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Fun Jobs for Teens

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As a teenager, working a job doesn't have to involve long hours stuck in an office or doing something that you dread. When you start looking around, you'll find at least a handful of really fun jobs -- especially during the summer months. According to federal law, 14- and 15-year-olds are not allowed to work before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. during the school year and 9 p.m. in the summer, and may be restricted in the types of work they can do. Still, you'll find a number of opportunities at that age, and many more if you're over 16.

Pools and Water Parks

In the summer -- and in indoor pools year-round -- working as a lifeguard can be a fun job that gives you access to swim centers and water parks during your off time.

What's required:

If you're at least 15 years old, you'll typically be eligible to take lifeguard training through your local Red Cross, YMCA or other certifying body. The training typically includes a course in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, and is required for getting hired as a lifeguard.

If you're under 16, you may be able to teach swim classes or work as a lifeguard, but according to federal law, you won't be able to operate machinery or work at the top of raised water slides. Lifeguards earned a mean hourly wage of $10.05 as of 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Amusement Parks and Arcades

Working in an amusement park, a theme park or at an arcade can also be a fun summer or part-time job for teens. Some of these jobs will be entry-level, meaning you won't need any prior training to get hired.

What may be required:

If you're 16 or over and you want to work in a food stall or restaurant within the park or arcade, the state in which you work may require you to get your food handler's card from the state health department.

If you're under age 16, you won't be able to do the jobs that involve operating equipment, nor will you be able to work in jobs that involve cooking or frying, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. That could limit you to selling tickets or working in a games booth. Expect to earn minimum wage or slightly more for these jobs.

Overnight Camps and Day Camps

You might have been a camper as a youngster, but as a teen, it can now be your turn to be a camp counselor at either an overnight or a day camp. Camp themes and opportunities abound; if you're interested in art, you could get a job teaching arts and crafts. If you like sports, you might find work leading sports activities.

What may be required:

Some jobs will be entry-level, though they may require you to have experience working with children as well as training in CPR and first aid. Overnight camp jobs may be only open to those 18 or over.

If you're 15 to 17, you might also find junior camp counselor jobs, or jobs in day camps. Throughout the rest of the year, places like the YMCA might also employ teens to teach after-school activities or lead sports programs. According to the BLS, recreation workers earned a mean hourly wage of $12.29 as of May 2013.


Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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