If you’re a parent with a teen who is eager to get a job, no doubt you’re excited and a little anxious. Working out in the big wide world can be daunting. They will have to navigate the work environment, their colleagues, not to mention the challenges that come with being a beginner at a new role.

You should, however, encourage your teen, especially if they are the ones seeking financial independence. You don’t want your child relying on you when they are full-grown adults and capable of providing for themselves.

So, what are the best jobs for teens? Jobs that will help them save money for that first car, while also teaching them important life skills and helping them develop a sound work ethic?

We’ve thoroughly researched the most popular and rewarding jobs for teens. These are jobs that will suit school hours and academic commitments. And if you want the legalities around minimum age and wage, then keep reading as it’s all below.

Things to consider for younger workers

Before letting a teen take on a job, parents need to know the laws in their state or territory around the minimum age of employment and the minimum wage. While the rules differ depending on where you live, as a general rule, it’s safe to assume a child needs to be at least 15 years old to work and cannot hold a full-time job until they are 18 years old.

When they do have a job, they can only do light work and should not be required to perform manual labour tasks that are appropriate for adults. The minimum wage will depend on the job and age of your teen. There will be an award wage for the junior position that they are applying for, or otherwise in general, it will be a percentage of the national minimum wage as follows:

  • under 16 years of age: 36.8% of national minimum wage = lowest hourly rate of $8.55
  • 16 years of age: 47.3% of national minimum wage = minimum hourly rate of $10.99
  • 17 years of age: 57.8% of national minimum wage = minimum hourly rate of $13.43
  • 18 years of age: 68.3% of national minimum wage = minimum hourly rate of $15.87
  • 19 years of age: 82.5% of national minimum wage = minimum hourly rate of $19.16

The top 10 jobs for teens

Now we present to you the top 10 jobs for teens that are perfect for young job seekers.

1. Lawn mowing

If you have a teen who likes being outdoors and working hard, lawn mowing is a great place to start. A lot of teens and even younger kids start their first job mowing a neighbour’s lawn.

A simple way to begin is to ensure the family’s lawn mower is in good condition. Have your teen create a little flyer promoting their services and price. They can letterbox the flyers to their neighbourhood or display them on local notice boards. This job can be done outside of school hours and on the weekends, so won’t interfere with academic excellence.

It is important that a parent attends the homes of clients and meets the owners, to ensure their teen is safe. Supervision will be required if your teen is very young or inexperienced.

Spending a couple of hours each week assisting or supervising a mowing job can be a great way of showing your teen you care about their career and it also provides some quality time together. Over time, your teen can expand their services to include whipper-snipping, hedge trimming, weeding and other general garden maintenance.

The money made can be invested back into the business to buy tools, equipment and even things like a trailer. By the time they graduate from school, they could have professional garden maintenance skills and be making a tidy sum each week.

2. Dog walker

A great outdoor job for a teen who is an animal lover. Busy families often struggle with making time to walk their dog, resulting in a hyperactive dog and grumpy owners.

Again, have your teen make use of their computer skills and create a flyer offering their dog walking services and price. Dog walking can be done before or after school and on the weekends.

Your teen will need to have some boundaries in place for what types of dogs they will accept, how long they will walk the dogs and how many dogs they will take at once. Your teen must be strong enough to manage the dogs and assertive enough to give commands when needed.

3. Tutoring

If your teen is a whiz at Maths, English, music or any other school subjects, they could start up lessons. They will need to advertise their services and eventually, word-of-mouth will be their best promoter.

If your teen is patient and has good interpersonal skills, this could be the best outside-school-hours part-time job that sets them up for regular work. This job will also teach them transferable skills such as time management, as they will need to learn to manage appointments and class time lengths.

4. Babysitting

Young people are often loved by kids for their super fun and energetic disposition. If your teen is responsible and great with kids, they may just be the next Mary Poppins.

