Best Teenage Jobs: 15 Great Options for 16-Year-Olds

Want to make some extra cash a teen? You might want to consider these options.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Teenager Jobs

When it comes to a career, we all have to start somewhere. I vividly remember my first job, where I served coffee and cake to parents at a soft play center (surrounded by screaming children). Ah, memories.

If you’re looking for jobs for 16-year-olds (or even 15-year-olds), you might be wondering which are the best jobs to get you onto the path toward a career you love. Well, to give you some inspiration, we’ve compiled 15 of the best jobs for teens in the United States, from babysitter to freelance designer. We’ve got you covered!

1. Babysitter


What they do: Babysitters take care of babies and children while their parents are out at social events or work. They’re usually tasked with feeding the children, playing with them and putting them to bed.

How to become: To be a good babysitter, you need to be fun while being sensible and mature. You need to be able to set boundaries for the children while still entertaining them, so good communication skills are essential. Once you have a couple of clients, they’ll probably tell their friends, and you’ll get free advertising through word of mouth.

What they earn: $13.22 an hour

2. Barista


What they do: A barista grinds and serves coffee to patrons, usually in a coffee shop. In this role, you’re responsible for serving customers, handling cash and dealing with customer questions.

How to become: You’ll typically receive on-the-job training, where you’ll be taught everything you need to know, while you’ll also need excellent customer service skills.

What they earn: $12.49 an hour

3. Dishwasher


What they do: A dishwasher washes dishes, cutlery and glasses in a restaurant or café. Sometimes they’re also responsible for gathering the dirty dishes, too. While this isn’t the most glamourous job, it’s an easy way to make money in your teens.

How to become: You don’t need any qualifications to become a dishwasher. However, if you’re interested in becoming a chef, it’s a good place to start, as you’ll be able to learn by watching the pros and, eventually, you’ll be able to move up the career ladder.

What they earn: $13.15 an hour

4. Retail worker

Retail Worker

What they do: This role involves assisting customers, working the register and managing stock. The busiest time for retail is usually the weekend, so this is a job you can do while studying, too.

How to become: You’ll need to be great with people, as you’ll be surrounded by a lot of them. You’ll also need to be adaptable, as each shift you’ll be dealing with different customers and situations.

What they earn: $14.03 an hour

5. Tutor


What they do: A tutor is responsible for helping students with their studying and can be done either in person or online. Some tutors prefer covering a specific topic, like math, but if you’re confident with different topics, you can tutor in any area.

How to become: Ideally, to become a tutor, you need to have good grades and exceptional communication skills in order to explain topics to your students. You’ll also need access to a virtual conferencing tool, like Skype or Google Meet, so you can tutor students and share documents with them.

What they earn: $20.09 an hour

6. Dog walker

Dog Walker

What they do: A dog walker is responsible for walking dogs while their owners are at work or are otherwise engaged. You’ll be responsible for giving the pups some exercise, which includes picking up their mess!

How to become: You don’t need any previous experience, but you’ll need to be confident around dogs and need to be a big animal lover. As this is an active job, you’ll also need to be able to walk long distances.

What they earn: $15.16 an hour

7. Freelance writer

Freelance Writer

What they do: A freelance writer will write articles, essays and landing pages for different clients that cover a lot of different topics. You could be writing about fashion, gadgets or science; it really depends on the brief you’re given.

How to become: To become a writer, you’ll need to create some samples of your writing in an online portfolio to show prospective clients. You can look for writing opportunities on freelance websites like Upwork or Fiverr. This is a job you can do from anywhere, be it your sofa or a coffee shop.

What they earn: $33.42 an hour

8. Restaurant server

Restaurant Server

What they do: A restaurant server is responsible for taking food and drink orders and delivering them to customers at their tables. They usually take payments for meals, too.

How to become: To become a server, you need to be good with people and have good attention to detail. The last thing the customer wants is you bringing them the wrong order, so make sure you’re paying attention.

What they earn: $12.50 an hour

9. Survey taker

Survey Taker

What they do: A survey taker is paid by companies to take surveys. The surveys will cover different topics and there will be different ways to answer the questions, like multiple choice or rating scales.

How to become: To begin taking surveys, check out websites like Swagbucks or Survey Monkey, where you’ll earn money for each survey you complete. You can do this online and from the comfort of your home, but there aren’t many career prospects with this role.

What they earn: Varies

10. Daycare assistant

Daycare Assistant

What they do: Daycare assistants help out in kindergartens and childcare settings. They look after the young children, play with them and give them food at mealtimes. They’re also responsible for reporting any accidents.

How to become: For this role, you may need first-aid training, as well as previous childcare experience. You’ll need to check your state regulations before applying for a job in childcare. However, if you’re successful, this is a great way to get work experience if you’re interested in becoming a teacher.

What they earn: $10.44 an hour

11. Freelance graphic designer

Freelance Graphic Designer

What they do: Freelance graphic designers design graphics for publications and websites. They use programs such as Adobe Photoshop and InDesign to create illustrations, images and videos that have been requested by clients.

How to become: You’ll need experience working with Adobe or other design software. You’ll also need some great creative thinking skills and an artistic personality to succeed in this role. You can start out by creating social media illustrations for smaller brands and build up your portfolio, eventually working with bigger brands and clients.

What they earn: $15.06 an hour

12. Actor


What they do: Actors are hired to perform either on stage or for TV productions. There are often calls for teens to be extras in shows where they fill in the background of shots. If they’re stage performers, they’ll audition, perform and practice before doing the show in front of a large audience.

How to become: You’ll need to be confident and outgoing, as you’ll be working in front of a crowd, so this isn’t a suitable job if you’re a bit of an introverted person. Check for any upcoming auditions that catch your eye and keep trying until you get a callback.

What they earn: $11.16 an hour

13. Fast food worker

Fast Food Worker

What they do: Fast food workers work in fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Burger King or Subway. They’re responsible for taking orders and serving customers with their food, as well as dealing with any complaints.

How to become: You won’t need any prior experience to get this job, but it’s good to show you have good communication and customer service skills. It’s also worth researching the company’s values and mission, so you’re aware of what they’re looking for in a candidate.

What they earn: $8.63 an hour

14. Cleaner


What they do: A cleaner is responsible for cleaning premises, whether that’s an office, school or a private home. They use a mixture of cleaning products to make sure the place is spotless for the client.

How to become: You won’t need any previous experience for this role, but you’ll need great attention to detail, as you won’t want to miss things when you’re cleaning a property. You’ll probably need to be okay with early starts, too, as cleaners usually work very early in the morning before other people start their workday.

What they earn: $10.74 an hour

15. Cinema attendant

Cinema Attendant

What they do: Cinema attendants sell tickets for movie showings at the cinema and help patrons find their seats. They will also monitor the screening to make sure that no illegal activities are taking place, like piracy.

How to become: It will help if you’re a movie buff, but you won’t need any previous experience to become a cinema attendant. You’ll need to be confident with dealing with customers and be able to give great customer service.

What they earn: $11 an hour

Final thoughts

As a teenager, you have plenty of time to discover what you really want to do as you progress through life. However, if you’re savvy, you can begin putting the steppingstones in place to take you toward the career you’d truly love to do.

It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. So, take some time to really consider what you’d like to do, and try to find a teen job that will help you gain experience and understanding in your field of interest.

Can you think of any great jobs for teens? Let us know in the comments section below.

Originally published on July 31, 2018.