Summer Jobs for Teens: What to Know

Working for the Cleveland Metroparks is just one of many summer jobs for teens that can lead to a great experience. Image of a teen girl in Metroparks uniform trimming hedges at the Cleveland Zoo.

Summers for high school students are no longer lazy days. Mandatory summer reading lists, the option to earn college credits through summer courses, driver’s ed requirements to start. Then add in making a little money, and it’s all competing for your limited time. With everything going on, finding a summer job can be more challenging than you initially realized. Plus,

With many fellow students looking at the same limited pool of summer jobs for teens, it helps to get an early start. But, knowing where and what to look for is going to remove a lot of stress from the process.

Here are a few tips to launch you into the 2024 summer job search:


To protect teenagers entering the workforce, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) imposes some limits and restrictions on hiring employees under the age of 18. In most cases, the minimum hiring age is 14, with a restriction on total hours worked for the week. Some positions require you to have a valid driver’s license (if not access to your own vehicle), so 16 can be a target age for some jobs. “Gig economy” jobs are unlikely to be an option as most require delivery staff to be 18. Some states have even raised that age to 19.

In terms of selling your artistic work on storefronts like Etsy or performing commission work on services like Fiverr, teens can sign up for accounts but may need to attach a parent or guardian’s information to their account.

In terms of work with hazardous materials, FLSA prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from being hired. This is especially relevant if you are considering a job with city services or landscaping.




The term “camp counselor” might conjure images of bug juice and shared cabins in the remote wilderness. But, there are actually all sorts of camp programs – including day camps – that offer good summer jobs for teens. One great place to start is non-profit organizations with educational mission (like the Great Lakes Science Center, who hire 16+). You might be surprised at which organizations offer summer youth programming! While some of those positions require specific expertise, others might simply need responsible counselors to help campers navigate their day. Keep an eye on age eligibility, as some of these positions might only be open to juniors and seniors.

An advantage of working for a larger organization suring the summer is that you can learn about the company itself. Familiarity with the company and employees could give you an edge if apply for a permanent position in the future.


Lifeguarding is a serious duty, but it does afford you plenty of time poolside! City recreational programs and even some housing developments have pools that may be hiring. Getting an early start on these positions is important, as CPR training and a lifeguarding course are typically required. Frequently, employers might even cover the cost of these classes. Locally, pools have been struggling to fill all lifeguarding positions in recent years, so with experience this may be an easy position to score.


Sure, it lacks glamor, but the surge in outdoor events means that venues of all kinds will need attendants to help direct increased traffic. This can sometimes mean even parks and businesses not normally operating their space as parking. Keep an eye out for which organizations are hosting events throughout the summer. Then, see if they are hiring attendants or have other summer jobs for teens related to their shift in priorities. While you likely won’t be doing any actual parking, some positions might still require you to be 16 (Cuyahoga County Fair, for example).


Getting paid to walk a dog or watch pets overnight can be pretty lucrative. While apps like Wag and Rover are good options, both are ineligible to anyone under 18. Still you can find reliable clientele without the help of an app. Instead, leverage your social media and network of connections and get help from parents, siblings, and friends to get the word out. Charging a comparable amount to the prices set by app services (it varies, but generally, $10 – $15 for a 20-30 minute walk is a reasonable benchmark) will ensure you make close to industry rates without having to kick a percentage of your earnings to someone else. (Wag, for instance, takes a whopping 40%). In terms of summer jobs for teens, pet care gives you more control over your hours, which can also be a plus.

It’s worth noting that pet-sitting certification courses exist online and can help ease the concerns of possible clients. But consider their cost against how much you expect to make.


The old tried and true way of earning money before you were eligible to be hired by a company. It’s still a great summer job for teens that doesn’t require sending a flurry of applications. Our advice for finding clients for pet sitting applies here too. Work your personal connections as most parents prefer to hire someone they know and trust with childcare needs. Every family’s needs are going to be a little different, so be sure to ask a lot of questions. Also,  don’t assume that one babysitting job will be the same as the next.


The Cleveland area is blessed with an extensive and varied Metroparks system with everything from beaches to museums. While some duties are covered by volunteers, there are also paid and often seasonal positions within the Cleveland Metroparks. They operate nine golf courses, as well as restaurants and snack shacks, educational programming, and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. And all of them may still be looking for seasonal staffing. They offer a lot of positions you might not have considered  from a park service.


Sure, it sounds like what your dad did as a kid – but many neighbors will happily pay to avoid cutting their grass. Whether it’s a lack of time or mobility issues that turn mowing into a needed service, there are likely people in your area who prefer to pay for the service. Try asking around with neighbors and family friends, or make a post on your neighborhood NextDoor or social media page. You may find that scanning these sources is good for finding potential clients (for example, families leaving on vacation might pay to have their lawn serviced for only a week or two).

Check-in with the government of your city, county, and neighboring regions as well. Some municipalities offer seasonal work either in connection to public summer programs or related to the uptick in streets and sewer maintenance going on during warmer months. Some cities do in fact hire high school students to attend to the maintenance of city properties and roadways – which often means mowing but can cover a variety of other landscaping jobs.


For the most part, stores tend to only hire 18+, but there are some chains that specifically have positions for high school-age employees. Marc’s stores are common here in Northeast Ohio, and they will hire people aged 15 for limited shifts and those aged 16-17 with parental consent for expanded hours. Dairy Queen locations frequently have summer jobs for teens, and even hire high school students outside of summer months. Area businesses and small chains are sometimes more likely to hire as early as age 14. These locations don’t always keep their hiring information up-to-date on the web, so stopping in and asking about opportunities might pay off.


It may seem obvious, but for some, this resource gets overlooked! Job search websites like Indeed feature seasonal work and postings from companies that are willing to hire eligible workers under 18. Narrow down your search terms and region, and remember to review the requirements carefully. Always do a little digging on your side to be sure that an organization is a good fit for you. While most hiring sites do their best to keep scam offers off the platform, a little research into the legitimacy of a company you may not have heard of prior to an interview can save you from a frustrating experience.



For the night owls and prestige TV junkies – summer is about staying up late and catching up on your relaxation time. Even that time can be spent earning a bit of income without compromising your chill vibes. Websites and apps like Branded Surveys (available to ages 16 and up) or Swagbucks (13 and up) will provide you with pay in the form of gift cards and cash-back rewards for taking surveys or testing apps and games. You do need to approach with a skeptical mindset – your earnings on these services won’t be enormous, but it’s an easy way to earn a little while kicking back.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Care needs to be taken when signing up for similar services. Some can be routes scammers use to get personal information or will take your contributions without paying what is offered. Even Branded Surveys will sometimes close off surveys to users who do not meet eligibility criteria, so expect these sites and apps to be a bit of a chore for some small earnings.

These apps aren’t the same as other summer jobs for teens, but they are another revenue source that you can access with your extra time.



Ok, so you scored that ideal summer job, you’re settled in, you have your budget hammered out…now what? You’ll want to save some of your summer earnings – and a Club Ignite account is a great option for that! With an FFCCU Club Ignite checking account, you can earn 2.00% APY*. This mean you can grow your seasonal job earnings even after summer has passed. Club Ignite also offers benefits like your own debit card and our Ignite My Future Scholarship in the fall. To get started, head over to our Club Ignite page.


*APY = Annual percentage yield. Available on checking balances of $25,000 or less. Terms and conditions apply. See for full details.