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15 Best Part-Time Jobs for High School Students

By David Quilty

high school classroomFinding and keeping a part-time job while attending high school can be a daunting task. Balancing work with classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and just hanging out with friends can be tough, but millions of teens are able to manage part-time work along with their other responsibilities.

During my first two years of high school I was a paper delivery boy, leaving at 4 am every morning to deliver newspapers. I also went out once or twice a week in the evening to collect money from my customers. For the last two years of school I had a retail job, behind the counter at a mom and pop drugstore. These jobs taught me how to manage money, how to handle responsibility, and how to deal with the general public. They were invaluable experiences and provided me with some much-needed autonomy and spending money, too.

Should High School Students Work Jobs?

There are different schools of thought on whether teenagers should have part-time jobs, but I find that the pros easily outweigh any cons. A teenager who works long hours every day after school could see his or her schoolwork suffer, but a less-intensive part-time job can be a wonderful learning experience. If kids can get to school on time, maintain solid grades, and participate in school activities, part-time jobs in high school can be beneficial to their success.

Solid GPA and SAT test scores are important to gain entrance to college, but schools look for more than just good test scores. Universities also look for well-rounded students. An application from a high school student who holds a part-time job demonstrates determination, drive, and perseverance.

Before applying for any part-time job, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the child labor laws in your state. Some states require that minors have work permits in order to apply for jobs. In some areas, minors are not permitted to work in certain types of occupations, or cannot work during school hours. Some states also require that students maintain a specific minimum grade point average while they are working.

Part-Time Jobs for High School Students

Some students work in traditional part-time jobs, but many students take a more entrepreneurial approach to earning money. There are a number of side business ideas you can begin that take advantage of your unique skills and abilities. Starting a business appeals to many students because the hours are flexible, the pay is as good as or better than a “real” job, and you’re the boss.

Let’s examine some popular part-time jobs and small business opportunities for high school students, along with some of the advantages and disadvantages of each:

1. Animal Shelter Worker

If you love animals, working at an animal shelter could be a great part-time job while you are in school. Shelters hire minimum-wage employees to spend time with the animals and clean out their cages. If you want to become a veterinarian, this part-time job provides you with hands-on experience, working closely with animals.

As a part-time employee, you will do some unpleasant things, like assisting in the euthanasia of sick animals. It can be a sad, messy, and heart-wrenching job, but for many people, the rewards far outweigh any uncomfortable moments. If animal welfare is something you are truly interested in, this could be the ideal part-time job for you. For more information, check out The Humane Society’s Top Reasons to Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter.

2. Arts and Crafts Production and Sales

If you have artistic skills, there may be a market for items that you create, especially during the winter holidays. Towards the end of the year, schools and churches hold arts and crafts fairs, and eager shoppers line up to buy Christmas ornaments, wreaths, and last-minute gifts.

Summer art festivals can also be an opportunity to sell art and handmade jewelry. Booth and table rental costs vary, but if you partner with a friend or a neighbor who also has items to sell, it won’t cost as much and you can help each other out. Sales can be sporadic, and although the money can be considerable, it likely won’t replace a steady income. In addition, you will have to pay for supplies, and pay rental fees for booth or table space at fairs and festivals. If you’d rather set up shop online, consider selling your arts and crafts on Etsy.

3. Babysitting

Babysitting a sibling or a younger neighbor is a rite of passage amongst many teens. Babysitters usually work Friday and Saturday evenings, leaving the week open for completing homework and participating in school-related activities.

Babysitters are paid well for their time. I have friends in Colorado who pay their babysitters $12-$15 an hour. Payment varies depending on the sitter’s age, and my friends have been known to pay even more, when they are crunched for time.

CPR-certified babysitters are always in high demand. The Red Cross offers an intensive course of training for babysitters. The one-day class includes first aid training, diapering and feeding techniques, and interview tips.

Word of mouth referrals, references, and recommendations are critical to obtaining new babysitting jobs. Babysitters have to be on their best behavior if they ever want to be hired again. Managing small children can be a challenge, but babysitters make their own hours and set their own pay, making this a great part-time job for students who like kids. Check out Care.com or Babysitters4hire.com to find your next babysitting gig.

babysitter surprised

4. Car Wash Attendant

I worked for a car wash when I was a teenager, and I loved my job. If you live in a warm climate, or only work during the warmer months of the year, you are almost guaranteed to stay busy. There’s nothing worse than being bored at work, so that’s a key perk of working for a car wash.

