39 Summer Jobs for Teens and College Students [Plus What to do with the Money]

Lifeguard is a great summer jobs for teens

Do you (or your teen) have a job for summer yet?

With summer approaching, I thought I’d share some common summer job opportunities for teenagers and college students to make extra money. I loved most of my summer jobs. Each brought me a different experience and helped to teach me about myself.

What jobs are available and their pay rate will depend on where you live, the employer, your age, and other factors. Child labor laws also factor in sometimes so be sure to brush up on specific laws regarding teens and work.

The minimum wage in the United States is currently at $7.25 an hour, although many states have set a higher minimum wage.

Let’s check out some summer job options for teens!

Outdoor Jobs for Teens

Landscaping

Landscaping can include lawn maintenance, but also more elaborate landscaping, like gardening and planting trees and bushes. If you already have experience with lawn care and access to lawn equipment, you could launch your own lawn service this summer.

If not, apply to work for a professional landscaping company. The average pay for landscaping is $12.86 an hour. You could make more working for yourself instead of a landscaping company.

Lifeguard

Working as a lifeguard requires becoming certified. Options include working for your local recreation center, neighborhood pool or even a water park. It’s a great option if you like being outdoors in the sun. The average pay for a lifeguard is $9.60 an hour.

Related: Skratch.co Review: An App to Help Teens Find Work

Farm Hand

In more rural areas, teens can find work on local farms. Work can include feeding and caring for farm animals, bailing hay, plowing, planting, harvesting crops, and more. Keep in mind that being a farm hand is hard, physical work. That could be good or bad, depending on who you are. The average pay for a farm hand is $11.58 an hour.

Outdoor Nursery Worker

Typical duties at a nursery include caring for plants, setting up displays, helping customers load supplies in their vehicles, cleaning, and more. This job could require some heavy lifting as well as customer service. The average pay for an outdoor nursery worker is $14 an hour.

Golf Caddy

Teens can make great money working as a caddy at a golf course. Pay depends on the specific golf course. Caddy programs are normally found at older, private courses. Golf caddies usually get paid by the bag and can earn around $100 to $120 carrying two bags for 18 holes.

As golf has changed and become more modernized, caddy programs are not as common anymore. You may have to know someone or hear about a job opening as they aren’t normally advertised.

Referee/ Umpire

Local youth recreation and travel leagues often hire teens as referees and umpires. Referees and umpires are usually paid per game. The average pay for a referee is $17 an hour. This could be a great way to earn money fast.

One drawback is that fact that no matter what call you make on the field, someone will think you’re wrong. Dealing with overzealous sports parents and coaches has contributed to a referee shortage in recent years.

Sports Scorekeeper

Another sports-related job for teens is keeping score for youth sports leagues. Generally, teens are paid minimum wage for scorekeeping. This is a job that requires your attention at all times to ensure accuracy. Scorekeepers also have to deal with coaches from time to time. If you love sports, though, this is a great entry level job option.

Apple Picker

If you live near an apple orchard, look into becoming an apple picker. Some orchards will pay hourly (the average pay for an apple picker is $11.27 an hour), but often pickers are paid per piece or bushel. Because of that, it pays to become a fast picker. This makes apple picking a labor-intensive job.

Pool Cleaner

Pool Cleaner is another great outdoor job option. It’s not easy work despite how it looks on TV. Pool Cleaners not only clean the pool, but also clean and change filters, maintain PH levels, and more. You could start your own pool cleaning business, but that requires buying the necessary cleaning equipment. It’s probably better to just work for a pool cleaning company to get started and learn the skills. The average pay for a pool cleaner is $16 an hour.

Swimming Instructor

If you like to swim and teach, becoming a swimming instructor could be the perfect summer job. You can work for a local recreation center or local pool complex. The average pay for a swimming instructor is $11.86 an hour.

Retail Jobs for Teens

Grocery Stocker / Bagger

Another great teen summer job is working as a grocery stocker or bagger. Plus there are tons of groceries stores so open jobs are more common. The average pay for a grocery stocker is $10.39 an hour. Duties include stocking food items carried by the store, setting up displays, removing expired food, and helping customers load groceries into their vehicles.

