33 of the Best Summer Jobs for Teens
It’s almost time for summer, which means it’s time to think about summer jobs. If you’re a teen looking for work — or if you’ve got a teen in your house who should be looking for work — here’s a list of 33 summer jobs for teens.
Teen summer jobs traditionally pay around minimum wage or a little bit more, so expect to earn anywhere between $2,000-$5,000 (pretax) for a summer’s worth of work, depending on the type of job you get and whether you work full- or part-time.
We’ve divided the jobs into categories to help you quickly find the type of job that might be most interesting to you. What will you do for work this summer? Here are the 33 best summer jobs for teens.
Sitting: Children, Houses, Pets and Plants
Babysitting is a classic teen job, but there are a lot more opportunities for teens to earn money by helping friends and neighbors care for kids, pets and even houses!
How to Get These Jobs: A lot of these jobs are filled through word of mouth; a friend of your parents might be going on a trip and needs someone to feed the cat. But be proactive! Put up flyers, put out the call on Facebook and make sure the adults you know are aware that you are ready and able to work.
As a babysitter, you’ll watch babies or children while their parents are away. Becoming a family’s regular sitter can often put a lot of money in your bank account, since many parents need full-time child care while their kids are out of school all summer.
One way to start is by being a mother’s helper; this is a good option for younger teens who can watch or play with children while a parent is in the home getting other work done. Care.com is one site where you can connect with people looking for babysitters nearby (keep in mind that as a teen under 18 you will need parental permission to register on the site).
Consider getting CPR training and taking a safe sitter course — parents may be inclined to pay you more when you have completed them. Both are available through the Red Cross. This Care.com calculator can estimate what you can expect to be paid for your services.
2. Pet Sitter
Watch and feed pets while the owners are away. This gig can last anywhere from a long weekend to a few weeks or more.
A Penny Hoarder analysis of U.S. Census Bureau microdata showed this side gig is on the rise, with the number of people classifying themselves as part-time nonfarm-animal caretakers increasing 82.4% between 2007 and 2017. One woman told us that she can earn about $200 to $300 in a weekend.
3. Dog Walker
Is pet-sitting too much of a commitment for you? You can still make money working with animals by walking dogs while families are at work or on vacation. You must love dogs — and be willing to scoop up their poop!
Dog walker pay rates vary, but you can comfortably ask for anywhere between $8-$16 an hour, based on Glassdoor.
4. Plant Sitter
It’s not a very high-paying gig, but every dollar counts! If you have a green thumb, you can water plants while owners are away. Instead of saying “I charge $10 an hour” for this one, expect that a family will offer you something like $25 to $50 for taking care of their plants over a period of time.
Making and Creating: Turn Your Talents Into Cash
If you can make something that’s beautiful or useful, you’ve got yourself a job opportunity. And be sure to read our guide to starting a freelance business for more info on pricing and making a profit.
How to get these summer jobs: You’re creating your own job, so the big hurdle here is promotion. Tell your friends and family, post your work to social media sites and continue to promote your efforts every day.
5. T-Shirt Designer
Have a knack for art and design? You can turn your ideas into T-shirts with print-on-demand services, which allow you to sell without owning a print shop. Some companies to check out include Merch by Amazon, Printful, Printify, Spreadshirt and Redbubble.
Make sure you have original ideas and don’t neglect your product descriptions. The amount of money you can make depends on the service you use, but one woman told us she typically makes between $2 and $3 per shirt on Spreadshirt.
6. Seamstress or Tailor
If you can make and alter clothes, you’ve got a skill you can monetize. Alter pants for friends and family, or sell original clothing items on Etsy or at flea markets and craft shows.
Tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers can make $16.50 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Make chairs, crafts, walking sticks or other wood items and sell them on Etsy or in person. Put up signs in your local area announcing your talent and seek out commissions.
The BLS indicates woodworkers make about $15.17 an hour.
Whether you take (and sell) stock photography, start a small business taking photos of weddings or babies, or even sell your iPhone photos, there are plenty of opportunities to make money with your camera.
Writing: A Penny — Or More — For Your Thoughts
You don’t have to be a novelist to get paid for your words. Here are other ways to make money with writing.
How to get these summer jobs: Follow submission guidelines for articles and blog posts. Apply for proofreading and transcription work directly, or tap into your networks to find paying gigs.
