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Should students hold jobs while in high school.

Nearly 30% of high school students are employed in a job for at least a portion of the school year. * For many, working a job provides spending money for a social life. For others, working is necessary to help the family make ends meet or to save for college. But outside of the money earned, is being employed while learning a good thing?

The answer isn’t simple.

Should Students Hold Jobs While in High School?

Pros to Working While in High School

Cons to Working While Learning

How You Can Help Students Who Are Balancing Work and School

As long as there are employers willing to hire high school students, there will be high school students who take those jobs. This means schools have to work with employed students to make sure their after-school jobs don’t lead to serious problems. If this is an effort you would like to help with, then you should consider earning a Doctor of Education (EdD).

An EdD program can help you develop the skills you need to make a difference in education. And, with online education , you also can work while you learn. Through an online EdD program , you won’t have to step aside from your current job to earn your EdD degree. Instead, you can complete most of your coursework from home and on a flexible schedule that lets you choose when in the day or week you focus on earning your doctoral degree . It’s this ability to complete a graduate degree program while working full time that has made online learning a popular choice among working adults.

High school students who work while in school need educators and administrators who understand the situation, can help them address the associated challenges, and perhaps even make provisions to ensure every student is successful. When you earn your EdD degree from an online university, you can become just such an administrator.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online Doctor of Education degree program . Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

*J. Davis, School Enrollment and Work Status: 2011, U.S. Census Bureau, on the internet at .

†S. Heller, Summer Jobs Reduce Violence Among Disadvantaged Youth, Science, on the internet at .

‡K. Singh, M. Chang, and S. Dika, Effects of Part-Time Work on School Achievement During High School, The Journal of Educational Research, on the internet at .

§J. Holloway, Research Link / Part-Time Work and Student Achievement, Educational Leadership, on the internet at .

Walden offers both state-approved educator licensure programs as well as programs and courses that do not lead to licensure or endorsements. Prospective students must review their state licensure requirements prior to enrolling. For more information, please refer to .

Prospective Alabama students: Contact the Teacher Education and Certification Division of the Alabama State Department of Education at 1-334-242-9935 or to verify that these programs qualify for teacher certification, endorsement, and/or salary benefits.

Note to all Washington residents: This program is not intended to lead to teacher certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, .

Whether looking for information on programs, admissions, or financial aid, we're here to help.

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high school students work

Professional Students: Benefits and Risks of Working While in High School

As someone who students and their families look to for guidance and advice—even for issues outside of the classroom—you may at some point be asked your thoughts on high school students holding part-time jobs. If you could use a refresher on the benefits and risks of students working while in high school, this article is for you.

First of all, there are obviously a number of reasons why high school students choose to get jobs—to help support their families, to save for college, or to just earn some extra money.  Nearly 1 in 4 high school students worked in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics .

Here are some things you need to know about high school students and part-time jobs.

High school students benefit from part-time employment, but they need time management skills

Learning to budget time and to use it well is a skill that many students don’t learn until they’re in college or in their actual careers. Yet knowing how to handle numerous responsibilities helps students prepare for the academic vigor of college.

Going from school to extracurricular activities and then to a job means having to do homework late at night, or, in some cases, working ahead during the weekends to ensure everything is complete for the coming week. It’s possible for students to overcommit themselves out of a desire to make more money or because they are not yet adept at time management.

While the line between how much work is too much may seem nebulous, experts have found that students who work more than 15 to 20 hours a week see a decrease in academic performance. Teens shouldn’t exceed the recommended number of hours at their jobs, nor should they spend sleeping or studying time at work.

If you’re advising students or their families on this issue, be sure to mention these points and that time management has to be a factor in their schedule—because the last thing you’d want is for their performance to drop in class.

Federal rules for working teenagers

Here are just a few facts that may good for you to know if the conversations come up:  The Department of Labor sets rules for working teenagers in the Fair Labor Standards Act . The minimum age for non-agricultural work is 14.

Working hours for 14- and 15-year-olds are limited to:

Students who are 16 and 17 can work unlimited hours, but only in jobs declared non-hazardous by the Secretary of Labor . Once they turn 18, students can work unlimited hours and are not barred from hazardous jobs.

Because teens over 16 can work unlimited hours, they have the most responsibility for balancing school and work. Parents of students ages 16 to 18 should make sure their jobs don’t expect them to work late hours and should carefully monitor work schedules. If students appear to be spending too much time at work, parents should help them refocus on their studies. 