Retail Sales Associate

Teens can also make money working retail. The average pay for a retail sales associate is $10.50 an hour. You could also get access to store discounts too. Retail jobs often require working weekends, evenings, and holidays. It also requires a lot of interaction with customers.

Cashier

Get a job as a cashier this summer, and you could make $10 or more an hour. Good cashier jobs include grocery stores and retail stores. The average pay for a cashier is $9.35 an hour. Cashiers obviously have to learn to use a cash register. They also handle money and must keep a balanced cash drawer.

Jobs Working with Kids

Baby Sitter

You can make great money babysitting. This could be for a few hours while parents go on a date night or during the day while parents are at work. Post your services on Care.com, Sittercity.com or locally on Craigslist or Facebook. The average pay for babysitters is $10.25 an hour. Sometimes local organizations offer babysitting programs to learn skills necessary for watching kids such as safety.

Here’s more on starting a babysitting business.

Tutor

Another way to work with kids is through tutoring. If you are smart and work well with kids, you can make great money this way. The average pay for a tutor is $17.51 an hour. Teaching kids can be a challenge at times. It requires patience and the ability to explain concepts clearly.

Here’s more information about becoming a tutor.

Kids Party Entertainment

If you love to dress up and entertain kids, try your hand at working kids’ parties. Parents love to throw great parties for their children. You can get a job working for an entertainment company or a business that hosts kids’ parties. You will need to stay in character the duration of the party.

Also, because parents are paying for a premium for their child’s party, they expect a great experience. The average pay for a party host is $7.62 an hour.

Camp Counselor

Typical summer camp jobs don’t pay excellent, but you have your room and food covered. However, it’s also rewarding because of the experiences you have the positive impact you get to have on others. For the kids attending the camp, it’s their best week of the summer and you get to be part of it. The average pay for a camp counselor is $9.41 an hour.

Jobs Working with Animals

Animal Shelter Associate

If you enjoy working with animals, look for a job at local animal shelters. Duties include caring for animals, walking and feeding animals, and cleaning the animals’ living quarters. The average pay for an animal shelter associate is $9.56 an hour. This can be a meaningful job because you are helping animals that may have been abandoned or abused. That can also be a tough job mentally and emotionally.

Pet Sitter

Make money this summer as a pet sitter. Post your pet sitting services on Rover.com or pet sit for family and friends. The average pay for a pet sitter is $13.17 an hour. You could potentially make more if you are watching animals for extended periods of time. With pet sitting you are in control of your schedule and can say yes or no to any job. The flip side to that is waiting for people to choose you as their pet sitter.

Here’s more on how to make money as a pet sitter.

Zoo Worker

Get a job working at your local zoo this summer. Most likely you won’t be working too close to animals (other than cleaning up after them), but it’s a great experience in a cool environment. Teen zoo workers usually start at minimum wage, but you can make more depending on the specific zoo. For example, The Bronx Zoo in New York City pays roughly $11.29 an hour for sales associates and $15 an hour for their camp counselors. Since zoos aren’t as common as other businesses, you’ll need to live near one to get a job.

Pet Store Associate

This is similar to working retail except there’s also the chance to work with animals from time to time. That depends on the type of pet store and whether they have animals or just pet supplies. Typical pay is minimum wage to start but can be more depending on the store. The average pay for Pet Supplies Plus employees is $10.88 an hour.

Dog Walker

If you like dogs, become a dog walker in your area to make money this summer. You can list your services on Rover.com. The average pay for a dog walker is $13.83 an hour. Similar to pet sitting, most of your work relies on other people seeking out your services unless you go out and inquire with pet owners.

Jobs Working with Cars

Car Detailer

If you like cars, you could make money this summer detailing cars. Typical detailing jobs are found at car dealerships. Duties include cleaning vehicles inside and out. There’s not much variation to the work, which may get old fast. The average pay rate for car detailers is $11.43 an hour.

Car Valet

Being a car valet is typically reserved for older teens with driving experience. Car valet jobs can be found at higher-end restaurants, shopping areas, and hotels. The average pay for a car valet is $9.80 an hour. Don’t forget you can make money by getting tips& as well. It’s fun to drive other people’s nice cars, but you’re usually aren’t driving them very far.