9. Article Writer
Plenty of markets offer opportunities for teens to pitch and sell articles, personal essays and other work to online magazines and websites. Visit the websites you read every day and look at their submission guidelines.
Payment options for freelance writing will vary depending on experience and the individual site’s payment model.
If you are skilled at quickly transcribing audio or decoding somebody’s handwriting, look for transcription jobs online. As a general transcriptionist, you will be asked to listen to audio files and type out what you hear.
In addition to a computer and high-speed internet connection, you may need a foot pedal to control the audio playback.
You can find work through companies, but you can also ask your parents to see if they know anyone who needs transcription done. One woman told us she has gotten paid up to $25 an hour as a transcriptionist.
Do you know when — and how — to use commas? Can you quickly identify misspelled words? Look for proofreading companies that hire teens, or find an adult who needs a big document proofread with a careful eye.
Payment varies widely and depends largely on experience.
Cleaning: Gather Your Disney Singing Birds and Get Ready to Scrub
It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it — and get paid for it.
How to get these summer jobs: Find out whether the business prefers in-person applications or online applications, and apply accordingly. As with many teen jobs, if you know someone who already works there, your application might get a little boost.
12. House Cleaner
Got a knack for getting dirt off surfaces? Look for house cleaning jobs in your area, or set out as a house-cleaning entrepreneur. The BLS indicates maids and housekeeping cleaners make about $11.84 an hour.
13. Pool Cleaner
Get the scum out of pools so people can enjoy their swims. Look for companies hiring pool cleaners, since you’ll need special training to handle the chemicals involved.
Although the BLS does not track pool cleaners specifically, Glassdoor salaries indicate that pool cleaners can make about $8-$12 an hour.
14. Car Washer
Offer to wash cars for your friends’ parents or other adults you know, or see if the local car wash is accepting applications. Glassdoor indicates you’ll make about $7 an hour with this gig.
15. Janitorial Work
Cleaning toilets may not sound like fun, but it’s a paying job. Workers can expect to make $12.55 per hour.
Teaching: Train Scholars, Earn Dollars
Tutoring and teaching younger children is another classic teen job. Whether you are a pianist or a pre-calc expert, there is a tutoring opportunity for you.
How to get these summer jobs: Some of these jobs, like swimming and riding instructor, require applications and interviews. Others, like piano teacher or art teacher, you can create yourself.
If you are putting out your shingle as the best oboe or algebra teacher in town, work on promoting yourself to people you know, putting up flyers in places where parents gather and making sure everyone on social media knows that you are ready to teach!
You can find tutoring opportunities in nearly every subject, from pre-algebra to French to conversational English. We’ve outlined several companies that hire online tutors, but check the requirements carefully to make sure you are not ineligible based on your age.
Older teens can help prep younger ones for the PSAT and the SAT. And if you’re musically inclined you can even teach kids about MIddle C, Every Good Boy Does Fine and other fundamentals. Find music teaching gigs on Wyzant.com.
Payment will vary, with companies paying anywhere from $9 to $25 per hour.
17. Athletic Coach
Do you have swimming skills? Help kids improve their butterfly strokes, or simply help them overcome their fear of putting their heads in the water.
Or maybe you’re practically a professional horseback rider? Start young children on a lifelong love of horses by working as a riding instructor. Visit your local swimming pool and local stables to ask about job opportunities.
Fitness trainers and instructors can expect to make about $19.15 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that number is probably pretty high for a teen in an informal gig. A swim coach can make about $9-$15 an hour based on location and experience, according to Glassdoor.
The Great Outdoors: With the Sun on Your Face and Dollars in Your Pocket
If you like spending your summer days outside, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the beautiful weather and earn money at the same time. Try one of these outdoor jobs:
How to get these summer jobs: Go online and look for application instructions. As we noted earlier, having a friend who works there can often help your application.
18. Lawn Maintenance and Landscaping
Mow grass, pull weeds and do whatever it takes to keep a lawn looking tidy. You can also plant bushes and plan gardens, if you know enough about plants or have the experience.
You can work with a professional landscaping company or you can create an entrepreneurial opportunity by talking to family friends, putting up flyers and advertising yourself. The BLS says landscaping and groundskeeping workers make about $14.28 an hour.
Wear a whistle and help kids practice water safety in and around swimming pools. CPR and lifeguard training are a must for this one, as you never know when a pool accident could happen.
