Is your teen looking to save some money for college or hoping to buy a car? By around the age of 14 or 15, many teens are ready for their first job, either during the summer or after school.


Having a job is a big responsibility for a teenager, but it can be a great learning experience as long as the employer follows laws to keep their young employees safe. Working teens can learn how to add and subtract money, keep track of supplies, follow orders and even lead others.

Following are tips to consider when looking for a part-time job.

Most employers do their best to follow rules and age limits. However, about 70,000 teens are hurt on the job each year and must go to the hospital. Another 70 teens die from work injuries each year. Teens are more likely to be hurt when doing a job that they are not supposed to be doing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some examples of jobs that teens under age 18 should not do include:

  • driving a motor vehicle as a regular part of the job, or operating a forklift or powered equipment like a circular saw, box crusher, meat slicer or bakery machine;

  • working on wrecking, demolition, excavation, roofing, mining, logging and sawmill jobs;

  • being exposed to radiation; and

  • working where explosives are made or stored.

Most children are not ready to have a job until about age 14, the minimum age set by the U.S. government. But younger children can have simple jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Examples include delivering newspapers, working in businesses owned by their parents, babysitting or doing minor chores like mowing with a walk-behind lawnmower (age 12 or older).

Employers must follow federal and state child labor laws. Hours vary, based on age. The federal government does not restrict the number of hours or times of day that teens ages 16 and older may be employed, but many states do.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents to keep an eye out for stress. If their child is not able to manage schoolwork, after-school activities and job responsibilities while still getting enough sleep, it may be time to cut back on working hours.

Parents can find more information about teen employment rules at

© 2014 American Academy of Pediatrics. This Parent Plus may be freely copied and distributed with proper attribution.