Here’s more about earning money as a car valet.

Other Summer Jobs for Teens

Movie Theater Attendant

Movie theater attendants clean movie theaters, work concessions, and take tickets. The average pay for movie theater attendants is $11 an hour. Plus you get to watch all the free movies you want. Cleaning up a movie theater can be a dirty job at times.

Fast Food Employee

Jobs at fast food restaurants are always available for teens. Even small cities usually have a handful of fast food restaurants. Typical duties include working the front counter or drive-thru window, cleaning, cooking, food prep, and more. The average pay for a fast food worker is $8.41 an hour.

Restaurant Server

Another food-related job is working as a server at a restaurant. To be a good waitress or waiter you need to be efficient, honest, and know your menu. The average pay for restaurant servers is $8.39 an hour. Part of your earnings will be tips as well, which can be good or bad depending on the customers you have. You also are relying on the kitchen staff to put out good food quickly.

Here’s more information about working as a server.

Mover

If you can lift heavy things, you can make money as a mover. This could be on your own if you have access to a truck, but most likely you’ll find work for a moving company. The average pay for movers is around $13.42 an hour. Be sure to use proper lifting techniques, even at a younger age, to avoid injury. Your older self will thank you later.

Odd Jobs

You could also make money in your neighborhood or city doing odd jobs for people. This could include a number of the jobs listed above as well as general clean up and maintenance projects. Pay will depend on the specific job required.

Theme Park Attendant

A fun way to make money this summer is working at an amusement park. Jobs include working retail in souvenir shops, food service, cleaning crew, games, and arcades, and even working on rides. The average pay for a theme park worker is $13 an hour.

Trampoline Park Worker

Trampoline parks are one of the most popular entertainment options for families the past few years. The number of parks continues to grow. Job duties at a trampoline park can include cashier and registration, cleaning and sanitizing, and being a floor/court monitor and party hosting. Pay depends on the specific trampoline park. The average pay for a Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park employee is $11.24.

Court Runner

Another good job is as a court runner or legal runner for a law firm. This is basically errand work so they can focus on the more important work. Much of the work is picking up and delivering legal documents that can’t be faxed or emailed.

It also involves coffee runs and jobs of that nature. The average pay for a court runner is $13.38 an hour.

Library Page

If you want a quiet job, being a library page is a good choice for teens. Pages are responsible for sorting and shelving library materials such as books, movies, magazines, and more. The average pay for a library page is $9.98 an hour. If you are looking for a job with tons of hours to work, this might not be the best option. Typical page jobs offer 12-15 hours a week.

Photography Assistant

If you love photography, why not get a job working as a photography assistant. This could be for a photography studio or for an independent photographer. Jobs include working with clients, prepping for photo shoots, and more.

Although you may not actually get to do much photography yourself, you can learn the ins and outs of the business as an assistant. The average pay for a photography assistant is $16.09 an hour.

House Cleaner

Make money this summer cleaning houses. This can be done through a cleaning service or on your own. The average pay for a house cleaner is $11.11 an hour. Each house and its level of dirtiness is different. Also, they may expect a cleaning job to be done in a specific amount of time.

Gas Station Attendant

Another business that often hires teens is gas stations. Most gas stations don’t offer full-service options like in the past. Duties mostly include cleanup and cashier work. The average pay for gas station attendants is $9.71 an hour. This is similar to retail except for your selling Mountain Dew, coffee, and gasoline.

Personal Assistant

Another great job possibility this summer is working as a personal assistant. Many business owners are looking for help in organizing their life and doing the mundane tasks that keep them for their real work. The average pay for a personal assistant is $14.97 an hour. This could be an amazing job or a nightmare, depending on the person who hires you.

Express Delivery

Individuals and businesses are in constant need of items being dropped off or picked up. Rather than taking time to do these themselves, a great majority of people would gladly pay someone else to do this. Don’t have a car? If it makes sense in your city, you can run the errands on foot or riding a bicycle and get exercise in the process.

Start Your Own Business

Perhaps you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to create your own business. That’s a great idea! Find something you love to do that can also make you money and go for it. Do your research, find clients, and market your services. How much you make depends on the type of business and how much work you put into your business. Lots of teens have created their own businesses and are making money.