However, some possible downsides to working for a car wash include getting soaking wet, ruining your clothing, and working for minimum wage. On the plus side, you will make tips and you get to be outside when you are working. You can also keep your car shiny and clean, free of charge!

5. Document and Photograph Archival Services

Many people need documents and photos scanned, stored, and archived, but few people have the time to take on this considerable chore. My family has thousands of photos from the pre-digital camera era. They would love to have all of the photos scanned and safely stored online or saved to a computer file, but no one has the time to tackle this time-consuming task.

Start this part-time business by networking with your parents’ friends to offer scanning, storage, and archival services for their documents and photos. Documents can be archived to Google Docs and photos can be scanned and stored on DVDs, websites, and computers.

Agree on the number of photos or documents that need to be scanned or archived, and then set a price per item based on the length of time it will take to complete the tasks. Pricing for scanning and archival services will vary, but a range might include $0.25 per photo and $0.35 per document page. The work can be tedious, and you’ll have to handle documents and photos carefully, to ensure they aren’t damaged or lost.

6. Grocery Store Employee

Grocery stores hire students throughout the year. There are many different jobs at a grocery store; workers can bag groceries, stock shelves, mop floors, or even operate a cash register. Part-time employees can expect to make minimum wage working at a grocery store. Many grocery stores have unionized cash register operators, so these jobs can pay a bit more than the other options listed here.

Some perks of working for a grocery store include short shifts, merchandise discounts, and schedule flexibility. If you happen to work at Trader Joe’s, you may move to a different area of the store every time you work.

Some students complain about paying union dues when working at a grocery store, which will be required if the store is unionized.

grocery store worker fruit

7. Landscaper/Lawn Care

Working as a landscaper or doing lawn care part-time lets you get outside and enjoy the sunshine, while also getting paid to work. I mowed lawns during the summer in high school and I was paid well for my efforts. Now, people pay a small fortune to have their lawns mowed and their hedges trimmed each week. A friend of mine pays $175 per month for 4 visits from a lawn care service; line up five customers, one for each day of the week, and you will “rake” in the dough.

If you happen to live in a cold weather climate, you can transition to shoveling snow from driveways and sidewalks during the winter months. I made good money borrowing my dad’s lawnmower and cutting grass when I was in high school. If your family has a lawnmower, this can be a real money-making opportunity for you.

Doing lawn care can be hot, boring, and buggy work, but making your schedule, choosing your clients, being outdoors, and setting your own rates makes running a lawn care service the ideal part-time business. Who knows where it could take you?

8. Pizza Delivery

If you have a car and a good driving record, you can get a job delivering pizzas. Delivery drivers don’t get paid very much, but they do receive tips. Work typically entails driving back and forth to the pizza place, picking up pizzas and delivering them to customers.

Students with pizza delivery jobs have a sense of autonomy, and they can listen to their own music while they are working. Delivering pizzas on time and collecting money teaches responsibility, and teenagers love the freedom of driving their own vehicle. It may not be glamorous, but with the right attitude, and a good pizza, delivery drivers can have a good time at work, while making decent money.

There is an element of danger in this job, however. Pizza delivery drivers are occasionally robbed or assaulted.

9. Packing and Moving Services

A la carte packing and moving services provide assistance to people who cannot afford to hire a full-service moving company for their personal possessions. Professional movers can quickly pack boxes and load furniture and boxes into a truck. Movers are bonded and insured, which is likely not an expense you’ll want to take on yourself. Instead, see if any of these locally based packing and moving services can use some extra help, especially on the weekends.

The work can be grueling, especially on a hot day. Movers have to stay hydrated, and take breaks occasionally to avoid overexertion. The pay will be minimum wage, or slightly more than minimum wage, and tips will be split amongst the staff.

man moving box

10. Personal Assistant Services

Running errands, walking dogs, and wrapping gifts are just a few of the tasks performed by a personal assistant. Let the adults in your life know that you’re providing personal assistant services at a reasonable price. A simple flyer, with a list of services you can provide, can be passed out to the neighbors. The services might be sporadic at first, but as you gain the trust of your customers, they will give you more and more responsibilities, which will lead to more money, too.

The amounts to charge will vary according to the services offered. Calculate the time it takes complete the tasks, and make your rates competitive; $10 an hour would be an acceptable pay rate for a personal assistant. Disadvantages include uptight clients, and being responsible for things that are sometimes out of your control, like an unruly dog that runs away.

