Working as a teen: Best part-time jobs to gain skills you need in 2023

jobs for teens
Dog walking can be one of the best jobs for teens, especially if they are a dog lover. Source: Philip Fong/AFP

Parents may worry that part-time jobs for teens may distract their children from studying, but more students are eager to work even before graduation. 

In 2021, 23% of young people aged between 15 and 29 years in formal education were employed, while 3% were looking for a job and available to start working, according to data from Eurostat.

2018 HSBC survey also showed that university student working rates were high globally at 83%. In Malaysia, nine in 10 students work while studying because they need extra money (66%). 

It begs the question: why are students keen to work during their studies?

job for teens

Working part-time as a teen is a great way to learn new skills outside of uni. Source: Jam Sta Rosa/AFP

Part-time job for teens are a great way for them to get a feel of the workplace.

It teaches punctuality, reliability, responsibility and working as part of a team. 

Many jobs for teens are flexible, giving them the flexibility to create a schedule that aligns with their schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Apart from the typical part-time jobs such as being a barista, delivering pizzas, working in a restaurant, or serving at a fast-food chain, there are many other jobs for teens available.  

Each year, there is an increase in teenage and young adult employment between April and July as teenagers and recent graduates seek jobs.

Since teenagers typically have school commitments for most of the week, part-time jobs that offer weekend and evening shifts are considered ideal. These positions can serve as a good starting point for teenagers, as many of them require little to no prior experience.

Taking up these jobs as a teenager can help develop essential soft skills that will be valuable in college or future full-time positions. It also provides an opportunity to gain relevant work experience that can be included on a resume or college application.

Working during uni is a personal choice

If you’re a school sports team captain aiming for a scholarship, a part-time job might demand too much time and energy.

The same goes if you’re considering applying to a competitive university programme.

While there are certain advantages to working while in high school or at uni, research indicates that there are also drawbacks. For instance, teenagers who work longer hours may experience lower academic performance, leading to burnout.

Although having an after-school job has been a time-honoured tradition, the number of teenagers choosing to work has actually declined in recent years.

This decrease can be attributed to the challenges many teens face in finding employment. Others may choose not to work due to their already packed schedules of extracurricular activities and long study hours.

A job can also help you to explore potential career paths after high school too.

If you’re interested in a career in fashion, working in retail at your favourite store can provide more than just an opportunity to fold clothes; you’ll learn practical skills like styling mannequins and gain insights into trends, shopping habits, and personal styles.

In the words of Apple founder Steve Jobs, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

jobs for teens

Babysitting is one of the best jobs for teens that has been around for years. Source: Meg Oliphant/AFP

10 best part-time jobs for teens

1. Babysitter

One of the most common jobs for teens — especially girls, is babysitting. This is mainly because there is no minimum age requirement for this job.

As a babysitter, you will be responsible for looking after and tending to children while their parents are absent.

This job also allows flexibility as you are able to determine your own working hours.

You could even earn your certification in first-aid and CPR to increase your chances of securing a babysitting job.

If you aren’t a fan of children, however, this probably isn’t the job for you, as you may need to feed, bathe and entertain.

While the pay varies depending on the number of children and additional tasks, such as household chores and cooking, parents often provide good compensation. The average rate for babysitting in the US is about 19 US dollars per hour.

This job offers valuable skills that can be useful in the future, such as punctuality and responsibility.

jobs for teens

Working as a server is one of the best jobs for teens, as it pays well. Source: Olivier Douliery/AFP

2. Waiter

As a waiter, you will get a feel of what the industry is like as you help to set up, serve and clean up. 

You have two options when picking a job in this industry as a teen: work as a fast food attendant or be a server at a restaurant. 

Fast food workers are employed in the fast food industry to prepare and deliver food and drinks to customers. They can work at the counter, take orders from customers inside the establishment or at the drive-thru. 

The average pay for a teen fast food worker in the US is around US$15 per hour. 

They may be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of the dining area and restroom, which includes cleaning tables, floors, doors, and windows.

Working as a server is one of the highest-paid jobs for teens. In the US, you can earn about US$15.83 per hour from this role. 

Restaurant servers take note of customers’ orders and serve their meals accordingly. 

They also ensure customers have a satisfactory dining experience by delivering food, beverages, and condiments or fulfilling any additional requests.

3. Grocery store stocker

Grocery stocking might not be the most glamorous job, but it’s a job that requires attention to detail.

The role develops strong organisational and time management skills. Stockers are responsible for arranging and replenishing products on store shelves, ensuring items are neatly organised and easily accessible for customers.

Slowly, you’ll learn to pay attention towards small details and gain the ability to prioritise tasks efficiently, which are valuable skills.

Teens are frequently employed by grocery stores to fulfil roles such as stocking shelves and operating cash registers, or assisting customers with carrying out their groceries.

