Teenagers in the United States have a number of opportunities for government employment. Local, state and federal governments all have positions that can be filled by teenage employees, with some restrictions on the number of hours they are allowed to work and the types of positions available. While every state has its own regulations concerning youth employment, the federal government restricts the number of hours a 14 or 15 year old can work during the week to 18 during weeks that school is in session. By federal law, young people may not work in any occupation declared hazardous by the Department of Labor, with some exceptions for teenagers 16 or older who are working in an apprenticeship or student learner capacity.
Summer jobs are one of the largest sources of government employment for teens, especially those under 16 years of age. Students commonly work as lifeguards at public pools and beaches, government-sponsored summer camps and recreational programs. Teenagers who live near military bases can find a wealth of jobs during the summer, including landscaping maintenance jobs and work at military base recreational facilities.
Office and Administration Work
Many government offices employ students year round to perform simple administrative tasks. Mail and file clerks, administrative assistants and data entry clerks are all positions that can be taken by students. A variety of agencies hire office help year round, including all military branches, federal offices like the Social Security Administration and United States Postal Service, and local government agencies. Students working in a government office capacity can expect to get valuable experience in an administrative setting and a firmer understanding of how government offices work.
Apprenticship and Specialized Work
Teenagers who wish to learn a trade or begin working in a specialized field can find government work that will help develop their skills. The United States Navy regularly hires students to work as assistants to biological and physical scientists, engineers and pharmacists. Job opportunities in specialized fields like this are usually reserved for older teenagers because of the limited number of hours that a 14 or 15 year old is allowed to work. Many government agencies also hire teenagers for labor and technical work, which they train them to do on the job.