Best Places That Hire at 15 (+ Side Hustles to Earn Even More)
At some point or another, just about every teenager hears the words “get a job, kid.”
Your first job is a rite of passage. It’s your entry into the working world and it gives you a taste of adulthood.
Just think of the excitement of earning your first paycheck and beginning your lifelong financial journey. It’s a reason to get pumped, and an experience that can pay dividends down the road.
The good news is that many places hire teens and don’t require any experience to start out. So don’t worry about not having a resume yet. All you need are a few solid recommendations and a desire to make money, and you’ll be on your way.
But first, are 15-year-olds allowed to work?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 14 is the minimum age for hiring in non-agricultural positions. The Fair Labor Standards Act also restricts the number of hours minors are allowed to work and the types of jobs they can legally perform. For example, employers can’t ask 14- or 15-year-olds to work during school hours.
It’s a good idea to check individual state labor laws for their minimum age requirement, restrictions, and processes for allowing minors to work. For example, you may need a work permit when you’re a teenager.
What’s more, many leading national brands have minimum age requirements but defer to local franchise owners on the hiring process and policies. So even though a national brand may officially require a teenage worker to be 16, a local franchise owner may employ 14-year-olds.
Top employers that hire 15-year-olds
Here are some of the top employment opportunities for 15-year-olds.
1. Ice cream chains
If you’re a teen, chances are you’ve worked in an ice cream parlor at some point or another. It can be a fun summer job, and you don’t need a ton of experience to qualify.
Working in an ice cream stand requires the ability to work with money, and the patience for dealing with kids and families. Of course, it helps if you also love ice cream enough to make recommendations to customers (and what kind of lunatic doesn’t love ice cream?). The more enthusiastic you are about different flavors and providing customer service, the more tips you’ll earn.
Consider approaching a local ice cream stand for employment, or look to any one of the following brands.
Baskin Robbins is a multinational ice cream provider founded in 1945 with 3,000 locations. The company hires young workers to help serve ice cream and work the cash register.
Dairy Queen is another leading ice cream producer with over 4,000 locations across the United States. The company is known for hiring 15-year-olds.
Brusters typically operates in states east of the Mississippi River, with its headquarters in Pennsylvania.
Culver’s is a midwestern chain known for frozen custard and burgers.
2. Fast food restaurants
Working in a fast food restaurant is a bit different from working in an ice cream stand, as the kitchens are greasier and typically more dangerous.
The pace is also faster than your average ice cream stand, as customers expect immediate service. But it’s still a job, and many people start out their careers working for these establishments.
Here are some of the top fast food joints that hire 15-year-olds.
Chick-fil-A is an American fast-food chain specializing in chicken sandwiches. The company hires young workers starting at age 14.
Even after all these years, the Big Mac is still on top of the burger world. McDonald’s typically starts hiring at age 14, but this can vary by location.
Boston Market is known for its rotisserie chickens and mashed potatoes, and 15-year-olds should have no problem finding work there (so long as the branch is hiring).
Who can deny the power of the Whopper? If you need a job at 15, Burger King is one restaurant chain that most likely has your back.
From tacos to burritos, Taco Bell has it all. Look into Taco Bell if you need a job at 15 and you love tacos. (And as with ice cream… who doesn’t love tacos?)
3. Grocery stores
If bagging groceries or slicing deli meat is more your style than working as a fry cook in food service, then direct your job search toward working in your local grocery store or a national supermarket chain.
The nice thing about working in a grocery store is that they almost always close by 11 p.m. So a high school student won’t have to worry about working late at night or early in the morning like you would at some fast food restaurants.
Here are some national brands to consider.
Kroger hires 14- and 15-year-olds as baggers and shelf stockers.
Publix hires team members as young as 14. What’s nice about Publix is that younger teens can find work as a cashier or even a clerk at this age.
The Giant Eagle store is known for hiring 14- and 15-year-olds and giving them jobs as bakery clerks and shopping cart attendants. Pushing carts isn’t the most glamorous position, but it’s still a paycheck and decent exercise.
If you want to work as a bagger, head over to Winn-Dixie. This store considers hiring 15-year-olds to work as baggers, so you’ll likely find a welcome reception.
Safeway is another leading grocer that hires younger teens to work as baggers.
4. Movie theaters
It might not be as glamorous as being in the movies, but working at your local movie theater can be a great job for young workers.
Some theaters only hire 16-year-olds. However, the large national chain AMC will employ a teen as young as 14.
If this line of work interests you, don’t hesitate to reach out to the movie theater in your area to see if they’re hiring.
5. Amusement parks
Once you reach the age of 15, amusement parks become an employment opportunity.
There are plenty of parks in the United States that hire teenagers. Check with local water parks and amusement centers in your area.
Six Flags is a global theme park with 26 locations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. You can most likely find work at age 15 in one of these parks. Jobs are typically entry-level and may include wearing costumes or working in food stands.
Additional side hustles for 15-year-olds
At the age of 15, school is your full-time job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a side hustle that generates income for you or your family.
The jobs mentioned above are great for gaining employment at 15, but they can be lower-paying and more rigid about hiring. You may face some red tape about hiring ages when working with national brands. You may also have to work inconvenient hours and spend years working up to a management position.
With that in mind, here are some additional side hustles to consider that tend to be more flexible and higher-paying for teens.
Working as a lifeguard can be very appealing to teenagers, as you get to spend time in the sunshine instead of having to stay inside or behind a desk.
