Overall Best Jobs for 16-Year-Olds (2024)

August 6, 2023

9 min read

An Asian teenager searches online on her laptop for jobs for 16-year-olds.

Finding good jobs for 16-year-olds isn’t always easy. As a teenager, you’re usually applying for jobs against applicants who have years of experience and diversified resumes. As such, it suddenly becomes much more difficult to find legit employment opportunities.

If you’re a teenager in the market for a job, our guide will introduce you to the best jobs for 16-year-olds, including part-time, full-time, and online opportunities. 

Things to Know about Jobs for 16-Year-Olds

Many people start working when they’re teenagers. After all, there are plenty of reasons to get a job at 16 years old. 

Even though there are plenty of potential jobs for 16-year-olds, they can be a bit difficult to find sometimes. 

Is 16 old enough to get a job?

Although being 16 years old is old enough to get a job, it can totally depend on the job you’re doing. 

For more information, it’s best to look at the Wages and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This is a piece of legislation that covers specific requirements for the number of hours worked, the wage, and safety rules for minors (AKA, people under 18 years old). 

The FLSA cites a minimum age of employment, which is 14 years old. However, it also puts a cap on the number of hours a minor under the age of 16 is legally allowed to work. 

In general, the FLSA forbids minors to work in industries or jobs that are considered “hazardous” by the Secretary of Labor. For example, this could include jobs that involve things like:

  • Driving
  • Excavation
  • Operating heavy machinery and specific kinds of power-drive equipment

However, it’s always best to double check the current requirements, especially for specific kinds of jobs. There are also exceptions, like being under the age of 18 and working for your parents. 

Plus, every state has its own employment regulations and rules to keep in mind. If you’re comparing FLSA and state laws, there might be areas where the state law and FLSA overlap. In this case, always default to the one that’s most conservative with employment protection of minors. 

What percent of 16-year-olds get a job?

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of good data concerning exactly what percent of 16-year-olds get a job. However, researchers do know that in 2021, around 30% of teenagers from the ages of 16 to 19 were employed.

Still, it’s important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic most likely affected the data. Other factors, such as the general state of the economy, can affect these statistics, too. 

Why is it so hard to find a job at 16?

The fact of the matter is, finding a job is difficult no matter what age you are. However, as a teenager, you have other barriers that make it harder to find a job at 16. 

For example, most 16-year-olds don’t have a comprehensive, diverse resume full of various positions and years of experience. So when you apply to jobs as a teen, you’re going up against people who might have not only more experience but a more diversified resume and qualifications.

Can you get a ‘real’ job at 16?

Technically, you can get a “real” job at 16. However, some people take the phrase “real job” to mean a full-time job complete with benefits, such as health insurance and 401K employer matching

That being said, you’ll have to review your state’s specific laws for employment for people younger than 18 years.

How many hours should I work at 16?

The number of hours you can work at 16 also depends on your state’s specific employment laws for minors. In general, the majority of 16-year-olds are able to comfortably work around 4 hours a day, spending on their respective schedule. 

There also may be state curfews that apply to 16-year-olds, which can limit how late you can work and consequently, how many hours you’re available to work. 

If you’re 16 and out of school, chances are, you can work longer hours. This is one of the reasons summer jobs are popular for 16-year-olds.

However, if you’re still in school during the week, you may be limited to a few hours in the evening. It totally depends on your schedule. 

How to Use AI to Score a Job at 16

One of the best things that can set you apart from other teen applicants is a phenomenal interview. Using an AI communication coach like Yoodli is a great way to practice interviewing. 

You can choose questions from Yoodli’s question bank or input your own specific questions you’d like to practice. On top of that, you can also choose a place of work, a position, and even the AI interviewer’s personality. Being able to customize the interview guarantees that you’ll get the most realistic interview experience.

A screenshot of Yoodli's interview flow, which can help you get ready for jobs for 16-year-olds.
One of the best ways to practice interviewing for a job as a 16-year-old is through Yoodli.

Once you’ve responded, you’ll get: 

  • Specific metrics and analytics from your response (such as your speaking pace, filler word usage, etc.)
  • A transcript of your entire response
  • A summary of all the main points you made

Yoodli uses generative AI to create relevant follow-up questions to improve your interview outcomes. 

As a teen learn how to practice interview for jobs for 16-year-olds via Yoodli.

You can also explore other AI tools for interview preparation to help you improve.

Types of Jobs for 16-Year-Olds

If you’re looking to join the workforce at 16 years old, there are tons of different types of jobs for 16-year-olds out there. 


Working in retail is a common choice for 16-year-olds. Stores like Target or grocery chains like Publix are examples of various types of retail. Department stores and shops at the mall are other examples. 

You can work in a variety of positions in the retail industry. For example, you can apply to roles like:

  • Cashier
  • Grocery store bagger
  • Stocker

Every position has its own requirements, but if you’re interested in working a retail job at 16, there are some responsibilities you should be ready for. 

Doing simple math (correctly) is one example. Even though cashier machines tell you how much change to return to the customer, having some basic math skills is highly recommended. 

Food service

Many teenagers choose to work in food service when they’re 16. It’s a common choice in part because there’s a host of positions to apply for. 

