At 16, a variety of jobs opens up for you that were closed just a year ago. That’s the age when you’re typically allowed to be employed for longer or even unlimited hours, although some states may have restrictions concerning your schedule. You’re still not allowed to take the occupations declared to be hazardous by the US Secretary of Labor.

Also, many large companies start to accept full-time employees starting from 16 years old. The choice of jobs available therefore becomes much wider for you. Even if you don’t have any work experience, don’t get discouraged – a lot of companies hire young teens because they need their enthusiasm and energy, while lack of experience doesn’t matter for them. Typically, it’s true for jobs in food and restaurant service, as well as retail jobs.

Jobs for 16-Year-Olds to Reveal Your True Potential

Any ideas about what you want to be? Try jobs that may be of some use in your future career. That’s an important point to keep in mind during your search.

Want a job but don’t know exactly what you want to do? Start by looking through positions available on or Snagajob.

Working retail

Working retail

Some of the typical responsibilities may include cleaning up, stocking items, helping customers, etc. The laws about how early you can take up such jobs vary by state, but at 16, it’s legal almost everywhere. An employee discount can be a nice bonus. This work isn’t as flexible as a job at a fast food restaurant. It’s less “greasy,” though. The list of retail-related jobs includes grocery store bagger, cashier, sales associate, to name just a few.

When your parents wanted to apply for a job like this, they just went to the retail store in question and filled in the application form. Today, job applications can be filled in online (you can find application forms for Sears, Kohl’s, Homedepot and more on this website).

Food services

Food services teen

In most states, the minimum age to work at a restaurant is 16. You don’t need any experience at all to apply for a starter position in McDonald’s or In-N-Out Burger, for instance. However, you need to be able to work in a close-knit team and be ready to work with people at a fast pace.

Some of the popular entry-level positions include crew member, cashier, counter help, prep cooks/grill cooks, to name just a few.

What about companies where teens are welcome? Consider J.C. Penney, KFC, AMC Entertainment, Papa John’s (many locations), Boston Market, Burger King. Teens aged 16 and up qualify for crew member positions at Arby’s and can apply for all roles except supervisor and up in Steak n’ Shake.


Barista teen

If you enjoy working with people and would like to boost your personal network, this can be a reason enough for taking this job. The sweet smell of coffee comes as a bonus. Early morning shifts are among the downsides.

Food delivery driver

Food delivery driver

Working your own time can be very convenient for a student. Keep in mind you may have to wait in your car for the food to be prepared in the restaurant.

While in some states the minimum driving age is 14, most states only allow unsupervised driving at 16. In New Jersey, you have to be at least 17 years old to get the license.


There’re two ways of making money with photography. Firstly, you can charge clients to have their photos taken and edited (from important events like weddings or trips to tourist-friendly places).

Also, you can take photos of things like wildlife, local countryside or whatever seems interesting to you – and sell the best of them via online platforms. Of course, to start working like this, you need decent equipment and editing software as well as creativity and some training (online courses, for instance).

Tutoring English as a native speaker

Tutoring English as a native speaker

Typically, you will use video chat to talk to students on a variety of topics. Many online schools provide you with vocabulary and grammar exercises to do with your students. While most companies require their tutors to be 18 years old and up, there’re some websites where you can sign up at 16 (like, for instance).

Mind it that a reputable online school shouldn’t have any upfront costs for signing up, although some of them do charge for placing you high up in their catalogs.



Spending time at the seaside or near a pool is quite appealing in itself, while getting money for this may sound like a dream. And yet, you won’t be able just to enjoy this time by the water – you‘ll have to look out for dangerous situations all the time to be ready to act as soon as something goes wrong.

American Red Cross provides certification on lifeguarding and water safety for those who are 15 years old or more by the last day of class. Also, before you’re allowed to take the course, you will need to pass a swimming skills test.

Junior camp counselor

Junior camp counselor

You’ll help counselors and adult staff with the daily tasks. Some of your duties will include maintaining safety during field trips, pool time, in a bus, leading kitchen duties, and heading daily flag ceremonies. In other words, you’ll lead parts of the campers’ day and interact with them.

Lawn mowing

Lawn mowing

Here, the most important point is probably to begin advertising in time, especially if you’re taking it seriously and want to get a lot of customers. If you start advertising in early spring, you’ll be able to get the homeowners’ attention before they book other workers for the season.

Want to earn more customers? Try offering gardening, fertilizing or other extra options. You may also offer a discount for referrals.

Child care/babysitting

Child care

Figure out when you’re free to babysit. Now, you will be able to give a clear, accurate schedule to the people you want to work with.

At 16, you may charge more for this type of work than younger teens. Some people may want to give you a ridiculously low amount just because that’s how much they got when they watched kids some 20 years ago. Just skip these options or negotiate for more, especially if you’re experienced and trained in safety.

You may charge higher if there’re more than one kid, if the kids are young or if the family expects you to clean, cook or do anything else. If you’re not sure how much to charge, you may want to talk to your parents or another adult you trust and ask them to help you get a starting figure.

Golf Caddy

While the most basic responsibility for a caddy is to carry the bags and hand golfers clubs, there are much more duties here. You will tend the pin, replace divots, clean clubs and balls, keep sand traps and bunkers raked. This job is regularly included in the lists of highest-paying jobs for teens.

Pet groomer assistant

Pet groomer assistant

While it’s not difficult to find a job as a pet groomer assistant/apprentice, many respectable grooming salons won’t let you clip or trim the animals without certification – you’ll perform miscellaneous tasks like bathing the animals or brushing out the coat.

The good news is that some dog grooming programs or schools accept students as young as 16 as long as they have legal permission from their parent or legal guardian.



Transcription projects are typically divided into general, medical, and legal categories. While medical and legal projects often suppose some experience or schooling, general transcription can be an easy start for a beginner.

More idea$

  • social media influencer/marketer (consider working as a Pinterest virtual assistance, for instance)
  • newspaper delivery – while your parents may still remember the time when it was a trendy job among teens, the situation is different today. The jobs are increasingly scarce now. You may contact the Circulation Department of a local paper to find out whether they have something to offer.
  • cattle and farm hand — in many cases, it’s a seasonal job. In addition to pivot irrigation, planting, feeding cattle and monitoring its health, it may include responsibilities like assisting in calving and cattle processing.
  • data entry specialist
  • SEO intern/assistant — you’ll be able to learn how to make money guiding a business through the Googleverse
  • telemarketing – in other words, you’ll be cold-calling people at home
  • call center representative – like the job listed above, this one will require excellent communication skills and ability to resolve conflicts
  • restaurant host/hostess
  • fun park attendant
  • escape room attendant.