We all would like to earn money, some of us earlier than others. As a teen, our age and perhaps lack of experience may be a problem in getting a job. The Government, both Federal and State, sets certain rules about the jobs teens can do. Not only the type, but at what age, how many hours you can work, and the minimum you must be paid. Read our Job Ages, Wages & Rules.
Some teens will be motivated by money and take the highest paid position we’re qualified for Paid Jobs. However some might also consider convenience and/or environment they like—for example, indoor shopping mall versus outdoor activities.
Two other options for employment, are internships (which can be paid or unpaid) and volunteering. Both can provide meaningful experiences and often a way to learn new skills that can help obtain a paid job in the future. Internships are ways to work in a corporate environment with a mentor in a field you’re interested in. Internships are generally for older teens 17+, are offered during the summer, and are highly competitive. You can volunteer (see Volunteering)in almost any type of organization. This is a great way to gain experience and be of help to your community.
One of the downsides of employment is the need for the Government to get paid. Even as a teen, if you are put on an official payroll of a company versus working as a babysitter, you’ll have to file a tax return. Taxes (see Teens & Taxes) might be withheld, although if you don’t earn a lot you may get those taxes back. But in some cases you might even want to pay taxes to start (believe it or not!) to save for retirement (Individual Retirement Account (IRA).