in an art institution. Art curators and art directors searching for talents visit online selling portals and portfolio sites (Pinterest, Dribbble, Behance.net, DeviantArt, Cargo Collective, etc.), too. They may stumble upon your work on one of them.
Look for online selling opportunities here!
Summer jobs for 16-year-olds
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25. Ice Cream Server
You might have been working as such for some time now as some Baskin-Robbins and Six Flags are places hiring at 16. In some states, ice cream servers find jobs throughout the year. In other states, scooping ice cream qualifies as a perfect summer job for teenagers. You’ll serve ice cream to a large number of children and adults daily. Sometimes you will never stop; at other times, you will be counting the hours until the end of your shift. This job will equip you with the right mindset to do monotonous tasks in a fast-paced environment.
26. Pool Cleaner
Many homeowners in California and Florida don’t have the time to clean their pools. If you don’t mind chasing leaves and other floating objects while in the sun, try to get a job as a pool cleaner. Always wear appropriate clothing, including a hat, to protect your skin. With a handful of clients in your neighborhood, your pool cleaning business will thrive. Always check with your clients what equipment you need. Besides offering your services to individuals, you can contact companies operating swimming pools or water parks in your city. Our advice: Don’t seek a job like this if you can’t swim! It may not seem dangerous, but accidents can happen.
You probably won’t stumble upon gardening jobs hiring 16-year-olds with no experience. Nonetheless, it’s not impossible. The best way to land a job is to highlight what kind of tasks you can do: lawn mowing, leaf raking, emptying bins, planting trees and flowers, etc. Ask your neighbors and family members whether they need someone to look after their gardens. You will step up your game this way and gain enough confidence to apply for more difficult jobs. The U.S. Department of the Interior usually hires 16-year-old laborers to load/unload trucks, do some landscaping tasks, etc.
28. Agricultural jobs
Does someone in your family own a farm? Are you okay with traveling to another state to do some seasonal farm work? If you’ve got the stamina, search for agricultural jobs. You’re still not allowed to engage in hazardous activities, but there will be more jobs for you than for your 14- or 15-year-olds friends. Due to the nature of these jobs, you will do more morning shifts, starting at 4-5 a.m.
Where can this lead you?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase in the demand for agricultural engineers. If this interests you, find out which universities offer agricultural engineering programs in your state.
29. Camp Counselor
Due to COVID-19, probably the majority of summer camps have been canceled in 2020. This results in fewer on-site camp counselor jobs considered good jobs for 16-year-olds looking to work on their leadership skills. The Associated Recreation Council, the Dundee Township Park District, the YMCA of Southern Maine and many other organizations employ 16-year-olds to maintain order in their camps while creating an inclusive environment. Apply for summer camps in various states to get paid for exploring the country!
Excellent swimmers with good reaction time will find lifeguard positions without any problem. Outdoor and indoor pools challenge lifeguards differently, but vigilance plays a huge role in all locations. The general age requirement for a lifeguard is 16 or 17, sometimes 15; it varies by state. You must be able to swim 100 yards without resting and tread water for a minute or so, and be strong enough to bring people to the surface if necessary. If you haven’t done it yet, enroll yourself in a course to get a CPR, First Aid, and American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor or Basic Swim Instructor (BSI) certificate.
31. Swim Instructor
The Olympics have introduced many great athletes in swimming. Some of the greatest U.S. champions debuted when they were 16 or 17. Your résumé doesn’t have to include a section detailing your Olympics wins to find a swim instructor job. But you must provide proof of previous experience as a lifeguard or swim instructor, great swimming abilities, and submit a copy of your CPR, First Aid, and American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor or Basic Swim Instructor (BSI) certificate. If you’re passionate about swimming and teaching, swim instructor jobs will make your list of good jobs for 16-year-olds.
Labor laws for 16-year-olds in the U.S.
Photo by John-Mark
Once you turn 16, you have more freedom when it comes to working. You and your employer (or the places that hire at 16) don’t have to follow so many restrictions as if you were 14 or 15. However, you’re still considered a minor by law. This means the state has taken some action to regulate youth work, thus protecting you and your peers. There are some special rules and laws that apply in your case.
