jobs for 14- and 15-year-olds
Updated June 08, 2020

9 of the Best Jobs for 14- and 15-Year-Olds

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We often assume you need to be 16 years old to work, and some jobs have even higher minimum age requirements. But you can find lots of ways to earn income before age 16.

This article will cover some of the best ways for 14- and 15-year-olds to earn money in 2020 and beyond.

If you have the time outside of school and your social life, consider working now.

Not only will working a part-time job give you valuable life experience, but the money you earn can also be invested in a Roth IRA so it can grow over time.

Because you will not likely owe taxes on your income, enjoying tax-free growth in a Roth IRA is probably preferable over mere tax-deferred growth in a Traditional IRA.  This is because the benefit of a Traditional IRA is that you receive a tax deduction against your income now, but this will not benefit you since you will likely have no tax liability.

Learn More: Roth IRAs vs. Traditional IRAs

What You Need to Know about Working at 15

Working before 16 is legal, but be aware of a few things.

First, the U.S. has a minimum age requirement of 14 for almost all work aside from jobs like delivering papers and babysitting.

Employers may also choose to hire older employees.

Working 15-year-olds and other teens face a few restrictions on the job.

Minor employees can work no more than three hours on a school day and eight hours on a non-school day. Weekly hours are limited to 18 for school weeks and 40 for weeks off. Some states mandate work permits for employees under 16, but this isn’t a federal law.

In addition to the limit on total hours, employees under 18 can only work during specific times of the day. Kids can’t be scheduled to work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m., although they’re allowed to work until 9 p.m. over the summer.

The federal minimum wage doesn’t apply to 15-year-olds until they’ve worked for an employer for at least 90 days. Before then, they’re entitled to just $4.25 per hour, far less than an adult would earn. However, many states have set higher minimum wages.

Best Jobs for 15-Year-Olds

Availability of jobs you can qualify for at 15 years old could vary widely depending on your location. Here are some of the best nationwide companies to work for if you’re 15 years old.

Note: Company star ratings are based on Glassdoor ratings, which are crowdsourced from employee reviews and may include more than retail employees.

1. Dairy Queen

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    • Basics: Dairy Queen is a popular fast food chain with locations across the country. Young workers will likely take orders, make ice cream, and run a cash register.
    • Pros: Franchisees may hire 14- and 15-year-olds.
    • Cons: Some stores require a minimum age 16.

Dairy Queen is a popular fast food chain with locations across the country. Although some of its stores hire only those 16 and older, others are open to younger workers. This is a great way to enter the workforce early and earn money on your own.

As a fast food worker, you could be responsible for a wide range of tasks, though 14- and 15-year-olds are restricted from performing certain tasks in some states. Most likely, you’ll do things like take orders, make ice cream and run a cash register.

Whether or not a Dairy Queen accepts 14- and 15-year-old workers is up to the franchise owner. Locations owned by the Dairy Queen corporation won’t hire anyone under 16. Independent owners make their own hiring decisions. Contact your local Dairy Queen owner or manager to learn their policy.

2. Baskin-Robbins

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    • Basics: Baskin-Robbins is the go-to employer for ice-cream lovers, and the company hires workers as young as 14 years old.
    • Pros: The company hires workers as young as 14, and it has stores nationwide.
    • Cons: Teens in large markets may have trouble competing for jobs with more experienced applicants.

While Dairy Queen has ice cream, Baskin-Robbins is definitely the place to work if you’re looking for free treats. The company hires workers as young as 14.

Scooping ice cream and taking orders isn’t a bad job for a 14- or 15-year-old. Baskin-Robbins has roughly 2,500 stores in the U.S. alone, so you should be able to find work in most locations. Teens living in competitive markets may have trouble finding work in a pool of older applicants.

3. Chick-fil-A

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    • Basics: Chick-fil-A is known for treating employees well compared with other fast-food companies. Franchisees determine hiring policies.
    • Pros: Positive reputation among employees.
    • Cons: Franchisees may not hire 15-year-olds; you’ll have to inquire store-by-store. Locations are limited outside of the South.

Chick-fil-A focuses on chicken rather than ice cream, but the experience of working there should be similar to what you’d expect at Dairy Queen. Which one is a better option simply depends on your location and preferences, although Chick-fil-A is known for treating its workers well compared to other fast-food chains.

Independent Chick-fil-A owners have the authority to determine whether they want to hire 15-year-olds. There’s no corporate policy governing this decision for franchisees. All you can do is figure out whether your local Chick-fil-A is a franchise and whether the owner is receptive.

4. McDonald’s

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    • Basics: McDonald’s doesn’t have a great reputation for pay or career opportunities, but it operates thousands of locations around the world.
    • Pros: Volume of locations means lots of job opportunities.
    • Cons: Corporate stores don’t hire younger than 16, but franchisees might, so you’ll have to inquire store-by-store.

