Want to earn more as a teen? Dive into our list of the top 16 high-paying jobs for teens. Many of these aren’t on everyone’s radar yet, so you might just find your perfect opportunity.
What is Considered High-Paying For Teenagers?
When you’re looking for a job as a teen, it’s handy to know about typical pay rates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2019, 82.3 million workers aged 16 and older in the U.S. earned an hourly wage. From this group, 392,000 were making the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour.
Here’s a clearer picture:
- Typical Minimum Wage: $7.25 per hour.
- Average Pay for Teens: A bit above this, let’s say around $8 to $12 an hour.
- High-Paying Jobs for Teens: Anything over $15 an hour.
When you find a job that offers more than $15 an hour, you’re looking at a high-paying position for someone in the teenage bracket. And that’s precisely the type of job we’re highlighting in this list! So, with this benchmark in mind, let’s jump in and uncover these exciting opportunities for you.
Top 16 High-Paying Jobs for Teens
Before we dive into our exciting list, it’s crucial to understand how we picked these jobs. So, what makes a job worthy of being on our high-paying list?
Let’s break down our criteria:
Our Criteria for the Best-Paying Jobs for Teens
- Average Salary: We considered jobs that generally pay above the average teen wage, focusing on roles that offer $15 an hour or more. Remember, while some jobs might have a higher starting pay, the potential for tips, commissions, or bonuses can increase your earnings significantly.
- Safety and Legality: No job is worth it if it puts you at risk. We made sure that the jobs on our list are both safe and legal for teens. That means considering the work environment, the nature of the job, and any required permissions or age restrictions.
With these factors in mind, we’ve compiled a list that balances high earnings with your safety and well-being. Ready to find out what these top-paying jobs are?
Unique High-Paying Jobs for Teens
1. Golf Caddy
Teens who have an understanding of golf and enjoy being outdoors can find good pay as a golf caddy. This role not only allows them to spend time in the fresh air on beautiful golf courses, but it also provides an opportunity to learn more about the sport. Additionally, this job often comes with the perk of networking with successful individuals who frequent golf clubs, potentially opening doors for future opportunities. It’s a wonderful job that combines physical activity, strategic thinking, and interpersonal interaction.
- Primary Duties: Carrying golf bags, offering insight on the course layout, suggesting clubs, and keeping pace with the golfer.
- Skills Required: Knowledge of golf, physical stamina, good interpersonal skills, and attentiveness.
- Minimum Age: While 14 years old is the minimum age requirement, it may vary by golf course.
- Average Salary: Golf caddies can often earn an average hourly rate of $28 an hour, plus potential tips from golfers.
- Downsides: The job involves being on your feet for many hours and carrying heavy bags. Weather conditions, like extreme heat or rain, can also be a challenge.
2. Swim Instructor
For teens who are excellent swimmers and enjoy teaching, being a swim instructor can be both rewarding and profitable. This role allows them to use their swimming skills and instill a love for swimming in others. It requires patience and good communication skills, as they often work with beginners. It’s a fun, interactive summer job that also pays well, making it a great option for teenagers looking to earn some money.
- Primary Duties: Teaching swimming techniques, ensuring safety in the pool, helping students overcome their fear of water, and evaluating student progress.
- Skills Required: Strong swimming skills, patience, the ability to communicate well with different age groups, and instructional abilities.
- Minimum Age: Often 16 and up, but it’s important to have certifications like lifeguard training and water safety instruction.
- Average Salary: Teen swim instructors can expect to earn $27 an hour, depending on the facility and location.
- Downsides: The job requires being in the pool for extended periods and managing a group, especially kids, can be challenging.
Ever dreamed of being in the spotlight? Acting isn’t just for adults. Many teenagers have made a name for themselves on both the big and small screens. This profession lets you immerse yourself in various roles, express emotions, and captivate audiences.
- Primary Duties: As a teen actor, you’ll be reading and memorizing scripts, attending rehearsals, and performing in front of cameras or live audiences. Depending on the role, you might act in school plays, commercials targeted toward younger audiences, or even TV shows.
- Skills Required: A strong stage presence is a must. You should be able to convey emotions convincingly, listen to directions, and adapt as required. Taking part in school drama classes or local theater workshops can be a great start.
- Minimum Age: There is no minimum age requirement to start an acting career. However, there are some legal considerations that teen actors need to be mindful of. Anyone under the age of 18 is required to adhere to state-mandated child labor laws.
- Average Salary: Teen actors can earn differently based on the role and platform. However, the average hourly rate for teen actors in the United States is around $23 per hour.
- Downsides: Patience is key. You’ll face auditions where you don’t land the part, and feedback isn’t always easy to hear. Balancing school, free time, and acting commitments can be challenging, too.