Here are some tips to start your own business, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Perform some services for people you know and get paid. It really is that simple. You can perfect the system as you go.

If this sounds fun, here are some unique business ideas to get you started.

Why Should You Work this Summer?

Maybe you are asking yourself why you should get a job this summer. You could spend your summer sitting around your house relaxing or hanging out with your friends. There will always be time for those things. Here are some reasons to get a job this summer:

Earn Money: Simple as that. It’s hard to earn money without a job. Plus, it’s nice to have your own money instead of bumming it off your parents all the time.

Save for College: College is expensive. If you aren’t earning a scholarship and don’t want huge student loan debts later, start saving money for college expenses now.

Gain Experience: Another great reason to get a job is to start gaining work experience. It will look good on your resume plus it also helps develop job and life skills that will help down the road.

Buy Stuff: It’s nice to be able to have money to buy your own stuff sometimes. Whether that is something like a new cell phone or close or something big like a car, having a job will help you pay for what you want or need.

Have Fun: Summer is great for spending time hanging out with friends or a significant other. Use some of your earnings for dates, going to the mall or movies, eating out, and more.

What to Look for in a Summer Job

What are you looking for in a summer job? It’s not necessary to know the answer in order to get a job. It helps, though, to know what you want to get out of your job.

Do you want to make a lot of money? If that’s the case, you’ll need to think about what kind of jobs you apply for. Not all of them pay well (more than minimum wage) or offer the number of hours you would like.

Is having flexible hours important to you? Then it’s important to find a job or employer that offers flexibility when it comes to your schedule. Teens often have to fit in other things like vacations, camp, and sports into their summer. Having a flexible job allows you to work and still fit in the rest of your life.

What about finding a job that relates to a career field of interest? This isn’t always easy to find, but if you can get a summer job related to your desired career, you are one step ahead of everyone else.

You gain experience at a young age and it can also help confirm whether that’s the right career path for you. If that’s not important, then any job will give you work experience.

Your job search might get easier if you know what you are looking for. Even knowing what you aren’t looking for will narrow down things and probably keep you for getting a job you hate.

How to Land a Good Summer Job

Most teens have never been taught life skills like applying for a job. That’s unfortunate. It’s an important skill that most people will eventually need.

What’s important when it comes to communicating with a potential employer? How do you get their attention? How do you land an interview?

Every business has their hiring proces so it’s difficult to give you a blueprint for what to do to land a job. With that said, here are some general tips for trying to land a summer job:

Application Process

For some businesses, it’s just a matter of walking in and asking for an application and filling it out. You don’t have to wait until you see a sign or advertisement that they are hiring. Sometimes it’s just about being at the right place at the right time and putting yourself out there.

Many businesses have job applications posted on their websites. If that’s the case print one out and fill it out ahead of time. Sometimes you can submit them online too. The drawback to filling out an online application is that it’s easy for you to just become a number to a potential employer. It’s hard to stand out unless your application is full of attention grabbers like relevant work experience. Chances are you don’t have that yet.

Regardless of whether you fill out an application online or not, it makes sense to go in person and try to talk to the hiring manager. This is also a good time to express interest in the open position and ask any questions. They get to meet you, see your interest, and they get a taste of your personality. By going in person, you get a chance to make a good first impression. You could even bring a copy of the application with you or a resume if you have one.

The Interview

If you do land a job interview, take time to familiarize yourself with the company and the specific job position and its job duties. This shows the employer that you have done your homework. Take time to write down any questions you might have about the company or a specific job.

Be sure to dress appropriately for a job interview. You want to make a good impression and present a professional look. That doesn’t mean you have to put on a suit and tie. Dress in a way that shows that you take your interview seriously.

Show good communication skills, including being polite, making eye contact, and fully answering questions. Even though they are asking you questions, try to not focus on yourself as much as showing them how you can provide value to their company and staff.

At the end of the interview, they will probably ask you if you have any questions for them. Having a few questions of your own shows you thoughtfully considering the job. A great one is “What do you like best about working for XYZ Company?” Here are some other ideas for good questions to ask.

