jobs for 16-year-olds

32 Most Suitable Jobs for 16-Year-Olds: Working Means Adulting

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If you’ve been having a difficult time finding jobs for 16-year-olds, you’ve come to the right place. Young people nowadays can have their pick of employers who will compensate them fairly for a job well done. You’ll just have to find the job that fits you the best.

So let’s start by making a list of the most suitable part- and full-time jobs for older high school students and go from there. After I present my favorites, I’ll take a moment to discuss child labor laws so that you know what you’re entitled to at work.

Top 32 Best Jobs for 16-Year-Olds

1. Cashier

If you’re interested in working in retail, becoming a cashier is a great way to show that you’re responsible.

As a cashier, you’re essentially the face of the business, whether you’re working at a clothing store, a supermarket, or a mom-and-pop shop. That means that you have to put your best foot forward with every customer you meet.

After some training, you’ll be able to ring up items and process payments like a pro. Better still, if you start at this position at 16, and continue working in retail, you’ll easily advance to managerial posts.

2. Stock Clerk

On the other hand, if you’d prefer to be able to walk around the store, you should consider applying for a supply clerk position.

Your main duties would involve checking the store shelves and notifying your manager as soon as a certain item runs out of stock. You’d also have a hand in keeping the supply room well organized so that you can easily fetch and restock the shelves.

Shelf-stocking is one of the most suitable jobs for 16-year-olds since they don’t have to be at the store during the whole workday. They can simply come in after school, check which items need to be restocked, and head home for the evening.

From grocery stores like Publix to brands like Adidas, American Eagle, and Barnes & Noble, many companies only hire people who are 16 or older. So if your sweet sixteen is coming up, your pool of options is about to expand significantly.

3. Host or Hostess

If you love making people feel at ease, you should look into getting a hosting job at one of the local restaurants. As a host or a hostess, you’ll stand near the entrance, greeting patrons as they walk in. You’ll also be the one to show them to their seats and give them their menus.

Hosts manage calls and handle reservations in more upscale locales as well. On particularly busy evenings, you might have to step in and help the rest of the staff too.

4. Waitstaff

After the host leads the customers to their tables, the servers take over.

The waitstaff should be able to make food recommendations to patrons if asked. After taking everyone’s orders, it’s their job to deliver the food and see to any additional requests. Furthermore, they’re the ones who handle payments.

Even though waitressing and bussing seem rather chaotic, these jobs are actually pretty organized. Servers usually have an area that covers a few tables, and they’re taught to remember or write down orders.

It should be noted that many service industry jobs for 16-year-olds are “tipped” jobs, which come with their own set of rules. A part of your pay will be variable. You may get to collect your share of the tips and the minimum wage for minors — which we’ll discuss later on. Alternatively, your employer may lower your hourly wages, presuming that the tips will make up for the loss.

5. Expeditor

If you’d like to experience a slightly more managerial position, being an expeditor is another restaurant job that might suit you. As the name suggests, you’d be there to expedite the food production process. Essentially, you’d be helping the restaurant run smoothly.

The expeditor is the link between the waitstaff and the kitchen staff. In some places, they’re also the person who takes completed meals and puts them on trays or into to-go bags, depending on where they’re needed.

6. Dishwasher

If you want to avoid the customer service part of working at a restaurant, you can always be a dishwasher. As far as jobs for 16-year-olds go, this one is pretty straightforward. You’ll just have to clean all the plates, utensils, glasses, and pans that come your way. It’s pretty simple, and since you’re only 16, it shouldn’t be too hard on your back.

7. Food Preparation Worker

Working as a food prep worker at a restaurant can entail many different things. You may have to peel and cut veggies, make various beverages, and help the chefs in whatever way you can.

However, this job can also involve assembling burgers or sandwiches and making smoothies at fast food joints or preparing coffee at your local Starbucks. These positions are available to 16-year-olds in McDonald’s, Wendy’s, KFC, Burger King, Taco Bell, and many similar establishments.

8. Ice Cream Scooper

On the other hand, if you’re considering customer service jobs, you might want to look into openings at local ice cream parlors. Once again, plenty of huge brands are willing to hire 16-year-olds — Ben & Jerry’s, Baskin-Robbins, and Cold Stone Creamery, among others.

But really, the best thing about being an ice cream scooper is the fact that your friends can hang out at your place of work. That’s what makes this one of the most enjoyable jobs for 16-year-olds I could imagine!