To get them all set up for the role, your teen will need a Working With Children’s card, police check and first aid training. The skills learned in babysitting or childminding are practical life skills and also great for the resumé, especially if your teen is interested in studying education or teaching.

Babysitting can be hard work, but if your teen loves kids or dreams of being a parent themselves one day, it’s good ground for on-the-job training. You can advertise in your local area or start with family and friends.

If you have a teen whose current dream job is babysitting, remind them the role often require some cooking and general domestic duties. Parents will also be looking for good references and maturity when considering a teenager to care for their children.

5. Car wash attendant

Almost every shopping centre will have a car wash area where shoppers can drop off their car and do the grocery run while it’s being cleaned. If your teen is meticulous and proud of their work, it can be a great role for them to make some cash. It is another job that promotes practical life skills and customer service skills.

6. Farm hand

If you have an older teen who loves the outdoors and is interested in agriculture or animal husbandry, why not let them have a go at being a farm hand? Depending on where you live, the job may only be suitable for the school holidays. If you live in the country, it could be the perfect early morning or after-school job. Farm hands get to learn lots of practical skills. Many are “jack of all trades” due to farms having such a wide variety of daily needs.

7. Customer service

Customer service jobs are excellent for teens as they help to build skills in many different areas. These roles often entail dealing with a wide variety of customers, both in person, over the phone and email. There will be customers who are unhappy or need specific help, which can challenge your teen to communicate effectively, listen carefully and respond patiently.

These roles can also include administration tasks, money management and time management, which are all highly practical and useful for everyday life. They will also learn to work as a team and defer jobs when necessary.

8. Hospitality

Restaurants and cafés are often looking for new staff and learning how to serve food effectively can be a great job for teens. Being a wait staff requires fast learning and is all on-the-job training. Wait staff are the first person to greet the customers, take them to their table, provide menus and food, help with questions, provide solutions and ultimately ensure the customer’s experience is perfect.

This can be quite a high-pressure job and often lasts a short time until something more suitable comes up. However, if your teen likes a challenge and wants to learn important life skills, this could be a great place to start.

9. Retail

Retail jobs are great for teens who like products or have a particular interest in a certain niche. If your teen loves camping, why not encourage them to apply for a job at the local camping store? There they will get to learn more about what they love, the best products to use, how to be a good salesperson and also learn customer service skills.

Retail stores will usually have daily and weekly sales goals, which is also a great thing for teens to learn to work towards and accomplish tasks.

10. Life guard

For a sports lover, this job could be an exciting opportunity. Lifeguards must be 17 years or older, demonstrate high levels of fitness, excellent rescue and people skills, and hold certain qualifications to be suitable.

Work environments can include public or private pools, beaches or water parks. The work can be physically demanding as it is usually outdoors. For an active and energetic teen, this could be a fun and rewarding role that brings in some good money.

Qualifications needed for lifeguards include the following:

  • Surf Life Saving Australia Bronze Medallion/Certificate II in Public Safety (Aquatic Rescue)
  • HLTAID011 – Provide First Aid
  • HLTAID015 – Provide Advanced Resuscitation Techniques
  • Silver Medallion Beach Management (Lifeguards) – (including components PUATAE002B, PUAOPE027A, BSBFLM312C)
  • Silver Medallion Aquatic Rescue
  • Current Motor Car Driver’s Licence

Work to live, don’t live to work

While teens should be encouraged to join the workforce, be financially independent and build a sustainable career, they should also be taught about work-life balance. It is a good time to teach children this even before they enter employment and the best way to teach it is to model it.

Workaholism is detrimental to families, workplaces and mental health. It leads to less productivity and poor health. Teach your children how to work, and how to rest and play. Jobs for teens are great but they should know that taking time off for valid reasons should never be shameful or frowned upon. You want to raise a child who is a hard worker but also prioritises their family and their health above their work.

Read next: What I learned from hiring my 13-year-old son

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