You can’t just do any job you want. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) clearly states that you can’t engage in nonagricultural jobs declared hazardous. Not even when you work at your parents’ company. Manufacturing or storing explosives, mining, logging and sawmilling, meat and poultry packing or processing are off-limits for you. You can’t be exposed to radioactive substances or do roofing either.
The FLSA has developed a set of rules and regulations for agricultural jobs, too. According to those, 16-year-olds may perform any type of farm job, including activities declared the Secretary of Labor. Nothing dangerous, though. You may need to apply for an employment certificate.
16-year-olds & working hours
As a 16-year-old, you don’t have to count your hours so carefully. The FLSA doesn’t mention any restrictions applicable for the hours you are allowed to work—agricultural and nonagricultural jobs included. However, your hours are regulated if you live in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico.
Here come some states where the permitted working hours differ:
- Arkansas: You can work a maximum of 10 hours per day, 56 hours per week and 6 days a week. You are not allowed to work between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. before school days.
- California: You can work 8 hours on non-school days and 4 hours on school days, and 48 hours weekly. (A school day here means that you need to be in school at least 4 hours. If you’re a sports attendant, it’s 5 hours per day. If you study part-time, you can work during regular school hours but your work must not interfere with your studies. You may do evening shifts, but you cannot work between 10 p.m. (12:30 a.m. before a non-school day) and 5 a.m.
- Colorado: You can work 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. No restrictions regarding night shifts.
- Florida: You may work 8 hours a day, 30 hours a week and 6 days a week during the school year. No work is allowed between 11 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. before a school day.
- Kentucky: If you attend school, you can work 6 hours a day (8 on Saturdays and Sundays) and 30 hours a week. With parental permission and at least a 2.0 school grade point average, you may work 40 hours during the week. You are not allowed to work between 10:30 p.m. (1 a.m. Friday and Saturday) and 6 a.m. when school in session.
- New York: You may work 8 hours a day, 48 hours a week and 6 days a week. It’s 4 hours per day before school days and 8 hours per day on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday or holidays. You can’t work more than 28 hours per week, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. when school is in session and between midnight and 6 a.m. when school is not in session. However, you may do work until midnight before school days with written permission from both the parents and the school and before a non-school day with written parental consent.
- Tennessee: The law doesn’t say anything about the number of hours worked during the day, week or month. But you’re not allowed to work from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday before school days. With parental permission, you may do a night shift up to 3 nights a week.
Is your state not listed? Do you need help to find information about its child labor laws?
In the search engine of your choice write the following: “the name of your state” + “child labor laws”. Then check the results. The official website of your state or one of its departments must come up on the first page. A parent or another adult could also help.
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, but wages may vary by state, region, or city. So you may earn more or less than this depending on where you live or currently based. If you read the news or follow a bunch of people on Twitter, you must have heard about the movement Fight for $15. The members have been advocating for raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. In some states or cities, it has already become a reality.
As you’re under 20, your employer is required to pay $4.25 per hour during your first 90 consecutive days of employment. Tipped employees must earn $2.13 per hour in cash that combined with the tip has to reach the minimum wage. If this is not the case, the employer must make up the difference. Certain full-time students, student learners, apprentices and workers with disabilities may earn less than the minimum wage.
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Even if you’re not 18 yet, you can enter the workforce and start earning money. Plenty of job opportunities await you in fast-food restaurants, supermarkets, cafés, grocery stores, retail shops, amusement parks, and movie theaters. Most of the part-time, online and summer jobs listed above don’t require any previous work experience; some of the places hiring at 16 train all their employees. What’s more, student jobs lay the foundation for future high-paying jobs. Before embarking on a path, read up on the rules and regulations regarding child labor in your state. Use your knowledge when negotiating your salary with your employers. With the money earned, you’ll have some cash flow your way to buy that Spotify or Netflix subscription or pay for your new smartphone that will take the best Insta pics or TikTok videos. Good luck with your job hunt! Be careful and stay safe!