Though it’s essential to focus on school and friends when you’re in your teens, it’s also a good idea to start looking into potential job opportunities. Working as a young teen comes with some great benefits.
Work helps give you some financial independence from your parents or guardians. You’ll also meet new people, have unique experiences, gain new skills, and prepare for the future. The only issue is that not many places will hire teens as young as 14 or 15, even though you’re legally able to work at 14.
Still, if you want to work, it takes just a bit of research to find the places that are hiring.
Take a look below to find some of the top companies that will hire 14/15-year-olds and offer fair compensation in return.
Grocery Stores That Hire 14 and 15-Year-Olds
Grocery stores are the best place to start if you’re looking for your first-ever job. Many of them will offer entry-level positions to teens as young as 14, though whether your local stores will hire you at this age will depend on local laws.
As a 14 or 15-year-old, you won’t be able to get high-responsibility (or high-paying) positions at a grocery store. However, you could find employment as:
- Cashier – receiving cash, check, and card payments; issuing receipts and refunds; counting money; balancing the cash register.
- Grocery bagger – helping customers place their groceries in the bag and carrying bags to their vehicles.
- Curbie – packaging and transporting groceries from holding areas to customers’ cars.
- Stock clerk – organizing products throughout the store, keeping shelves stocked.
- Self-check-out associate – assisting customers using the self-service areas.
- Cleaner – keeping the store’s floors, shelves, windows, and other areas clean.
Though salaries will vary from one grocery store to another, you should expect to earn at least the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
It’s in your best interest to first check whether the grocery stores close to your home or school hire 14 and 15-year-olds. It will make it much easier for you to make it to work on time without spending hours on the commute.
If none of the small grocery stores in your area are hiring, check out the following larger options.
The minimum hiring age at Kroger is 14, though that may depend on the specific location. In most instances, they will hire a 14-year-old for positions such as grocery bagger or stock clerk, while teens 16 and older could find jobs as cashiers, bakers, floral assistants, and more.
On average, you could expect a salary of about $12 an hour at Kroger, though some locations will only meet the minimum wage requirements.
Safeway has over 900 locations across the US. So, in all likelihood, there will be one location in your vicinity.
Some Safeway stores will hire at 14, though others have a minimum age requirement of 16. You’ll have to check with the hiring manager in your area.
The most common positions for 14-year-olds at Safeway include bakery assistants, order pullers, cart attendants, and cashiers.
On average, Safeway pays its cart attendants, for instance, $13.24 an hour, while other positions could come with higher salaries. Of course, the precise salary will depend on the store you apply to.
Fareway could be an excellent option for teens in the Midwest. The chain has over 130 stores, and the only issue is that it doesn’t have a national presence. It only has stores in Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska.
If you happen to live near a Fareway store, you could find employment as a cashier or stock clerk.
On average, you can expect an hourly salary of $10.28 as a stocker and $10.49 as a cashier at Fareway.
Publix is one of the best-known grocery store chains in the US. Headquartered in Lakeland, it has over 1,100 stores across Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South and North Carolinas, Virginia, and Tennessee.
Most of the stores will hire teens who are 14 years old, but as always, you’ll have to check with the specific store you’d like to work in.
You could fill positions such as clerk, bagger, or cashier and expect an average hourly rate of up to $13.56.
5. Giant Food
If you’re located in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, or West Virginia, you could seek employment with Giant Food. Perhaps not the best-known grocery store chain, it still offers its employees a pleasant working environment and fair conditions.
Some entry-level positions you could fill at one of the Giant Food stores include bagger, stocker, bakery associate, and cashier.
Baggers at Giant Food earn an average of $7.99 per hour, while cashiers earn around $12.44.
6. King Soopers
King Soopers, owned by Kroger, has over 130 locations in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Being owned by Kroger, it has some of the same hiring criteria.
In some locations, you can find employment as soon as you hit 14. Some of the positions you’ll have available to you include sales clerk, cashier, and bagger.
