Whether you're hoping to build up savings, gain work experience, or simply get out of the house, a summer job ticks all those boxes.
And "We're hiring" signs are everywhere—the employment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds is predicted to be even higher in summer 2023 than 2022, when it hit the highest rate in 15 years.1 That could be because employers are desperate to fill spots that former service workers left during the pandemic.
To help you navigate what's out there, here's our list of 20 great summer jobs for teens and what you could expect to earn at each. And check out our tips at the end for making the most of the cash you earn this summer.
You're not the only one enjoying balmy nights out—parents do, too. Babysitters are in high demand this time of year, making this a potentially lucrative gig. Tell family and friends you're available for hire or browse online parenting or neighborhood message boards and groups.
Average pay: $18 an hour, but it depends on your area and how many kids you're looking after, among other factors.2
2. Pet sitter
Summer travel could leave behind man's best friend. Depending on the pet, sitting may take minimal effort, and if you love animals, it might not feel like work at all. Again, a winning way to establish your pack of clients might be through family and friends and local social media groups. There are also businesses that can help connect you to clients, but they might take a cut of your fee.
Average pay: $16 an hour, but raise your price if the job involves multiple furry friends or overnight stays.3
3. Yard worker
That summer sun can grow grass quickly. As people enjoy their yards more, they're likely to dish out some green to green their lawns and tidy outdoor spaces. Reach out to local lawn care companies to see if they're hiring summer hands.
Average pay: $21 an hour through a lawn care company; $50 to $250 per solo job. Price your work on the size of the job instead of charging a flat fee because bigger lawns take more time.4
4. Party helper
Summers can be a party—literally. And as any host will tell you, that fun takes a lot of work to create. Barbecues, weddings, and graduation parties could all benefit from an extra set of hands to set up, clean up, serve food, and more.
Raise your hand—while also asking for a fee up front to help out at any shindigs. To find gigs, ask in local social media groups or look in your local paper for events in your area
Average pay: $21.50 an hour.5
Looking to learn a trade? A summer apprenticeship can give you hands-on experience, even if you have no prior experience. If you're interested in trades such as plumbing, carpentry, welding, and the like, reach out to local businesses and ask if you may apprentice. Although these can be unpaid gigs and the hourly rate depends on the trade, a summer apprenticeship could give you a head start on a future career.
Average pay: $0 to an hourly rate, that depends on the trade.
Internships have almost become a rite of passage. These summer gigs can give you an insider's view into a certain field while exposing you to a company's culture.
There's no single way to land a summer internship. Many are found through connections, while others are posted online. You could also approach a business in person with your resume and ask if they're hiring.
Average pay: Varies, and don't be shy about negotiating.
7. Customer service agent
In business speak, customer service roles are often described as client-facing, and the interpersonal skills you build could be invaluable for the rest of your career. This kind of role could also serve as a "foot in the door" for landing another position at the same company in the future. Look online to see if any businesses are hiring call operators, greeters, or front desk attendants, which might require some training.
Average pay: $18 an hour.6
8. Personal assistant
Although some of the day-to-day work might not be glamorous (managing calendars, coordinating travel, picking up coffee or dry cleaning), working as a personal assistant could help you develop a relationship with a mentor and perhaps put you in "the room where it happens" in a certain company or industry.
Average pay: $16 an hour.7
9. Golf caddy
Hard to pull you off the course? Golf caddy at a local club is a common summer job for teens and usually doesn't require much previous work experience. Caddies could make a lot of money off tips, so this summer gig could prove more lucrative as you establish relationships with clients on the course over multiple summers. Added bonus: Being out on the links every day just might help your own game.
Average pay: $18 an hour, not including tips.8
Referees are an often overlooked part of summer sports, even though park- and travel-league games usually need one if not multiple referees or umpires. If you're so into ball that watching kids play is fun for you, becoming a referee or umpire could be an entertaining summer gig. What better way to learn more about a sport you love? Plus, you might look excellent in stripes.
Average pay: Between $8 and $50 an hour, depending on your experience.9
Many summer coaching positions are volunteer, but if you're particularly skilled at a sport, you might be able to score a paid gig. Coaching can be a nice way to share what you love with the next generation. A smart place to start: Ask your current or past coaches. If you can't land a job with a team, consider giving private lessons. This could pay more and allow you to generate multiple clients and, in turn, multiple paychecks.
Average pay: $16 an hour (coaching);10 varies (private lessons).
12. Concessions worker
If there's no place you'd rather be than in your favorite team's stadium, get paid to be there by selling ballgame food and drinks. Reach out to nearby professional teams, and don't count out the minor leagues, either.
Average pay: In the ballpark of $12 an hour.11
A pandemic shortage that might not be on your radar: lifeguards. About 100,000 public pools in the US reported being short-staffed. Exact requirements vary by state, though you might need to pass a swim test and then take a 30-hour training and certification course where you learn to administer CPR, use an automated external defibrillator (AED), and perform first aid. Keep in mind that some pools or beaches may require you to pass a swim test, too.
