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Summer Job Ideas for Teens

Contributed by: Heath Combs

Photo_Summer_JobLast summer, a Pew study found that only 35% of 16-to-19 year olds worked at a summer job. If you go back to 1978, 72% of teens had summer jobs, and in 2016 it was 43%.

While the focus of this article is finding summer jobs in 2019, it’s important to briefly understand why teen summer job statistics are falling. 

The explanations for this drop are numerous: increased emphasis on summer school and educational opportunities; the gig economy makes it difficult to track employment numbers; the Amazon effect has eliminated many mall jobs that used to be filled by teens; increased competition from the broader workforce; and there are summer activities that look good on a college application, like extensive domestic travel or foreign travel and volunteering at local nonprofits.

But before you start searching for jobs, it’s important to take some time to decide what you would like to do. If you like animals, a local veterinarian might have some summer openings. YMCAs and YWCAs often have opportunities to work with small children. And fast-food restaurants rely on less experienced workers who will need some training. Also, don’t be shy about talking to family friends, church members and other contacts who may know of job openings that you would find interesting.

As with adults seeking full-time jobs, one the best places to start searching for a summer job is on (Another good job website is Using the key words “teen summer” in Winston-Salem there are 161 jobs listed. Here are some of the current job categories:

•    Wait staff
•    Cashiers
•    Political affairs internship (unpaid)
•    Bookseller
•    Retail sales
•    Kennel assistant
•    Summer camp counselor
•    Photographer
•    Lifeguard
•    Digital marketing intern

If you change the search area to Charlotte, you get many of the same kinds of jobs, but there are currently 531 listed.

Hourly wages in both cities range from a low of $8 an hour up to $15 an hour. Generally, a $15 an hour job will require some specialized skills or training.

Any youth under 18 years of age who wants to work in North Carolina must have a youth-employment certificate signed by the teen and their legal guardian. Completed forms must be given to an employer on or before the first day of work.

The N.C. Department of Labor also has some regulations related to youth employment. Visit this website for all the details.

But if you have an entrepreneurial spirit – and you like the idea of being your own boss – you might think about starting your own business. Here are some things you could do: babysitting, mowing lawns, pet walking, creating and selling jewelry, freelance writing, gardening, cleaning houses, painting houses, tutoring and buying and selling items on Etsy or eBay.

One final tip: Start searching now. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to find job openings, and the selection of open jobs may be less appealing the closer you get to the start of summer.


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