First Job Ideas for Teens in PA

Girl working at a supermarket fixing a vegetable stand

Are you a teen looking for your first job in PA? Or a parent trying to teach your 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 job opportunities.

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, and you may be wondering how to get started. 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 even if you have your license, you may have restrictions on passengers and driving hours that could limit your options. 

Pennsylvania 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, you can begin applying to jobs that fit your schedule.

Where Can a Teen Work in PA?

A great number of organizations hire teens to work for them. Here are a few ideas for where you can look for work:

  • Retail stores
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Car washes
  • Farms
  • Ice cream stands
  • Amusement parks
  • Summer camps
  • After-school programs
  • Pools
  • Sports leagues

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 can stay in touch with after you graduate from high school and begin working or go to college or trade 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 you can build upon for the rest of your life. You may want to distribute your income into these three categories:

  1. Savings, which you deposit into a savings account for future goals
  2. Spending: Funds you put in a checking account to pay for current needs or wants
  3. Sharing: Cash you contribute toward a charitable cause

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 1.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on balances as low as $5 and up to $500*.

Find more money management tips for teens on our blog.

Join PSECU Now*APY denotes Annual Percentage Yield. To be eligible for the Youth Savings rate, the primary account owner must be under the age of 18. All eligible Youth Savings Share accounts earn 1.00% APY for balances of $.01 to $500.00. For balances of $500.01 and over, the Regular Savings Share APY will apply. Rates and information are subject to change at any time. Fees could reduce earnings on the account(s). The disclosed dividend rates are variable and may change after the member opens the account(s). Find our current dividend rates at PSECU requires a $5 minimum balance to open and maintain a Regular share account. This $5 share account deposit is also required to be eligible to receive the Youth Savings rate, and the member must be in good standing as defined by PSECU’s Bylaws, Article II, Section I. PSECU will make a $5 minimum share purchase on behalf of the member.  

The content provided in this publication is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated is to be construed as financial or legal advice. Some products not offered by PSECU. PSECU does not endorse any third parties, including, but not limited to, referenced individuals, companies, organizations, products, blogs, or websites. PSECU does not warrant any advice provided by third parties. PSECU does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided by third parties. PSECU recommends that you seek the advice of a qualified financial, tax, legal, or other professional if you have questions.