20. Agricultural Work
Depending on what crops grow in your area, you might find all kinds of agriculture and harvesting opportunities. Consider picking apples (you might get to make or serve doughnuts and cider to orchard visitors) or even detasseling corn.
You can expect to make about $11.84 per hour, according to the BLS.
21. Construction Work
Look for construction jobs in your area that hire teens. Some types of construction jobs are only available to people over 18, but others are appropriate for younger teens.
22. Camp Counselor
Sing camp songs, teach crafts and become a kid’s hero for the summer. These kinds of jobs fill up far in advance, so if you missed the application period for this summer, put it on your to-do list for next year. One woman recommends finding a job through word of mouth, social media (think: park district websites and Facebook), Craigslist, your local YMCA, community organizations and churches.
The BLS classifies camp counselors as recreation workers as recreation workers who can lead games, arts and crafts, music and sports, among other activities. They make about $12.05 per hour.
23. National Park Worker
If you live near a national park, you might already be aware of the teen summer jobs available there. If not, visit the park’s website and look for job opportunities, or check out the National Park Service’s Pathways Program, which includes paid internships for high school students.
Working for the Man: Would You Like Fries With That?
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the following jobs are summer staples for teens.
How to get these summer jobs: Visit websites and look for application instructions, or walk into the stores, restaurants and movie theaters and ask about open positions. If someone hands you a paper application, be ready to fill it out right away; have your social security number memorized and carry copies of your resume — and a pen — with you.
Stock shelves, help customers find merchandise and ring them up at checkout. These jobs often come with a nice employee discount, so look for retail gigs at your favorite stores.
Retail workers make about $11.70 per hour, according to the BLS.
25. Food Service
Prepare food, serve food, ring up customers’ orders, bus dishes and clean up afterwards. Server jobs at nicer restaurants tend to come with the best tips; here’s how to give yourself the best chance of earning more tips no matter where you work.
Workers in this industry can make about $10.45 per hour, according to the BLS.
Answer phones, direct people’s calls and greet people when they enter the building. The receptionist is often the first person guests see or speak with when they contact a company, so you have to be ready to present yourself professionally at all times.
Receptionists typically earn about $14.01 an hour.
27. Movie Theater Worker
Take tickets, serve popcorn, clean popcorn off the floor and become very familiar with every summer blockbuster.
Wages will vary here, but according to Glassdoor, a movie theater ticket salesperson might earn $6 an hour, while a concessionist might make $11-$12 an hour, depending on location and company.
Reseller: Becoming a Retail Arbitrage Expert
“Retail arbitrage” is when someone buys an item and then resells it at a profit. Believe it or not, this is a perfectly legit way to make money.
How to get these summer jobs: Find something to resell and start selling!
28. Book Reseller
If you’ve already started college and have textbooks to sell, you can make good money reselling them to sites like BookScouter or Amazon Textbook Buyback. If you don’t have textbooks to sell, start scouring used bookstores or yard sales for volumes in good condition, and then sell them online at a profit.
Read our book reselling guide for tips on which books to resell, and which to leave on the shelf. You can make up to $750 a month just reselling books.
29. Clothing Reseller
Yes, you can resell clothes just like books and toys! Read our guide to consignment selling and then start cashing in on fashion. Also check out this list of six stores that buy used clothes and how to get the best cash offer. The amount of money you make will vary.
30. Gift Card Reseller
Here’s one you might not have thought of: buying discounted gift cards online and reselling them at face value. We’ve got both a guide for buying discounted gift cards and a guide for reselling gift cards for you. Again, how much you can make will vary.
31. Used Video Game Reseller
If you grew up on computers, you probably have a vast collection of video games at home. Read how one TPH staffer made over $100 by taking old games to GameStop.
32. Flea Market Worker
Want to sell in person? Get a table at a flea market and start selling used items, handmade crafts and other treasures. Read our flea market guide to get the most out of your wares.
Depending on the flea market rules, you might need to work with an adult — or someone over 18 — but that doesn’t mean you can’t share in the profits, which will vary.
33. Yard Sale Organizer
Plenty of families want to have summer yard sales, but balk at the hassle of setting everything up, pricing the items and managing the table for an entire weekend. Why not offer your services as a yard sale organizer? You guessed it: we’ve got a yard sale guide to get you started.
Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer focusing on personal finance and personal stories. Her work has appeared in The Billfold, The Toast, Yearbook Office, The Write Life and Boing Boing.
Sushil Cheema is an editor with The Penny Hoarder.