Fifteen is a popular age for teenagers to get their first jobs.
By age 15, teens are becoming more responsible and seeking more independence. At the same time, they typically desire more costly items and experiences. And certain goals—a first vehicle or college savings, for instance—are starting to look much closer than they once did.
For all of these reasons, many teens start looking for their first job when they’re 15. However, not all jobs are appropriate for this age—and some types of jobs are outright illegal for them because they’re too young.
What, then, are the best jobs for 15-year-olds?
Today, we’ll review the many employment options that are excellent fits for this age group. This list will include in-person and online jobs alike, as well as year-round and summer-only gigs. Some of these jobs have set hours, while others are more flexible. We’ve also taken into account that teens have varying interests, and that some are more introverted than others.
Check out our full list below to see which job (or jobs!) are best for you—or the 15-year-old in your life.
Should a Teen Get a Job?
Like with many major life decisions, a teen getting a job has advantages and disadvantages alike.
On the one hand, teens who work a substantial amount of hours year-round might struggle to balance their job, coursework, extracurricular activities, and social life.
Fortunately, many jobs require only a few hours per week, while others are available only during the summer, when school isn’t in session. And jobs with flexible hours can fit into even the busiest of schedules.
An obvious significant benefit of teens getting a job is the extra spending money they earn. Not only do they get the satisfaction of being able to buy items their parents can’t or won’t purchase for them, but teens learn important savings habits as they try to build toward larger purchases, such as a first car or college. (Hands-on experience with money also teaches financial literacy.)
Other pros of getting a job? Some work experience can look good on college resumes and scholarship forms, not to mention employment resumes later on. And having a job can give a teen a sense of independence.
How Much Can a Teen Expect to Earn from a Job?
The amount of money a teen can expect to earn from a job varies substantially depending on numerous factors, including the nature of the job, state of residence, and how many hours the teen can spend working.
As a baseline, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. But many states pay considerably more—California’s minimum hourly wage is $15.50, Connecticut’s is $14, and the District of Columbia’s is $16.10. (You can check out your state’s minimum wage at the Department of Labor website.)
Many entry-level jobs are specifically targeted toward teens and only pay minimum wage. However, some jobs might pay more—for instance, tutoring and other jobs that require niche knowledge usually have a higher hourly rate. Jobs that earn tips can add up to more than minimum wage, too. And some teens even run their own online businesses and can set their own prices—though, ultimately, supply and demand will determine just how much they can successfully charge.
In some cases, teens can make money from casual tasks, such as taking online surveys. When translated into an hourly rate, they typically don’t pay out anything close to minimum wage. But these tasks are often extremely simple and can be performed virtually anytime.
Can 15-Year-Olds Legally Work at a Job?
In general, yes, 15-year-olds are legally allowed to have a job. However, there are state-by-state restrictions on the number of hours per day and day per week, time of day, and types of work allowed. The DoL explains the legal restrictions for each state.
Best Jobs for 15-Year-Olds: In-Person Jobs
Let’s start with in-person jobs, which are a great way for teens to get out of the house—and with some gigs, spend more time outside.
1. Food Service
Food service is one of the all-time classic first teen jobs, in large part because the industry provides so many jobs to younger teens.
The jobs range from cashiering and drive-thru service to busing tables to food preparation. Teens typically work these gigs for basic pay while they’re in high school. However, crew members who perform well usually find it easy to move up in the ranks—thus, a teen has the potential to gain a more impressive title and higher pay relatively quickly.
Many fast-food joints and restaurants offer free food or at least an employee discount, which can be a nice perk for teenagers who like the food where they work.
And we have to point out that working in food service builds empathy for other people who work in the industry—something that’s helpful to have whenever you’re on the other side of the counter (as a consumer).
2. Camp Counselor
Camps love to hire younger teens for camp counselor positions. That’s because teens can relate to young campers better than adults can, they have the necessary energy to keep up with kids, and they’re relatively inexpensive to employ.