Though the average salary for a clerk at King Soopers is around $14.69 per hour, they will likely offer only the minimum wage of $7.25 to a teen working their first job.
7. Stop & Shop
Stop & Shop is a grocery store chain with over 400 stores in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. If you’re in one of those states, you can seek employment there.
Most stores will only hire teens 16 and over, though some will offer jobs to those who are 15. You will have to visit the store in your area to check. Like other groceries mentioned in this list, Stop & Shop offers positions such as store clerk, bakery assistant, bagger, and similar to teens.
On average, employees can earn up to $12.98 an hour, though you shouldn’t expect more than $8 or $9 per hour when you first get started.
Restaurants and Fast-Food Establishments You Can Work in as a 14/15-Year Old
If grocery stores aren’t up your alley, you could find employment at some of your local restaurants.
Keep in mind, however, that working in a restaurant or a fast-food establishment is typically more stressful than working in a grocery store. On the other hand, it’s more dynamic, immersive, and educational. Plus, you can enjoy excellent tips from patrons, so it could prove to be just the thing you’re after.
Grocery stores, restaurants, and fast-food establishments won’t offer the top positions to young teens working their first job, so don’t expect to become a chef or a manager immediately.
Some of the positions you could get include:
- Dishwasher – cleaning cookware, dishes, and utensils, keeping the cooking areas clean.
- Busser – cleaning and setting the tables, wiping down surfaces.
- Cashier – receiving cash, check, and card payments, issuing receipts and refunds, counting money, and balancing the cash register.
- Barista – preparing and serving non-alcoholic drinks to customers.
- Host – greeting guests, handling reservations, leading guests to their tables, and informing them of the specials.
- Server – bringing the menu, offering recommendations, serving non-alcoholic drinks, taking orders, and processing payments.
- Assistant – cooking some foods, helping the chef, preparing the necessary ingredients.
Your salary will depend on the position you find and the restaurant you work for, but it will probably be close to the federal minimum. The good news is that you can usually collect decent tips if you work in a customer-facing position.
Here are some of the top restaurants and fast-food establishments that hire younger teens.
Arby’s is the third biggest fast-food franchise in the US, with over 3,300 locations. All their locations hire teens, but you must be at least 15 years old to apply.
Some of the most common positions filled by teens include cooking assistants, dishwashers, and counter clerks. You might be responsible for preparing food, cleaning, taking payments, and more.
Arby’s has a great training program for those with no experience, and you can also enjoy flexible working hours and meals at 50% off.
As a food service worker, you can expect a salary of around $10.20.
Wherever you’re located, you’re bound to have a McDonald’s in your vicinity: there are over 13,438 restaurants in this chain scattered throughout the US. And if you need a job, you can rest assured that McDonald’s is always hiring.
Most McDonald’s locations will hire 14-year-olds for jobs such as serving, cooking, and cleaning. If you stay with the restaurant for a while, you might even enjoy the benefits of its Archways to Opportunity program. The program is designed to support employees through a trade school or community college.
As part of the service crew, you could expect a salary of up to $10.98 an hour.
Baskin-Robbins, owned by Dunkin, is one of the largest ice cream chains in the US, with over 2300 locations. Most Baskin-Robbins locations will hire 14-year-olds with a work permit, though depending on your state, you might need to be at least 15 to find employment with the chain.
As a general rule of thumb, Baskin-Robbins has a pleasant, stress-free work environment. You can find employment as an ice cream scooper, cake decorator, server, or cashier.
You can expect a salary of up to $12.05 an hour and perks such as flexible working hours and a free ice cream scoop daily.
Chick-fil-A has over 2,600 restaurants all over the US, and it might be the perfect place to find employment as a 14-year-old.
Like most fast-food restaurants, Chick-fil-A will offer only entry-level jobs to teens, most commonly hiring them at the cash register or the drive-through.
As an employee at Chick-fil-A, you’ll enjoy several unique perks. For instance, you’ll never have to worry about working on Sundays, as all Chick-fil-A locations are closed then. If you stay with the restaurant through college, you’ll be happy to learn that it’s one of the few places that offer a tuition reimbursement program.