9. Delivery Driver

If you live in a state where the driving age is 16, you’ll also have plenty of driving jobs available to you. Mostly, though, you’ll be able to deliver pizza and takeout to residences in your area.

But loading, transporting, and delivering items isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing. You’ll also be responsible for taking the money back to your employer.

Even though you wouldn’t think delivery drivers would have to stay on their best behavior, that’s an integral part of the job. Although the pay ought to be pretty good, the real money is in the tips.

10. Movie Theater Usher, Ticket Seller, or Concession Counter Attendant

Now, I wanted to take a minute to discuss some of the most coveted jobs for 16-year-olds. Working at a movie theater comes with all sorts of perks, not the least of which is the chance to sit in on the movies when you get a moment to spare.

The following positions are open to high school students:

  • Ticket sellers at movie theaters and concert venues get to sit down and answer customer inquiries. Overall, it’s a pretty straightforward job.
  • Ushers walk around the theater, making sure that the audience knows where it’s headed and that everything is clean and safe. They’re also in charge of checking the tickets and closing the doors before the movie starts.
  • Concession counter attendants manage the snacks and let the concessions manager know when they need to restock their supplies.

Ultimately, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out your local theaters for job listings, especially if you’re a cinephile.

11. Amusement Park Entry Screener

Just like hosts at a restaurant, amusement park entry screeners exist to welcome, direct, and assist visitors, as well as to ensure the safety of everyone at the park. If you want to be an entry screener, though, you have to know a lot about the park, its history, and its attractions.

During your workday, you’ll be stationed somewhere with a lot of foot traffic, so you’ll be able to spot people who need your help. That means that you’ll be spending a lot of your time outdoors and in crowds. Basically, make sure to stock up on sunscreen and good cheer!

12. Amusement Park Ride Operator

If you don’t necessarily want to stand in the middle of the crowd but still wish to experience the perks of being an amusement park employee, you can try being a ride operator.

As a minor, you wouldn’t be expected to perform all of the duties of a certified specialist (such as inspecting the rides). However, you would still be able to operate the ride after receiving instructions from a more qualified person. Usually, young ride operators stick to getting the patrons settled into their seats and providing them with some basic safety instructions.

13. Veterinary or Kennel Assistant

If you’re thinking about becoming a veterinarian, getting some hands-on experience while you’re still in high school might help you make up your mind. As a veterinary assistant, you’ll have to assist the vet however you can.

Most of the time, you will help restrain the animals during examinations and procedures. Kennel assistants have to do many of the same things, except they also have to clean the animals’ cages.

Furthermore, they may have to feed, bathe, and exercise the more long-term residents of the animal clinic. They should also keep the kennel pristine by doing laundry and cleaning up the inevitable messes.

14. Dog-Sitter and Walker

On the other hand, if you’re not quite ready to commit to being a vet but still want a job that allows you to spend quality time with furry friends, you can be a dog-sitter or walker.

There’s no official position you’ll need to apply for if you want to become a dog walker. I recommend making flyers and peppering them all over the richest neighborhoods in your vicinity. Wealthy people are more likely to engage your services and tip you well.

In addition to making a flyer, you should also have a business page on Facebook, where the owners could see what you’re doing on your walks.

There are plenty of reasons dog walking is one of the best jobs for 16-year-olds. It gives you a sense of responsibility and builds empathy toward dogs, which can easily translate to the rest of your life. And on top of that, it lets you get in your daily exercise — there are no downsides!

15. Babysitter

If you think you’re ready to transition from taking care of animals to looking after humans, you can try your hand at babysitting.

You’ll have to advertise your services yourself, so posting flyers and making a Facebook page might be a good idea here, too. After all, you’ll be in charge of building your clientele and scheduling as many gigs as you think you can handle.

Usually, the kids’ parents will need you in the evenings, but sometimes, they might call you up on the weekends during the day as well. Most parents are likely to prepare extensive instructions for you to follow, which may include diaper changes, meal and snack prep, playtime, and naptime.

After a while, you’ll figure out the right routine for each of the kids you’re looking after. And who knows? You may decide to work in childcare later on in life, too.

16. Tutor

Alternatively, you can get paid to help out older children and classmates get good grades in subjects you’ve already mastered.

As a tutor, you’ll need to assess the level of mastery of each of your students and create a lesson plan that will get them to where they need to be. As for advertising your services, you’ll have to let your peers know about them, as well as their families.