Average pay: $7 to $24 an hour, not including sign-up incentives.12
14. Swim instructor
In the US, 54% of adults either can't swim or don't have basic swimming skills.13 Even more shocking is that 10 people in the US drown every day, with 2 of those under the age of 14.14 So there's a need for swim teachers. If you're a strong swimmer, look to local swim schools for a job or post in local social media groups to offer private lessons.
Average pay: Swim school jobs typically float around $24 an hour.15 Private lesson wages vary.
15. Pool or beach attendant
If being in the water isn't for you, you could work near it as a pool or beach attendant. The day-to-day can vary but usually includes delivering food and drinks, setting up umbrellas, cleaning tables and chairs, and laying down and picking up towels. This job usually doesn't require any certifications.
Average pay: $15 an hour, not including tips.16
16. Pool tech
If chemistry was your favorite subject, a pool technician is a mix between a chemist and a custodian in maintaining a clean pool. You can learn the trade from established pool cleaning companies, or learn on your own, eventually amassing a list of clients. Depending on where you live, the seasonality of this job could fit around your school schedule, giving you a job to go back to every summer. If you run your own business, get a trusted adult's help on protecting yourself from any liabilities.
Average pay: Just under $20 an hour.17
Other seasonal opportunities
17. Camp counselor
Working at a camp could help give young campers the best summer memories. Some sleepaway camps also offer housing for counselors—a plus if you're looking for a far-away experience without having to pay extra for a place to stay. But day camps are an option too if you'd rather be close to home. Consider reaching out to camps you attended as a kid—they might favor alumni when hiring.
Average pay: $15 an hour.18
18. Seasonal restaurant staffer
Your favorite ice cream shop or that famous seafood shack may be closed from September to May. That means, come summertime, these places need a new workforce. Reach out to seasonal shops in your area to see if they could use staffers.
Average pay: Varies depending on the restaurant.
Want to work with your hands but spend all day outside? Helping out on a farm could give you agricultural experience while letting you enjoy the great outdoors. Some farms even have mentorship programs that could help you learn the financials of raising livestock or growing crops.
Average pay: $13 an hour.19
20. Summer tutor
Learning doesn't stop when school lets out. Some students use the downtime to brush up on certain subjects or study for standardized tests such as the SAT or ACT. Did you ace these tests, or are you a whiz on a particular topic? Then you might make a good tutor. Tutoring can provide flexible hours, and you can sign up with one of the many online services that match you to clients or scour or post to social media groups for opportunities.
Average pay: $20+ an hour.20
Smart ways to use your summer job earnings
Whether you're saving up for a car, college tuition, or something else, consider these tips to help make the most of your summer job paychecks.
Pay your taxes
Taxes aren't just for older folks. If you earn more than the standard deduction of $13,850 throughout the whole year in 2023, you could have a tax bill next year. (If you earn less than that for the calendar year, then you likely won't have to pay taxes for this year.) To prepare:
- Stay organized: Document all your income, including tips. Ask your employer if they withhold any of your income for taxes, and if they do, request a form W-2 or 1099 from that employer at the start of the next year (often these forms aren't generated until January). And remember that tips don't always appear on your tax documents, but you still must declare them.
- Save for Uncle Sam: If your employer doesn't withhold any of your income to pay for taxes, then it's on you to save for Tax Day. For a summer job, stay on the safer side and set aside at least 20% of your take-home pay and tips for taxes.
- Remember to file your taxes: Usually your deadline is Tax Day , which is typically around April 15. If you don't file your taxes , you could be on the hook for some pricey penalties.
Think about what you want to do with your summer-job money
You've heard it before, but we'll say it again: Just because you have money doesn't mean you should spend it all. Creating a habit of saving early in life could help you reach loftier money goals in the future, such as saving for retirement or buying a house. You don't have to save every dollar—you deserve to have fun—but earmarking a part of your summer income for savings, beyond what you're setting aside for taxes, could go a long way.
To jumpstart saving, consider setting a goal, something like: "I want to save at least 20% of my income this summer." The key is to be consistent. With every paycheck or tip you receive, think about sweeping part of it into a dedicated account.
Find tools that help you manage your money
Where you save matters. You've probably heard of a savings account, which can be a low risk place to stash your cash. You might even earn some interest, which could help those dollars grow slowly over time.
The day you stop working might seem like a lifetime away, especially if you haven't formally started working yet. That said, it's not too early to think about saving for retirement. The earlier you start, the longer you have to potentially benefit from compound interest.
What's more, if you earn taxable income from a summer job, you may be eligible to invest through tax-advantaged accounts, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
Roth IRAs, one kind of these accounts, have the potential to grow savings tax-free. You can withdraw contributions anytime but not earnings until you're at least 59½ (unless you're using for penalty-free purposes such as higher education or buying your first home).
If you're interested in opening any type of account, first talk with your parent or guardian.