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Should High Schoolers Have Jobs? (10 Part-Time Jobs for High School Students)

How much can you legally work while in high school? The best part-time jobs for high schoolers who want to balance school and work.
Should High Schoolers Have Jobs?
Updated: September 14, 2023
Fact checked by  Peggy Gisler, Ed.SMarge Eberts, Ed.S
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If your child is a high school student and wants to earn their own money, they may want to get a part-time job. 

Before your teen starts job searching, it’s good to know the pros and cons of having your teen workwhile still in high school.

 It’s important to note that while taking on a part-time job is a great learning experience for your teen, as a parent you need to make sure that they aren’t trying to do too much. Self-care is important even in your high school years!

We have some great suggestions for jobs that are good for high schoolers who want to still prioritize things like school and friends while making some extra money.

Related: How to Start a Small Business as a Teen

Ask an Expert: What Are the Pros and Cons of Having a Part-Time Job in High School? 

Two former educators and educational authors, Peggy Gisler, Ed.S., and Marge Eberts, Ed.S, weigh in on the benefits and potential issues of having a teen take on a job while still in high school.

Q: Is it good to have a part-time job while still in high school? 


A: All the research done on high school students holding part-time jobs shows that it is usually a very productive experience. The benefits include learning how to handle responsibility, manage time, deal with adults, get a peek at the working world, and occupy time in a worthwhile activity. Busy teenagers do not usually get into trouble.

High school students who work begin to feel and act more adult. And if they are handling their job well and receive additional responsibilities, their self-esteem grows. 

In addition, being able to include a part-time job on a college or job application is definitely a plus. Students especially develop a positive orientation toward work if they begin working in their senior year instead of earlier.

All of the positives about having a part-time job have one big caveat. Students cannot usually be employed more than 20 hours per week or their grades begin to suffer, they do less homework, and they are more likely to drop out.

Not all students are capable of handling a part-time job during the school year. A job can interfere with essential study time or important extracurricular activities. 

If a student begins to have poorer grades or stay up too late after getting a job, it is time to either quit the job or cut back on the hours of employment. A job will also have limited benefit if students spend all their pay on personal luxuries rather than saving some amount for future goals.

Younger high school students usually need to obtain a work permit from their schools in order to be employed. The schools may have the right to revoke the permit if attendance or academic problems occur. State laws determine the hours in which students can be employed as well as the industries where they can work.

How Much Can a High School Student Legally Work?

Cheerful young girl employees in uniform holding fresh mandarines in grocery shop

There are child labor laws in place that vary from state to state. Since many high school students are minors, there are restrictions in place. 

A good example is New York. Students as young as 14 can get a job with a work permit for some extra money but can’t work more than 3 hours a day or 23 hours a week. 

Federal guidelines say that a teen under the age of 16 can’t work past 7 pm and are limited to 8 hours a day, 50 hours a week, 6 days a week when school is out. 

If over 16, they can work past 7 pm, depending on the state, and 10 hours a day, 50 hours a week between the last day of the school year and Labor Day.

How Can a High School Student Get a Job? 

It’s fairly simple. In the same way, you would look for a job as an adult, you would as a teenager. There are plenty of websites that have job posts for teens in your area. Most of them will list the criteria or experience needed for the job. 

Some higher-paying jobs will require a GED or high school diploma so be sure to reach out to the company you are interested in if that information isn’t available in the post.

What are the Best Part-Time Jobs for a High School Student?

Here are our top 10 choices for jobs for a high school student!

1. Babysitter

Many teenagers get into babysitting as a way to make some cash of their own. You may have a family member or a neighbor with young children who are looking for affordable childcare after school or on the weekends. Most of the time, these parents don’t require any previous work experience.

2. Pet Sitter

Teenage Girl Taking Her Dog for a Walk

Pet sitting is similar to babysitting. If your teenager has a pet of their own, they may be able to take on helping out someone in the community with theirs. This can include dog walking, check-in on a part, and providing clean water and food while their owner is out of town or busy with work, etc. It’s usually fairly flexible as well.

3. Lifeguard/Swim Instructor

This is a great option for a summer job. If your teen loves the summer sun and swimming, they can get certified as a lifeguard or work as a swim instructor at a local recreation center. Usually, there’s some sort of course on first aid as well to be sure they can handle any type of emergency. 

These jobs are great if they don’t want to work during the school year and want something to occupy their time during summer vacation.

4. Tutor

There are always students that need academic help, even in your teen’s high school. They check to see if they can create some flyers to post at school or get permission to post on social media to offer help to students that are struggling in an area that your child excels. Those kids can reach out to their parents to see if they are interested in hiring you for help!

5. Food Service

Any sort of fast food establishment like McDonald’s is open to hiring high school students part-time. As a team member, you will help in any areas of the restaurant that need it (drive-thru, food prep, cleaning, etc). These jobs typically pay minimum wage but offer after-school shifts and day shifts on the weekends and during breaks from school.

6. Retail Sales Associate

Just like food service, retail stores hire high school students for part-time positions. It’s another entry-level job that has minimum requirements such as good communication skills since a majority of the time you will be interacting with customers.

7. Camp Counselor

Teenage girl talking with group of children wearing life vest by lake.

Working at a camp is another great summer position. See if any of your local camps are looking for counselors. You can typically find open positions for everything from sleepaway camps to day camps. Most of the time, you can easily get hired back for another summer if you like the job and do well.

8. Car Wash Attendant

This is another simple entry-level job that sometimes hires high school students or even college students. It’s an easy position that may not pay a lot but it’s worth looking into during their job search since there’s usually a flexible schedule.

9. Lawn Care

Many high schoolers offer their lawn services during this spring and summer to members of their community. If yours already mows your lawn, they can see if any seniors or anyone else that lives nearby needs a hand with theirs. They can make flyers to put up around the neighborhood with their contact information and rates. It’s perfect for an easy weekend job.

10. Restaurant Crew Member

Sometimes restaurants hire part-time high school students. Positions available are most likely host/hostess, busser, or dishwasher. If your teen has any interest in hospitality, it would be a fine first job to get their foot in the door of an industry they are looking at for a career.

Tips for Balancing High School and a Part-Time Job

Here are some easy ways that your high schooler can balance going to high school and a part-time job.

  • Limit shifts during the school week. It can be difficult to balance school, homework, extracurriculars, and a job.
  • Find a job that only needs you on the weekends. This way you can focus on school during the week and get adequate rest.
  • Work during the summer. You can spend extra time earning money when school is out and not have to worry about your grades or school work.

Working part-time while in high school can be a very positive experience. It’s a great way to learn how to manage your time and responsibilities. It’s important to remember that as a student, your schooling always comes first.

Even teenagers need time to rest and recharge! Plan out a healthy schedule and prioritize the things in your life that are most important so you don’t get overwhelmed

Happy job hunting!

Don’t want your teen to blow that first paycheck? Get our Teen Budget Spreadsheet to teach your teenager how to be smart with their money. 

Stefanie Miller

About Stefanie

Stefanie is an experienced parenting writer and has published works in other publications… Read more

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