Like some of the other jobs for 16-year-olds, this one may also help you decide on your future profession. If you discover that you really like teaching, you may pursue it later on in life!

17. Lifeguard

If you need a summer job, you can’t go wrong with the classic lifeguard position. According to the Department of Labor, 16-year-olds may be lifeguards as long as they’re only performing non-hazardous jobs. So after getting your certification from the American Red Cross, the world will be your oyster.

Just report in at your local pools, beaches, or water parks to see if there are any jobs for 16-year-olds available. As a minor, I expect you’ll only be able to enforce safety rules and perform first aid. I’m not sure if you’d even be allowed to rescue people, or if you’d just have to call for help. Still, telling people at school that you were a lifeguard over the summer is bound to score you some points.

18. Golf Course Caddy

Being a golf course caddy is another one of those perfectly acceptable weekend or summer jobs for 16-year-olds. Since most golf sessions take place in the morning and early afternoon, you won’t be able to do it during the week.

If you get this job, you’ll carry golf equipment and stay on your feet for most of the day. However, you’ll get to build your conversational skills as you chat with the golfers. And, if you get a job at a particularly prestigious country club, you can expect to receive some fantastic tips by the end of each day.

19. Yard Maintenance

If the idea of spending time outdoors appeals to you, you could start a yard maintenance business.

You wouldn’t be weeding gardens or anything like that — at least, that’s not the usual route teenagers take. Instead, you should let the people around your neighborhood know that you’d be willing to mow their lawns or shovel the snow off their driveway for a price.

20. Farm Worker

If you live in a farming community, you’ll have plenty of work opportunities throughout the summer and fall months. Depending on the kinds of crops you have in the vicinity, you may get to spend your free time picking fruit, pruning plants, or planting crops.

Usually, tasks like applying pesticides are reserved for adults. You probably won’t have to worry about inhaling potentially harmful substances.

21. Cleaning and Car Wash Jobs

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, I recommend taking on one of these classic jobs for 16-year-olds. I can’t promise that it’ll be pretty, but it’ll certainly teach you a thing or two about appreciating maintenance workers.

As a minor, you are allowed to work cleaning jobs, but you probably won’t be able to find many in your area. After all, most companies and private property owners employ their own cleaning staff or outsource it to maintenance companies.

However, minors can still clean swimming pools or even take on small janitorial roles in restaurants. And then, there’s the all-time classic, refreshing option of spending your summer working at a car wash.

22. Sell Crafts

There are several sales jobs you can do as a teenager, one of which involves selling your handmade pieces.

If you are a bit crafty, you shouldn’t hesitate to open up an online store or peddle it around your neighborhood. Even Instagram can be an invaluable marketing tool for your creations. And of course, Etsy is especially suited for handmade crafts.

Whether you’re making jewelry, pottery, embroidery, or something else altogether, you should definitely cash in on your hard work. At the very least, the extra money could pay for more supplies, which would allow you to spend even more time perfecting your craft.

23. Sell Items at Yard Sales and Flea Markets

Even if you don’t have any crafting skills, you can still earn some money by selling your old toys, clothes, jewelry, furniture, and kitchen sets. Putting on a yard sale would also allow you to hone your bargaining skills. And if you want to take your store to the next level, you can even create an online account on eBay and similar online marketplaces.

24. Reward Sites

If you want to make some extra cash without having to do actual work, there are a few ways to go about it.

For one, there are all sorts of reward sites that give you points for watching videos, downloading apps, playing games, and answering surveys. While most of them only grant memberships to adults, some also allow 16-year-olds to join.

After you have collected enough points, you can translate your riches into actual currency. PrizeRebel, Survey Junkie, Panelpolls, and Swagbucks all use that system.

Some of the sites, like InboxDollars, are entirely currency-based in the first place. So once you have more than $30, you can transfer your cash to your Visa if you have one. Overall, this is a great way to earn some money while you’re on your phone.

25. Graphic Designer or Illustrator

On the other hand, if you know your way around the Adobe Creative Suite, you can be a freelance graphic designer. After all, it’s never too early to start!

You might be asked to design a brand logo, tweak a photograph, or create illustrations in a certain style. If you’re already better than the competition, you can also set up an account on one of the many freelancing sites for artists.

26. Voiceover Artist

Still, if graphic design just isn’t your thing, freelancing sites also offer plenty of opportunities for voiceover artists. If you love creating distinct character voices, this may be the beginning of a lifelong profession for you!

