Top employers of teens (and more great info about summer jobs)

Updated: Jan 19, 2020

Summer is here and school is out! For parents of teens (and pre-teens) two thoughts come to mind: joy and panic. My first thought is “What in the world will I do to keep my teen occupied and away from their phone and computer all summer?” Can you relate?

There are plenty of great summer camps and educational experiences out there, but they are expensive. I need my teens to learn some life lessons and earn some of their own spending money. Summer jobs are the perfect answer. They teach skills that employers are looking for after college and mature teens in ways that fancy camps never can (can you say humility?) I wrote more about the benefits of summer jobs for college and career preparation in a previous blog. You can read that here. But today I want to share some of the more practical information to help you teen look for, and find, a summer job.


Where can teens look for summer employment opportunities?

Check the local newspaper or Chamber of Commerce website

Ask your local friends on Facebook “who’s hiring?”

Network through school or church friends

Try the old fashioned way (and probably most effective): go door to door

Use a search engine. Snagajob is the largest and one of the best sites for finding part-time jobs and internships. Search by type of job, location and zip code to generate a list of jobs. Job seekers can fill out an online profile and also apply online.

Who are the top employers of teens?

According to snagajob, these businesses lead in hiring younger employees.

Burger King

Cracker Barrel


Pizza Hut

Sonic Drive-In


Pollo Tropical

Taco Bell


Del Taco


Dairy Queen


Luby's, Inc.

Are you skeptical that there are businesses hiring right now in your town?

Doubtful. Here is a sampling of cities with job listing for teens.

Houston, TX (568 jobs)

San Antonio, TX (373 jobs)

Miami, FL (313 jobs)

Indianapolis, IN (284 jobs)

Cincinnati, OH (219 jobs)

Phoenix, AZ (198 jobs)

Jacksonville, FL (185 jobs)

Charlotte, NC (184 jobs)

Dallas, TX (180 jobs)

Orlando, FL (176 jobs)

Kansas City, MO (174 jobs)

Austin, TX (164 jobs)

Las Vegas, NV (162 jobs)

Columbus, OH (160 jobs)

Richmond, VA (149 jobs)

Do you live in a small town?

Don’t worry, so do I. And, I found 242 listings in my area.

The next big question I had was what was my teen allowed to do on the job? I had heard there were different rules for teens under 18, and here is what I found in my research.


Places teens are allowed to work…

  • Restaurants and hotels

  • Retail stores

  • Non-manufacturing jobs

  • Agriculture

  • Hospitals

  • Professional offices (lawyers, CPAs, etc.)

  • Municipalities (library attendants, recreation departments, etc.)

Things teens are generally not allowed to do on the job…

  • Bake or cook on the job (except at a serving counter).

  • Operate power-driven machinery (except certain types that pose little hazard such as those used in offices).

  • Work on a ladder or scaffold.

  • Work in warehouses.

  • Work in construction, building, or manufacturing.

  • Load or unload a truck, railroad car, or conveyor.


Laws regulating teen employment

Before you start looking of jobs with you teen you need to understand some of the legal requirements. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets requirements related to the employment of minors. According to the FLSA, 14 is the minimum age for work (at least in non-agricultural jobs).

Limited hours - Teens cannot work during school hours, and are limited to a total of 3 hours each school day (18 hours total per school week), or 8 hours each non-school day (40 hours per non-school week).

Limited times - There are also limits to the times of day a 14 or 15 year old can work. They can work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the school year (from Labor Day through May 31) and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer (between June 1 and Labor Day).

The rules differ from state to state but you can check out this website for state specific rules:

What documents will your teen need in order to work?

In some states, if you're under 18, you will need to obtain working papers in order to legally be able to work. Work permits are legal documents that certify that a minor can be employed. They are categorized into two types of certifications: employment certification and age certification. The rules about who needs work permits vary from state to state. In some states, you will need work permits if you are under 16. In other states, you will need them if you are under 18. There are some states where you won't need any papers at all to get hired. Check this lik for more information:

Under 16? Not a problem!

Here are some of the top businesses hiring 14-15 year olds. Not all of these store’s branches will hire younger teens but this is where I would start.



Burger King


Pizza Hut


Taco Bell

Piggly Wiggly

Dunkin’ Donuts



Carl’s Jr.

Hobby Lobby


So, get your teen out there. Don't let them convince you that there aren't jobs available for them. They may not like their options, but I guarantee they will leave with a better understanding of themselves, the world around them and some extra spending money as well.

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