Types of roles you can score in the food service industry include positions like:

  • Cashier 
  • Waiter or server
  • Cook
  • Dishwasher
  • Table busser

The positions can vary based on the actual restaurant. You can apply to work at fast food chains like McDonald’s or Burger King, or you can expand to more expensive restaurants where there might be more opportunity to diversify your experience.   

Other types of jobs for 16-year-olds

Even though both retail and food service work are common among teens, there are many other types of jobs for 16-year-olds to choose from. Other options you might want to consider based on your interests include positions like:

  • Data entry clerk
  • Receptionist
  • Library assistant 
  • Local, small business employee

Although the regulations around employment for minors can affect your chances, some states and companies allow newly licensed 16-year-olds to deliver food, especially pizza chains.

Best Jobs for 16-Year-Olds

Even though there are plenty of options to choose from, one position that’s a good fit for one teenager may be a bad fit for another. It all depends on your personal preferences, schedules, and employment goals.

All things considered, here are the best jobs for 16-year-olds, including both full-time and part-time options.

Highest paying jobs for 16-year-olds

There are definitely types of jobs that tend to pay more. The top highest paying jobs for 16-year-olds include:

  • Golf caddy
  • Nanny or babysitter
  • Tutor
  • Retail team member
  • Server in a restaurant
  • Farmhand
  • Dog walker or pet sitter
  • Youth sports referee 

Best part-time jobs for 16-year-olds

Part-time jobs in particular are popular among teenagers because they’re easier to manage. Part-time positions give you more freedom in that you won’t be working a full day, so you could pick to work mornings, afternoons, or evenings, for example. There’s also less pressure for commitment, since part-time jobs don’t include benefits like health, dental, or vision insurance. 

The best part-time jobs for 16-year-olds are going to be in roles such as:

  • Cashier 
  • Grocer
  • Retail team member
  • Customer service rep
  • Shift lead (in retail or food service)
  • Restaurant team member

Best full-time jobs for 16-year-olds

Full-time jobs for 16-year-olds are oftentimes more difficult to find. This is because full-time jobs usually require applicants to work at least 40 hours a week, which can be challenging for teenagers, especially if they’re in public high school. 

The best full-time jobs for 16-year-olds would be in roles such as: 

  • Summer internships, which can allow a 16-year-old to work 40 hours a week (depending on where you live)
  • Nanny or full-time babysitter
  • Library assistant 
  • Retail or food service team member

Most full-time jobs are a good option for teenagers working during the summer months when they’re not in school. Still, keep in mind that full-time jobs aren’t always sustainable for 16-year-olds, and it’s often more practical to shoot for part-time jobs first.

Jobs for 16-year-olds online

Although they’re usually harder to find, there are also jobs for 16-year-olds online. Some examples of potential jobs for 16-year-olds online include roles like:

  • Data entry clerk
  • Customer service rep
  • Online tutor
  • Content writer
  • Website tester

You can also do more “odd job” type of work, such as:

  • Taking surveys online
  • Reviewing products
  • Watching online ads
  • Testing products
  • Making videos on a Youtube channel
  • Creating a TikTok brand

Just keep in mind that jobs for 16-year-olds online aren’t easy to find. You can always score a part-time job in person first and continue your search for potential available jobs for 16-year-olds online.

Companies That Hire 16-Year-Olds

If you’re having trouble finding a job, there are known companies that hire 16-year-olds. Although they can vary depending on available roles and your skills, here are the top companies that hire 16-year-olds.

Retail companies that hire 16-year-olds

If you’d prefer to work in retail, there are some top companies that hire teenagers. The best retail companies that hire 16-year-olds include:

  • Adidas North America, Inc.
  • Publix
  • WaWa
  • Fareway
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Aeropostale
  • Target (if you plan to apply, check out the most common Target interview questions)
  • Petsmart
  • Staples
  • Walmart 
  • American Eagle Outfitters

If you plan to work a retail job, some of the skills you should have include effective communication, problem solving skills, good time management, customer service, basic math skills, and active listening skills. 

Food service companies that hire 16-year-olds

If you’re more into the food service scene, there are plenty of available roles for 16-year-olds. The best food service companies that hire 16-year-olds include:

  • DineEquity, which includes the franchises IHOP and Applebee’s Bar + Grill
  • Taco Bell
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • KFC
  • Bruster’s Real Ice Cream
  • DelTaco
  • Panera
  • Burger King

If you plan to work in a restaurant or other type of eatery, the necessary skill areas you need to excel in include customer service, teamwork, effective communication, conflict resolution, and the ability to multitask. It’s also helpful if you’re good at working under pressure.

Other companies that hire 16-year-olds

Aside from specific retail and food service, here are some other noteworthy companies that hire 16-year-olds:

  • AMC Theaters
  • Best Buy
  • Palace Entertainment
  • Chuck E. Cheese
  • Goldfish Swim School
  • Six Flags

The Bottom Line

Luckily, there are tons of worthy jobs for 16-year-olds out there, whether you prefer to work in retail, the food service industry, or another area entirely. You can even work remotely if you’d rather search for jobs online. 

Although it can be tough to find a job when you’re 16, interview preparation can make you stand out from the crowd. Using Yoodli to interview prep with its mock interview simulator is a fantastic way to improve your skills and your confidence in interviewing. 

No matter where you’re working, finding a job when you’re a teenager has lots of perks.


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