Hourly wages for teens vary based on the type of job and the experience level of the teen, as well as the skill level required to do the task. Some positions such as in hospitality, deliveries and restaurant work add tips to the base wage, which generates income beyond the hourly wage. Some jobs fit the needs of working teens better than others.
Federal Minimum Wage Requirements
A good hourly wage exceeds the minimum wage. The U.S. Department of Labor establishes the very least a teenager earns by setting the minimum wage. The Federal Labor Standards Act set federal minimum wage at $7.25 per hour effective July of 2009 for nonexempt employees who qualify.
State Minimum Wage Standards
The minimum wage varies from state to state, as do the conditions which apply to each state's minimum wage law. The U.S. Department of Labor offers an online clickable map for determining the minimum wage law in your state (see References). Even with federal regulation, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 11 percent of teens earn at or less than the minimum wage.
According to Babysitting-Rates.com, hourly pay for babysitters ranges from $4 to $18 per hour, with $8 to $12 per hour being most common. The hourly rate varies widely due to the geographic location, the number of children you must tend, the sitter's experience and any other special requirements stated by the parents. For instance, the parents may want you to just entertain and feed the child(ren) on one assignment while another parent may need you to tutor the child in her studies, tend a special needs child or do housekeeping in addition to the child care. How many children you sit, the time of day you sit and the age of the child(ren) all play into the recommended pay rate.
Taking Online Surveys
Some teens take online surveys to create part-time income. According to MillionaireKids.com, "You can easily make a quick $44 to $154 dollars whenever you have a couple hours of spare time." You can work online according to your own schedule. Participation in some surveys can earn an average of $81 per hour, states MillionaireKids.com. But teens should beware of survey scammers, and only work with legitimate marketing companies.
Other Teen Jobs With Good Hourly Wages
Working as a waitress, waiter or takeout delivery driver for a popular restaurant earns teens an hourly rate plus tips. You may get to eat leftover foods as a fringe benefit. These better restaurants often pay more than fast food restaurants where you typically work for minimum wage. Lifeguards earn a good hourly wage once certified. In retail shops or stores, teens can earn well above minimum wage. But sometimes you must start at minimum wage and work your way up the pay scale. Landscaping or yard work can earn the teen a good hourly wage, or you can find your own customers.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time
During the school year, working full-time typically is not possible. However, part-time workers are more likely to earn minimum-wage paychecks, so teens may want to consider a full-time summer position if they want to earn a good hourly wage.
- Babysitting-Rates.com: Babysitting Rates
- Millionaire-Kids.com: So What Are the Top Paying, Funnest Teen Jobs Around?
- U.S. Department of Labor: Wages: Minimum Wage
- U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division: Minimum Wage Laws in the States; January 2011
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers: 2008; March 2009
- U.S. Department of Labor; Frequently Asked Questions: Youth