Are you a teen looking for your first job in PA? Or perhaps you’re a parent who’s trying to teach their child financial responsibility. Getting a first job is a big step, and it’s important to understand where to go to find the best, most age-appropriate jobs for these precocious, yet inexperienced, teens.
Below is a list of first job ideas for teenagers in Pennsylvania, along with a few places to get started, information on some of the working restrictions that may be placed on teens, and tips on how to make smart use of a first paycheck.
Finding a Job as a Teen in Pennsylvania
You can get a job when you’re as young as 14 years old in Pennsylvania. However, any individual under age 18 must secure a work permit from their school district. You can get the permit before you apply for a job, but the school can revoke a permit if certain academic standards are not met. Minors under age 16 also must have their parents sign off to give them permission to take the job and complete certain duties.
The state does put some restrictions on the number of hours children can work and what types of jobs they can perform. You’ll find rules in place for minors who want to work at:
- Emergency service organizations
- Sporting events
- Camps, as a counselor
No minor can work as a bartender or in a potentially hazardous occupation, such as construction. You also, obviously, can’t work a job that requires you to drive if you haven’t obtained your driver’s license yet. Keep in mind that your license may have restrictions on passengers that could limit your options, too.
The state has restrictions on what times and how many hours per week students of certain ages can work. You can find all of this information on the PA Child Labor Law website. Once you’ve established how much time you can devote to your job and received your work permit, then you can begin applying to jobs that fit your schedule.
First Job Ideas for PA Teens
A great number of organizations hire teens to work for them. Here are a few ideas for where you can look for work:
- Retailers, such as stores at the mall
- Grocery stores, which hire lots of baggers and checkers
- Restaurants, which hire wait staff, busboys, and greeters
- Car washes, where you can work as an attendant or washer
- Farms, where you can pick crops
- Ice cream stands, which employ scoopers
- Amusement parks, which hire ride operators and entertainers
- Camps, which hire counselors and counselors-in-training
- Pools, which hire lifeguards, snack-bar employees, and front-desk employees
- Sports leagues, which hire referees and umpires
You can also find work as a babysitter, pet sitter, or landscaper. For these jobs, you’ll usually be paid directly by the person you do the service for, and you will not have taxes taken out of that amount. You should check with a qualified tax professional to see what the tax expectations are for work done “off the books” like this. Take a look at the IRS’s guidelines on taxable and nontaxable personal income.
Why Getting Work Experience is Important
Getting a first job is an important step on the road to future employment. While you may not want to be a lifeguard or camp counselor forever, these jobs teach you a number of things you can draw on down the road, such as:
- Responsibility: You must show up to work on time, in the right attire, and with a positive attitude.
- People skills: Most jobs for teens involve customer service or working with people, which will be a part of almost any job you get in the future.
- Networking: You’ll meet coworkers and customers at your first job who you’ll stay in touch with after you go to college or trade school or graduate from high school. These people can help you find other opportunities when you’re ready, or even serve as a reference when you’re applying for a new position.
Managing Money Earned from Your First Job
Another benefit to taking a first job? Learning how to manage the money you earn. It may seem tempting to blow your first paycheck on a new video game or a night out with your friends. Instead, it’s best to start practicing smart money management that can follow you for the rest of your life. You may want to distribute your income into these three categories:
- Savings, which you deposit into a savings account to earn interest
- Giving, which you donate to those less fortunate
- Spending, which you use toward needs or wants
Start Your Financial Journey Off Right
When you start earning money from your first job, you want to ensure you keep track of it. Beginning financially responsible behavior now will make it easier to continue in the future. That’s why we offer youth accounts for children under age 18, which earn 1.50% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on balances as low as $5 and up to $500.
Find more money management tips for kids on our WalletWorks page.