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The 10 Best Summer Jobs for Teens and College Students

Memorial Day marks the official beginning of summer. For teens and college students that means one of three things. Either you are:

a) continuing school by choice (to get ahead) or out of necessity (because you failed)… summer jobs for teens

b) looking for a summer job to earn money or…

c) in for a really boring summer sleeping in and playing video games.

We all know that teens and college students love money. But we also know that some of them NEED money in a bad way. They have lots of expenses, from gas for the car, to eating out with friends, to paying for college tuition and expenses. Many times, parents are unable to fully fund (or refuse to fund) these expense categories. So teens and college students are left to support themselves. And the time to rack up the big money in a paycheck is over the summer when they are out of school.

A Word About Timeframes

So, if you are teen or college student looking for a summer job, you have to figure out what job would fit your time frame. You really only have three months at most to work, as the typical school ends in May/June and returns to classes in August/September. Employers may be hesitant to hire you if they know it will only be for three short months.

Some might be very willing though for one obvious reason. Their business is seasonal, meaning that more business comes their way during the traditional summer months. Because of this, their business relies on the seasonal influx of workers that can come from teens and college students being out of school.

So the fact that you are only available for three months matches up with the increased seasonal activity of these positions. The employer will be fine when you leave the job to return to school in the fall because he or she won’t need your help anymore.

Jobs You Could Easily Find During the Summer

To that end, here are 10 great summer jobs for teens and college students. In all these jobs, employers will be looking for more workers during the summer:

1. Lifeguard or support worker

No one except The Polar Bear Club is swimming outside in December. You’ll find many opportunities to be a lifeguard at the beach or your local community pool as more than one is needed at any given time. The local city pool where I was a lifeguard during college typically had five working at one time. You’ll will need some certification or training to secure this job, as you can literally be responsible for saving someone’s life.

Additionally though, don’t forget about all the other support staff the facility will need. They will also need employees to monitor the admissions gate and work in the concession stand. Those will need minimal training that will be done on the job.

2. Camp Counselor or Maintenance Employee

Summers are a great time for kid camps of all kinds – sport camps, church camps, activity-specific camps, etc. The regular camp staff will need extra workers to handle the load of youngsters coming their way. So you might find opportunities to work as a counselor, be a member of the maintenance staff or work in the camp kitchen.

3. Landscaping

Professional landscapers see an uptick of business during the summer as lawns, trees and shrubs become active again. Additionally, homes and business take advantage of the warmer months to beautify their property and often need the services of a professional. It’s a great job for someone who enjoys being outdoors, has an eye for neatness and enjoys playing in the dirt.

4. Tutoring

Many parents look to get their kids ahead in school or catch them up with school during the summer months. It’s a prime time to be a tutor because of the need but also because you are out of school and have less responsibility. Depending on the subject, your skill level and the need in your area, you might be able to charge from $30-$50 per hour.

Related Content: Ways to Pay for College: Should I Work or Do SAT Prep?

5. Farm Laborer

This will really suit those in rural areas. Yes, the summer is the time when the crops are already planted and growing, but there are still plenty of things to do around the farm. And depending on when you head back to school, you may be able to get in on the harvesting in the fall.

6. Theme park attendant

This is another perfect example of an industry that adds workers during the summer. May – September are the busiest months for theme parks as families go on summer vacations and take day trips. You can find jobs here working in food services, attending to the rides, in admissions, retail shops, cleaning and maintenance or as a parking attendant.

7. Construction worker

Even construction in some parts of the country has a seasonal cycle. Securing contracts slows down during the winter months when the weather turns cold. When spring hits, people begin to think again about building that dream home, adding that spare bedroom or tackling that remodeling project they’ve been putting off. They’ll negotiate and hire contractors who will have work ready for you at the beginning of the summer months.

8. Nanny

From August to May parents have the school to monitor their kids for 8+ hours a day. June, July and August become a real problem though, especially for dual-career families. If you are responsible, love being around kids and having a nurturing and caring heart, this could be the perfect fit.

And it can be quite lucrative. Of course, the pay varies by state and location. But according to Nannylane.com, the national averages are around $650 – $750 per week depending on the type of services offered.

9. An Internship

The chance to work in a field of interest for three months could be a life changing experience. Not only could it help you decide if that career is right for you, it could help you network and build connections with the decision makers in the company. That could prove vital when it comes time to look for a job post-college.

Related Content: 10 Effective Strategies That Will Make You Better at Networking

Of all the summer jobs for teens and college students on this list however, paid internships are the toughest ones to find. More than likely you’ll be sacrificing money for life experience if you go this route.

10. Any other “heat sensitive” job

I’ll end with a generic, catch-all category to keep you thinking. What other things increase in traffic as the heat goes up? What about your local ice cream shop or the pool cleaning industry? Do people wash their cars more when it’s hot or cold? What about golf courses, national parks or even movie theaters (as a place where people beat the heat)?

The point is there are so many opportunities for summer jobs for teens and college students. Employers understand the seasonality of their business and know you’ll only be available for three months. It doesn’t matter to them. They need your help because their busy.

The best part is if you work hard and demonstrate some responsibility, you may secure yourself a job for the next summer with the same employer. That will put your mind at ease knowing you’ll have work. And it will put your employers mind at ease knowing he or she will have help again.

Leave a Comment or Answer a Question Below: What other summer jobs for teens and college students can you think of? What was the best summer job you ever had?

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  1. I did a lot of these during my summers. Mowing lawns is a great way to learn business, and you can make a lot of money if you do it right. Camp counselor jobs are also great opportunities if you find the right fit.

  2. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    Internship for me. I had internship at a radio station when I was in college, but I was never paid. What I got from the internship was solely experience, which I believed better for me because I was able to use it at work.

  3. My older two kids landed internships the summer after freshman year in college. I feel that’s an amazing feat, but I have to say they were tenacious in their pursuit. And they didn’t need to make a lot of money. My son’s freshman year internship resulted in no money in his pocket (it was a start up that he’d get a cut in profits). BUT it landed his second internship which paid GOOD money and he just started his third which is the best one yet for experience and pay. That first one was a resume builder and got him the second job. The second internship got the third one. It’s a progression and requires patience.

    For me in my younger days, I was wicked fast on a 10 key (thanks to being a grocery store cashier through high school, when cashiers actually entered the prices in the cash register. Dating myself!) So after high school, I would go to Kelly Girl and you’d be amazed how many full time jobs I was offered from those part time jobs. One turned into being hired as a computer consultant (my major in college) that was VERY lucrative!

  4. My son just got his first job at a grocery store – while it’s not seasonal, they are GREAT about having college kids (when gets there in a few years) come back for the summer and working.

  5. Farm laborer is widely known here in our small city. Since, we are surrounded by a ricefield usually they are hired as a helper.

  6. My daughter recently found a great summer job at a sports store. Not exactly seasonal work, but the regular staff take their vacations during the summer, so the demand for summer employees rises.

    • “…the regular staff take their vacations during the summer…” That’s a real good point…hadn’t thought of that reason for why employers might need to hire more.

  7. My go-to was always nannying! It paid so well and was something that came natural. I think it’s important young adults are productive (whether through work or school) throughout the summer.

    • “Nannying…” That seems to be real popular and fairly lucrative. I don’t think I could have done it though when I was a college student. I wasn’t ready to be looking after kids yet. 🙂

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