Let’s face it: summer is the best season there is, especially if you’re in high school or college.
Classes are out, the sun is shining, and if you want to use your free time to also boost your income, you have options.
Now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teenage involvement in the labor force has actually been on the decline for several years.
Additionally, from my own experience, I know many college students take summer off to continue studying in some capacity.
However, if you want to make money this summer as a student, you don’t have to sit on the sidelines.
There are plenty of summer job ideas for college students and teenagers alike.
So, take a seat and browse through this list of the best summer jobs if you want some ideas for how to boost your finances while school is out.
The Best Summer Jobs For Teenagers
The main barrier to entry for a lot of jobs is age.
Unless you’re about to graduate high school, you’re most likely still a minor. Therefore, the following jobs are all available to minors and still pay minimum wage or more.
Also, I recently put out a video on this topic, so I recommend giving it a watch in addition to reading through this list of the best summer jobs! 🙂
1. Golf Caddy
If you’ve ever been golfing, you’ll have an idea of the typical demographic that golfs regularly: older, affluent, and just there to have fun.
Being a golf caddy for tournament games or at a private club is therefore an awesome way to make money as a teenager. If you’re a good caddy and are friendly, you have a pretty decent chance at making some unbelievable tips.
According to Forbes, golf caddies typically earn between $100 to $120 per 18 holes, which breaks down to roughly $20 to $30 per hour. Not bad for a high school summer job!
Summer is when homeowners are most active with maintaining their lawn and gardens. If you like being outdoors and physical labor, any type of landscaping work is a great fit.
Some common jobs include:
- Lawn aeration.
- Landscape/backyard design (think planting trees, rearranging flower beds, adding fresh mulch)
- Weed removal/trimming and maintenance.
Plus, according to Indeed, landscape work pays $14 per hour on average.
If you can find a lawncare company in your area that hires teens, this is a great way to get started. Alternatively, you can go door to door and offer basic services like lawn mowing.
Either way, this is a great under the table job to consider for summer.
3. Private Music Lessons
Music lessons are incredibly expensive. Therefore, if you know how to play an instrument, you can teach private music lessons at a more affordable price for a pretty awesome side gig.
You’ll probably teach kids who are just starting out, so you don’t have to be the next Mozart to find students; as long as you’re a good teacher and have intermediate skills, that should suffice for teaching beginners.
Music teachers make $30 per hour on average, which is insane for a teenage summer job!
I have friends who taught guitar throughout high school, and once you find one parent/kid to work with, word of mouth gets you the rest.
You might not know this, but you can legally work as a farmhand in the United States as young as 12 years old.
This low age requirement truly makes this one of the best summer jobs for 12 year olds or 13 year olds.
Now, you can’t work hazardous jobs, which would include tasks like operating heavy machinery, lifting a certain amount of weight, or working in silos or dangerous areas.
However, you can still pick, package, and help with general tasks. Plus, farmhands earn over $13 per hour on average.
Just remember to checkout the Department of Labor for exact labor laws in your state.
Lifeguarding is an absolutely classic summer job idea. However, you obviously need a few years to prepare for this job in advance.
To become a lifeguard, you’ll need certification and to have basic first aid training. Age requirements can vary by state and country, but 16 years old is a pretty typical requirement.
So, if you’re in high school and are a strong swimmer, this summer job idea is definitely worth considering.
Payscale states lifeguards make roughly $10 per hour, although in my city, I know the average was more like $16.
6. Referee Sports
This is probably one of the best summer jobs for teens if you have a love for sports and want to also have fun while you’re at “work.”
I played competitive soccer for my city when growing up. During this time, many of my teammates also got involved with refereeing soccer to make money during summer.
This is usually a great summer job for 13 year olds or anyone older, although some districts let younger refs work as well.
Plus, according to Indeed, referees earn about $16 per hour.
Typically, you need to complete some basic training, and you start at the bottom with little-league matches. However, as you become older and gain experience, you can referee games for older and more competitive leagues.
7. Parks & Conservation Area Work
If you love nature or even want to work in conservation or wildlife management when you’re older, working for conservation areas is one of the best summer jobs around.