4. Personal Trainer
Teens with a passion for fitness can find opportunities as personal trainers, especially for peers or younger kids wanting to get active. It’s a great way to share their love for fitness, promote a healthy lifestyle, and develop leadership and communication skills. Plus, it offers flexibility to work around their school schedule.
- Primary Duties: Creating workout plans, guiding clients through exercises, ensuring proper form, and offering fitness advice.
- Skills Required: Knowledge of exercises, good communication skills, and the ability to motivate and instruct others.
- Minimum Age: Typically, you’d need to be at least 18 to get a personal trainer certification, but younger teens can start as fitness assistants or in similar roles under supervision.
- Average Salary: The average hourly rate of personal trainers is around $27. This may vary depending on the expertise and clientele.
- Downsides: It requires regular fitness knowledge updates. Building a client base initially might be challenging. It’s also crucial to manage schedules, especially if balancing school and training sessions.
5. Postal Service Worker
While it may not be a typical choice, some teenagers do find employment within the postal service, particularly during high-demand seasons such as the holidays. They often discover that this job provides a unique and rewarding experience.
- Primary Duties: As a youth postal service worker, tasks might include sorting mail, assisting with packaging, labeling parcels, and sometimes even helping with local mail deliveries. It’s all about ensuring mail and packages get to their intended recipients efficiently.
- Skills Required: Attention to detail is crucial because misplacing or mislabeling mail can cause delays. Good organizational skills, a sense of responsibility, and the ability to work efficiently are also important.
- Minimum Age: Typically, the U.S. Postal Service hires from the age of 18. However, some local or community postal services might have opportunities for younger teens, especially for part-time or seasonal roles.
- Average Hourly Rate: Teens can expect an average hourly rate of $19 as postal service workers. This rate can increase during peak mail periods like the holiday season or if given more responsibilities.
- Downsides: The work can sometimes be repetitive, and during busy times, the workload might increase. There’s also the challenge of managing work shifts with school schedules and ensuring accuracy, as mistakes can lead to customer complaints or delays.
6. Administrative Assistant
Many businesses, like medical offices, salons, and hotels, hire teens for administrative assistant roles, particularly for weekend shifts to help with office work. It’s a great way for teens to earn money and learn how a business runs.
- Primary Duties: Your role would involve managing phone calls, setting appointments, basic data entry, organizing files, and sometimes handling customer or patient inquiries.
- Skills Required: You’d need good communication skills, basic computer knowledge, and a knack for organization. It also helps if you’re punctual and reliable.
- Minimum Age: Generally, businesses might prefer hiring teens aged 16 and up, but 14 years old is the minimum age requirement as set by The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- Average Salary: Teens in this role can expect to earn an average hourly rate of $18.72 per hour.
- Downsides: It might get a bit hectic, especially during peak hours. Balancing this job with school assignments, especially if working on school nights, can be challenging.
7. Youth Sports Referee
Ever watched a basketball or soccer game and thought you could make fairer calls? Well, here’s your chance! Teens often overlook being a youth sports referee, but it’s a fantastic way to be involved in sports, make some money, and develop leadership skills.
- Primary Duties: As a youth sports referee, you’ll be overseeing games, ensuring players follow the rules, making calls on plays, and sometimes handling disputes on the field or court.
- Skills Required: A solid understanding of the sport’s rules is essential. You’ll also need good judgment, the ability to stay calm under pressure, and excellent communication skills. Physical fitness is a plus since you’ll be moving around a lot during games.
- Minimum Age: 16 years is the minimum age requirement if you want to start as a youth sports referee.
- Average Salary: Youth referees earn an average hourly rate of $17/hour.
- Downsides: Games can sometimes get heated, and not everyone will agree with your calls. You’ll need a thick skin and the ability to manage disagreements diplomatically.
8. Youth Mentor
Teens who enjoy guiding and supporting younger kids can consider becoming a youth mentor. It’s a role that not only pays but also brings personal satisfaction by making a positive difference.
- Primary Duties: Offering guidance, support, and advice to younger individuals, helping them navigate personal or academic challenges, and setting positive examples.
- Skills Required: Good communication, empathy, patience, and a genuine interest in helping others.
- Minimum Age: Typically, 18 and up, but some mentoring programs might have specific age or grade-level requirements.
- Average Salary: As a teen youth mentor, one can expect to earn an average hourly rate of $17 an hour, depending on the program and location.
- Downsides: The role can be emotionally demanding, especially when dealing with serious issues. It also requires a significant commitment to build trust and a relationship with the mentee. Balancing mentoring with school and personal commitments can be challenging.
9. Camp Counselor
For teens who enjoy outdoor activities and working with kids, being a camp counselor can be both rewarding and fun.
- Primary Duties: Supervising groups of campers, leading activities, ensuring campers’ safety, and helping to resolve any conflicts or issues that arise.