McDonald’s doesn’t have the same reputation among workers as Chick-fil-A. That said, it has far more locations than any of the restaurants above. Regardless of your location, you probably live near at least one McDonald’s restaurant.

Like Dairy Queen and Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s generally doesn’t hire workers under 16, but franchisees can set their own policies. Some managers may be open to younger employees, particularly if they’re short-staffed. There’s no risk in reaching out and seeing if there are any openings.

5. Kroger

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    • Basics: This Midwestern grocery chain also operates other regional chains, including Fry’s and Smith’s. Teens could work as baggers, cashiers, or stocking shelves.
    • Pros: If there’s no Kroger near you, you can probably find a Kroger-family grocery store with similar opportunities.
    • Cons: Despite local loyalty among customers, the company isn’t well-loved by employees.

Kroger is a massive grocery chain operating thousands of stores around the Midwest. It also owns a few other regional chains, including Fry’s and Smith’s. Depending on the location, a manager may be willing to take on employees under the age of 16. Contact a local manager or owner to determine whether Kroger is a realistic choice for your situation.

6. Publix

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    • Basics: Publix is a popular grocery store in the Southeast that’s well-known as a first job for many teens.
    • Pros: The company is well-loved by customers and has a reputation for treating employees well, including advancement opportunities. Hires age 14 and older.
    • Cons: Locations are mostly in the Southeast.

Another popular grocery store, Publix is unique in that it is open to workers age 14 and older. Publix has stores in just seven states, mostly in the Southeast. Given its policies, you may have a better chance of being hired at Publix compared to some of the other chains on this list.

Grocery stores are a good way for teens to start working, although you shouldn’t take your first job lightly. As a 14- or 15-year-old, you’ll be limited to basic responsibilities like bagging groceries. You may be able to advance later on once you’ve turned 16, so work hard from the start.

7. Winn Dixie

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    • Basics: This southeastern grocery chain hires as young as 14 at its locations in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida and Alabama.
    • Pros: The company hires as young as 14.
    • Cons: Locations are only in the Southeast. The company isn’t rated highly among employees.

Winn Dixie is a grocery store chain in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Winn Dixie hires workers as young as 14 as long as you meet local and state regulations.

Again, you’ll probably cover the register and bag groceries, as higher-paying positions are generally restricted to more experienced employees. Reach out to your local Winn Dixie for more details about jobs for 15-year-olds.

8. Six Flags

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    • Basics: This amusement park could make an exciting summer job for teens.
    • Pros: The work might be more exciting than restaurants, and the company offers a variety of perks.
    • Cons: It only operates 25 parks, so there may not be a location near you. The job could be more stressful than restaurant work.

In contrast to most of the other options for 14- and 15-year-olds, Six Flags is an amusement park and potentially a much more engaging place to work. While being employed at Six Flags can be stressful, you’ll receive a variety of employee perks.

The key downside to Six Flags is simply that there aren’t many locations. Six Flags operates just 25 parks throughout North America, although it plans to expand to China, Saudi Arabia, and beyond.

9. AMC Theaters

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    • Basics: Pick up the classic job for teens at an AMC movie theater. The company hires workers as young as 14.
    • Pros: The company states it hires teens 14 to 17 years old. Perks include free movie tickets.
    • Cons: The company says hiring teens depends on your school schedule, so you might have trouble getting work during the academic year.

Like working at Six Flags, becoming an AMC Theaters employee comes with nice benefits for kids and teens. Free tickets, for example, could be a more attractive benefit than the pay itself.

AMC’s website claims the company aims to hire workers aged 14 to 17 depending on their school schedule. A stated policy is more than most companies have for younger employees, so AMC could be the perfect job for a 15-year-old. You’ll probably run a register and take tickets.

Consider Locally Owned Businesses

While there are a number of nationwide and international chains that hire younger employees, you may be more likely to get a job with a local business. Each company is different, so this option requires more legwork and research.

Places like laser tag centers, arcades, and bowling alleys, for example, often have room for new employees in jobs you could do at 14 or 15 years old. You might have the best luck finding a business owner who knows you or your family and is willing to give you a chance early on.

Generate Your Own Income

Starting a business may sound out of reach for a 15-year-old, but it’s relatively simple in the gig economy. You may feel overwhelmed being responsible for your own income, but becoming an entrepreneur in childhood will help you understand critical business skills that some people never learn.

Some of the easiest gigs for children and teens to get into include babysitting, walking dogs, and mowing lawns. Ask around your neighborhood to find out whether anyone needs help with these or similar tasks. If you work for a few family friends first, you’ll have a good reference for future clients.

Start Earning Early

If you’re 15 and have extra time after school, getting your first job can help you earn money and build critical job skills. These are just a few of the best jobs for 15-year-olds interested in getting ahead.

Alex McOmie

Alex McOmie currently serves as the Managing Editor for Money Done Right. He joined the Money Done Right editorial team in summer 2019. Learn more about Alex.

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