Every park needs maintenance, and high school students are the perfect candidate for jobs like:
- Maintaining trails.
- Running park activities (if tours are popular).
- Being a parking lot/gate attendant.
- Working at food stands or guest services within the park grounds.
You get the idea!
I used to skip class all the time and go to conservation areas with my mom (she is the best, cutting class to hangout with a parent is pretty cool if you ask me).
Honestly, this is one summer job I wish I had tried just because of how peaceful it is to spend time outdoors.
8. Retail Work
I know I get carried away with this blog and stick with creative or weird money making ideas.
But, honestly, there’s nothing wrong with working a basic retail job.
If you want stable hours and to work for minimum wage, retail jobs are your best bet as a high school student.
I worked as a dish boy for a night restaurant/bar for a bit in high school. Later on, I worked as a Starbucks barista to make money in college.
My only advice here is to try and land a job that gives you discounts for something you’d actually buy, free food, or some other perk that’s useful!
While I haven’t tried this, most of my friends have, and being a waiter or waitress is undeniably one of the best summer jobs for teens.
The reason is simple: your potential for tips is RIDICULOUS.
Don’t believe me? Well, this is how you end up with stories like the $100,000 waitress:
The reality is, in countries like Canada or the United States, tipping is very much a social norm.
So, while you might make minimum wage as a server, your earning potential is higher; especially if you can put on the charm.
Obviously, working at a summer hot-dog stand won’t pay the same as being a steak house waitress. But, in any case, this is a great idea if you like working with people.
I think babysitting is an awesome job for college students and high schoolers.
However, since many families take vacations or go to more late-night events in summer, I think babysitting deserves a spot on the list of the best summer jobs.
After all, babysitters earn around $17 per hour according to Sitter City:
Job Ideas For College Students
As I mentioned, once you become 18, a whole lot more jobs open up. This is because many gig economy apps or side hustles only hire adults.
Occasionally, some companies will have 21 as an age requirement, but even so, the following summer jobs for college students can definitely help you pay the bills for your upcoming semester.
11. Food Delivery
I’ve talked about this side gig countless times, and that’s for good reason: few jobs offers this level of flexibility and pay.
Plus, over summer, working as a bike courier for companies like DoorDash or Uber Eats like my friend did becomes viable with the nice weather.
Some popular food delivery hustles to try include:
- Deliver Food For DoorDash – Make money on your own schedule by being a DoorDash courier. Checkout my DoorDash driver review to learn more!
- Deliver Groceries With Postmates – Postmates is only available in the U.S. but you can still make solid money by delivering groceries to people over the summer. However, you need a vehicle for this.
- Deliver Groceries With Instacart – Full-service shoppers earn approximately $11 to $17 per hour, and like Postmates, you’re responsible for delivering groceries to households. You can also use an Instacart referral code to maximize your earnings.
Note, you must be 18 years or older for all of these delivery companies.
12. Online Music Lessons
There’s some pretty serious money here if you can land students.
On average, an hour lesson on TakeLessons costs $65, and you keep 90% of everything you earn. Plus, the more accreditations you have, the more you can charge.
Ultimately I truly believe teaching music lessons over summer is a great idea for anyone who has the skill. It really doesn’t matter if you’re in high school or college, although being 18 helps open up more options.
Extra Reading – The Best Online Tutoring Jobs For Teens.
13. Municipal City Jobs
Another great job idea for college students is to simply apply for open positions with your city.
Oftentimes, these jobs require you to be 18, and summer time opens up a lot of opportunities as well.
Some common city jobs for college students include:
- Watering city parks and flower beds.
- Garbage removal/cleaning.
- Running youth camps.
- Local election/census work (depending on the year).
Every city is different, so do some quick searching to see what summer options are available!
14. Construction Work
In the United States, you can work on construction sites once you reach 16.
However, like being a farmhand, it has to be in a limited capacity. Therefore, working in construction is an even better summer job for college students on break.
After all, construction workers earn nearly $16 per hour on average.
Plus, you can probably cut down on expenses by ditching your gym membership if you choose this job…my friends who have worked summers in construction inevitably get pretty ripped.