Learning in the field: How students can develop skills related to their interests

In addition to teaching students real-world skills such as working with the public and as part of a staff, jobs give them exposure to fields they may hope to enter as adults. A job answering phones, running errands, or performing administrative tasks enables students to understand how fields they’re interested in work day to day and what those careers demand in terms of education, skill, and time commitment.

Furthermore, taking a job in their field of interest allows a student to show enthusiasm and aptitude for that field of study, which makes their application more desirable to college acceptance committees.  Is your student interested in teaching? They could work for an after-school program or as a camp counselor. What about accounting? A job in an accounting office helping with administrative work could give them a glimpse into what their future may hold. 

Students should also think outside the box when looking for jobs to help develop skills related to their fields of interest. For example, a student interested in medicine might want to become a licensed lifeguard, which would enable him or her to learn lifesaving skills such as CPR. Working in the field, in some capacity, helps students build job-related skills and further ensures that their interest in the field is warranted.

Teachers and parents can create a framework for successful high school employment

While working during the high school years can help teach students responsibility and other important skills, parents and teachers need to help set students up for success. Ideas include:

As long as the job is safe, legal, and leaves ample time for academics, working during high school can benefit students, parents, and the surrounding community. Students learn skills and responsibility by working, remove some financial burden from their parents by earning their own money. and serve the people of their communities. And as their teacher, you may very well see their new skills and desire to work harder right in your class.

Caitrin Blake has a BA in English and Sociology from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Colorado Denver. She teaches composition at Arapahoe Community College.

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Should All High School Students Have Part-Time Jobs?

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By Shannon Doyne

Have you ever had a part-time job? If so, where did you work and what did you do? If not, do you want to have this experience by the time you graduate from high school? Why or why not?

What do you think teenagers can learn from working?

In the Opinion essay “ The Best Extracurricular May Be an After-School Job ,” Pamela Paul, a columnist who worked multiple jobs in high school during the late 1980s, presents an argument for why students today should work:

Lots of American teenagers need to work after school to help support their families. But there’s a case to be made that those who don’t need to work should get a job anyway. Conditions couldn’t be more optimal. Unemployment, close to a 50-year low , has made the kinds of jobs well suited to kids — no prior experience, minimum wage, part-time — more widely available. Yet fewer teenagers work nowadays than a generation ago. The share of teenagers in the work force has risen from a low of roughly a quarter in 2010 to about a third of older teenagers holding down a job of one kind or another since the pandemic. But when I was in high school in the late 1980s, around half of 16- to 19-year-olds held jobs. Gen X parents who grew up working after-school shifts at the local drugstore often lament the fact that their own children haven’t always had the same opportunities. Many instead favor an array of extracurricular activities that burnish their college applications, like student government and peer tutoring. This may be a mistake even for those parents and kids more concerned about college admissions than about what happens after that. Consider that having an afternoon job cultivates skills like time management and instills a sense of independence and personal responsibility — attributes that many college administrators say some students today lack . But after-school jobs teach more concrete lessons as well. Personally, I learned more from working outside school — starting with three afternoons a week when I was 14 and ending with three jobs juggled, seven days a week, my senior year of high school — than I did in the classroom.

Students, read the entire essay, and then tell us:

Are you convinced by the argument that teenagers should get an after-school job, whether they need one or not? What do you think are the author’s most persuasive points? Is there anything you think she overlooked — either in support of or against teenagers working?

Ms. Paul lists what she sees as 10 valuable things she learned from the part-time jobs she held as a teenager. Which do you think are the most important? If you have had a job, what would you put on your own list of lessons from working?

Would you have time for a part-time job if you needed or wanted one? Would it be worth giving up extracurricular activities, studying time or your free time to get a job instead? Why or why not?

Based on what you know about college admissions, do you think admissions committees value work experience enough? Do you think they should value it more than they do? Would you be more likely to get a job if they did?

Ms. Paul says that she learned more at work than she did in the classroom. Have you ever felt that way about an experience you had outside of school? What did you learn about yourself, others or life in general?

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

Find more Student Opinion questions here. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classrooms.

Balancing High School and Part-Time Work

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worker with customers

Like many high school students, you may work part-time. A great thing about this experience is that it not only will earn you money but also will challenge you and teach you new things about yourself. Whether you work because you need to or because you want to, follow the advice below to make sure you succeed at both work and school.