- Skills Required: Good leadership and communication skills, patience, and a love for the outdoors. A basic knowledge of camp activities like games, crafts, or nature hikes can be beneficial.
- Minimum Age: Many camps prefer counselors to be at least 16, but some might hire younger teens in junior or assistant roles.
- Average Salary: Camp counselors earn around $15.92 an hour on average, though some camps might offer room and board as part of compensation.
- Downsides: Days can be long, especially if overnight supervision is required. Handling homesickness or disputes among campers might also be part of the job. Physical demands like hiking or setting up camp equipment can be challenging.
Many pools and beaches hire teens as lifeguards. It’s a job where you’re responsible for people’s safety, making it both important and rewarding.
- Primary Duties: Watching over swimmers, ensuring pool or beach safety rules are followed, rescuing swimmers in distress, and sometimes administering first aid.
- Skills Required: Strong swimming skills, alertness, and the ability to act quickly in emergencies.
- Minimum Age: Most places require lifeguards to be at least 15 or 16, but you’ll also need a lifeguard certification which often has its own age requirement.
- Average Salary: Teen lifeguards earn an average hourly rate of $15 per hour, but this can be higher at private clubs or beaches.
- Downsides: The responsibility is high since you’re looking out for people’s safety. Sitting in the sun for long hours can also be taxing.
11. Personal Shopper or Stylist
Teens with a flair for fashion can work as personal shoppers or stylists, helping others choose outfits and accessories that look great on them.
- Primary Duties: Understanding client preferences, selecting clothing and accessories, coordinating outfits, and giving fashion advice.
- Skills Required: A keen sense of style, good communication skills, and the ability to understand and interpret client needs.
- Minimum Age: 18 years old is the minimum age requirement if you want to work as a personal shopper.
- Average Salary: Teen personal shoppers or stylists can expect to earn $15 per hour on average. But this can vary based on experience and client budgets.
- Downsides: Fashion trends change often, so staying updated is essential. Building a client list as a teen might take some time. Balancing school, social life, and work hours can be a challenge.
Set Your Own Wage as a Freelancer
Freelancing is when you work for yourself, rather than a company. As a freelancer, you have the freedom to set your own rates and decide your working hours. Imagine being your own boss, picking projects you’re passionate about, and deciding how much you get paid for them. Sounds great, right?
However, you might also face some challenges in freelancing. Since you’re not a salaried employee, your income can be unpredictable. There might be times when you have lots of work and other times when things are quiet.
You’re also responsible for finding your own clients, managing your own taxes, and ensuring you get paid on time. Besides, there are no company benefits like health insurance or paid time off. It’s a mix of freedom and responsibility!
Here are some high-paying freelance jobs for teens:
12. Photographer or Videographer
For teens with an eye for capturing moments, photography or videography can be both a fulfilling and profitable venture.
- Primary Duties: Taking photos or videos for events, portraits, or other specific needs. This also includes editing the captured content to enhance its quality.
- Skills Required: Knowledge of camera equipment and editing software. A keen eye for detail, lighting, and composition is essential.
- Minimum Age: No specific age requirement, but equipment can be expensive, so young teens might need initial support or investment.
- Average Salary: For photographers, teens can expect to earn between $7 to $48 an hour, depending on the event or project. Videographers, given the added complexity of their work, can earn anywhere from $27 to $99 an hour or even more for specialized projects.
- Downsides: Equipment can be pricey and requires care. There might also be pressure to capture crucial moments, especially at events. Continuous learning and adaptation to new techniques and trends are a must.
13. Graphic Designer
If you have a creative side and are skilled with design software, graphic design might be the path for you. It’s a field where your artistic abilities can be used to create captivating visual concepts for various mediums.
- Primary Duties: Creating visual content such as logos, posters, and web graphics based on clients’ needs.
- Skills Required: Knowledge of design software like Adobe Illustrator or Canva. A good sense of color, layout, and design principles.
- Minimum Age: Usually, there’s no specific age limit, but younger teens might need parental consent to join online platforms or work with clients.
- Average Hourly Rate: Teen graphic designers can expect to earn anywhere from $15 to $35 an hour, depending on the complexity of the project and experience.
- Downsides: There’s a lot of competition in the design world. Meeting client expectations and handling revisions can sometimes be tricky. Staying updated with the latest design trends is also essential.
Tutoring is an excellent job for teens who are proficient in certain subjects and enjoy assisting others. It’s a flexible role that can be done in-person or online, fitting into a student’s schedule. It not only enhances teaching and communication skills but also provides teens with a good source of income.
- Primary Duties: Helping students understand topics they find difficult, preparing them for tests, giving homework help, and tracking their progress.
- Skills Required: Good knowledge of the subject you’re teaching, patience, communication skills, and a knack for explaining complex ideas simply.
- Minimum Age: Often 14 and up, but some tutoring companies or parents might prefer older teens.