After the Interview

After your interview, be sure to follow up in the coming weeks if you don’t hear back. This could just be a phone call, email or just stopping back in to say hi. I’d continue to look for other job options so you don’t waste your summer waiting on one specific job opportunity.

With all that said, it’s possible that you show up and get hired on the spot. Or your job interview could just be a manager asking if you have reliable transportation and if you can work weekends. I’ve experienced all of those possibilities and it mostly depends on the employer as to what you will experience.

If you don’t get the job, don’t despair. You get a learning experience with each interview. Eventually, you will be comfortable with the process and your true self will shine through, then they won’t be able to resist hiring you!

What Teens Should Do with their Earnings

Most teens are going to spend what they earn during the summer. Smart teens, though, would be wise to put their money to work. How can teens do that?

Save

Whether you open a standard savings account at your local bank or open a high yield savings account online, saving money is always a great idea. Normally, you can open an account for as low as $5 to $10. Most banks have student savings accounts as well.

High-yield savings accounts might require a bigger initial deposit to set up, but will earn you more money in interest in the long run. Here’s a list of banks that offer high yield savings accounts.

Invest

This is rare to see, but investing your money is a great option for teens. It’s never too early to start planning for the future. Opening a Roth IRA is a great idea for teens. Teens under 18 will need a custodial Roth IRA. Here’s an explanation of what a Roth is and how it works.

Why should a teen invest instead of using that money now? Say you are 16 years old and just landed your first job. You decide to take $100 of your money every month and invest. By the time you reach retirement age, you will have almost $1.4 million. Why is that? It’s a little thing called compound interest.

You make an initial investment. You earn interest on that $100. Next year you earn interest on the $100 plus the interest earn. Every year it continues to grow a little bit more. It’s not super impressive at first, but if you can wait a while, it will start to grow like crazy! Here’s a compound interest calculator you can use to see how far your investment can go.

Do you know the number one financial regret of adults? According to a survey by Bankrate last year, the number one regret is not saving for retirement early enough.

Just think how far ahead you’ll be compared to your classmates by starting this summer!

Invest in Your own Business

If you want to start your own business, you can use your summer job to fund your endeavor. If you already have your own business started, reinvest your profits to take your business to the next level. Investing in yourself is always a great idea.

What are your favorite summer job ideas for teens and college students?

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Looking to make some money this summer break? This post has a ton of great ideas on how to make some extra cash during the summer that is perfect for teens and college students. And yes, some even earn more than minimum wage, making a summer job that much more appealing. Check out the post to get ideas on what work you want to do! #summerjob #sidehustle #extramoney #summerbreak #extracash

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  2. Jack Paul says:

    Interesting

  3. Danette DW says:

    I find it interesting that network marketing is never on lists for college students. Perhaps it has gotten a bad wrap. There are companies out there with minimal start-up costs, no inventory/stock required, no required personal purchases and no monthly quotas. What is the benefit of this. College students can earn a residual income from home/college without being required to put in exhausting hours. They need that time for their studies. But if they work their business during the summers and spend an hour or two a week during the school year, they can have a residual income.
    Imagine doing this for your 4 years of college. They have a residual income while in college and may not have to work a regular job to meet their personal needs. By the time they graduate, they have a decent (and some extraordinary) residual income. The college graduate now has more options when they graduate. They don’t have to take the very first career job they find. They can take that “dream job” that pays a little less but really want to work with that specific company because they have a residual side income.
    My oldest is only 11 but when he is 18 and in college I will be helping him with a network marketing company whether it is the one I am doing or another he is passionate about. It is my job as a parent to help set his financial future. This will teach him about business, budgets, marketing, and confidence.

  4. Poor Student says:

    I have only had regular labour jobs as summer jobs so far. But I have been looking into starting a driveway sealing business. It could be done on weekends in addition to regular job income and I think the income potential is enormous in my area. Anybody done this particular business before? I would love to hear about it.

  5. Chase Miller says:

    What a great post! Alot of my friends do Car Valet at a local upscale mall and make a good ammount of money. Not to mention they have been able to drive some pretty expensive sports cars.
     