Extra Reading – 20 Legit Ways To Make Money With A Truck.
15. Help People Move
Summer is also a popular time for moving, and lets be honest: moving absolutely sucks.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that you can make some very solid money by helping people pack, prep, and actually move out of their home.
You have to be 18 or older to work for either company, and I really like Dolly in particular because you can work for them even if you don’t have a truck:
If you have a truck, Dolly pays $30 per hour or more. However, even as a helper, you earn around $15 per hour.
This is tough work. But, if you’re looking for more summer job ideas and don’t mind physical labor, add this to your list!
16. Personal Trainer
While you can become a certified trainer in high school, most trainers are definitely 18 or older.
Now, assuming you get some certification (which usually just involves taking a test and paying for some certification), being a personal trainer isn’t a bad gig.
Many gyms hire personal trainers and take a cut of the clients they book, and honestly, your age might be an advantage here since you can charm older clients and also relate better to younger athletes who need assistance.
Again, I have friends who turn to personal training every summer to make money, and it’s a solid gig as you build up your regular clients.
It seems the average is around $20 per hour, but this also varies by state.
17. Freelance Online
Honestly, I wish I had started my freelancing career/dabbling in it much earlier than I did.
Freelancing is an awesome summer job because you have time on your hands…time to learn, make mistakes, and to slowly hone your craft as you get more clients.
Plus, this also gives you the chance to put what you’re learning in school to real use. Some popular freelancing ideas include:
Personally, I make most of my income from freelance writing now, but I started learning the process back in college as a ghost writer.
Plus, you can always keep a freelance client or two on the side once you return to school or get a full-time job.
Bottom line is: freelancing opens an incredible number of doors and is also compensated very well. You can use a variety of remote job websites to look for potential clients!
Check out our post on the best freelance writing jobs for teens to get started!
18. Start Blogging
Starting a blog is something I encourage anyone to try at any age.
However, I think this is a great way to make money in summer as a college student because, like freelancing, you have the time to experiment and grow.
I always took courses during my time in college, but they were online and had a light workload. I think it’s safe to say that I probably made some of the most meaningful progress for This Online World during those sweaty months in my non-AC college house.
As you can see from this recent snapshot of my Mediavine earnings, This Online World is now on track to make $10,000+ this year in just advertisement revenue.
I put a decent amount back into growth, but this money still helps pay for my living expenses and build wealth as a young adult.
Plus, starting a blog has taught me more than I would have learned from just going to school, helped me grow my freelance income, and let me meet incredible people.
It’s taken more than 2 years to get here, but the foundation was built in college.
If you have a free summer, work a job to make money. But, never be afraid of building something on the side with a bigger picture in mind for what you want your future to look like.
Extra Reading – How To Pick A Money-Making Blog Niche.
19. Dog Walking & Sitting
Another simple yet effective summer job idea is to take care of people’s dogs or other pets.
Again, summer is when people want to travel and take weekend trips. Sometimes, these trips can’t involve bringing a furry friend along.
Websites like Rover have taken over the on-demand dog care marketplace, so this is where I’d suggest starting your search. Like other jobs for college kids, you have to be 18 or older.
Rover is available in Canada and the United States. Plus, you can earn more than $20 per hour on average.
20. Window Washer
This was another popular college summer job in my town, and while one of my best friends had a pretty poor experience with it (his boss basically took all the money and gave the workers the scraps), it’s still worth looking into.
I see this service being offered every summer where I live, and it’s always college kids doing the work.
You have to be alright with heights and being outdoors, and again, just be careful with the company you end up working for or offer the service yourself!
Even More Ideas To Make Money
If you’re still not satisfied and want even more options, here’s another 22 summer job ideas to consider:
- Movie theater attendant.
- Water park worker.
- House sitter.
- Online English tutor.
- Work in a factory.
- Try being a ride-share driver during busy nights.
- Rent out assets for money.
- Paint houses.
- Help with garbage removal.
- Charge electric scooters for Bird or Lime.
- Clean houses.
- Find a court runner job.
- Work at a gas station.
- Become a city tour guide.
