The 18 Best Jobs for 18-Year-Olds

job for an 18-year-old

Do you remember if you had a job when you were 18 years old? I do. I worked at a golf course doing grounds maintenance work. Being a golfer – it was a fun job to have! I got to pick out the holes for the days play and cut the greens. The only thing bad about it was starting work at 6:00 in the morning!

I’m now a step-father to a soon-to-be 18-year-old and it’s a whole new world. The Internet has changed so much about how we do things and is offering a lot of ways to make money for the entrepreneurial teenager. It’s funny to think when I was that age – there was no Internet (wow, I’m old!).

While the current job market for the high-schooler and college student looks a little downcast right now, I still believe breaks abound for those who have applied themselves and have a desire to succeed.

As a parent I think it’s important to let your teenage work (especially if they want to and have proven themselves to be responsible) in high school. I know there are many different schools of thought on this. Overall, it can be a great learning experience for them – as it will teach them the value of a dollar and stewardship. The job can also provide them with a stepping stone or a jump start on a future career.

The Best Jobs for 18-Year-Olds

I’ve compiled a list of 18 jobs that are best suited for 18-year-olds. Of course these are not exhaustive – but I hope they provide some ideas for a parent helping a teen or a teenager looking to find some work on their own.

1. Waiter/waitress

This is a great way to make extra money and is a great way for teens to learn valuable social skills.

2. Errand-runner

Typically a teen will have their license by 18, so this can be a unique opportunity for an 18-year-old to make money while setting a flexible schedule and gain experience running a business.

3. Lawn-care

Use the parent’s mower and tools and you’re all set!

4. Work at a nursing home

This has to be one of the most over-looked and devalued jobs around. I wish I would have done this as a teenager. It’s a super way to bless others in their golden years and honor/learn from those who have valuable life experience.

5. Pet-sitter

So many folks have pets today – start your own pet-sitting business! Low over-head, you could take care of the pet at their house or yours (ask the folks first!).

6. Concessions at a theater

This one has some benefits. You’ll likely get free popcorn and see the occasional flick for zero dollars!

7. Bank teller

Learn financial skills, how to deal with people, and get paid!

8. Tutor

Teach a kid who is younger than you in a subject you are knowledgeable in.

9. Vending business

May take an initial investment from the parents – but this can be a great way to make some passive income.

10. Virtual assistant

With all the new website businesses out there – many owners are looking for someone to “manage the store.” Duties could include everything from answering emails to assisting with an online purchase.

11. Warehouse work

If you like to work with your hands – you may want to check out a local distributor or warehouse.

12. Car dealership

Like being around cars? Maybe it would be a great place to get your feet wet! Duties could include car washing/detailing, driving folks to work/back when their vehicle is in repair, or setting up cars for display.

13. Positions at parent’s employer

While probably not the most popular idea – if you ask your parent to see if their employer offers any summer jobs or entry-level positions, you’ll likely be surprised. My place of work hires several 18 to 22-year-olds every summer which are referrals from parents/other co-workers.

14. Catering

Many caterers hire high school/college help for food prep and serving.

15. Coach

Your local city recreation department is likely in need of coaches for various sports and activities. Great opportunity to mentor and teach kids.

16. Tech Support

Teenagers are inherently good with electronics – including cell phones and computers. Be a local techie-on-call to your neighbors and family and soon your services will spread via word-of-mouth.

17. Personal care attendant

Another great chance to bless others and get paid.

18. Photographer

Have an eye for a good photo and know your way around a camera? You can take pics at weddings, sporting events, or even portraits for good cash.

What other jobs can you think of that would be perfect for 18-year-olds? Leave a comment below!












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11 Comments
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  1. These are good ideas. My younger sister is turning 18 this summer, so I’ll suggest some of these to her. Actually, they could be a good source of side income for those of us over 18 as well :)

  2. I’d add the following:

    * Pet sitter or dog walker – depending on the area you live in, it could be worth a few bucks per week to take on these tasks.

    * Poo scooper – find enough folks who have dogs and charge a minimal fee to come around once or twice per week and pick up Toto’s .. um, droppings.

    * Farm hand – especially in more rural areas where some of the other suggestions aren’t realistic options, this can teach a teen hard work and responsibility.

    * Camp counselor – not always a huge source of income, but you get to spend your summer (or at least part of it) outside doing some really great activities.

    * Umpire – similar to your coach suggestion, many city/county parks and rec departments have a need for someone to umpire all those games that are going on.

  3. Marsha

    I just hired a ‘handy boy’ from my neighborhood Yahoo group elist with full parental support. I asked for ‘strong young people to help with yard work, moving 10-20 lb boxes, light house work, and such for $5 per hour. I got a hefty 11 year old (with parents permission and involvement) who worked 3 days a week after school for 2 hours most weeks…wowoww…really handy and less strain for me and we did busy work and some easier planning work each day. I looked up ‘child labor laws’ in my state to check if pay and situation was appropriate and the parents were in full agreement. This may be a unique situation but worth the consideraton.

  4. Ryan, great points.

    These really are great jobs for anyone – perhaps the most important aspect for youngsters, aside from making money, is engaging and creating relationships for further down the road. Increasing your knowledge in certain industries or fields, along with meeting folks who are well engaged and experienced in other fields is something vastly underrated for young people, in my opinion.

  5. I’d say a good combination of jobs is great for those who’ve just graduated and are about to go off to school. I worked 50-60 hours a week at a restaurant the summer before college to save money and buy (another) car.

    I’ll add a few more ideas:
    -Start an E-bay business with the summer garage sales. Find a niche and rock it!
    -Sales Job- learning sales skills early in life will help your lifetime overall income.
    -Start a Blog- Help with writing skills, networking, etc.
    -Construction Work- Build muscles and learn you DO want to go to college.
    -Temp Agency- Can make a good amount of money temping

  6. My first job at 18 was grounds keeping as well. It taught me hard work and was great exercise. :)

  7. The military, especially the Coast Guard. You have paid living, for paid vacations per year, free medical, etc.

  8. @Ryan – agreed – could be great for anyone!
    @Alice – love the poo picker upper idea. :)
    @Marsha – yeah, being so young probably was a good idea on your part to get the parents involved.
    @Brent – great ideas – thanks
    @Josh – its a fun job isn’t it – was fortunate that I got to work with my brother too.

  9. Kelly

    In our community, a soccer referee course is offered for ages 14+. After a 3-day course and passing a test, they became referees. Pay starts around $10 per game for side linesman, up to $30 per game for center referee. They get to choose their schedule and be around their favorite sport. There was a small fee for the course and they had to buy a uniform. It’s been a great gig.

  10. Awesome ideas! There are even some that I wouldn’t have thought of when I was 18. I’ve included this in ReadyForZero’s Monday Shout Outs: Graduation Edition (http://blog.readyforzero.com/monday-shoutouts-graduation-edition/). Thanks for the great ideas to help young adults earn money!

  11. The earlier the better. Get those IRA contributions in for your kids, they”ll thank you later!

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