When working as a grocery store cashier, you will be stationed at a cash register, where they will scan customers’ items, bag the purchased products, handle payments, and provide change.

jobs for teens

Mowing lawns is one of the best jobs for teens that allows you to earn money while exercising. Source: Mike Theiler/AFP

4. Mowing lawns

Though not the easiest job, mowing lawns is one of the best jobs for teens. You can earn anywhere between US$10 to US$25, depending on the lawn size. 

Mowing lawns is a time-honoured job for teens. It is an excellent summer job for those who don’t mind putting in the hard work.

The best part is that you get a good workout while completing your job. The best way to get started is by knocking on your neighbour’s door and asking if they need any help.

Once you get the ball rolling, you could start your own lawn-mowing business and earn more. 

jobs for teens

Jake Gyllenhaal worked as a lifeguard before he found his passion for acting. Source: Jon Kopaloff/AFP

5. Lifeguard

Being a lifeguard is one of the best teen jobs out there.

As a lifeguard, you will work at pools, beaches or even aquatic centres. What could be better than spending your summer at the beach?

It does come with a lot of responsibility since you must ensure the safety of those swimming. Constantly being on the lookout and ever ready to save those who are drowning can be quite a challenge.

All lifeguards usually go through a special training programme to be certified. They will learn proper safety procedures such as first aid and CPR.

There’s also an age limit. In the US, you must be of the minimum age of 15 to become a lifeguard, according to the American Red Cross.

It can be a hassle, but it is worth it since you get to spend your days at the beach while earning some pocket money.

6. Retail sales associate

Many teens enjoy working within the retail industry — especially those interested in marketing, retail planning or fashion design.

Those working in retail earn a minimum wage of US$15 per hour.

The best part about working in this field, however, is that you will often receive an employee discount which adds up to quite a bit if you shop at the store often.

Those employed as retail sales associates operate within a store environment, where their tasks include welcoming customers, selling merchandise and customer addressing inquiries.

They also play a vital role in assisting customers with their requirements, facilitating product exchanges or returns, managing inventory and
maintaining a clean and appealing store appearance throughout the day.

It’s a job that is popular among celebrities too.

Halle Berry, for example, was working at the department store that she was named after, Halle’s Department Stores, before she found fame in acting.

7. Tutor

Do you love to teach and are strong in a particular subject? Try tutoring.

Tutors work directly with students to improve their understanding and proficiency in specific subjects. They frequently assist students facing difficulties in particular subjects, providing clearer explanations.

Tutors also support students in developing effective learning strategies by studying alongside them and simplifying their lessons.

Some parents, including those with younger children and some high school parents, opt to employ students as tutors for their children because it is a more affordable alternative compared to hiring a teacher or a professional tutor.

For teenagers considering a career in teaching, tutoring offers valuable opportunities to gain experience working with children, refine problem-solving skills, and cultivate patience.

If you don’t want to be your own boss, you could apply to work at a tutoring centre.

job for teens

Spend time with dogs all day when you choose one of the best jobs for teens — dog walking. Source: Cindy Ord/AFP

8. Dogwalker

Dog walking can be one of the best jobs for a teenager, especially if you’re a dog lover.

There’s no better way to spend your day than receiving endless snuggles while getting some exercise in and being paid.

As a dog walker, you are responsible for walking and caring for dogs while their owners are away. You will need to ensure the dogs receive enough exercise, are safely walked to and from their homes and receive enough food and water.

Dog walkers can charge between US$10 and US$35 per walk, depending on location, length of walk, and if it’s a group or solo dog.

Consider starting small. Start with dogs you know and build your business through word-of-mouth.

9. Barista

If you are a coffee connoisseur and find joy in the sound of frothing milk, a barista job might be a perfect fit for you.

However, being a quick learner and attentive listener is crucial in this job — especially when handling personalised orders, such as non-fat, double shot, half-sweet, no foam, and so on.

Imagine memorising a long, complicated order while maintaining a friendly demeanour in a high-pressure, fast-paced setting.

While many cafes and coffee shops are open to hiring teens with limited experience, having a food safety certificate can give your resume an edge.

It’s worth noting that most coffee chains require teens to be at least 16 years old, and the starting pay typically begins around US$13 per hour.

jobs for teens

Working as a library assistant will ensure you gain valuable skills. Source: Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP

10. Library assistant

Working as a library assistant offers many benefits. It provides valuable exposure to diverse literature and educational resources, fostering a love for reading and expanding their knowledge.

In this role, you’ll develop essential organisational and multitasking skills as they assist with cataloguing books, maintaining order on shelves, and managing check-in and check-out procedures.

Beyond this, you’ll work with visitors to help find books and check them out. You can expect to assist other librarians in taking inventory, shelving books, and digitising printed files or older documents.