Before getting a job, think about how you will handle juggling your work and your schoolwork. Talking to a counselor, teacher or parent about working can help you figure out how to balance these two activities. Explain what you need to get from working and what kind of job you want and ask questions like these:

Tips for Success

Once you have a part-time job, consider these strategies for making it work:

How Your Job Can Work for You

Angel Nicole, a high school senior, says that working at McDonald’s has helped her grow as a person. “Honestly, before I got this job, my attitude was bad. I thought I knew everything,” she says. “Learning … that there is always room to learn more has helped me mature.”

A job can also benefit you by teaching you about:

Working can help you explore career directions and reach your goals too. Rhea, a college sophomore and aspiring pharmacist, found her career path when she started her job at a pharmacy while in high school. She says that she loves learning new things on the job every day. “I feel that it's something I can do for the rest of my life, and that's a big deal.”

Related Topics

Working a lot in high school can short-change students’ future

High school students who work more than 15 hours a week during the school year may be short-changing their futures, risking long-term education and health.

New research from the University of Michigan, tracking young adults through their 20s nationwide, suggests that long hours at a job during 12th grade contribute to lower rates of college completion and may heighten the risk of chronic cigarette use.

Listen to podcast: Long work hours hurt students

By age 29 or 30, more than half of the high school graduates who had worked 1-15 hours a week when they were in 12th grade had completed a bachelor’s degree; but every additional 5 hours of work was associated with an 8 percentage point drop in completion, so that only about 20 percent of those who had worked 31 hours or more finished college. After statistical controls for other prior factors, rates of college completion for those who worked 1-15 hours were still one and a half times the rates for those who worked 31 or more hours.

This does not mean that parents should discourage their teenagers from holding any employment during the school year, according to U-M psychologist Jerald Bachman , the lead author on the study. “The students who seem to do best are those who are able to get and hold a job by the time they are seniors in high school,” Bachman said, “but who do not work more than 15 hours per week, on average.”

A great deal of recent research looking at students while still in school has shown that those who spend long hours on the job have poorer grades and lower college aspirations, and are more likely to smoke cigarettes and use illicit drugs. This new study, conducted by Bachman and colleagues at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR), appears in the March issue of Developmental Psychology .

“The fact that there appear to be residual effects when respondents reach age 30 strikes us as really important,” Bachman said. “It means that at least some students during high school are trading off long-term educational opportunities for short-term earnings.”

The study makes use of longitudinal data from the Monitoring the Future project, which has been surveying nationally representative samples of high school seniors each year and following more than 68,000 of them throughout young adulthood, beginning with the class of 1976.

The study addresses two key questions. First, it explores whether working long hours in high school may have long-term consequences, well beyond graduation. The present set of analyses are the first use of Monitoring the Future data to show that employment during high school is linked with potentially negative outcomes more than a decade later.

“The fact that there appear to be residual effects when respondents reach age 30 strikes us as really important,” Bachman said. “It means that at least some students during high school are trading off long-term educational opportunities for short-term earnings.” Reflecting on his prior research, Bachman added that “most do not save much of their earnings for college; instead, many simply treat their earnings as spending money rather than investments for their futures. In the past we have called this ‘premature affluence.’ ”

Second, the researchers asked which comes first: “Are long hours of paid work during high school an important cause of problem behaviors, or are they merely a symptom of prior problems?” They found, in essence, that both are true, but even when controlling for prior behaviors and circumstances, the researchers still found significant links between intensive work schedules in high school and negative outcomes later.

“Working more than 15 hours a week while in high school may have some costs that extend far beyond high school,” Bachman said. “The most notable cost is reduced likelihood of college education—with lifelong consequences. A second possible cost is heightened risk of cigarette addiction—with potentially life-shortening consequences.”

In addition to smoking, the study examined other forms of substance use, including annual marijuana use, annual cocaine use, and instances of heavy drinking. Although all of these behaviors are correlated with work hours during high school, the authors attribute these links to other prior causes. Their findings “… suggest little significant impact of 12th grade work intensity on illicit drug use or heavy drinking measured 3 or more years later.”

Monitoring the Future has been funded under a series of research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse , one of the National Institutes of Health.

