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Summer Student Jobs

Help teens find a summer job.

Dog walking's a great summer job for entrepreneurial kids.

Joanne Posse

(page 1 of 2)

That first summer job is an important step toward independence. It’s how kids learn what’s expected of them in a professional environment, try out potential career paths and get a handle on budgeting money they’ve earned themselves, deciding whether they’ll spend it on movie nights with their besties or stash it away toward a big goal — an iPhone, a car, their college fund.

What Job Can I Get?

The National Fair Labor Standards Act stipulates the type of work teens can do depending on their age.

Age 13 or younger: May not work at a non-agricultural job and so must be entrepreneurial. Think about jobs in and around the neighborhood...
• Babysitting
• Dog walking
• Lawn care
• Tutor
Advertise your services door-to-door via flyer.

Age 14-15: May work in an office, restaurant, retail or other professional environment. Obtain working papers through the high school guidance office. Kids in this age range may work:
• 3 hours on a school day
• 8 hours on a non-school day
• 40 hours during a non-school week
• Hours between 7am and 9pm, June 1 through Labor Day

Age 16-17: There’s no limit on hours, but those under 18 can’t work in a job that the Labor Department deems “hazardous,” typically jobs entailing use of heavy machinery or vehicles.


For many teenagers, finding a summer job can be challenging. Seasonal jobs once dominated by young people — at fast food restaurants, say, or movie theaters — have been filled by older workers, casualties of the recent recessionary shakedown. In fact, data released by the U.S. Department of Labor in January 2014 show that the current national youth unemployment rate is more than triple that of the national unemployment rate, 20.2 percent to 6.7 percent. 

Summer job-search challenges

Seventeen-year-old Kaylee Horchack of New Jersey knows all too well how tough it is to find a summer job; she’s been looking for one since the beginning of March. “It is difficult to find summer work because most employers want employees who can be dedicated year-round,” she says. She’s also finding that there seem to be “more teens looking for jobs than there are job opportunities.” 

Fifteen-year-old Tiana Gibbs-Booker of Delaware agrees. Her job search, she says, has been “very difficult, because a lot of employers are not hiring young people with little or no experience.” Her prospects improved after she applied to the City of Wilmington’s Summer Youth Employment Program, a paid eight-week program that teaches teens 14 to 18 job-search skills (résumé writing, interview prep) before they’re placed in a variety of summer jobs.

Next page: The ideal teen employee and the minimum wage in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey

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