Camp positions are ideal job opportunities for teens who want only a summer job, and want to spend some time outdoors, around other people. Most summer camps last between nine to 12 weeks and are almost always done before Labor Day. Some camps only operate during the day, though others require counselors to spend nights at the camp.
3. House Sitting
House sitting is another popular teen job, but just know that the responsibilities can vary greatly.
The biggest priority often is watching out for (and informing owners of) major events, like a pipe bursting or the house getting broken into. But additional responsibilities can include getting the mail, taking trash bins to the curb and back, and watering plants. House sitters might only need to visit the home for a few minutes every day, while others might be required to stay overnight.
Typically, 15-year-olds love this job because they can have a quiet space to themselves—and in many cases, they have access to the owners’ streaming services and food in the fridge or pantry.
4. Working at School
OK, many students don’t necessarily want to spend a minute more at school than they have to, but teens who do might consider asking their school guidance counselor if there are opportunities to work at school.
Working at the school is a great option for 15-year-olds because in some cases, they might not need any special transportation—they just take the bus like they normally would. Also, teens who work at their school could get excellent letters of recommendation for both college applications and future employment.
5. Cleaning Jobs
Teens might not enjoy cleaning their rooms, but they might be more enthused about cleaning when cash is involved.
Cleaning jobs can be an excellent fit for people who like solitary work. You can typically work while listening to music or podcasts on your headphones, you can dress more comfortably than for many other types of work, and the job tends to pay higher than minimum wage.
6. Washing Dishes
Washing dishes is a fast-paced, repetitive job. It’s work, and it’s not very fun.
However, dishwashers are almost always in high demand, making this an easy first job to secure. It’s also not a bad job for introverts—dishwashers typically stay in the back, avoiding the customer service interactions you might face as a waiter or host.
7. Yard Work
Yard work is an excellent fit for teens who want to get paid for working outside and getting exercise. Job responsibilities might include raking leaves, pulling weeds, or other tasks.
Yard work can be done through a local business that provides landscaping and/or lawn-care services. But sometimes, teens can just go and find their own clients—something that can allow the teen to create their own schedule and pick up exactly as much (or little) work as they want. Just understand that 15-year-olds are prohibited by law from using power-driven machinery, like power lawn mowers and trimmers.
8. Retail Jobs
Admittedly, the decline of malls is making retail jobs scarcer than they once were, but retail stores still offer plenty of job opportunities for teens.
Working in retail sales is an excellent way to improve one’s customer service skills. And if you work at a large chain store, you might have the opportunity to transfer to another location when you head off to college. And while many retail stores pay only minimum wage, they can also offer perks such as store discounts.
9. Work in the Family Business
We’ll be clear: Families shouldn’t force teenagers to work for them. But many teens actually are interested in learning the family business.
In addition to pay, working at the family business can be an enjoyable bonding experience. Moreover, if the teen enjoys the work and excels at it, it’s very likely that they’ll be promoted and, one day, they might even take the reins.
10. Working at Grocery Stores
Grocery stores frequently hire teens for a variety of job duties, including handling a cash register, bagging groceries, grabbing carts, and stocking shelves. At a larger, more full-service grocery store chain, there might be other tasks, such as bringing groceries outside to cars.
Grocery stores frequently have job openings, and they can typically offer some amount of flexibility with hours.
11. Washing Cars
Washing cars can be a very different experience depending on who you’re doing the work for.
If you work for a local car wash business, you’ll likely earn a minimum wage with the possibility for tips. You can also try washing cars at your house. If parents let their teen use the hose, then the teen will only need to buy some car soap and automotive drying towels to get started—though depending on where you live, business could be inconsistent and difficult to come by.
Interning is an excellent experience to put on resumes, college applications, and scholarship forms. They also give you experience and insights into a field where you might want to pursue a career when you’re older.
Also, some information is better learned not from books or classes, but from the real-life experience you get from interning. But perhaps the best perk of all? Internships frequently result in recommendations for other jobs down the line, and sometimes, they can lead to full-time employment with the company.