The findings summarized are taken from an article published in Developmental Psychology (2010, December 20; advance online publication, doi: 10.1037/a0021027), entitled “Twelfth-Grade Student Work Intensity Linked to Later Educational Attainment and Substance Use: New Longitudinal Evidence,” by Jerald G. Bachman, Jeremy Staff, Patrick M. O’Malley, John E. Schulenberg, and Peter Freedman-Doan.

University of Michigan

University of Michigan Institute for Social Research P.O. Box 1248, 426 Thompson St. Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248

Copyright © 2023 The Regents of the University of Michigan

25 Jobs for Teens and High School Students

Jobs for teens need to fit your life. That means they can't require loads of experience, have a rigid 9-to-5 schedule (hello, school), or—let's be honest—be boring. Never fear, there are good jobs for teenagers within your reach, right here on Monster.

Have you lost count how many times the 'rents have asked what your plans are? As prodding as they may be, mom and dad have a point: Sooner rather than later, you’ll need to get your first job. First though, you might need to fill out some paperwork to be eligible for work, depending on the state you live in and your age.

If you're under age 18 (or under age 16 in some states), it's smart to check which employment and/or age certificates , if any, are issued by your state. So if you're looking for jobs for 14-year-olds or jobs for 15-year-olds, there's a chance you'll need these certificates before you can legally work.

The U.S. Department of Labor website has lots more information on your work eligibility as a minor, but you can also ask your high school guidance counselor to point you in the right direction.

Bonus: You can put these jobs on your resume, which can be part of your college application . Jobs for high school students are great ways to show admissions counselors that you've got the drive to succeed.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Monster data, we found 25 jobs for teens so you can start gaining experience—and put cash in your pocket.

25 Jobs for Teens

1. babysitter.

What you’d do: Babysitting is one of the most common jobs for teens, as it demonstrates responsibility. As a babysitter , you’ll watch kids, play with them, keep them safe from harm, and make sure they get to bed on time. What you’d need: Working with kids requires patience and a good sense of humor. It also helps to be flexible, since parents might need you to step in with just a few days’ notice. CPR certification may give you an edge. What you’d make: The median pay for a babysitter/nanny is $14.29 per hour.

Find babysitter jobs and nanny jobs on Monster.

What you’d do: Get ready to serve coffee (and a variety of other drinks) to a bunch of customers eager for their java fix. What you’d need: As a barista, attention to detail and great people skills are key. On-the-job training will likely be provided to teach you how to prepare a bevy of beverages. Check out this barista resume sample and sample cover letter for a barista . What you’d make: The median pay for a barista is $11.57 per hour.

Find barista jobs on Monster.

What you’d do: One of the joys of eating out is not having to clear the table, but busboys and busgirls get paid to do that. As a busser, you’ll clear tables in timely manner so the dishwasher can clean tableware and get it ready to be used again. What you’d need: Bussers are constantly moving around a restaurant, so a keen eye for a finished meal and an ability to work on your feet are both important. What you’d make: The median pay for a busser is $11.14 per hour.

Find busser jobs on Monster.

4. Call Center Representative

What you’d do: Call center reps work for a variety of businesses, including retailers and technology firms. Be ready to answer questions via phone, messaging, and email. What you’d need: The employer will usually supply on-the-job training, but an interest in technology (computers, messaging systems) and a willingness to hunt down the answer if you don't immediately know it are important prerequisites. What you’d make: The median pay for a call center representative is $30,855 per year.

Find call center representative jobs on Monster.

5. Camp Counselor

What you’d do: Yes, there are jobs for teens that actually pay you to have fun. There are many kinds of camps—wilderness camps, sports camps, academic camps—but in general, counselors help plan and lead fun activities with groups of kids. What you’d need: If you’re interested in being a camp counselor , you should have an interest in working with groups of kids and a passion for whatever subject matter you’re teaching. What you’d make: The median pay for a camp counselor is $13.51 per hour

Find camp counselor jobs on Monster.

6. Car Wash Attendant

What you’d do: Although many car washes are automated these days, most of them still need people to guide the cars onto the tracks and ring people up. Depending on the company though, you might also be physically washing and drying the exterior of cars. What you’d need: On-the-job training will likely be provided. You’ll likely need strength and stamina to perform the more physical duties. What you’d make: The median pay for a car detailer is $12.36 per hour.

Find car wash attendant jobs on Monster.