- Average Salary: The average hourly rate for tutors is around $24.17 per hour. This may vary depending on the subject and the student’s grade level.
- Downsides: It can be challenging to handle students who don’t show interest or are slow to grasp concepts. You might also need to spend extra time preparing lessons or finding materials. Plus, your income might change based on school holidays and exam seasons.
15. Sitting Services: Babysitter/Nanny and Pet Sitting
For teens who love kids or animals, offering sitting services can be both fun and profitable. This could involve babysitting, where they get to spend time with children, playing games, helping with homework, and ensuring they’re safe and well cared for while their parents are away. Alternatively, for those who have a soft spot for animals, pet sitting can be an exciting option.
- Primary Duties: Babysitting involves taking care of children, ensuring their safety, playing with them, and sometimes feeding or putting them to bed. For pet sitters, it’s about feeding, walking, and spending time with pets.
- Skills Required: Patience, responsibility, and a caring nature. First aid knowledge can be a bonus, especially for babysitters.
- Minimum Age: Usually 13 and up for babysitting, and around the same for pet sitting. However, parents or pet owners might have their own age preferences.
- Average Salary: Babysitters can expect to earn $21 an hour on average, depending on the location and the number of kids. Pet sitters earn around $17.89 per hour.
- Downsides: Babysitting can get challenging if kids are unruly. Pet sitting might require dealing with animals that have behavioral issues. There’s also a responsibility to manage emergencies.
16. Social Media Marketing Assistant
Teens with a knack for trends can monetize their social media skills. They can work as social media managers, content creators, or influencers, using their insights to create engaging content and help businesses connect with a younger demographic. This provides income and valuable experience for future digital marketing or communications careers.
- Primary Duties: Helping businesses or influencers manage their social media profiles. This could involve creating posts, replying to comments, and tracking engagement metrics.
- Skills Required: A good understanding of different social media platforms and what content works best on each. Creativity and good communication skills are also key.
- Minimum Age: While there’s no strict age limit, most platforms require users to be at least 13. However, some businesses might prefer older teens.
- Average Hourly Rate: Social media assistants earn an average hourly rate of $19 per hour, based on experience and tasks.
- Downsides: Social media trends change quickly, so you’ll need to stay updated. Managing negative comments or handling a social media crisis might also be part of the job.
Related Read: For a more comprehensive guide on freelance jobs for teens, check out our article on How to Make Money Online as a Teenager
How to Find the Highest-Paying Jobs for Teens Near Me
Finding high-paying jobs for teens in your area might seem like a challenge. But with some insider knowledge and a bit of digging, you can uncover hidden gems that match your skills and interests. Before you dive into the job hunt, let’s explore some effective ways to start your search.
1. Online Job Boards
In the age of the internet, one of the quickest ways for teens to find high-paying jobs is through online job boards. Not only do these platforms list numerous job opportunities, but they often allow job seekers to filter results by salary, ensuring you spot the best-paying gigs first.
- For Acting Roles: Websites like Backstage or Actors Access are tailored for budding actors. These platforms post casting calls for various roles, sometimes even specifying the pay range.
- Sports and Outdoors Jobs: For positions like lifeguards, camp counselors, or golf caddies, consider platforms like Snagajob. It predominantly features part-time and summer jobs for teens.
- Office Jobs: For those eyeing roles like administrative assistant, especially in medical offices or hotels, niche job boards like iHireAdmin might be beneficial. They specialize in office and administrative jobs, increasing the chances of finding a role that fits your expertise.
2. Local Advertisements
Look around your town or city. Local ads, like those on community boards or in local papers, often have job offers. Some local shops or events prefer hiring teens from their area and might not post jobs online. By checking these ads, you might find cool jobs close to home, like helping at a bakery or working at a weekend market.
3. Social Media
Social media isn’t just for fun photos and videos; it’s also great for finding jobs. Check out local groups on Facebook or even LinkedIn. They might post job offers perfect for teens. Whether a photography group in your vicinity seeks assistance or a community center desires a tutor, these platforms can be goldmines. Moreover, if you’re new to the professional world, our guide on resumes for teens can provide invaluable insights.
4. Freelance Marketplaces
Websites like Upwork or Fiverr let you offer your services, from graphic design to tutoring. The best part? You set your own price. This means you decide how much your work is worth. It’s flexible, so you can work when you want, but remember, you’ll also have to manage your own projects and deal with clients directly.
5. Friends, Family, Neighbors
Sometimes, the best job leads come from people you know. Ask your family, friends, or neighbors if they know of any job openings. Maybe a family friend needs help with their business, or a neighbor is looking for a babysitter. These jobs can often be more relaxed since you’re working with familiar faces, and they might even pay better than a typical teen job. Moreover, you should also consider exploring summer internships for teens to boost your professional growth.