The only downside? Some internships are unpaid. So if you’re a teen looking to make money, always make sure to ask about the pay before accepting an internship.
You’ll find plenty of teens caddying—carrying golf bags for golfers—during the summertime.
A golf caddy gets to work outdoors and get exercise while getting paid, and depending on the course you work at, you could earn hefty tips.
Teens interested in golfing reap bigger rewards. Not only can you pick up tips to improve your game, but many times, you’re allowed to play on the course for free when it’s not busy and when you’re off the clock.
14. Filing and Other Office Work
When people think of how to make money as a teenager, they often first think of people-facing jobs. But filing and other office work can be an excellent choice for teenagers who want to work a little more behind the scenes.
Offices often have a lot of small tasks that need to get done, such as filing documents and shredding paper. Those are tasks that teens can get done with minimal supervision.
Age 15 is a big one if you’re interested in lifeguarding, as 15 is typically the minimum age you can be to start.
Lifeguarding keeps you in shape, and if you work at outside pools, you get to enjoy sunny weather. And the skills you learn from this job can be literally life-saving.
Also, with lifeguarding, you’ll usually find jobs during the summer, meaning this line of work shouldn’t interfere with your school schedule.
Best Jobs for 15-Year-Olds: Online
The biggest perk of most online jobs is that teens can create their own schedules, which makes it easier to balance work with school and other responsibilities. Let’s examine some of the most popular online jobs for teens.
16. Taking Surveys
Taking surveys for money isn’t a lucrative gig, but it’s easy and flexible. There’s no interview required. You can work from anywhere with an internet connection. And you can do surveys any time of day, so it’s easy to fit into a busy schedule.
This job won’t make you rich, but it’s a simple way to earn a little extra spending money—or in some cases, gift cards, which is a preferred method of payment for some survey sites.
Making money online through Swagbucks is simple. Swagbucks lets anyone age 13 and older earn Swagbucks points (SBs) by completing simple tasks—that includes taking surveys, yes, but also shopping online, playing video games, or even just doing web searches.
Users can redeem SBs for gift cards from popular retailers, such as Apple, Amazon, and Target; the website awards roughly 7,000 gift cards every day. However, if you just want cash, you can redeem points that way, too, and receive the money in a PayPal account. You’ll need your own bank account if you want to transfer this money for you to use.
Several companies offer bank accounts specifically designed for kids and even teen checking accounts with debit cards. Just the same, you might consider asking your parents if you can use their account.
17. Watching Ads for Money
Like with taking surveys, watching ads is another simple way to earn rewards online. You can easily watch these while laying in bed, or multitask by watching them while you do chores or work out.
One of the best places to earn points from watching video ads is MyPoints.
With MyPoints, you participate in activities such as online games/puzzles/trivia, taking surveys, even shopping on groceries, to earn points. In some cases, you’ll also earn points for trying out trial services from the likes of Disney+, HelloFresh, and AT&T.
Depending on the activity, you can earn points toward gift cards from the likes of Target, Starbucks, and Sephora; coupon codes; cash; or cash back on purchases. And MyPoints features a very low minimum withdrawal of just $3.
18. Watching Videos
Instead of ads, you can also watch online videos to earn money.
ySense is an online community that offers multiple earnings options, including taking paid surveys, testing new apps, signing up for websites, watching videos, and more.
ySense suggests completing the “daily checklist,” which includes a couple of surveys and a couple of offers; doing so can earn you up to 16% in bonuses. Cash rewards are paid out through PayPal, Payoneer, and Skrill.
19. Playing Games
Too good to be true? Nope! Several websites will indeed pay you to play games. Sometimes it’s because game companies want to test a product. And sometimes it’s because gamemakers want to boost their user and in-game ad statistics.
The money you earn through playing games won’t be substantial. But if you like to spend time playing games anyways, why not get paid for it, too?
Scrambly rewards you for playing games. Users test companies’ products on their phones with various in-game steps. In exchange for testing the apps and games, they get coins. These can be exchanged for gift cards or cash back to a PayPal account.