What you’d do: Cashiers work in a variety of settings—grocery stores, hardware stores, etc.—but the job is relatively consistent: You ring people up and sometimes also help them bag their items. What you’d need: On-the-job training will likely be provided. Since you’ll be working on your feet, good stamina is a plus, and so are solid people skills and a knowledge of the store’s prices. What you’d make: The median pay for a cashier is $11.29 per hour.

Find cashier jobs on Monster.

8. Catering Coordinator

What you’d do: Part-time catering positions can range from answering phone inquiries to helping to prepare food to delivering it on time to events around town. What you’d need: You’ll need flexible hours and a passion for food. Being organized and detail-oriented go a long way, too. What you’d make: The median pay for a banquet worker is $11.14 per hour.

Find catering coordinator jobs on Monster.

9. Delivery Driver

What you’d do: From pizza to pad thai, local restaurants in your area need delivery drivers to make sure hungry people get their food on time. What you’d need: A driver’s license and good driving record are usual necessities. What you’d make: The median salary for a food and beverage delivery driver is $32,391 per year.

Find delivery driver jobs on Monster.

10. Dishwasher

What you’d do: This is one of those jobs for teens that may feel like you’re doing your chores—except you’re getting paid. Where there are diners, there are dishes. As a dishwasher, you’ll be scrubbing plates and pans and putting them back in rotation. What you’d need: Strong arms and legs, plus diligence, are key. What you’d make: The median pay for a dishwasher is $11.16 per hour.

Find dishwasher jobs on Monster.

11. Dog Walker

What you’d do: Love dogs? Your neighborhood canine friends need exercise, and their owners aren’t always available to take them out for a stroll. That’s where you come in. What you’d need: A love for pups is obvious, but you’ll also likely need to be able to commit to a daily or weekly schedule. What you’d make: The median pay for an animal care worker is $13.67 per hour.

Find dog walker jobs on Monster.

12. Fast Food Worker

What you’d do: Feed people who are on the go by taking their order, answering any menu questions, preparing food, ringing them up, and seeing them off with a smile. You may also be charged with stocking and storing food items, cleaning duties, and light office work. What you’d need: On-the-job training is usually provided, but customer service skills are a must. What you’d make: Food service team members make a median of $11.66 per hour.

Find fast food jobs on Monster.

13. Gas Station Attendant

What you’d do: Depending on the state you live in, gas station attendants help man fuel station dispensers and equipment, pump gas, as well as handle the register and stock shelves. What you’d need: Job responsibilities can vary, but the ability to multitask and good customer service are staples. What you’d make: The median pay for a fuel attendant is $12.48 per hour.

Find gas station attendant jobs on Monster.

14. Janitor

What you’d do: Whether it’s at an office building, school, hotel, or elsewhere, cleaning duties land in the capable (and hardworking) hands of janitors, who keep facilities spotless. What you’d need: Most janitors learn on the job, since no formal education is required, but physical strength and stamina are also important. Check out this sample resume for a janitor . What you’d make: The median pay for a janitor is $12.38 per hour.

Find janitor jobs on Monster.

15. Lawn Care

What you’d do: Landscaping is one of the many outdoor jobs for teens on this list. Duties vary, but usually include mowing lawns, raking leaves, trimming hedges, and other tasks to keep a yard clean. What you’d need: Sometimes you might need to provide equipment like lawn mowers and trimmers; other times your employer will supply them. Regardless, you’ll need to be in good shape for this physical work. What you’d make: The median pay for a lawn care worker is $16.58 per hour.

Find lawn care jobs on Monster.

16. Lifeguard

What you’d do: The name says it all—you’ll be keeping watch over the pool, the lake, or the ocean to make sure everyone is staying safe and out of danger’s way. It's one of the most popular jobs for teens out there. What you’d need: Lifeguards need a lifeguard/CPR certification, as well as a watchful eye. Oftentimes, the organization will supply this training. What you’d make: The median pay for a lifeguard is $11.90 per hour.

Find lifeguard jobs on Monster.

What you’d do: When it’s time for a home or business to pack up and change locations, they call on movers to pack their items securely, transport everything, and then unload without damaging anything along the way. What you’d need: Moving is highly physical work. You’ll need to be able to carry heavy objects for long periods of time. What you’d make: The median pay for a mover is $14.36 per hour.

Find mover jobs on Monster.

