Top 6 Jobs for High School Students
- Food Service Worker
- Dog Walker
- Landscaping and Groundskeeping
- Construction Worker
In the 1980s, the summer job was a rite of passage for high school students. Everyone had some gig lined up by the time coursework ended, and older students hung onto those summer spots when school started again in the fall. A lot has changed.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, close to 60% of teenagers were part of the labor force in 1979. By 2011, less than 35% of teenagers were workers.
You can help change that statistic!
A job helps you build skills and experience that could help you both in school and during a job search. There are plenty of companies looking for high school workers right now.
In this guide, we'll tell you:
As a high school student, you have a lot on your to-do list. Your classes are long, your homework list is longer, and you have chores to tackle around the house too. It’s easy to think about skipping a job search, but do so, and you’ll miss out on three key things that could make the rest of your life easier.
Starting a job in high school can give you:
You’re sold on the idea of getting a summer job, but you can’t figure out where you should start. We have a few suggestions for you. Check out these 6 jobs for high school students below.
If you’re willing to spend your evenings and weekends as a dishwasher, fry cook, or waitress, you could have plenty of job opportunities as a food service worker. Choose to work for a chain like McDonald’s, and you could start the job after your 16th birthday. The Pew Research Center says close to 40% of teen workers hold down jobs in the food services sector, so it’s a popular choice.
National average salary: An entry-level food service worker makes an average of $11 per hour. Some establishments can pay up to $15 per hour, not including tips.
Primary responsibilities: Your responsibilities will vary depending on the type of position you apply for, but here are some common tasks asked of a food service worker below.
National average salary: While babysitting is not always glamorous, researchers say the average sitter gets close to $20 per hour for two children. If you do not work for an agency, the family you work for will most likely pay you directly.
You can set up connections in your community, or you can search on job boards. Hotels, daycare centers, and some corporate offices are often in need of skilled sitters for workers and patrons.
If you’re athletic and you have a way with dogs, you could land a job as a dog walker, walking pets for busy adults. Fido gets a break when the adults are away, and you get a little cash on the side.
National average salary: The nationwide average of a dog walker is $14 to $15 per hour. Plus, if you're working independently — not for a dog walking company — your employers will most likely pay you directly.
There are websites like Rover.com that allow you to set up an at-home business, but you must be at least 18 years old to join. Some hotels and boutiques will hire dog walkers for guests, and if you're really willing to get dirty, you could take a job as a kennel cleaner or dog groomer for a veterinarian's office.
Put your green thumb to work in a position like this. Your mowing, raking, fertilizing, and trimming keep the land looking beautiful, and you'll take home a nice paycheck too.
National average salary: The median salary range is about $11 to $13 per hour, says the U.S. Department of Labor.
We're building a lot in the United States, and that means companies like Bechtel and Skanska need construction workers to keep up with demand. Some positions require training, while others require you to be 18, but some entry-level positions can send you home with a paycheck and a marketable skill.
National average salary: Pay starts at $11 per hour, but the average hourly pay of an entry-level construction worker is $16 and can go as high as $25.
According to U.S. News and World Report, companies are hoping to fill 225,000 jobs each month. Their need could be your perfect fit.
Hiring a full-time worker is a big commitment for a company, especially when the project is small and time-limited. Freelance employees do the work, and their contract is up when the project is complete.
National average salary: There are a wide range of roles and responsibilities of freelance jobs, but according to Business News Daily, the average freelancer can make $21 per hour, making this one of the highest-paying opportunities for high school students.
Primary responsibilities: Although freelance jobs can vary — from graphic design, computer programming, website design, and other technical areas — here are some common responsibilities for freelancers below.
Companies like Fiverr can connect you with employers, but sometimes, the jobs are scams. It's best to work directly with a company on a task like this.
The right job puts you ahead in so many ways, but you'll need to make sure that your work doesn't interfere with your school, family, and social life. It takes a little planning, but you can juggle all your priorities and do all your tasks properly.
Maybe you know just where to go to find the job you want. Perhaps it's an opening recommended by a friend or family member. If you're not sure, use our website, and search for positions by job title and location. You should find just what you're looking for.
Once you've identified a few positions, you'll need to work hard to land that job. You can do it by:
Most employers know that high school students don't have experience, and they want to help you get off on the right foot in your career, so there's no need to put too much pressure on yourself. Start your search now, and land the job you want later on in life.
Teens Trends. (March 2017). U.S. Department of Labor.
A Summer Job Makes a Difference in Classroom Learning, Stanford Scholar Says. (September 2015). Stanford University.
Students and Debt. Debt.org.
Entry-Level-Experience Requirements Could Be Hurting Your Hiring. (July 2018). Society for Human Resource Management.
The Share of Teens With Summer Jobs Has Plunged Since 2000, and the Type of Work They Do Has Shifted. (July 2018). Pew Research Center.
Where Are All the Builders? (June 2018). U.S. News and World Report.
How to Start Selling on Fiverr. Fiverr.
2019 Babysitting Rates and Childcare Costs Study. Urban Sitter.
Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017: Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers. (March 2018). U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Why American Teenagers Are Less Likely to Find a Summer Job. (June 2018). Market Watch.
Professional Students: Benefits and Risks of Working While in High School. (June 2015). Concordia University, Portland.