To earn rewards faster, people can also take surveys and invite friends. When you recruit friends, you get a commission on their lifetime earnings.
20. Creating Your Own Products/Selling Things on Etsy
Etsy is one of the most popular e-commerce marketplaces in the U.S., offering buyers a chance at finding one-of-a-kind items.
But don’t worry: If you want to make money on Etsy, you don’t have to just rely on physical items (think crocheted sweaters or woodwork, which would require you to spend money on expensive materials every time you get an order). You can also create digital products, such as E-printables. Not sure how to create or sell them online? You can take an Etsy E-Printables online course to learn how. (Editor’s note: In general, online courses are an excellent way to learn marketable skills.)
You can sign up for a free e-book, and then you’ll be allowed to apply for a course that costs $247 (though a $50-off coupon will be applied at checkout, making your cost $197).
Once you’ve learned how to create E-printables, you can set up an Etsy store and make money by selling them. Check out the course in the product box below to learn more.
21. Opening a Teen Investment Account
Everyone loves spending money, but if you save and invest your money as a teenager, you can grow that cash into much larger sums in the future. Sure, opening a teen investment account isn’t a quick way to make money, unlike the jobs above. But it’s still a worthwhile way to put some of your earnings to work so you can generate even more money over time.
A Fidelity Youth™ Account is an excellent place for your teen to make money through investments, and you can sign up online.
Fidelity Youth™ Account ($50 bonus for teens, $100 bonus for parents)
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: No account fees, no account minimum, no trading commissions*
- Platforms: Web, mobile app (Apple iOS, Android)
- Promotion: Teens get $501 on Fidelity® when they download the Fidelity Youth™ app and activate their Youth Account; parents get $100 when they fund a new account
Is your teen interested in jumpstarting their financial future? Do you want them to build smart money habits along the way?
Of course you do! Learning early about saving, spending and investing can pay off big when you start on the right foot. And one tool that can help your teen get that jump is the Fidelity Youth™ Account—an account owned by teens 13 to 17 that’s designed to help them start their money journey. They can start investing by buying most U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and Fidelity mutual funds for as little as $1!⁴
Your teen will also get a free debit card with no subscription fees, no account fees³, no minimum balances, and no domestic ATM fees⁵. And they can use this free debit card for teens to manage their cash and spend it whenever they need.
And as for building smart money habits? You and your teen can access your account through the Fidelity Youth™ app, which has a dedicated Learn tab packed with materials developed specifically to help teens develop good financial habits. Not only will Fidelity’s interactive lessons, videos, articles, tools, and calculators accelerate their learning—but for every level they complete, reward dollars will be deposited into their account to use however they want.
Controls parents want and need
A parent or guardian must have or open a brokerage account with Fidelity® to open a Fidelity Youth™ Account. For new Fidelity® customers, opening an account is easy, and there are no minimums and no account fees.
Parents and guardians have plenty of tools they can use to monitor their teen’s activity: They have online account access, can follow monthly statements and trade confirmations, and can view debit card transactions made in the account.
To make it even easier, you can set up alerts to notify you of trades, transactions, and cash management activity, keeping you firmly in the loop on actions your teen takes across the Fidelity Youth™ Account’s suite of products.
If your teen has an interest in learning about investing and taking their first steps toward building their financial journey, you should consider downloading the Fidelity Youth™ app and opening a Fidelity Youth™ Account. The account comes custom-built for their needs, which will help them become financially independent and start investing for their future.
Read more in our Fidelity Youth™ Account review.
22. Saving Money in a Bank Account
While teens should invest some of their money, most of what they earn should be saved in a traditional bank account. Bank accounts make it easy to both save and spend your money, and they’re the backbone of solid money management.
If you’d prefer to simply save some and spend some, a Chase First Banking℠ account is an excellent way to meet your needs.
Save and spend with Chase First Banking
- Price: Free (no fees)
Ready to teach your little ones about money, but not quite sure if you have the time, patience and expertise?