11. Restaurant Wait Staff

The pay for professional wait staff at a restaurant will likely be well below minimum wage. In Rhode Island, for example, the law states that wait staff must be paid at least $2.89 per hour. The customers can be a pain, and shifts can run late into the evening, but restaurant employees also have a lot of fun at work. There is a lot of camaraderie with fellow employees, the tips can be good, and employees typically receive discounted or free meals during their shifts.

Being a member of a wait staff teaches patience, customer service, money management, food handling, food preparation, and multi-tasking skills that can pay off after high school. Being a waiter is a very popular job for teenagers both during the school year, and in the summer. It’s a good job that offers scheduling flexibility and a solid number of shifts each week.

12. Retail Job

My retail job in high school entailed standing behind a counter and ringing up pharmaceuticals and magazines. It was an easy job, and I enjoyed working with the customers. Stores often hire students looking for after-school employment.

Retail jobs offer all sorts of perks, including merchandise discounts, relatively light schedules, working alongside other students, and a fun, fast-paced work environment. The downsides include earning minimum wage, working on weekends, and dealing with unhappy customers. In general, the retail or mall job is a good first job for students in high school. Students will learn responsibility, money management, and how to effectively deal with customers.

girl retail job

13. Tutor

Parents pay good money to have their kids tutored, so take advantage of your know-how to help their kids succeed. Whether it’s tutoring an elementary school student with his or her reading, or helping a fellow classmate get those calculus questions right, tutoring is big business right now. There are a number of corporate tutoring entities, like Sylvan Learning Center, but you can offer your services as a tutor for less money, and with a more personal experience.

Private tutors can expect to earn at least as much as babysitters, and can set their own schedule with their clients. You have to really enjoy helping others learn, in order to be a tutor, however. Any job where you earn good money, and set your own hours, is a win-win for a high school student.

14. Warehouse and Distribution Job

If you don’t mind using some muscle, there are part-time jobs available loading and unloading inventory in warehouses and distribution centers. The evening hours for these part-time jobs fit neatly into a student’s schedule.

Expect to earn minimum wage, with some possibility of pay raises after some time has elapsed. The work can be monotonous, but it goes quickly if you stay focused and keep moving.

15. Web Designer

Do you have technical skills in web design or web development? If so, you might find work designing or creating websites for customers. After all, almost every entrepreneur needs a website.

Web designers working full-time in Burbank, California make an average of $68,000 per year. By working part-time out of your home you might be able to assemble a list of clients to keep you busy while you’re attending school. Sure, you will be spending long hours stuck in front of a computer, but you will be setting your own schedule, earning great money for part-time work, and possibly setting up a business that continues beyond high school.

Final Word

Teenagers have different motivations for finding a part-time job while in high school. Some of these jobs may not bring in much money, but the work experiences are valuable in other ways, too. In just a few hours a day, teenagers learn about responsibility, money management, people skills, working as a team, and professionalism, while also building self-esteem, and learning how to succeed in the real world after high school graduation. If working students can make time for homework, extracurricular school activities, and for socializing with friends, having a part-time job can be a solid learning experience.

What kind of job, if any, did you have in high school? Do you think it’s a good idea for teenagers to hold part-time jobs while in school?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

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David Quilty
David Quilty is a freelance writer living outside Santa Fe, NM. After burning out working in the entertainment field in Los Angeles for many years, David decided to strike out on his own and follow his passions for writing, web design, politics, and green living on a dirt road in rural New Mexico.

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  • http://twitter.com/EducationCents Education Cents

    When I was in high school, I worked part-time between my sophmore and junior years as a cashier at the local grocery store. I did it for three months in the summer, and ended up quiting just after school started because I got a role in the school play, which ate into my availability.

    The next summer, I worked for a friend of the family, helping them renovate their kitchen and organize their storage area. I guess you’d call what I did “personal assistance.” It paid handsomly (for 1999) and was a lot of fun. The skills I learned set me up to work backstage at a local community theatre during my senior year, which then lead to my part-time job in college doing similar work.

    I definitely think teenagers should work in high school.

    • realist

      yeah if you can find a fucking job

  • http://www.mangomoney.com Mango Money

    I was a lifeguard in high school and it was a great job! Though, I do recommend private pools over public pools–better pay and not as hectic. At our blog we tried to come up with job ideas for kids from high school down to grade school. Your list for high schoolers is pretty extensive. I’ve included the link to our list, and would love to get your thoughts on summer jobs for kids under 15.