- Work at a museum.
- Run a daycare service.
- Teach swimming lessons.
- Work at a nursery.
- Work at or run a stand at a farmers market/flea market.
- Flip items on eBay.
- Work at a VR lounge, arcade, or laser tag park.
- Work at a grocery store.
You get the idea…the opportunities are ENDLESS!
Tips For Job Hunting
Really, finding work over break isn’t always rocket science.
What’s challenging is finding the right job for you that pays well and doesn’t completely devour your summer.
If you want to avoid that, here are some tips to ensure you find the best summer job possible:
1. Apply Early
This is 90% of the battle without a doubt.
If you wait for school to finish and then start your job hunt, you won’t have the pick of the litter. This is true for high school jobs and college jobs alike.
When I started working on campus as a barista, I applied 3 months before the school semester was over. Training happened in summer, and then I walked into the school year with some guaranteed income.
I know exam times are hectic, but if you’re serious about this, start applying as early as possible.
2. Know Where To Look
If you’re unsure of how to even find summer jobs, you luckily have plenty of options.
For starters, there are tonnes of local job boards that can help get the ball rolling. Some popular options include:
- LinkedIn job search.
A simple search in your area should hopefully provide some inspiration.
Alternatively, try your city’s website or look on local Facebook groups and classifieds to see what’s out there.
3. Ask Friends
I got my dish boy job by walking into a kitchen with my friend, talking to the chef for all of 5 minutes, and then I showed up the following week to start.
Many summer jobs, especially ones for teens, don’t care about the hiring process since they know you’re just a temporary worker. As long as you work hard and get the job done, you can usually get hired pretty quickly.
Just make sure you don’t make your friend look bad or you’ll never get a referral again! Huge and valuable life lesson here.
4. Prepare For The Interview (If You Have To)
If you have to do an interview to get hired, make sure you put in some effort.
Even if you’re only working for 2-4 months over summer, don’t give off the vibe that you don’t care. Dress well, research the role, and treat it like any other job you’d apply to.
Just don’t wear a suit or overdress. From what I’ve seen from internships/eventually interviewing people at digital marketing agency I worked at for 2 years, most people overdress and it makes them look like a dolt.
What To Do With The Money?
The final piece of advice I have for making the most out of your summer job is to have a measurable goal for your income and a plan for what to do with the money.
If you spend all of the money you make on junk, you’re wasting your summer away for no purpose.
Have an income goal in mind, and make sure it’s realistic and also lets you have some time off to enjoy your summer.
Secondly, decide where to put your savings to make the most out of your hard work. Some options include:
CIT Savings Builder – Park your money with CIT Bank and actually earn meaningful interest on your balance. Don’t just let your money waste away in a basic savings account! You can keep money you plan on using for upcoming tuition here as well as any other income you make throughout the year but don’t want to invest.
Start Investing – You can learn how to invest in college or even younger if you put in the effort or speak to qualified professionals at your local bank. Personally, I invest in low-fee ETFs that mostly track the S&P500 and some Vanguard funds. This is just my approach, and not financial advice, but you can keep things pretty simple!
Treat Yourself (Within Reason) – We aren’t robots, and everyone has a limit on willpower. You don’t have to be perfect with your finances, so don’t be afraid to use some of the money from your summer job to buy something that’s been on your mind for a while. Just don’t go blowing your entire account!
I’m a firm believer that kids should enjoy their summer.
After all, you have a large chunk of your adult life to work. I’ve personally found that my early 20s are immensely busy, and I’m happy that I didn’t break my back working the second I turned 12 or 13 even though I love work.
However, if you want to start making money and becoming more independent, I think working over summer is an excellent idea.
As long as you balance work and leisure and pick a job that caters to your skills, there’s no reason why you can’t get the best of both worlds.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this list of the best summer jobs sets you up for financial success when school is out.
Catch you guys in the next one!
- My $20,000 College Side Hustles.
- The 10 Best Jobs For College Students.
- 19 Realistic Ways To Make Money As A Teen.
- 22 Under The Table Jobs That Pay Cash.
Tom is a full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please use our contact page to get in touch!