Chase First Banking℠ offers simple banking for both of you in one location: the Chase Mobile® App—for free. Manage all accounts with this mobile app and encounter no fees as well as find yourself able to withdraw money on 16,000 Chase ATMs around the country. The account is designed with kids 6-12 in mind, and available for ages 6-17.
At the heart of Chase First Banking℠ sits one of the best free debit cards for kids and teens that works anywhere Visa is accepted.
Need insight and oversight into your child’s spending and saving? You can set spend alerts and limits as well as specific locations all in your Chase Mobile® app.
Teach your kids to spend, save and earn — all from the Chase Mobile® app. Chase First Banking℠ helps parents teach teens and kids about money by giving parents the control they want and kids the freedom they need to learn.
To get started, you’ll first need to be a Chase customer with a qualifying Chase checking account.
- Chase Total Checking℠ also grants access to 16,000 Chase ATMs and more than 4,700 branches as well as a $200 sign up bonus when you set up direct deposit within 90 days of coupon enrollment. You can pay $0 in monthly fees, subject to meeting certain conditions*.
- Chase Secure Banking℠ offers the same Chase ATMs and branch locations as well as a $100 sign up bonus when you make stated qualifying activities and meet certain conditions.
Once you open a qualifying Chase Checking account, you may apply for a Chase First Banking℠ account for your child.
Read more in our Chase First Banking review.
23. Earning Cryptocurrency
Earn crypto with Step
- Available: Sign up here
- Price: Free (no monthly fees)
The free Step Visa Card is a unique “hybrid” secured credit card that’s tailor-made for kids and teens. It has the safety features of a debit card, but it functions like a Visa credit card—including the ability to build your child’s credit history.
Parents, who sponsor the card for their child, add money to this FDIC-insured account and can determine how their child can spend. Kids can use their card anywhere Visa is accepted, and even use it to withdraw cash within Step’s network of more than 30,000 ATMs.
Step’s credit card for teens features an “invest” function that allows children age 13 and older to buy and sell Bitcoin for a small transaction fee. They can also earn Bitcoin (or cash) rewards when they opt into offers from companies like Hulu, Chick-fil-A, CVS, and The New York Times. The app is not a pure crypto wallet, however—your kids currently can’t spend Bitcoin directly at vendors.
The Step Card also boasts a great savings tool. Any money up to $250,000 saved in a Savings Goal can generate 5% in annual interest (compounded and paid monthly) with a qualifying direct deposit*. And with Savings Roundup, small purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar figure; that extra money is put toward a savings goal. (Example: Your kid buys a cup of coffee for $2.75; Step rounds up to $3.00 and puts 25 cents toward a goal.)
One of the most unique and powerful features of the Step card is its ability to build your teen’s credit history. With this optional feature, Step will report the past two years’ worth of information—transactions, payment history, and more—to the credit bureaus when your child turns 18. That can greatly improve their chances of starting adult life with a better credit score, which can help lower the cost of things like student loans and auto insurance.
Read more in our Step review.
24. Becoming a Customer Service Representative
Online customer service representatives can chat with customers online or on the phone, depending on the company and role. The job typically involves answering questions about the business or product, though you might also have to do some problem solving and taking orders.
These types of online jobs for teens are excellent resume-builders. Good customer service skills are highly valued at many businesses, so working as a customer service representative can be an excellent stepping stone to another job.
This is a more conventional job that usually earns an hourly wage.
25. Online Tutoring
Online tutoring is an excellent way for teens to share their knowledge with others. Teens can help people learn about whichever subjects they feel most comfortable teaching. Tutoring can also reinforce topics you’ve learned, further cementing information into your memory.
Some tutors work with peers, while others work with younger children. Skilled tutors might decide to later create their own online courses.
With tutoring, you have a lot of control over what you’re paid and how often you work. It’s also a particularly useful job for any teen considering becoming a teacher later in life.
FAQs About Jobs for 15-Year-Olds
What is the federal minimum wage?
The federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 per hour. However, states can set their own minimum wage, and if it’s different from the federal wage, the employee is entitled to whichever wage is higher.
