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40 Summer Jobs for Teens with Better Pay Than Ever

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 40 summer jobs for teens.

Teen jobs traditionally pay minimum wage or a little higher depending on the work and where you live. But the “great resignation” has sent many employers scrambling to find people, so there’s never been a better time for teens to find good-paying jobs.

We found that average hourly wages for typical teen jobs are up from 2020, in some cases significantly. Two examples: $17 per hour up from $14.38 for landscaping and groundskeeping workers and $14.22 per hour up from $11.84 for house cleaners. You can do the math.

40 Best Summer Jobs for Teens

What will you do for work this summer? Here are the 40 best summer jobs for teens. We’ve divided the jobs into categories to help you quickly find the type of job that might be most interesting to you.

Online: Technology, Marketing, Video Games

Entrepreneurial-minded teens can easily find online work. Most sites require a parent or guardian to give permission. Also, with these jobs, teens need their own bank account and access to high-speed internet.

1. Video Game Tester

Who better to play and test video games than the age group to which most of the games are marketed? Testing doesn’t pay much, but if teens are already playing video games, why not get paid at the same time?

2. Review Songs

Another no-brainer for teens: listen to music and get paid to write a review and offer a rating. Websites like playlistpush.com offer up to $12 per song and even younger teens can earn money for their feedback.

3. Test Apps and Products

Teens with an interest in social media and influencing can get some experience in the biz by working as a product tester. Sites like productreportcard.com and userfeel.com allow anyone over the age of 16 to earn money testing products or apps. The best part — all from home!

How to Get the Jobs

The challenge with these jobs is not qualifying or making a good impression, but staying on task and self-motivated. None of the online jobs will earn a teen large amounts of cash, but with some dedication, screen time can be made lucrative.

Care: 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 pets and even houses!

4. Babysitter

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.

Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

5. Pet Sitter

A gig watching and feeding pets while the owners are away can last anywhere from a long weekend to a few weeks or more.

Although pet sitting took a hit with pet owners working from home the last few years, now that people are back in the office, it is on the rise. According to the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, there are ways to enhance your pet care business in a post-pandemic world.  One woman told us that she can earn about $200 to $300 in a weekend.

6. 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 $14 and $17 an hour, based on Indeed.

7. 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 a fixed rate of something like $25 to $50 for taking care of their plants over a period of time.

8. Teach and Help Older Folks

Teens are digital natives and they can get paid to pass that knowledge on to older people. Similarly, retired folks might need a little extra help with projects that require youthful strength and agility, like moving furniture around the house, or retrieving items from the attic. Helping people in their homes requires vetting and trust, but this kind of job could be lucrative for a dependable teen.

How to Get the Jobs

Many 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 social media and make sure the adults you know are aware that you are ready and able to work.

Making and Creating: Turn Your Talents Into Cash

If you can make something that’s beautiful or useful, you’ve got yourself a money-making opportunity. And be sure to read our guide to starting a freelance business for more info on pricing and making a profit.

9. 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.

10. 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 $17.03 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

A woman sands down wooden chairs.
Getty Images

11. Woodworker

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 $17.65 an hour.

12. Photographer

Whether you take (and sell) stock photography, start a small business taking photos of weddings or babies, or even sell your travel photos, there are plenty of opportunities to make money with your camera.

A photographer can make $18.73 an hour, according to the BLS, but selling travel photos can bring in up to $100 per shot.

13. Graphic Designer

With websites like Fiverr, Upwork and Freelancer (age limits vary), you can turn your design skills into cash. If you know how to use Canva and enjoy creating visually appealing art for logos and social media, this is a great way to earn money over the summer.

How to Get the Jobs

You’re creating your own work, so the big hurdle here is promotion. Tell your friends and family, post your work to social media and continue to promote your efforts every day.

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.

14. 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.

This guide provides information on how you can start as a freelance writer, and this post includes platforms for freelance writers.

Payment options for freelance writing will vary depending on experience and the individual site’s payment model.

15. Transcriptionist

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 earned up to $25 an hour as a transcriptionist.

16. Proofreader

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.

