Summer Job Ideas

If you’re anything like me, you have absolutely nothing to do this summer. Instead of sitting around binge-watching Netflix, put some of your skills to use and earn some extra cash for yourself by getting a summer job. I’m going to warn you ahead of time that many places do not pay teens much, often minimum wage. However, any amount of money is better than no money at all, so here are some summer job ideas for teens to get you off the couch:

1. Be a lifeguard

Lifeguarding is the ultimate summer job. Whether you choose to lifeguard at a local pool or beach, you really don’t have to do much other than sit around, tan, and occasionally yell at kids. You do have to be certified, but the certification process is simple, and you can get out of the house and get some sun while making money. Lifeguards earn an average of $9.25 per hour, which is slightly above minimum wage. If you are someone who loves being outside and swimming, then this is probably the perfect job for you.

2. Work as a camp counselor

This job may not be for everyone, but if you love kids and the outdoors, then this is probably a great job for you. It depends on the camp you go to, but most positions in camp counseling involve coordinating and supervising camp activities and developing recreational plans for children. You have to be 18 years old at most places to be eligible for this job, and most camp counselors earn between $9 and $12 an hour. There are likely many summer camps in your area, such as those run by the YMCA, so do some looking around or even work at a camp that you attended as a child.

3. Work in food service

Whether it’s a local ice cream shop or a chain restaurant, such as Chick-Fil-A, plenty of restaurants and fast-food chains are looking to hire this summer. You can be a waiter or waitress, a hostess, or just a cashier. It depends on the place you are working, but most places pay minimum wage or more. You also may earn tips as a waiter or waitress. Here is a list of common food chains/restaurants that hire workers starting at the ages of 15 and 16:

Ages 15 and up:

  • Taco Bell
  • McDonald’s

  • Bruster’s Ice Cream

  • Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.

  • Culver’s

  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Burger King
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken

  • Wendy’s

  • Ciao Bella Gelato Company

  • Chick-Fil-A

  • Pizza Hut

  • Baskin-Robbins

  • Ben & Jerry’s

  • Arby’s

  • Zaxby’s

  • Boston Market
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Rita’s Italian Ice
  • Starbucks

Ages 16 and up:

  • BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse
  • Cracker Barrel
  • IHOP
  • Cici’s
  • Fuddruckers
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Auntie Anne’s
  • Atlanta Bread
  • Krispy Kreme
  • Chipotle
  • Panera Bread
  • Whataburger
  • Denny’s
  • Red Robin
  • Popeye’s
  • Carl’s Jr.
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Jamba Juice
  • Papa John’s Pizza
  • Sonic Drive-In
  • White Castle
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Smoothie King
  • Chick-fil-A
  • Long John Silver’s
  • Tim Hortons
  • Chili’s
  • Cold Stone Creamery
  • Dairy Queen
  • Applebee’s
  • Cinnabon

As you get older, more places will be willing to hire you but there are clearly plenty of options to choose from, even if you are only 15 or 16 years old.

4. Work in retail

If you are not someone who wants to spend your summer outside in the sun, then working in retail might be what you’re looking for. The average retail worker makes $12.67 per hour, which is higher than any of the previously mentioned jobs. Retail workers perform a variety of tasks, from helping customers pick out items, to ringing up purchases. Here is a list of retail places that hire teens:

Ages 15 and up:

  • Giant Eagle
  • Giant Food
  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Safeway
  • Stop & Shop
  • Winn-Dixie

Ages 16 and up:

  • Adidas
  • Aeropostale
  • American Eagle
  • Banana Republic
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond
  • Best Buy (18 for some positions)
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Cinemark
  • Chuck E. Cheese
  • Claire’s / ICING
  • CVS
  • Gap
  • Gap Outlet
  • Justice
  • Kmart
  • Marshalls
  • Old Navy
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Piggly Wiggly
  • Reebok
  • Staples (18 for some positions)
  • Target (18 for Distribution Centers)
  • TJ Maxx
  • Walmart (18 for some positions)
  • Wawa

5. Babysit, pet-sit, or house-sit

If you’re not quite old enough to get your license or don’t have a car to drive to a job, then this might be the best option for you. Put up signs around your neighborhood or advertise on websites like to get your name out there! If you know any kids or pets in your neighborhood or the surrounding area, ask them if they ever need anyone to watch their kids or pets. Babysitters earn an average of $15.71 per hour, which is significantly more than any of the other jobs I mentioned. You may want to get a CPR certification to prepare for the job and prove your reliability, and many CPR courses are easy and don’t require much time. If you are good with kids or animals and you want to earn some quick cash, then this is the ideal summer job for you.


(Copyright 2019 Sami Cerami)