The job requires you to be in shape, and you have to know CPR and be an excellent swimmer. To find employment, talk to local country clubs, parks, and private pools. You can even advertise your services for private parties and events (if you’re qualified).
Refereeing and umpiring
This is an excellent option for student athletes who don’t mind putting in some extra time on athletic fields. This also requires physical stamina and expert knowledge of a particular sport. However, you can typically make $50 or more per game in some areas, depending on your experience and qualifications.
To find refereeing jobs, talk to local parks and recreation departments and leagues and inquire about officiating positions. You may have to take a class or demonstrate proficiency in a particular sport before participating, but it can be a fun way to make money and potentially very lucrative if you prove yourself to be good at the job.
Golf courses can be great money-making opportunities for teens. You can make money caddying and collect big tips if you do a good job while also potentially forming connections that can help you advance in life.
You may caddy for someone who takes a liking to you and gives you another, higher-paying job. Or, you could find someone who winds up giving you a recommendation for college. Simply put, golf courses are an excellent place to chat and network.
Working as a deckhand or crew member
If you live near the water, consider getting a job at a marina or on a boat. You can make money helping boat owners and fishermen swab decks, affix bait to lines, and manage operations.
The air will be salty, and the winds will be strong as you earn that cash money!
Another classic way to make money as a teenager is by mowing lawns. In some cases, you can use the property owner’s equipment. In other cases, you may need your own equipment, which means you either have to save up for a machine or borrow gear from a family member or friend.
Just remember that people can be very particular about their lawns. To mow lawns professionally, you have to be reliable, responsible, and knowledgeable enough to keep lawns even.
Start by practicing on your own lawn and perfect the art of mowing and weed whacking before you start advertising your services around town.
People in your neighborhood may be willing to pay you to do maintenance that they don’t have time for as well, like raking leaves and trimming hedges. You may also be able to make money mulching, weeding gardens, or watering plants.
Even though you don’t have a plow, there are plenty of driveways and walkways out there that need shoveling or snowblowing. If you live in a snowy area, it’s highly likely that some of your neighbors would happily pay you to handle the shoveling.
It won’t be easy, but it’s not out of the question to earn $20 an hour for this type of work.
Talk to local media companies about delivering newspapers around town. You’ll have to get up super early to make a paper route, but as the saying goes: the early bird catches the worm!
If you’re responsible and trustworthy, some parents are willing to let you watch their kids while they go out to dinner or catch a movie. Babysitting jobs can lead to high pay and recurring income.
You can also potentially find work at this age walking dogs and house sitting. Dog walkers and house sitters are always in high demand. If you don’t already know people in your network that you can work with, check out Care.com and Rover to find these types of gigs.
Many teens are able to find work painting fences and interiors. Exterior painting for houses can be a little more tricky, depending on the height and scope of the project. However, it’s certainly possible to find work there as well.
To succeed at painting, you’re going to need a careful eye and hand for detail, and you have to be careful not to make a mess.
Tips for making money at age 15
Here are some additional things to consider to get the most out of your part-time job as a teen.
Know your value
The first thing to do is know your value when working a part-time job at 15. Some employers may try to take advantage of your lack of experience by making you work jobs no one else wants to do.
Before you start any job, make sure you have a clear understanding of your responsibilities and daily tasks. If your employer starts adding jobs that are too difficult or that make you feel uncomfortable, ask your legal guardian or a trusted family member for advice about how to approach the situation.
The worst thing you can do is to not tell anyone about your troubles.
School comes first
This can be a difficult thing to understand as you make more money, but it’s important. Your main focus in high school should be to graduate and advance in life. If your job starts to interfere with your school day, you may want to reconsider the position.
Of course, this may be different for people who aren’t bound for college. Know your personal priorities and make sure you do what’s right for your personal situation.
Younger people are more prone to getting injured. It’s that simple. Take care when you’re doing any type of job, and know your limits. If you feel your limits are being pushed, speak up or quit.
Manage money wisely
This is the age when you start to make money and prepare for your financial future. Start saving and investing so that you’ll be even further ahead as you get older.
It may also be a good idea to get life insurance at this age, so you can get a decent rate while you’re young and healthy. Talk to your parents and an insurance agent to see if this is a good idea.
Know when to fold ’em
Remember that your first job is just a starting position. Even if you like the job, there will come a time when you most likely have to move on. Know when that time is, and don’t be afraid to walk away when it’s time to advance yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a work permit to get a job at 15?
Some states require minors to get work permits before they can become gainfully employed. Talk to your local department of labor to determine whether this is necessary for your specific state so that you don’t run into any unexpected challenges along the way.
It’s always better to go by the book.
Does Amazon hire 15-year-olds?
Unfortunately, Amazon only starts hiring at age 18, so you won’t be able to get a job there if you’re under the minimum age.
Can 15-year-olds work online jobs?
It largely depends on the job. Most require you to be at least 18, but you can potentially find online jobs at the age of 15. For example, you may be able to work as a blogger or freelancer for local businesses. Poke around and see what you can find.
The Bottom Line
There are hundreds of different part-time jobs great for motivated 15-year-olds. You may have to start out making minimum wage, but everyone starts somewhere, even if that means at the bottom. The more you work, the more you’ll be able to save money that you can put towards future endeavors.
From retail stores like Walmart and restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and KFC, your first summer job might be just a phone call or in-person visit away. See what you can find!