On average, you can expect a salary of around $12.12 per hour, but keep in mind that every location is independently operated, so your salary might differ.
5. California Pizza Kitchen
California Pizza Kitchen is smaller than some of the restaurants mentioned on this list, but if you happen to live near one, you could seek employment there if you’re 15 or older.
You can apply for positions such as host, server, dishwasher, and busser and expect a salary of around $13.06 per hour. When you first get started at California Pizza Kitchen, you’ll have to go through an employee training program.
At the restaurant, you can enjoy perks such as free meals and discounts, as well as flexible work hours.
Culver’s is one of the more popular chains in the Midwest, with around 900 locations across the states. Though most Culver’s locations will only hire those over the age of 16, some will accept job applications from 14-year-olds, so you’ll have to check with the restaurant in your vicinity.
As always, you can expect positions such as server, cashier, cleaner, dishwasher, and the like.
On average, you can expect a salary of up to $15.12 per hour, though that depends on your location and the responsibilities you take on.
Some of the perks of working at Culver’s include a comprehensive employee training program, flexible hours, and meals at 50% off.
7. Ben & Jerry’s
As a general rule of thumb, it’s much easier forking for an ice cream company than it is for a fast-food establishment. So, if you prefer a less dynamic and stressful environment, you might want to look for opportunities at Ben & Jerry’s.
Most locations will only hire teens 16 or older, though depending on your state and local laws, you might be able to start working with Ben & Jerry’s at 14.
You can find positions as an ice cream scooper, a server, or a member of the catering personnel.
On average, you can expect a salary of around $8.74 per hour.
Working in the food service industry isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. As previously mentioned, the working environment can be stressful. So, if you’re not up for it, you might want to look for employment opportunities at one of the numerous entertainment venues in your area.
Theaters, amusement parks, and the like can give you unique experiences, allowing you to see the other side of the industry and gain valuable skills along the way.
Take a look at the most popular entertainment venues hiring 14 and 15-year-olds.
The specific positions available to you will vary from one place to another. Still, you can expect to work jobs like these:
- Theater usher – answering customer questions, monitoring customer behaviors, enforcing theater rules, and cleaning.
- Parking lot attendant – cleaning sidewalks and driveways, selling parking tickets, and handling payments.
- Games attendant – interacting with guests, helping them understand how to play games and use machines, and awarding prizes.
- Server – handling food at the venue, serving customers, and processing payments.
- Concession stand worker – serving food and beverages, handling payments, and replenishing food at serving stations.
Though most entertainment venues, such as amusement parks, will only hire seasonal workers, you could still be able to find employment year-round, depending on your location.
The following are some of the most popular entertainment venues across the US. However, if you don’t have one in your vicinity, don’t be afraid to visit a local theater or amusement park to see whether they have any positions available.
1. Six Flags
Six Flags has 27 amusement and water parks across the US, and if you’re lucky enough to live near one, you could seek employment there.
14-year-olds can find employment as parking lot or game attendant, while those 15 and over can work as lifeguards, merchandise sellers, servers, or concession stand workers.
The salary will depend on your job, but you should expect to be paid around $10.25 per hour.
2. AMC Theaters
AMC Entertainment Holdings has around 600 theaters across the US, making it a great place to seek job opportunities.
Most locations will hire at 14, though depending on state laws, you might have to be at least 15 to get a job there.
You could work at AMC theaters as an usher, cashier, or concessionist, earning around $9.81 an hour.
3. Palace Entertainment
Palace Entertainment has amusement parks, zoos, waterparks, and more all around the world. Unfortunately, it only has 25 locations in the US, but if you live near one, you should try your luck there.
Some Palace Entertainment locations will hire 14-year-olds for jobs such as cashiers, parking lot attendants, and servers.
Most commonly, the positions will be only seasonally available, so it’s in your best interest to check for job openings at the beginning of summer.