  • Guest

    My children have all worked as lifeguards and swim instructors. With those two certifications, they work on average 55 hours a week. This money adds up to help them pay off student loans…While in college, they got additional certifications to work better jobs; CNA, Pharmacy Tech, and Phlebotomy. Jobs that pay more than minimum wage helps pay student loans quicker!

  • Nataliezuber

    I am a junior in high school and I currently work at a gymnastics coach at the gym I have grown up at. I am working with my coaches, some of whom taught me 14 years ago when I was two years old. It is such a fun job and working with different kids ages 2-12 never gets boring.

    • peter

      hi!!! i’am 14 years old too. i really need a job. i have read what you wrote, it was interesting to read….. Please if you can help me with any job call me a this number
      (646)500-3651……. thanks.

  • Troutaholic

    If you live on the water, fish cleaner is by far the highest paying job that doesn’t have any education requirements. The marina I used to work at, i was paid minimum wage + $0.40 per pound, which really adds up fast on weekends or the summer. Nasty work, but I made way more than anyone else I knew, even a lot of adults.

  • Salman

    Very infoemative piece of information.please do include workimg from home jobs such as internet marketing.i am also doing it currently as part time along with 60 million americans and huge amount of people worldwide.if anyone of you want details about this field do contact me at:[email protected]

  • av3nger

    Almost 18 and still haven’t had my first job…can’t get one…no idea.

  • Moneystreetsmart

    av3nger- Like grocery/retail jobs- Look in your local newspaper to see if your town offers a Co-op/farmers market. The work days are usually saturday/sunday and the hours are flexible. A great way to make some extra money and NETWORK with other people in your community who may be willing to offer you something else in the future. Meet people, talk to them, and make sure they remember you! Good luck in the job hunt!

  • Gbati

    only 15, but can i do

  • Steve

    Animal Shelter…..really? With the pit bulls? Is cosmetic surgery offered as a benefit?

    • Chris

      I volunteer at an Animal Shelter sometimes and I’ve worked with plenty of pit bulls. I’ve never had any problems with them. In fact, they’re really nice dogs. They just have a bad reputation because of what a few owners have done.

      • zayajay

        no they have a bad rep because no matter how well they are raised they can for no reason get pissed off and take their anger out on you because when they get that mad it is to kill the target. a little girl sleeping got attacked for no reason and they trained that dog to a tee. the reality is its an overly aggresive breed some can be nice but it doesnt matter they are ticking time bombs. and once your pitbull growls or bites at someone really aggressively for no reason . get rid of it .

        • Tina

          That’s a pretty stupid comment to write. Obviously you’ve had no experience with pit bulls because that’s what everyone else who has never had one says. I have three pit bulls and they are the sweetest things u can imagine. They would never hurt me or anyone else so don’t comment things when u have absolutely no idea what your talking about

        • leslie

          She’s right pit bulls are only aggressive if their owners are.The owners arethe role models

        • Chris

          Pit bulls are good dogs but the scientific explanation is that their brain actually outgrows their skulls which causes pressure on their brain which, in most cases, leads to aggression and frequent snapping and biting.

        • yvonne

          Get rid of it?!?!?! Did your mom say that when you threw a fit as a kid? Or when you hit a kid at school or anything else during the ‘learning’ stage of whats right and whats wrong. People every single case of dog attacks needs to be reviewed on a case by case basis as wedo in our court systems. Just because one white, asian, black, guy, girl killed someone or attacked someone we all should be smart enough to know that the rest of that certain race shouldnt be pre-judged…..so why do that to animals?

  • http://www.ayahsblog.wordpress.com/ Ayah-Sofia

    If you don’t mind working for free the opportunities are endless. For example, I’ve worked as a corporate blogger and a brand ambassador. You gain relevant skills, great references and a job satisfaction, not to mention, how good this would look on your Resume/CV.

  • Renee

    i need a weekend job. I am 17 go to high school and a career school for cosmetology mon-fri. not many jobs that seem to help me our be flexible enough..