    Chase Miller
     

  6. rwohlner says:

    Nice post that made me recall some of the summer jobs I had in high school and college.  I worked on a garbage truck, worked in a sausage factory and worked at a retail shoe store. This summer our son is giving campus tours at the university he attends and our daughter is working as an intern at the British Consulate here in Chicago.  Our older daughter had a number of summer jobs while in college including an internship for the organization she has worked for since her college graduation.  Her first job was one of those you listed as a soccer ref and she had very thick skin having tossed more than one adult coach.  She did this between ages 12-14.  During high school she made great money as a golf caddie.

  7. Very nice post! Sadly a lot of teenagers don’t really understand the value of $1 and probably the same with college students. We just really started getting my sons attention when now he has to spend his earn money to buy video games and these expensive shoes. Now he pays attention and thinks before spending. I remember the lawn care and bagging groceries (the older women always tipped even though the stores usually didnt want allow us to accept it)

  8. My University Money says:

    Wow, we had the exact same summer job experiences! Which was your favourite out of them? Personally, I mowed so much lawn in grades 4-11 that I promised myself I would never half a lawn (my fantasy was just to have a fully paved front lawn to play sports on), but now that I only have one lawn to take care of I actually enjoy it! Being a lifeguard was great for the sole reason I got to talk to girls in bikinis all day and lets face it, in Gr.11/12 I would have done that for free!

    • Philip Taylor says:

      I did the camp counselor thing twice, and that was all summer long so it must have been the most enjoyable for me. I’m itching to have a lawn to take care of again. I live in a managed condo and we don’t have to cut the grass. I’ve actually volunteered to cut my friends and family just to have some grass cutting time. A lawn mowing business is something I think I would enjoy owning again one day.

  9. Ross @ Go Be Rich says:

    My favorite job I ever held while I was in high school was working at Winn-Dixie (a grocery store) when I lived in Alabama. I think it was the people that I worked with that made it fun, considering about 90% of them were fairly close friends. It was also fun competing with the other clerks to see who could sell the most brownies for whatever thing we were trying to push that week.

    My most profitable summer job was running a vending machine route. My dad knew this guy that had just bought a ton of vending machines throughout the area, and he needed someone to drive around once a week and re-stock them. I spent about 2-3 hours a day Monday through Friday doing this, and got a $100 bill every week.

    • Philip Taylor says:

      Ross, I loved my grocery store work as well. Cool and lots of interaction to help pass the day. I loved “fronting” the aisles too.

      The vending machine route is something I’ve always wanted to try. Sounds like you were the perfect employee.

  10. i have a friend who works as a little-league umpire and the parents give her crap all the time, but she gets good money. I guess you should take the good with the bad

  11. Panda Mike says:

    I would have loved to work in a video club; watching movies, playing Playstation and Xbox all day… what a dream job!

    Instead, I was delivering bread which wasn’t too bad. You are in your truck all day long and you deliver bread in grocery stores. I really liked it!

  12. @James – Couldn’t agree more.
    @Abigail – Thanks for shedding some light on the movie job. The cleaning up does sound bad. My wife makes me take our trash to the trash can outside. Says it keeps movie costs down. But I’m not sure about that one.
    @Austin – That’s honorable to have done that. We had one week for kids with special needs. I was nervous, and it did require an extra effort, but I was glad we did it. It takes a special person to have done that all summer. Kudos to you, man.

  13. I also went the camp counselor route, but for a special education camp. Let’s say my patience grew a couple of miles that summer and I was glad to get back to campus in the fall.

  14. Uh… I worked at a movie theater for a good chunk of high school. “Fun” is a word to be used loosely.

    I did love the free movies — and this was back when full price was a measly $7 and it was only after 6 p.m. but movie theater customers are really, really rude/harsh/mean. They buy concessions while simultaneously bitching about how much they’re paying, as though someone has a gun to their head.

    That said, the worst part was cleaning up theaters. People would leave their chew cups in there and they’d inevitably get spilled, so we’d have to go through each row mopping it up. Yick.

    Then again, pickings are slim for teens. And considering how much movies cost, maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. Just wash your hands. A lot.

  15. summer jobs are a good think, they keep you busy and they allow you to have money in your pocket.

    having these “starter” jobs help you become a better person they allow you to work as a team, learn new skills, learn to work with others and most of all make money to be able to hang with your friends.