What is the minimum hiring age and does it vary by state?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is essential in ensuring fair workplace practices. It sets the national minimum age for employment at 14 years old and limits the number of hours you can work if you’re under age 16.
Each state has its own rules, too. But when state law and FLSA differ, whichever law is more protective of the minor applies.
There are some exceptions to these rules. For example, the minimum age for agriculture employment is only 12 years old. But even then, some states have more protective rules; for instance, in California, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Washington, and Wisconsin, a person must be 18 to perform agricultural work during the school day.
What is the minimum employment age for non-agricultural positions?
The federal minimum age for non-agricultural positions is 14 years old. But some exceptions apply—for instance, minors under age 14 can babysit or work for a family business in several states.
Are there child labor laws that apply to jobs for 15-year-olds?
Yes, there are limits to the type of jobs 15-year-olds can do, the number of hours they can work, and what times of day they can work. The limitations for agricultural work differ from those of most other jobs.
What types of restrictions do jobs for 15-year-olds carry under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)?
- Where you can work: According to the Department of Labor, 14- and 15-year-olds cannot have occupations that involve the following:
- Hazardous orders or most jobs involving construction, transportation, warehousing, communications, or public utilities
- Mining, processing, or anywhere where goods are manufactured or processed in meat coolers or freezers
- Operating power-driven machinery (except for office machines)
- Baking operations
- Youth peddling, door-to-door sales, sign waving
- Working on ladders, scaffolds, or their substitutes
- When you can work: At this age, you can only work outside of your school hours. Moreover, you can’t work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day for most of the year, except between June 1 and Labor Day, when you can work until 9 p.m.
- How long you can work: You can’t work more than three hours per day on a school day. You can’t work more than 18 hours per week during the school year. And you can’t work more than 40 hours per week when school is out.
But remember: Your state might have additional restrictions.
Are there different rules for jobs for 15-year-olds vs. jobs for older teens?
Yes. In general, 14- and 15-year-old workers have stricter employment rules than those for teens aged 16 and older.
How can you conduct a job search for jobs for 15-year-olds?
How a 15-year-old conducts a job search should depend on what type of work the teenager wants to do.
For example, teenagers who already know they want to work retail can reach out directly to their favorite stores to see if there are openings, or simply go in and apply at stores where they see a “help wanted” sign. Some teens hear about job opportunities from friends, and you can also find job postings in newspapers.
For online jobs, an internet search is a good place to get started, but you should thoroughly vet online jobs before proceeding.
Can 15-year-olds work during the school year or during school hours?
A 15-year-old can work during the school year, but not during school hours. During the school year, 15-year-olds can’t work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m., and they are limited to the number of hours they can work in a day and across a week.
Do jobs look good on a teen’s college application?
Yes, jobs look great on a teen’s college application. It can show initiative. If an employer is willing to write a letter of recommendation praising your work ethic, that will look good to admissions boards. And if the job is related to the subject you want to major in, that’s a bonus, too.
Just remember: Jobs are not a replacement for high grades and test scores. Teens should not sacrifice coursework for the sake of a job.
How do jobs for 15-year-olds pay their employees?
How you’re paid will vary. Most in-person jobs will pay you either through a physical check or direct deposit. Some jobs also pay cash tips. And some jobs pay entirely in cash (but depending on the type of job, this can be a warning sign, so always do extra research on any job that pays wholly in cash).
Most online jobs pay through direct deposit or PayPal. Some pay with gift cards instead of cash.
Do you need a bank account to work at a job as a teen?
Teenagers with jobs that pay through direct deposit need to have bank accounts. However, even if a teen isn’t required to have a bank account, it can be wise for them to open one. Bank accounts make money management easier. Savings and investment accounts can help teens grow their money.
What type of documentation does a teen need to work?
Teens typically need a document that proves their age and identity. Depending on how the work is paid for, the teen might also need to supply bank information or a PayPal-connected email. In some states, but not all, minors need a work permit.
Terms and Conditions for Fidelity Youth™ Account