17. Survey Taker

Websites like surveyjunkie.com pay you for your opinions. You’ll have to share information about your habits and likes and dislikes, but it’s confidential and teens 16 years or older can sign up. The payout for each survey is small, but it’s easy work to do from the comfort of home.

How to Get the 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.

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.

A teenager cleans dishes.
Getty Images

18. 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 that maids and housekeeping cleaners make about $14.22 an hour.

19. 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, Indeed salaries indicate that pool cleaners can make about $17 an hour.

20. 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. Indeed Glassdoor indicates that you’ll make about $13 an hour with this gig.

21. Janitorial Work

Cleaning toilets may not sound like fun, but it’s a paying job. Workers can expect to make $13.87 per hour.

How to Get the 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.

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.

22. Tutor

You can find tutoring opportunities in nearly every subject, from pre-algebra to French to conversational English. This post outlines several companies that hire 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.

23. Athletic Coach

Do you have swimming skills? Help kids improve their butterfly strokes or simply 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 $18 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 an average of$15 an hour based on location and experience, according to Indeed.

How to Get the 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! 

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:

A teenager mows a lawn.
Getty Images

24. 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 create an entrepreneurial opportunity by talking to family friends, putting up flyers and advertising yourself.

The BLS says that landscaping and groundskeeping workers make about $17 an hour.

25. Lifeguard

Wear a whistle and help kids practice water safety in and around swimming pools. CPR and lifeguard training are musts for this one, as you never know when a pool accident could happen. Lifeguards make about $13an hour, according to the BLS.

26. 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 $14.27 per hour, according to the BLS.

27. Construction Work

Look for contractors 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. The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health division has resources about safety. The BLS indicates that construction laborers and helpers can expect to make $18.04 an hour.

28. 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 who can lead games, arts and crafts, music and sports, among other activities. They make about $14.27 per hour.

29. National Park Worker

If you live near a national park, you might already be aware of the summer jobs available there. If not, visit the park’s website to look for job opportunities, or check out the National Park Service’s Pathways Program, which includes paid internships for high school students.

How to Get the Jobs

Go online and look for application instructions. As we noted earlier, having a friend who works there can often help your application.

Working for The Man: Would You Like Fries With That?

Love ’em or hate ’em, the following jobs are summer staples for teens. With nationwide worker shortages in hospitality, customer service, and the restaurant industry, teens can take advantage of higher pay than ever before and signing bonuses.

A teenage cashier smiles at the camera while standing behind the cashier counter.
Getty Images

30. Retail

Stock shelves, help customers find merchandise and ring up purchases. These jobs often come with a nice employee discount, so look for retail gigs at your favorite stores. Retail workers make about $14.03 per hour, according to the BLS.

31 Food Service

Prepare food, serve food, ring up customers’ orders, bus dishes and clean up afterward. Server jobs at nicer restaurants tend to come with the best tips, but 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 $12.50 per hour according to the BLS.

32. Receptionist

Answer phones, direct 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 $14.40 an hour.

33. 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 BLS, a movie theater ticket salesperson might earn $8 an hour, while a concessionist can make $11-$12 an hour, depending on location and company.

34. Library Assistant or Page

Libraries offer additional programming in the summer when kids are out of school, so they need seasonal workers to staff those programs. Teens interested in books, reading and helping people could make great library assistants. Pay per hour is between $12-$15 and some libraries welcome ages 15 and up.

How to Get the Jobs

Visit websites and look for application instructions, or walk into each place of business to 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.

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.

35. 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.

A woman uses her cell phone to photograph clothes she is selling online.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

36. 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 17 stores that buy used clothes and how to get the best cash offer. The amount of money you make will vary.

37. 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.

38. 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.

39. 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.

40. 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.

Make the Most of Your Summer Job Experience

Whatever you choose to do this summer, use it to start — or bulk up — a resume. Job experience builds important skills like time management and organization, and experience of any kind is better than none. No matter what career you choose or what you choose to study, a summer job as a teen is a great place to start.

Contributor Veronica Matthews writes on lifestyle topics from North Carolina. Reporting from former contributors Nicole Dieker and Steve Gillman is included in this report. 

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