Salary at Palace Entertainment varies by location and job description, but you should expect around $10.39 per hour.
Other Jobs You Can Do as a 14/15-Year-Old
Though it’s generally easier to find employment at a grocery store, restaurant, or entertainment venue as a younger teen, you could also pursue other opportunities independently.
Here are some of the most popular jobs you can do as a 14 or 15-year-old.
If you’re responsible, tidy, and great with children, you should consider babysitting. You can check whether your neighbors, friends, or family members need a babysitter, then offer your services.
Keep in mind, however, that babysitting is anything but easy. You’ll be responsible for feeding small children, maybe changing diapers, helping with homework, and more.
How much you can make as a babysitter can vary wildly from your location, the family you’re babysitting for, and more. On average, you can earn between $7 and $15 per hour.
2. Pet Sitting
If babysitting isn’t your thing, you could give pet sitting a try. Depending on the types of pets you’d need to take care of, your duties could include taking dogs on daily walks, filling their bowls with food and water, exercising them, picking up after them, changing cat litter, grooming animals, and more. Every pet owner will have different requirements.
Pet sitters usually earn from $8.69 an hour up, but it will depend on your personal agreement with the pet owner.
3. Cleaning/Yard Work
If you want to earn some extra cash, you can offer cleaning and yard work to your neighbors, friends, and family members. You shouldn’t do anything with machines or any physically demanding jobs, but you can offer to rake leaves, shovel snow out of the driveway, mow lawns, and more.
On average, adult yard workers can earn around $16.84 an hour, but you shouldn’t expect to receive so much since you’ll be limited in the type of cleaning/yard work you can do. More likely, you’ll receive around $7.25.
4. Golf Caddy
If you happen to live near a golf course, you should try and find employment as a golf caddy. Your responsibilities could include carrying golfer’s bags, attending to the flagstick, replacing divots, and more.
Depending on your location, you could earn between $15 and $30 an hour as a golf caddy.
Tutoring your peers or younger kids can be a great option if you have a field where you excel. You could help other students in your school with math, literature, English, chemistry, or other subjects. Of course, if you want to do that, you’ll need to have top grades in the subject you’re specializing in.
To find students you could tutor, you should ask some of your teachers or talk to others’ parents directly.
How much you can earn as a tutor varies from one student to another. On average, you can expect to be paid between $9.13 and $32.93 an hour.
If you have the skills and the interest, you could use art to earn some extra money. It doesn’t necessarily have to be paintings, portraits, or drawings. You could try your hand at knitting, designing custom-made jewelry, making customizable phone cases, hair accessories, clothing, and more.
You could try selling your designs directly to your friends and family members or even post your creations on social media and try to find buyers.
You won’t have a consistent or reliable salary as an artist since you’ll get to set your own prices, and the buyers can choose whether to accept them.
Labor Laws for 14 and 15-Year-Olds
If you want to find a job as a 14 or 15-year-old, you should be aware that there are some labor laws you (and the company that hires you) will need to follow.
Each state has its own specific rules. However, the following are the most common ones:
- You cannot work more than 18 hours a week while school is in session;
- You cannot work more than 40 hours a week when school is not in session;
- You cannot work more than 3 hours on a school day.
Furthermore, you cannot work any potentially hazardous jobs in factories and industrial environments or use heavy machinery.
Although the federal minimum wage for adults is $7.25, the youth minimum wage is $4.25 an hour, so some businesses may pay you as little as this.
Furthermore, you might have to obtain age and employment certification if you want to work. You can get them through your school or your state’s department of labor.
You’ll have limited employment opportunities if you’re 14 or 15 years old, but many places will still hire younger teens for entry-level positions. It’s in your best interest to visit your local businesses, ask around, and see whether there are any opportunities for you.
Regardless of the job you find, you need to know that you’ll have to fulfill many duties. You’ll need to be responsible, well-organized, and well-mannered if you want to succeed. That takes some effort, but the experience and having your own money make the effort worth it!
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