You can apply to be the voiceover artist in commercials, cartoons, and all sorts of other things! Best of all, these gigs can pay quite nicely, even though they may be few and far between.

27. Dancer

If you’ve already put in hundreds of hours into becoming the best dancer you could be, you might as well turn that into your full-time gig. Well, if you’re only 16, you’ll have to make that a part-time or a weekend job.

So, where can you find dancing jobs for 16-year-olds? First and foremost, you should keep an eye out for casting calls that are looking for young dancers. You don’t even need prior experience to book most gigs. You just have to show the casting directors what you’ve got when you audition.

But even if there aren’t any television or theatrical casting calls, you may still be able to get a job helping out at a local dance studio. The money isn’t incredible, but I bet the experience is a great thing to have on your resume if you’re planning on pursuing dancing as a career.

28. Model

If you’re an aspiring model, you should make it a point to live in one of the fashion capitals of the world. Even if you can’t quite swing that, you ought to stick to cities that have a lot of model agencies. That will increase your chances of becoming a professional model — some of their scouts are bound to notice you.

On the other hand, if there aren’t any agencies around, you could still model casually. Try contacting some fashion designers and photographers, as well as artists’ studios. These entail wildly different kinds of modeling, but they all pay nicely.

29. Promoter

You may have some luck finding promoter jobs that specifically target younger audiences. Some companies are willing to pay people to post flyers around their schools and post about their events and products online. Basically, you’d get to pretend to be a social media influencer — without the pressure of maintaining relevance by continuously posting new content.

30. Social Media Influencer

And speaking of being a social media influencer, that’s one career you can start any time you like.

Granted, it might take a while for things to get to the level you need them to be before you can start making money. If brands do reach out to you wanting to sponsor your content, you’ll also have to think about it in terms of your personal brand before accepting. Still, if you do your research and put in the time, you should start earning money within a few months.

As an established influencer, you’d need to post across all platforms regularly. Initially, you’d also have to write and edit your content yourself.

Because of that, I don’t think that this job is as easy as it looks. At the very least, you will have to stay up to date on the newest trends in SEO.

Nevertheless, even though the fruits of your labor may not appear immediately, the effort you put in will pay off in one way or another. You may even decide to make social media strategy your future calling.

31. YouTuber

You can be a YouTuber without necessarily being a cross-platform influencer, just like you could have a successful Instagram profile without branching out. However, earning money off YouTube revenue alone can be challenging — which is why most YouTubers also get sponsorships.

If you have your heart set on becoming a YouTuber, just start posting videos about things that interest you. Conversely, if you’re only in it for the money, you can go for the kill and find out what would get you the most views quickly.

Neither of these two strategies is better than the other. Still, you might want to keep your long-term goals in mind if you’re planning on making a career out of YouTube.

32. Blogger or Online Reviewer

Blogging is one of the best jobs for 16-year-olds who are looking to develop their writing skills. Even better, it could grow into a full-fledged career later on if you play your cards well.

You can start by picking a niche you’d like to explore and the kind of blog you’d like to have. Review blogs are especially popular, with different bloggers expounding the features of different products. Alternatively, they may use their blog to present their thoughts on various TV shows, movies, and albums.

If you’re successful enough, you could set up AdSense or turn it all into an affiliate blog. And when you’re older, you’ll be able to use your experience with your blog on other projects.

While Looking for Suitable Jobs for 16-Year-Olds, Keep Child Labor Laws In Mind!

Before you get too excited about these jobs for 16-year-olds, you should learn the basics of child labor laws.

In the U.S., minors aren’t entitled to full worker’s rights. For example, employers are allowed to pay minors a minimum wage of $4.25 per hour for the first 90 days of their employment.

There are also limits to the kind of work minors can do. For instance:

  • They can’t legally work in manufacturing or mining
  • They are not allowed to work in establishments with an adult-only clientele either, like bars and casinos
  • Minors can only work for three hours per day on school nights
  • During weekends and breaks, they may work for up to eight hours
  • They may not work more than forty hours per week

A 16-year-old’s job must not interfere with their education, which is why they can’t work during school hours. And that leads me to my final point.

Strike a Good Work-Life Balance!

I’m all about teenagers finding productive ways to spend their time. Hopefully, one of these jobs for 16-year-olds will help you go out and grab life by the horns. Just don’t forget to study hard and have some fun while you’re at it!