18. Newspaper Delivery

What you’d do: Keep locals in the know by delivering the paper to neighborhood subscribers. What you’d need: The main thing you’ll need is a means of transportation like a car or a bike, since newspaper carriers must travel around a neighborhood. What you’d make: The median pay for a route delivery worker is $34,407 per year.

Find newspaper carrier jobs on Monster.

19. Personal Assistant

What you’d do: For high schoolers, personal assistant jobs usually take the shape of helping out a local business doing part-time administrative work for one of the organization’s leaders. Personal assistants can also act as helpers for the elderly, doing everything from running errands to yard work. What you’d need: Flexibility, as the type of work can change from day to day, plus an unwavering sense of responsibility. Check out this sample resume for a personal assistant . What you’d make: The median pay for a personal assistant is $33,083 per year.

Find personal assistant jobs on Monster.

20. Restaurant Host/Hostess

What you’d do: Hosts and hostesses greet guests as they enter the restaurant, help them find tables, and convey important information (how long guests will have to wait to be seated, for example). What you’d need: You are often the first person guests will interact with when they come into the restaurant, so a friendly and helpful attitude is crucial. What you’d make: The median pay for a host/hostess is $11.57 per hour.

Find restaurant host jobs on Monster.

21. Retail Sales

What you’d do: Retail has a number of jobs for teens, with sales being at the top of the list. Along with finding items and answering questions for customers, retail sales associates work the cash register, set up displays, and keep the store looking good. What you’d need: No formal education is needed, as on-the-job training is the norm. Good organizational and people skills are helpful in retail sales positions. What you’d make: The median pay for a retail sales associate is $29,417 per year

Find retail sales specialist jobs on Monster.

22. Swim Instructor

What you’d do: Swim instructors coach others on proper swim techniques, including diving, breathing, and different types of swimming strokes. What you’d need: Swim instructors are required to have or be willing to obtain a lifeguard/CPR certification. What you’d make: The median pay for a fitness instructor is $20.38 per hour.

Find swim instructor jobs on Monster.

23. Umpire/Junior Referee

What you’d do: If you’re interested in refereeing, becoming a junior umpire for recreation and town leagues can be a great entry point. As an umpire, you’ll be officiating sports like baseball or soccer. What you’d need: Knowledge of the rules of the game is essential. You must also be in good shape to keep up with the players. What you'd make: The median pay for an umpire/referee is $15.39 per hour.

Find umpire/ref jobs on Monster.

24. Valet Parking

What you’d do: Whether it’s at a restaurant, hotel, or elsewhere, valets park cars for guests as they arrive, and return the cars to guests when they’re ready to leave. What you’d need: On top of customer service skills, you’ll need to have your driver’s license and a good driving record. What you'd make: The median pay for a valet attendant is $12.05 per hour.

Find valet parking jobs on Monster.

25. Waiter/Waitress

What you’d do: Waiters and waitresses answer questions about the menu, take orders, serve food and drinks, and clear tables. What you’d need: On-the-job training is common, but you’ll need a friendly disposition and plenty of stamina. What you'd make: The median pay for a waiter/waitress is $11.24 per hour.

Find waiter/waitress jobs on Monster.

Jobs for Teens—in the Palm of Your Hand

We’ve got loads of jobs for high school students ready and waiting for you. Want to get started today? A great way is with the Monster app . After downloading it, all you have to do is swipe right on the jobs that you’re into. It’s that simple. Let Monster help you earn some money and get some experience that'll come in handy down the line.

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Should Your Teen Work During High School?

young teen working on a homework assignment at home

The one question parents and teens may find themselves asking is whether their teen should get a job during high school , or if their time could be better spent pursuing a different extracurricular or academic pursuit. In some cases, there may be a financial need for a teen to get a job, but in other cases, a job may simply be a productive way for a teen to spend their excess time…if they have any. In recent years, high school student employment rates have been plummeting, and this is inversely correlated with the amount of time students are spending on their studies and on extracurriculars. So, with the limited time teens are given outside of their required academic responsibilities, should your teen work during high school? Read on to help make the best decision with and for your teen.

Related: How to Be Successful in High School

Reasons They Should Work During High School 

There are countless valuable skills teens can get from working a job during high school, far beyond the money they make. For teens who are able to balance work, school, extracurricular, and social life, a job can be a valuable addition to a well-rounded schedule. That said, many of these skills can also be learned and developed through other means, such as volunteering, an apprenticeship, and various extracurricular opportunities.