  • Wolf

    What about lifeguarding? If you are a lifeguard, you get paid well, often enjoy your work, get some exercise, can chill in the pool when your work is finished or are on break (and have free access to the pool), and can socialize with the other lifeguards, or the patrons when on break

  • Ruth

    By all means, I think high school students should work, but I found this article kind of misleading. Unless you are babysitting a very wealthy (or very generous) family, don’t expect $15/hr. When I was in high school (about 6 years ago), I got paid $10/hr to babysit which I considered to be very good, but the father of this family also inherited his father’s multi-million dollar business, so they had quite a bit to go around. Typical middle class families will probably pay you minimum wage (or a little bit less).

    • PixelBit

      Maybe that has something to do with inflation.

  • Hard Working Man

    I didn’t want my teen age kids to work, so they could focus on school and go to college. That was the plan at least…..What happened was they got lazy, had no idea why going to college and getting a good job was important, since they never worked a crap job in thier life. They spent all thier free time(way too much free time) devoted to teen age drama and their school work ultimatly suffered. So I am now pushing my teenagers to get jobs.

  • Steven Cooper

    I think kids should work but instead of getting a job, I think they could learn more from starting their own business. If they get a job then that becomes the engraved way to make money in their minds. If they start a business while they are young they can learn from failures and successes only failures don’t matter since mom and dad are still providing for them. Why not have your kids figure out business skills while they are young there is nothing to lose. They can probably make more money with their own business vs. getting a part-time minimum wage job.

    I have been interviewing kid making money on a website that I run and it is really cool to see kids build passive income businesses while they are still at home and then after they move out they have an income stream to help provide for their needs.


    Where is the LIFEGUARD?????

  • Shane H.

    Love how people seem to think pizza delivery is even a viable option. What they dont tell you is that if you do deliveries for anybody you have to have a commercial auto policy. On the cheap end its like $350-$400 a month for an 18 year old with a clean record. That right there kills any kind of tips you might make. All in all your still stuck with minimum wage or less. Good luck trying to make any money delivering pizzas.

  • Wolfy

    My first (and current) job is as a stablehand. I’m 15 and I make $7.50/hr. Cons: work in all kinds of weather, a bit hazardous as I’m there alone unless I bring a friend/parent, physical, not a lot of hours to work (2 hours mornings and/or nights). Pros: never boring, learn something every time, Fun, tough job.

  • Camille

    Best job I ever had in high school was definitely working at a movie theater.

  • wil


  • Darrell Quakenbush

    Any of the Sitting Jobs are the best….Dog Sitting, House Sitting and Baby Sitting

  • The piggy pusher

    I used to play a mean mackerel back in my day…

  • Josh CMPTLLM

    most of these you have to be 18 to do, which is not teen but adult, therefore a majority of this list is wrong and a waste of time.

  • mariajlandreth

    Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
    on the computer . see post F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  • virginiacferguson

    Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
    on the computer . see post F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

  • gladyswray

    Jacqueline implied I’m taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month
    on the computer . see post C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • loussaleem

    my Aunty
    Allison recently got a nice 6 month old Jaguar by working from a macbook.this website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

  • Bruce

    almost everyone of those jobs in my area is filled by illegals

  • Mariah Brenda Rodriguez

    I am a 17 year old from MA, I have never had a part time job and really need one. I rather stay clear from any job that involves constantly talking to people or handling money (basically cashier jobs are a no go) I also have visible piercings and tattoos, are there any easy jobs out their that I am eligible for?

    • S?MEER ?

      Look for a sales floor job at Target, Walmart or any Department Store.
      Sales Floor means you move stuff around and if someone looks interested in an item or lost you try to get them to buy it or say “is there anything your interested in” or whatever the store tells you.

      These kind of jobs are generally easy and you don’t have to keep talking to people or handle money. Most people have credit cards/debit cards nowadays don’t they? Lol. Best of luck

  • jerry jewbags

    Sorry students, skilled trades, manual labor, babysitting and nanny services, restaurant cook and dishwashers, car wash attendant, and some retail jobs are all performed by illegal aliens. Of course most of young liberals adore them and would do anything for them. So now you can forget getting jobs in those fields. Oh……….. and when you graduate from college. IT, web developer, most engineers, physicians, most technology jobs will be performed by Indians and Asians. Again the people that you adore and advocate for. Good luck with the student debt…..”hope and change”…..suckers
    If you a guy. Join the army and maybe you might survive going to Iraq or Afganistan. Hopefully you won’t have many nightmares and you will retain the operation of your arms and legs.
    If your a hot girl. Be a stripper and become an escort. Hopefully you won’t die from HIV/AIDS or get busted or shot by black pimps or cops.

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