Reason 1: Mastering Time Management

Working a job puts immediate structure into a teen’s life, which requires successful time management skills on the part of the teen. Teens will be held accountable for their work schedule by their boss, and they will be held accountable for their schoolwork by their teachers.

This requires the teen to step up to the plate and take ownership of their time and plan to use it wisely. Some teens thrive with these additional responsibilities, especially since they feel a sense of purpose in having a place to show up to and people who count on them.

Looking for a meaningful and valuable project that will look great on your teen’s college application? Check out what Beta Bowl has in store for you

Reason 2: Developing Valuable Interpersonal and Professional Skills

Working a job puts teens in a very real-world, adult environment, and they’re expected to adapt to that level of maturity and professionalism. This is a great experience for teens who otherwise would only take cues from the social environment of their peers and school classrooms.

Teens working jobs can begin to understand how to respect a boss, be professional on the job and interact with customers, and how to develop a confident demeanor that will serve them well in college and in future jobs. If they can master this, they will be much better prepared for future interviews and jobs, as well, and their maturity and professional experience will likely be evident.

Reason 3: Financial Independence and Learning Money Management

One obvious benefit for high school students working a job is their ability to earn an income and either help support their families financially or save up to help defray the costs of their future higher education. However, that isn’t the only benefit to teens earning money through a job.

They also begin to learn the value of a dollar, and understanding how many hours it took them to earn their paycheck may make them rethink how they choose to spend it. Early exposure to personal finance is a great way to begin sound money management, which many young adults still have yet to master. Starting a small business is great for learning entrepreneurship and key to financial independence.

Reason 4: Building Up a Work History and Reference List

The thing about jobs is it seems that it takes one to get one, and having zero work experience can be the biggest obstacle to landing your first job. One way to overcome this is by starting early and building up that work history, network, and reference list from a young age. Whether a teen is applying to college , an internship, or a future job, having that prior work experience under their belt and a positive reference from a former employer is going to stand out.

Reasons They Shouldn’t Work During High School

While there are many pros to teens working during high school, there are also some potential drawbacks, which may be deal-breakers for some teens. It’s important that teens (and their parents) consider all the cons before jumping at a job, especially since some of those cons may be longer-lasting than just one semester.

In fact, the decision of whether or not a teen should get a job could have a significant impact on their current success and wellbeing, as well as on their future and future opportunities, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Reason 1: Unnecessary Stress and Time Pressure

A job can definitely teach teens time management skills , but for some, it may simply create unnecessary stress, and they may buckle under the added time pressure. Teens these days have a lot on their plate, and school hours and outside studies (homework, projects, test prep, standardized test prep, etc.) already take up the majority of their time, not to mention extracurriculars, socializing, and ideally some downtime.

If a teen adds a job on top of all of that, they may find that their other responsibilities and activities suffer or disappear altogether. For those who are able to make it work, but just barely, they may experience a negative impact on their mental health by bottling up all the stress and eliminating any socializing and downtime from their schedule.

Reason 2: A Distraction from their Studies

As we alluded to in reason 1 above, a job can pose a problematic distraction from a teen’s studies, which most feel should be at the center of their high school career and priority list. If a teen is too busy focusing on their job, or simply spends too much time at their job to have enough left over for their studies, this can be hugely detrimental.

A job should not be an impediment to a student’s academic progress, and if it does result in declining grades, it will do more harm than good. It’s up to you and your teen to determine if they will be able to juggle both a job and their studies, as well as to put safeguards in place to ensure the student does put enough time and attention towards their studies, first and foremost.

Reason 3: Unrelated to their Passions, Hobbies, and Interests

We discussed the various benefits a job may have for teens, but in some cases, their time may be better spent elsewhere, and that doesn’t just mean on homework. If a teen already has a specific hobby, passion, or interest that they want to pursue outside of school, and even possibly in college or in a career, any time devoted to that passion is time well-spent.

Prolonged dedication to anyone’s hobby or activity is going to be impressive to college admissions officers, and an unrelated job may actually be a less impressive use of time. That said, if your teen is able to secure a job, internship, or apprenticeship that is somehow related to their interest, passion, or hobby, this could be one of the most valuable work opportunities a teen could pursue and would likely be a huge advantage to their application .

Reason 4: Interruption to their Academic Planning and College Prep

The time spent at a job may not interfere with a teen’s study schedule o r extracurriculars , but if it interrupts their academic planning or college preparation work, it’s just as detrimental. Even though it isn’t part of a required class assignment, college-bound teens should allot a portion of their time to academic planning, as in college research, and standardized test preparation, such as PSATs, SAT and/or ACT classes, and subject tests.

Additionally, high school juniors should be thinking about and planning for their application essays, as well as seeking out potential scholarship opportunities . It’s important that college-bound students prioritize all of this above a miscellaneous job since this will all greatly impact their future.

Related : The 5 Most Productive Things Teens Can Do from Home Now and Through the Summer

Questions to Ask Before Your Teen Starts Working During High School 

two woman smiling at each other

Beta Bowl can teach your teen valuable life lessons in the workforce that will make their college application stand out from the rest.

In high school, teens are beginning to gain more independence and for the first time, take responsibility for managing a busy schedule of diverse classes and activities. Ambitious teens may seek to take on many extracurricular and outside-the-classroom activities, and for those who can manage their time and priorities well, this can be a great experience.

However, when teens do choose to add another time-intensive responsibility to their priority list, especially if it’s a part-time job, they need to be thoughtful about whether this addition will do more harm or good.

A job can be a valuable learning and earning opportunity for some teens, but for others, it can hinder their academic career and extracurricular involvement , so teens and their parents should think long and hard before adding a job into the mix of responsibilities.

Related: Why Young Entrepreneurs Are Positioned to Succeed

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Working in High School: Pros and Cons You Need to Know

Pros of working in high school, 1. gain interpersonal and communication skills.

Knowing how to effectively communicate and work with others towards a common goal is essential to success in any business environment. This is the foundation of developing leadership skills.

While in most jobs it is essential that you have a pre-determined degree of knowledge, technical expertise and skill, without interpersonal skills you certainly will struggle with those all-important relationships. These struggles can negatively impact your career as well as your ability to function as part of a team. Most jobs today require that you be able to engage others, both internally and externally and it’s your social skills that can make all the difference. Peak Focus

2. Build your resume early on

A lot of high schoolers will have jobs as babysitters, fast-food and grocery cashiers, delivery men, and women for restaurants, etc. Some of these students can become freelance writers as well. These jobs for high school usually pay minimum wage, and rarely require a college degree (hence the reason high schoolers apply to them).

3. Develop a work ethic

I never had a job in my life that I was better than… Opportunities look a lot like work. Ashton Kutcher

4. Learn the value of a dollar

Imagine this: It’s graduation day.

5. Time Management

Part of growing up is having a schedule and staying on top of it . By taking a job in high school, your teen can get a feel for what that is like before they hit college. As a result, they may be able to take on more responsibilities and credit hours and experience the benefits of both. They may even explore some high school clubs if they are that good in time management.

6. It fosters confidence

7. it will teach your teen a new skill.

Let’s be honest. Some teens live a very sheltered life before working a part-time job. Initially, they cry out of frustration because they find it difficult to do the tasks they need to do at work. But as days pass by, they learn to master some new skill that even you would be proud of.

8. They’ll get to meet new people

Another good reason why you should allow your high schooler to work is for them to meet new people. This will expand their circle and they are definitely going to learn from each individual they encounter from work. Maybe they’ll learn some managerial skills from their boss or they will learn how to be more patient because of some rude customers in the coffee shop where they are working with. Our point is, they will consistently learn because they will always be around new people. This will also help them mature because they will come across workmates from different age groups.

Cons of Working in High School

1. increased stress.

“What I did was cut out sleep… I had kind of a panic attack in spring of junior year. I honest to God went into therapy to work on my anxiety about the math, because for the amount I worked, my score should have been higher.” Sarah Rodeo, The New York Times
In the short term it can cause anxiety; over long periods of time, elevated levels of stress hormones can degrade the immune system, cause heart problems, exacerbate respiratory and gastrointestinal issues, and bring on chronic anxiety and depression. Alexandra Ossola, The Atlantic

2. Distraction from academics while working in high school

Even after the last customer finished their meal and left for the night, chances are your child was the one who had to vacuum and mop the floors, clean the booths, and prep for the next day’s rush of hungry people.

3. Cutting childhood short

“I’m still not sure how I feel about using all that time prepping instead of playing the piano, playing with my little brother and sister, or seeing my friends.”

How to decide

Todd vanduzer, latest posts by todd vanduzer ( see all ), top resources:.


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